AN UNTOUCHED WONDER OF THE PHILIPPINES – PALAWAN
For fast few years, Boracay in the Philippines has been my go to place for beach vacations. It’s a great place for relaxation with many hotels situated right on the beach. There are not many islands in the world that provide this type of setup – enabling you to enjoy the long stretches of white sandy beaches, crystal clear calm waters (Depending on the season) and sunsets that are jaw dropping. This being said, it has become overcrowded and has somewhat ruined the island’s natural tranquility.
Despite the world expanding at the rate it currently is, there are still some untouched wonders out there. I know, it is hard to believe! One of those wonders is Palawan. It is Boracay, but 20 years ago – untouched and filled with natural beauty.
We visited the town of Coron, in Palawan. Accommodation in Coron consists mainly of guesthouses and a few hotels. Slowly there are more and more international hotel chains moving into the area and are building new accommodation (Hopefully it doesn’t turn into an overcrowded town like Boracay). The food options are very limited but there is one restaurant called La Sirenetta Restaurant & Bar, run by an American, that serves pretty good food and that’s where I spent most nights having dinner.
The beauty of Coron is that the town is built around a bay from where you can take a 20-30 minute boat ride to reach one of the many secluded islands. Because of this, there is a bit of a morning rush as people make their way to the main pier to catch a boat to whichever island they have decided to tackle for the day and then again in the afternoon when everyone comes back.
I found that an indigenous family or two usually inhabits the secluded islands. They maintain the island, keep it clean and in return, charge a small fee when you arrive. Apart from the caretakers, there are usually not many other people on the islands and you can have pretty much the whole island to yourself.
Not far from the Coron Town is Coron Island. It is home to many freshwater lakes. The most famous one is Kayangan Lake, which is a 20-minute boat ride from Coron Town and is voted the cleanest fresh water lake in Asia. It is accessible by a steep 10-minute climb, the crystal-clear waters of Lake Kayangan are nestled into the mountain walls; underwater is like a moonscape. There’s a little wooden walkway and platform to stash your things if you go for a swim.
Coron is also known for its diving. I didn’t have a chance to dive but there are dozens of sunken Japanese warships at depths between 10 and 40 meters, which I will hopefully go back to explore someday. Even without diving, I was able to snorkel and see some spectacular sea life. Many of the islands have beautiful coral 10-15 meter from the shore.