|Our body fuel for the day courtesy of Ocean Restaurant in Club Paradise Island. Make sure you have a powerful breakfast before you engage in any activity when in Coron! Rice, Bacon, Beef Tapa, Bacon, Hash Brown, Bacon. Plus more Bacon!
After our really great first day at Club Paradise in Palawan, we were all looking forward to having a great second day to do all our activities in Coron hoping that it's actually possible to squeeze that in one day. Here's our attempt to do just that!
Breakfast at Ocean Restaurant
Before embarking on a great, fun filled day of activities, make sure you fuel up by having a big breakfast at Ocean Restaurant. Ours came with the room so it was quite nice to see all the little things they had on the buffet. I especially love the Beef Tapa, which most people would love in Garlic Rice but I preferred the hot white rice that morning. They also had some tropical fruit juices, mangoes and pineapple. The milk was also fresh so if you're a cereal kind of guy, you'll be more than happy to have that before you leave the place. I had 3 crispy hash browns, 2 super well done sunny side up eggs (a preference), and tons of Bacon (which was super good because it was the crispy type!). Remember though that your boat from the island leaves early. Make sure you take the time to borrow snorkling gear, a life jacket and flippers from their Aquasports center. If you're a neat freak, buy one before you even get to the island, one that would fit you. Make sure it also works before you use it on the open ocean. Though I'm telling you, their equipment are professional grade, get cleaned and sanitized before you use it. Bring extra towels, a waterproof bag and cases for your gadgets.
I'm not a swimmer so when the first activity actually needs to swim, I was so afraid for my life and didn't want to swim in the open water. That part was my fault because I didn't get to do this first activity and let my friend Rodel do everything in Siete Pecados Marine Park. It's a protected area with 7 small islands (hence the name) and a wide area to snorkle. When they got down the boat, I was really envious because I could already see the fish from above. You can charter a boat from the shore (in Coron) or have the people from Club Paradise talk to Calamianes Expeditions so they can arrange everything. If you're not into local food, I saw some of our other tourist friends have burgers and pizzas ordered from Ocean Restaurant and carried still hot for lunch that same day. I highly suggest though for you to eat like the locals do and feast on what we had too! Siete Pecados Marine Park was obviously a glimpse of paradise because you'll see tons of fish on the corals, swim around an actual island and have coconut from the boat just like what I did when I was afraid to go snorkling. That was really a bad choice on my part, a really noob move.
Maquinit Hot Spring
Maquinit means Hot in the native dialect, so when it's called Maquinit Hot Spring, you better believe it. I think it's about 40 degrees in the water that comes from the mountains in this part of Coron. It meets the sea so you can temper out in the cold water first then try to slowly go in on the hot spring. Remember, there are tons of health benefits from doing this and it was somehow very therapeutic when we did this. The place charges entrance fees so I can tell it'll be easier to book with Calamianes Expeditions for trips like these so they can do that for you. If you're tired, too sporty, your muscles need a place to relax and this is exactly it. Make sure to ask your boat man to go this path because it's a must. It's also very picturesque and you'll not just see the place, you'll feel it in the water. Oh and please, don't attempt to jump in the water too fast as it may be too hot for you in some places that you could cook an egg in it. I'm not joking.
Locals named this from a local bird which our guide tells us didn't exist when he started his job a good 15 years ago. The Kayangan Lake is dubbed as the cleanest lake in Asia and is nestled on top of a mountain which you can reach with a good 15 - 20 minute hike (don't believe those 10 minute hike other people indicate because it's a tough climb for newbies. If you're a person who frequently does that, then this would be easy for you. I've seen people break up on the trail because they lasted years there! (I'm joking!) But really, I don't recommend this for seniors (like me dad) as the climb is a bit steep. Although, it was pretty doable for the 50 year old couple that I was with at that time, they were in great shape. Still, this particular place was well worth all of that drama I did while climbing up because it's got a majestic view of the shoreline on top of the small mountain.
I think this is the most photographed place too might I add. You'll marvel how the turquoise colored water and the boats all line up that way up that path. It's like God is telling you "See what I did?" then lets you go down the place and see an even marvelous place where I tried to snorkle for the first time. (Don't judge!). Since this was pretty much a lake rather than the ocean, I felt a better sense of calmness because it doesn't have waves on it. I drowned in the past even with a life jacket on so you can tell where I'm coming from, but this time I was really floating. I think the snap ons on the crotch part of the life jacket really helped and didn't get the thing obstruct my view and panic, so for first timers I highly suggest you do that. (This was the part where I obviously regret I didn't snorkle in Siete Pecados earlier). The other tourists (different nationalities) were so happy for me because I told them it was my first time to do that. Haha noob!
Now after our very nice swim and lunch at Kayangan Lake, we went to Twin Lagoons in Coron, Palawan. It's a good 25 minute boat ride from the Kayangan Lake location so you're better off having lunch there. You'll see the guy who's driving the boat and his men prepare your meal the moment you leave the main island of Coron using charcoal and wood blown by the breeze you're catching from the boat itself. Aside from the local fish, they got me grilled pork, seaweed salad and tons of fruits! I was a happy boy before we went to the Twin Lagoons, watch for the part where I was waving at the camera in this video because FINALLY this is my first time snorkling in open water!
I mustered enough strength and courage to actually do this. When I stepped out of that boat I thought I was crazy, but I'm super glad that I did go out and tried this. In Twin Lagoons, you'll see two sections where your boat just docked and a small entrance (like a cave) separating the Twin Lagoons. If you're near the walls, it's not too deep but when I tried to drift a couple of meters to the buoy... I couldn't see the bottom anymore. So basically, I was in the open sea, in very deep, deep water, and I didn't die. Isn't that a nice thing to hear? Haha. Yeap! It was one of the awesome things I conquered for myself and it didn't involve me drowning in it. Ha! Plus I heard one of the tourists mentioned "This is really paradise!" then he lies down on his back and swam to the boat relaxed, very slowly.
After island hopping, we went back to Coron looking for places to shop. There are tons of them but I suggest you go to the public market that is actually right beside the boat docks if it's a market day. If not, there are several souvenir shops and places where you can buy those crunchy Cashew nuts in all different shapes and forms, the Banana Chips, and tons of souvenir items you can take home. I bought several hand made coin purses with the Coron name on them for my friends here in Manila. Aside from that, I bought a kilogram of Cashew because it's cheaper here. Take it 650-700 pesos for baked cashews, a few hundred for the candied ones and you're good to go. There are also island souvenirs for the ladies if you're out to buy some outfits to take home for your friends and family. The shirts were a little too common for me so I stayed with the food. There are fridge magnets and key chains for those who are just wanting to take home small trinkets for office mates and those bosses that approved your vacation leaves!
Remember to also ask for discounts because they'll gladly give it to you when you're a little persuasive, but please be reasonable, they still have to run a business! Don't forget to talk to locals, they're very kind hearted people.
The Journey Back to Club Paradise
After a fun filled day, we went back to our place at Club Paradise in Palawan. Like I mentioned in my first article, the way there is so picturesque. Now imagine that great view being treated with the golden rays of the sun and you've got the perfect sunset!
Add to that some migrating fruit bats that go island to island. You just marvel at how nature just seem to be just at the right place and the right time.
Dinner at Ocean Restaurant
After a whole day of activities in Coron, we went back to our hotel and took a nap. It was a bit tiring but well worth it, so we freshened up and walked a few minutes from our beachfront cottage to Ocean Restaurant. Dinner this time was a touch of Louisiana or creole cooking. We got crunchy and cold leaves from the salad bar.
They had different salad dressings available so if you're into heavy or light ones, they've got that on the table. Ask for cheese or anything that would make it perfect and Chef de Partie Christian Marie Aquino would gladly do it for you. During this meal though, I noticed that the server had given me water with tons of ice. I asked for that specifically the first day and she remembered to do that in every meal. Now that's what you call personalized service, they remembered that small detail and did it in every meal. For me, that's outstanding!
This Smoked White Fish Wrap was good. I loved how the smoky bits and pieces of the fish contrasted with the cold components of the wrap and I think I had two servings of this that evening. It was that good!
I was a bit surprised to see bacon on the buffet again this evening. It looked so nice wrapped around pineapples so you get that sweet-salty play going. On the side is French Fries Poutine (which is more French Canadian creole in nature) which they also sprinkled with calamansi salt. It was so nice and I had tons of that on my plate.
The pizza was still hot, so was the melted cheese. Rodel had about a plate full of this and loved it because it's hot. Things like that matter especially on dinner time.
When I saw this on the spread, I immediately got almost a quarter of it. I love Truffle. Now think of that and a lot of mac and cheese, and cheese, and cheese. I immediately asked Chef Christian Marie Aquino if someone told her that this was my favorite, and she said no. Ha-ha! It was so good but I already ate that much that I couldn't get a spoon more. Loved the Truffle Mac and Cheese to bits!
Creole, Cajun or American Southern cooking wouldn't be complete without a boil bag. This is the Cajun Shrimp Boil. Do I really need to convince you after seeing this? No. I know. The still moist shrimps couldn't be happier to see you. The potatoes and buttered corn was heaven! Then I saw this on the other table being sliced thinly.
It's got the right amount of fat and meat in it. This is their Roasted Pork Belly with Cinnamon Apple Sauce. They sliced it thinly and placed it on my plate. I got the spoon and got a dollop of that sweet and tangy apple sauce on top. I ate it without rice, but I suggest you do. Then came our sweet ending!
The one on top is like sweet cream with orange rind and liqueur, it was sweet and tangy. The white thing sticking on top is white chocolate, and you need that to break the sour taste you get from the orange... pretty good! Then the other one is like a crispy Cannelloni, it's filled with vanilla cream and the basil on top made it so fresh when you bite it. It was something new, but really good. I like that part a lot. If you're proposing, professing love or just celebrating something special, tell the kinds people from Club Paradise and they'll set up a table under the moon and stars.
That's about all the things we did in Coron in one day. If you would like to do the same, you may reach Club Paradise via email firstname.lastname@example.org or their website http://www.clubparadisepalawan.com. You may also check information about tours in Calamianes Expeditions website http://www.corongaleri.com.ph, but we highly suggest Club Paradise to take care of logistics for that so it won't be a headache. You're there to relax anyway! Thank you to the wonderful people of Club Paradise who took care of us during our weekend trip! Thank you also to the kind people of Coron for having us in your part of the world. Now if you're reading this, and you think your family and friends need a break from the city, make Club Paradise your home in Coron and don't hesitate spending for love and memories. That is priceless!
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