Twin Lagoons, Coron

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No. 4 of things to do around Coron according to Tripadvisor.

Located not far from Kayangan Lake on the same island of Coron (the town of Coron is located on another island), another worthwhile stop along a boat tour. The coastline is splendid and the bay mystifying as you approach the little house wedged into the sharp rocks at the lagoon’s mouth.

Twin-lagoons-coron-twin lagoonsPhoto left: the usual entry is at the boats in the upper right, where the house is. But boats can also get into the second lagoon, shown bottom left.

The house owner will paddle out occasionally, collecting the 200p entrance fee from the various boats, but if you’re hungry, this could be a good stop for lunch because they’ll also grill you up some fresh fish. If you take a peak behind the house you’ll find the usual hung laundry, roaming chickens and dirt floor backyard that you’ll find in any other rural Filipino home, so obviously the attendants are not collecting much of the entrance fee.

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Grilled fish diner and entrance fee collection.

Because the lagoons are so popular, you can expect a lot of tourists bobbing in the water, but still much less than the lagoons around El Nido.

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To get to the other lagoon, if tide is low enough you can swim your way under a tight impasse, otherwise you can crawl over on a funky ladder system.

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If it is low tide, the ladder is a worthwhile climb if you want to take some good pictures.

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View from the top of the ladder to the second lagoon.

Alternating cold fresh water with warm ocean water can give a slightly eerie feeling, which is why the locals call the lagoons “strange waters”.

Here is a short video:

Kayangan Lake

 

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No. 1 of things to do around Coron according to Tripadvisor.

But it requires a steep 75m climb (about 300 steps total), both up and down into it, about 15 minutes if you are in reasonably good shape. That includes the waiting time, as the path is too narrow to accommodate traffic in both directions, and because it is a popular destination, be prepared to slide to the side and wait occasionally.

It is a hall of fame awardee for the cleanest and greenest inland body of water in the Philippines and dubbed as the cleanest lake in Asia. However, when I was there it didn’t seem so clear but somewhat murky, and hardly as clear as the waters around Linapacan.

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If the climb is too much for you, another alternative is the nearby Barracuda lake, one of two out of eight lakes in the area open to the public. It has only 30-40 steps.

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The lake is surrounded by a karst scenery of limestone cliffs and guarded and maintained by Tagbanua tribesmen, who consider the lake a sacred cultural site. It is believed that spirits used to dwell in the sacred lakes and that a ritual was performed to transfer the spirits from Kayangan and Barracuda to Cabugao, the largest of all the lakes. Kayangan Lake is 70% fresh water and 30% salt water. According to Coron Tourism it is the most photographed spot in Coron.

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Typical shot of Kayangan Lagoon from the top of the climb.

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The busy docking area in the lagoon.

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It has astonishing underwater rock formations (which have jagged edges and can be fun to grab onto to keep underwater and pull yourself along), and you can discover the enchanting Awuyuk Kayangan Cave, where you’d have to swim to go through its narrow entrance.

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There is a cave you can check out at the top of the climb. At the top there is also an area where you can take a beautiful shot of the Kayangan Lagoon, where the boats dock.

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The trip from Coron there is itself breathtaking, the shoreline adorned with beautiful limestone cliffs and hidden little beaches.

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There is an entrance fee of 200p to enter the area.

Araw Beach

A nice little stop about 40 minutes past our camp in Linapacan, but you can camp overnight here as well, or sleep in their guest hut, either for about 150p/pax. They have a little store which sells beer and snacks and the locals are very friendly and love to show off their videoke machine.

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One of their outdoor tables where you can have lunch, with the guesthouse just behind it (closeup below).

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Back to suggested travel itinerary for the Palawan area.

Boat Tour Negatives and How to Ensure a Successful One

To ensure you have the happiest trip possible, I will list some potential negative points. As the law of physics states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, I like to say that for every expectation there can be an equal and opposite disappointment. By knowing what can go wrong and adapting your expectations, hopefully there will be no disappointments!

Here is a list of possible negative points of our boat trips:

  • I’m an IT guy and handle the internet end of things. As demand increases for our service I am working on picking up more boat operators, so it is possible that some operators have less experience in different areas. You can see a list of our operators on the boat schedule page, where you will find detailed information about them. You can choose who you want to sail with before you make your booking. Different operators have different prices. Some may be better equipped than others, but all are instructed to build up a stock of snorkels, tents, mattresses, sheets, pillows and lifejackets. And smartphones with internet, two sim card slots and gps to help them find the spots you want to go to. Or if you have such a device, you can help them. Otherwise, most already know where all the spots are, or they can be instructed beforehand.
  • They call it Filipino time, and Asians in general are quite relaxed about schedules, so don’t expect everything to run according to plan. However, I stress to them that your vacation time is limited and that it is very important they adhere to any schedules. The more experienced operators generally respect and are good about this. Note also that exceedingly low tides may occasionally delay departure.
  • Part of the charm of the area between El Nido and Coron, unless you stay in fancy and very expensive resorts, is that it is not very developed. If you stay at someone’s house or many of the hotels, do not expect hot or even running showers, but often a small bucket you pour over your head from well water. Don’t expect four star toilets, but they will most often be porcelain, although many times without a seat (squatting is healthier anyway), and flushing is accomplished with a bucket.
  • There are 52 islands around Linapacan alone, mostly deserted. Tons of paradise, pristine beaches, but some may have sandflies (marked on our spots map), or there may be mosquitos during the rainy season (May through November). Eating lots of garlic and less bananas helps keep them away, otherwise come prepared with repellant. And if you do decide to camp out on a deserted island, keep in mind that it is wild jungle off the beach, where you might expect to find long lizards, snakes, monkeys, and various insects in their season. All are safe and afraid of humans. The only potentially dangerous animal is the centipede, which can grow to more than a foot long and can cause pain in your leg for up to two weeks if they bite you. But they too are generally afraid of people, so just keep your eye out where you are stepping.
  • If in order to save costs you are forming a group with people you do not know, check out the Personality Compatibility Test page for tips on finding tour companions best matched for you.

Positive points:

  • But there is always a flip side to every coin and the advantage is that you are in charge of where the boat goes. You are not part of an organised tour package where the schedule and locations are already set.
  • You can control who you decide to share the boat with.
  • Get off the beaten path and experience authentic rural Filipino life.
  • Filipinos in these rural areas are extremely hospitable and kind, not like those who have been spoiled by demanding or disrespectful tourists in the busier areas like El Nido.

It is precisely this rural charm that I and many of my guests are drawn to. If you are a demanding type of person who expects perfection and punctuality, I would suggest that our service is not for you. Furthermore, finger snapping and disrespectful or rude behaviour will NOT be tolerated. I want to maintain the sweet nature of the locals and they are instructed to drop you off at the nearest port without any refund if they receive poor treatment. If there are any problems you are welcome to contact me and I will try to find an amicable solution. They also must learn to be timely, otherwise by their very nature they provide a top notch service. It does not help matters to get angry and raise your voice.

You can check out our Reviews page to see that our guests have been very happy with our tours and thoroughly enjoyed the rural experience, but by this page I hope to set a benchmark for realistic expectations in order that your vacation through this lovely area is the best possible. Happy travels!

Personality Compatibility Test

If you are organising a boat tour with people you do not know, to ensure that everything runs smoothly, it is a good idea to find out something about your potential tour companions to determine how compatible you are.

friendly-boat-toursCommon problems might be:

  • some like to start their day slowly and groggily with a long cup of coffee, while others snap out of bed at the crack of dawn and can’t wait to get going
  • some like to squeeze in as many sites as possible, hurrying to the next one, while others like to lounge around and enjoy the sites, more concerned about a relaxed vacation

To help you find out something about the persons requesting to join your tour, you can ask for and surf their facebook wall to see their types of posts and comments, or you can try this online personality compatibility test. You could email them the questions in the form and fill in their answers next to yours, and study the results at the bottom. To help you email them the questions you can copy/paste them from the webpage or download them here. In case it opens in your browser, you can download the zip file instead.

Note that the person you are emailing with may seem wonderful, but later you find out you do not get along with their partner or other friends, so you may request to test all of them separately.

Hope your trip turns out super excellent!

Barangonan

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Located just to southwest of Linapacan, this is just another jewel with endless beaches and friendly people.

Here were were treated to a nice meal from the village’s captain.

 

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Children drying fish on the ever so present village basketball court.

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Calibangbangan

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From image above: island just left/west of Linapacan, where the red balloon is.

The village is located on a thin strip at the bottom right hand corner of the island, so lots of beach property and a short distance to get across.

A lovely stroll amongst lovely people.

And if you prefer to stay on land, this is one of those places where it will not be a problem to find accommodation amongst the warm hospitality of these friendly people.

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Takling

This gem of an island is owned by the husband of the tour operator’s sister. I asked if I could develop it with profit sharing but he is adamant about selling only. Ten million pesos anyone? We often camp here overnight on our boat journeys. Best coral reefs I have seen yet and will upload a video once I’m done editing.

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Collecting corals to make beach pristine soft.

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Getting the evening fire ready for fish roasting.