Corregidor : Gibraltar of the East

Do you like seeing war ruins? or old battlegrounds?

Stories about war are never aesthetically appealing but very emotionally moving. When I watch clips about the WWII in Europe particularly in Germany ,my heart & my mind cannot comprehend well enough why things such as these happened. It’s heartbreaking.It is sad. War ruins are always gloomy . But learning from history is good. This is the reason why I made a choice to visit one important war battleground in Philippines.

This fascinating trip I have made in Philippines is touring Corregidor island. Its one-hour boat trip away from Manila. Corregidor is a small rocky island in the Philippines about 48 kilometers west of Manila which is strategically located at the entrance of Manila Bay. This island fortress stands as a memorial for the courage, valor, and heroism of its Filipino and American defenders who bravely held their ground against the overwhelming number of invading Japanese forces during World War II.Seeing this place in real  is indeed better than what I have read from books in school when we study History.

Officially named Fort Mills, was the largest of four fortified islands protecting the mouth of Manila Bay from attack and was fortified prior to World War I with powerful coastal artillery.

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A very scenic sight in Corregidor Lighthouse

Corregidor is a Spanish term which means corregir“to correct”. The Spanish lighthouse and the marker nearby, as well as the flagpole at Topside taken from a Spanish warship, are witnesses to the fact that before Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States in 1898, after the Spanish-American War, Corregidor Island used to be a checkpoint for vessels entering Manila Bay. A marker reads in part: “Corregidor Island became a part of the Spanish Crown on May  19, 1571 after its occupation by the dauntless Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, who found the City of Manila. Due to its strategic position, Corregidor, which was a Spanish island for 327 years until May 2, 1898, served as a fortress, guarding Manila Bay.”

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Corregidor offers majestic views of the sea as viewed on top of the Corregidor Lighthouse

Also known as “the Rock,” it was a key bastion of the Allies during the war. When the Japanese invaded the Philippines in December 1941, the military force under the command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur carried out a delaying action at Bataan. Corregidor became the headquarters of the Allied forces and also the seat of the Philippine Commonwealth government. It was from Corregidor that Philippine President Manuel Quezon and General MacArthur left for Australia in February 1942, leaving behind Lt. Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright in command.

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Ruins of the War
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Mile long Barracks : So much history in the Ruins,if only they will speak

Although Bataan fell on April 9, 1942, the Philippine and American forces held out at Corregidor for 27 days against great odds. On May 6, 1942, their rations depleted, the Allied forces were forced to surrender Corregidor to Lt. Gen. Homma Masaharu of the Japanese Imperial Army after having successfully halted the Japanese advance on Australia. It was only two years and ten months later in March 1945 when the Allied forces under the command of General MacArthur recaptured Corregidor .

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Lying in Ruins,the tales of courageous Soldiers who fought the war

 

 

 

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So much History to tell,war ruins.
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Giant Batteries: Corregidor  Giant memoirs of War

Mortars at Corregidor’s Battery Way could be rotated to fire in any direction.

It had been firing for 11 straight hours amidst constant heavy firing from the Japanese, killing over 70% of those manning the station and seriously wounding Major Massello. He is thought to be the most decorated soldier of the Philippine campaign.

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Corregidor ‘s memoirs of War

Batteries of Corregidor : Battery Way, with its four 12-inch mortars, was constructed between 1904 and completed in 1914. It can fire up to 8.3 miles (13.135 kms) in any direction.

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Mile long Barracks Ruins

The Middleside barracks could accommodate 3,000 soldiers—1,000 on each of its three levels.

These big guns of Corregidor are now silent and the ruins of buildings, structures, and tunnels in the island tell a very moving story of a war that has claimed so many lives. A visit to this former battleground is a memorable experience especially for those who cherish and value peace and freedom.I am not a war buff or an avid historian, but looking at these ruins and learning the story behind it makes me grateful that I am a free Filipino now and I have this privilege of freedom. This place speaks so much of the brave men who fought for my country and with that I have great respect to any war-zone-torn down places.

A daytrip to Corregidor is being arranged by various tour companies. We opted to get Sun Cruises and we were not disappointed. The boat trip was a swift,calm journey. The whole program of the tour itinerary caters to everything that we needed to know & see in this island. We were taken care of very well & the sumptous lunch served in Corregidor Inn was also delightful. This trip offers a lot so if you are interested to explore this place, you can check out their packages & offers Here.

Does war memories fascinates you?

My Love affair with the Beach

If you would ask me, I prefer a trip to the beach than a tour in the city.

The tropical island place always feels like a home to me. The trees, the mountains, the crystal clear blue waters, the powdery sands,the sun, the simplicity of it ,& the carefree spirit, all working in a perfect harmony. This explains why my favorite season is Summer. Summer in other parts of the world, not in Kuwait, please.

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Feeling at home in the islands.

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.

`~Jacques Yves Cousteau

One of the things I look forward on a beach trip is the Island hopping where I could have all the time in the world to listen to nature’s sounds. The  sounds of the waters splashing, the rythmic sound of  paddling against the boat, and the waves  are a great way to help me meditate deeper . Ocean waves provide healing nature sounds for relaxation and sleep. Here in Kuwait where we lived 10 minutes away from the beach, It’s one of the best reason to get up , be grateful and admire its beauty. I have written so many lessons I have learned from the beach in my Beach Chronicles. When I bring my daughter in the beach, eventually it leads for her to take a nap. Ocean sounds & breeze are great for babies. One time she was just mesmerized by the sound waves and her eyes was glued to the beach. Also, for wellness of our mind, the ocean sounds are perfect for calming activities such as reading, meditation or yoga. The sounds of the ocean are also a great sleep aid that can help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

“The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach.”

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Harmony in Nature

Why do people immediately enamored by  pictures of Blue waters  and white sand beaches?

Imagine seeing a greyish or greenish water in the ocean,how is your reaction?

Its like love at first sight.The reflection of a cloudless blue sky creates a heavenly sight against the crystal clear beach waters that makes a carpet of azure blue beauty. Blue color  emanates  sincerity,being  reserved and quiet, and something that doesn’t like to make a fuss or draw attention.This color  hates confrontation, and likes to do things in its own way. Blue waters are an enigma. I love looking through the beach waters because it invokes peace and tranquility above everything else, which promotes both physical and mental relaxation.

When I’m at the sea, my  stress is reduced, creating a sense of calmness, relaxation and order . I certainly feel a sense of calm if I lie on my back and look into a bright blue cloudless sky. It slows down my the metabolism and yet makes my heart sing. The paler the blue the more freedom we feel.

This is a glorious feeling . I feel at home. I feel in love. Always.

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Love affair with your phone  (Photo credit to Rob Timms via Pinterest)

But just like in any love affair, there comes a time when we become short sighted that we failed to see the real beauty  & deaf to hear its calling. I always remind myself to engrossed myself in nature and making my presence known to it,as much as possible instead of just being a busybody capturing photos that I failed to appreciate its beauty.

What about you, do you have a love affair with the beach or love affair with your phone?

Filipino Parenthood

In my previous post 10 Surprising Things about Parenthood in Kuwait, I wrote about fascinating things that caught me by surprise as an Expat parent living in Kuwait. I found so many differences in child rearing in Arab countries as well as in Netherlands compared to how I was raised in the Philippines. It’s not the same  when you are a parent in your home country with your own native culture than becoming an Expat parent in another country with totally contrasting cultural  & child upbringing values. I become a parent and gave birth to my daughter in Kuwait so I don’t have a personal experience how to rear a child in Ph, but these things are based on how I saw my nieces, nephews, and how I viewed childcare during  my childhood. So much changes since then.

So here I want to share with you my humble views about Parenthood in the Philippines since this has become an interesting subject for me when I became a parent. Being born & raised there , my observations were from my personal experiences and the way I see the Filipino way of parenting against Global Parenthood. On the other hand, I am not putting into generalization of everything since parenting is pure hands-on & personal.

It differs from one person to another . You as the parent knows what is best for your child.

  1. On Philippines as a Child-Friendly country

Philippines in general have the  impression of a child-Friendly country. If you google about it, you will see faces of smiling faces of children, wacky as it may seem but children are important part of the society. It is a typical sight that children are seen in every occasion, in almost every social activities and being regarded with respect and protection. You can see Filipina mothers with their young babies out in the night shopping, in the church, in the wet markets buying fish,playing in the rice fields, brought to workplaces, parties or just tagged along doing errands. There is no such thing as off-limits zone for Children.

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Recently ,the Philippines has achieved much in complying to the principles of UNCRC  or (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ) over the past 25 years. But in the next quarter century,they strive for the whole nation to have more caring community where children do not experience discrimination, but the warmth of a community so willing to embrace and protect them.

2.On Embracing the trend in Young Parenthood  & High Birth Rate 

Philippines stands high at #59 ranking for Birth Rate  with 24.27 Births /1,000 population and Filipina women have a High Fertility rate of 2.6 (#67) , Compared to Netherlands which is 1.7 child per woman (#152)  or with Germany which has 1.4 (#186)  only. This really surprised me. Numbers really shows you the fine line between facts and just pure hypes. Numbers don’t lie.

To view the whole article for Fertility Rate per country as per 2015 stats, click Here.

It is  common to see Filipino women to have children at a very young age. Teenage pregnancy have become an accepted norm , It is a taboo subject that causes raised eyebrows and yet mainly because there is not enough education about Sex, Birth control & use of contraceptives. It’s depressing to see young women getting pregnant and becoming mothers at the age of 15-19.

What do you know when you are 19!

I became a mother myself when I gave birth to my daughter at the age of 37. Yeah, too late maybe.

Although the Catholic church is very involved in this issue it shows that its unsuccessful. This trend has a direct impact on the quality of parenthood for Filipinos. Young Filipina mothers faced difficulties in raising a child due to lack of maturity and knowledge about having a child. There is a big change in one’s moral  and character once you’ve got responsibilities  that come too early for you to handle. Oftentimes,it is the child who suffers.

3. On Growing up in Big Families

Filipinos are very  clanish.They tend to live closer to their relatives. I don’t know how this started but I grew up seeing this type of living arrangement. Filipinos have an average of 3-5 children and having a big family is commonly seen as status. Children are raised up not only by their parents but with the whole clan .They grow up being taken care of by their Grandparents, Aunties ,or Uncles and up to their distant cousins. It’s no wonder that the stress of Cleaving and Independency upon growing up is not regarded as strongly as in the US or in Europe. At an early stage of rearing a child, Filipino parents exposed their child knowing that they always have someone to depend on or will take care of them if both of the parents are unavailable. This is maybe  the reason why most Filipinos live together with their parents even when they already have their own families. In a way this is an advantage when you’re a working Mom, you can always count on Grandma to look after the kids if you don’t have a maid. I observed that this is totally non-existent in Europe or in US where Independency  upon reaching  18/21 of age  is a norm. Maybe there is, but it’s not as common as in Ph. In Philippines, It has been an  accepted weakness to ask for help , to rely on immediate support & help from other members of the family.

 

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A photo of Filipino children gamely poses in front of the camera.

This manner of  raising a child have become an integral support system for  Filipino parents. On its positive side, Mothers get the help that she need in child care right away , almost behind her doorstep. It’s very normal that babies are used to seeing their  siblings and relatives ,  therefore Separation Anxiety is easily overcome  as early as toddler’s stage. They don’t have a difficult time adjusting to the surroundings of a Nanny,in a Daycare or Nursery school. Having a hired help ( maid or Nanny ) to take care of the children is not that prevalent although its a personal choice, but this can be seen now mostly on middle-class & well-off families.

4.Filipino parents are totally Hands-on and Attached in raising a child

What i found so common in Filipino parenting is that they are totally hands-on and attached (physically & literally ) to their child. I have observed that Filipina mothers are known to be good homemakers and caring for their child. Maybe this is the reason why many Filipinas who worked abroad as a Nanny  have a distinct reputation of being excellent in raising kids.

Extended Breastfeeding, Babywearing, & Co-Sleeping are among the child rearing values that is so typical for Filipinos. Although many people have raised their different opinions about Co-Sleeping, it has become a trademark of Filipino families. A baby sleeps in the same room with the parents and most of the time, sleeps on the same bed too. I wonder many times how Filipino couples handles the private and intimate moments with a baby in the same room. This way of living  sometimes happens  because of lack of space in the house (separate room for baby ), for convenience reasons, or they just love to be close physically with their child. As for me, my daughter sleeps alone  in her room from the time we brought her home from the hospital. This is a personal choice that we have made.

Filipino parents love to carry their child in their arms. The use of strollers is mainly on long stays outside, out-of-town trips or travelling out of the country. One reason  because Philippines has a poor public transport system and its a hassle for parents to carry along a stroller during commute. There’s no such thing as bus or train that is stroller friendly. Besides of its high cost, this has become a dispensable luxury to most average families. For practical reasons, Filipinos are known to be open-minded about accepting second-hand or giveaway hand down items. It’s normal to reuse cribs or baby walkers that has been previously used by child of  relatives or friends.High chairs or swings are not as in demand as it is here or in Europe.  You can see Filipino parents carrying their child everywhere outside, walking in the street, attending events, or even in crowded places. The early habits such as Eating with utensils & Potty training are taught on early stages of child development.

5.Highlights on Child’s Baptism &  Big Birthday Party Celebrations

Philippines is a Catholic country and one imperative is for a child to be Baptized into Catholic church if both parents are Catholic. This occasion is celebrated with big party (more like a feast ) with roasted pig (Lechon ) and inviting almost all their relatives & friends . Everyone is involved in this family celebration. The child has 5 sets  at least of  Godparents ( or Ninongs & Ninangs ) .  Birthday parties are big thing and it  become a trend in Philippines to throw big parties for their child . Mainly because they have relatives & immediate families living close by to share it.

6.Early exposure to Poverty, Death and natural Disasters

Parenthood in the Philippines involves exposing your child to Poverty, Death & calamities. I remember as a child the memories of the  strong typhoon that badly hit our region and that our house was wrecked . Later we got used to it that natural disasters has become a part of our childhood. We celebrated Christmas with half of our roof is not yet repaired. Raising a child with their eyes open to see life’s difficulties can be challenging for Filipino parents. Children are brought to funerals and participate in the grieving times for a loss of a loved-ones. Nothing is disclosed from them.

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Busaw family leaving in the center island under the Metro Rail Transit along North Edsa in Brgy. Pag-asa in Quezon City taking a lunch break event if it is danger zone and air pollution cause of smoke vehicles. {photo credit to /boy santos}

Filipino parents instilled these thoughts on their child on early stages of life and explaining to them that life can be painful, hard, and at the same time offering strong moral support for their children. Because of this, Filipino children eventually learns the values of hard work.

Do you have any opinion about how a child being raised in your own country? How does this post made you feel?

Would you ever raise a child in Philippines? if given a chance?

I hope I brought you some awareness of how parenthood in the Philippines is greatly connected to its culture . If you like this post, please feel free to read on further on my articles about the Surprising things about Parenthood that I saw in Kuwait and raising the early months of my daughter there and raising her as a TCK (Third Culture Kid ).

 

Sagada , A Backpacker’s Paradise

One of the best Backpacking adventure I’ve had was exploring Sagada in the region of Mountain Province . Only with a backpack and full adventurous spirit, we set  off to a steep journey up north. The narrow road going to Sagada is enough to make you feel sick. All through out the journey I was afraid to look outside the window because I can almost see the cliffs ! Upon reaching our destination, I came to see a different world up there in the mountains.

Let me tell you why Sagada is one of the trips in the north of Philippines that you should’nt miss and share with you reasons why Sagada is amazing, Truly a Backpacker’s paradise .

 Take a Postcard with you of the beautiful Mountain Cliffs

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A postcard from Echo Valley in Sagada ,Philippines

Do you like the idea of waking  up in the morning with a view like this ? Up there in the mountain is a charming cottage house . When I saw this, I said to myself  that its my dream house, right at home with these lush greens, with majestic views of the Cordillera mountains.

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The Green Forest with stiff limestone mountains 

Taking lazy morning treks in the Echo Valley

I showed this photo to my husband and asked him where is this place, He said to me with a smile that its in Europe. He said it looks like the mountains in Austria where He spent his childhood vacations or in the mountains in Germany .

I told him its in the Philippines and he was shocked!

Sagada is famous for its rugged mountain ranges. In earlier times, It was difficult for the Spaniards to conquer this area  because of the difficulty of terrains of the Cordillera. The province has many rivers, waterfalls, mountains, and caves. The central and western areas of the province are characterized by rugged mountains and steep cliffs, while the eastern portion has generally sloping terrain.

Learn from the past while visiting the Hanging Coffins

We were touring Sagada and exploring the Echo Valley when we saw this spot in the cliff of the mountain with the Hanging Coffins .When i first saw it, It  really looks creepy, at the same time I was curious . I have heard about it before  but I never really had an idea why people are doing this thing . We asked locals and find out something really interesting .

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One of the most common beliefs behind this practice is that moving the bodies of the dead higher up brings them closer to their ancestral spirits. The elderly feared being buried in the ground. When they died, they did not want to be buried because they knew water would eventually seep into the soil and they would quickly rot. They wanted a place where their corpse would be safe.There are two fears of being buried. The first is that dogs will eat the corpse, so the coffins are placed high up on a cliff, out of their reach. Secondly, years ago, during the headhunting days, savages from different parts of Kalinga and eastern Bontoc province  would hunt for their heads, and take them home as a trophy. That’s another reason why the dead were buried high up – so nobody could reach them.

The coffins are either tied or nailed to the sides of cliffs, and most measure only about one metre in length, as the corpse is buried in the foetal position. The Igorots believe that a person should depart the same way he entered the world.

The deceased is then placed on a wooden sangadil, or death chair, and the corpse is tied with rattan and vines, and then covered with a blanket. It is thereafter positioned facing the main door of the house for relatives to pay their respects. The cadaver is smoked to prevent fast decomposition and as a means to conceal its rotting smell. The vigil for the dead is held for a number of days, after which the corpse is removed from the death chair to be carried to the coffin. Before being taken for burial, it is secured in the foetal position, with the legs pushed up towards the chin. It is then wrapped again in a blanket and tied with rattan leaves while a small group of men chip holes into the side of the cliff to hammer in the support for the coffin.This practice is slowly fading away .Nowadays ,the natives opt to bury their dead underground.

When i visit a new place, i try to learn something about the local life of its people. This tradition is one of the distinct culture that struck me up until now.

Spelunking , Survival &  Getting lost in the dark caves of Sumaguing

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My feet in the glistening cold ice water inside the limestone cave of Sumaguing

Have you ever tried Cave Spelunking? Is the sight of waist-level water and darkness sound appealing to you? I tell you, this is one of the highlights of my travel in Sagada. Its dangerous, exhilarating, nerve-wrecking ,and at the same time exciting . Frankly speaking, this  is not for the faint- hearted .  If you have Achluophobia or Nyctophobia    or { fear of the dark } then you should think twice before you go inside this cave.

You need to get a licensed Guide to go with you to avoid any injuries or worst an accident that could leave you trapped inside. It’s no joke being trapped inside ! The rocks are rugged and sharp edges could really be dangerous. For the first timers, It is advisable to go inside with a guide to go with you through the dark trails inside.

We had our guide for this aprrox . 3 hours of spelunking. We had a short jeepney ride going to the site & quick tour of the grounds on the mouth of the cave. We wear shorts & slippers and luckily my phone survived inside the slippery, grimy, dark cave. Inside we were astonished to see various rock formations , stalactites & stalagmites , all glistening in the dark. Like golden sculptures . Being inside is like a labyrinth , you don’t know where is the end of the dark path. You need to hold on tightly on the rope & squeeze yourself to get through a small opening and using ropes to glide you down the cliffs without slipping yourself to the deep iced-cold waters inside the pools. It was so thrilling especially on the descent, and on the hard paths. Take note : You will slip, you will get wet, you might bump into the rocks. But in the end , you can say to yourself “I have survived spelunking in Sagada !”

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Inside Sumaguing Cave
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Our kerosene lamp inside the cave

As the process gets more challenging, the more the cave reveals impressive rock formations, such as the King’s Curtain, Rice Terraces,The Queen, and the huge hall called the Dancing Hall. The glassy limpid pools are also a sight to behold. Indeed ,spelunking in Sumaguing is a wonderful adventure . The good news is, the dark path has an end and finally we see the ray of light from our way outside.

Having a Feel of the cozy air of a village life

The serene view of  rice terraces fields and ardous green landscape that  surrounds the  villages in Sagada is breathtaking. The smell of pine trees is all over the place that gives you such delight. We spent the afternoon taking a lazy stroll to explore the market, the rice terraces fields and the cottage houses nearby, taking a dip in the Bomod-ok falls, the weaving factory, the pottery sites and just admire the beautifulDanum lake.

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Our trek going to the Kapay-Aw Rice Terraces
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Green landscape as seen from the rows of Pines trees
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A fine day at Lake Danum
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Tall Pine Trees on our trek to Kiltepan

During the night, Sagada changes its mood & leaves you feeling relaxed. Its  very laid back town and  quiet at night since there is a curfew around 9pm. We enjoyed a hearty meal in one of the restaurant nearby and later on we visited the Lemon house pie . The homemade lemon  pie was to die for ! I like the quaint design and genuine hospitality of this place .We had coffee with one of the locals and told us stories about the place.

Wonderful Chase of sunrise in Kiltepan Peak

We wake up around 4:30 to get ready to catch the sunrise in Kiltepan Peak. If you visit Sagada, watching the sunrise in Kiltepan peak is a must.There is a langous trek to reach the cliff where you can have a glimpse of the mountains ,villages and the rice terraces . Its worth to be waking up early because the views were amazing! My photos didn’t even do justice on this place.

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Fluffy clouds covered the mountains while the sun is rising

We left  with our backpack and our glad hearts full of our wonderful memories from our adventures in Sagada . There’s so much things that we’ve seen but i did not write about it, you need to see it & experience it  for yourself.

If you want to visit Sagada and looking for a place to stay ,then i highly recommend checking out George Guest House . It’s conveniently located near to the top attractions in Sagada and they are reasonably priced. They are a great host and we had a wonderful stay with them.

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How about you ? What was the recent adventure you’ve done?

If you like this post please feel free to write your comments and share it . Don’t forget to click on the Follow button to subscribe on my posts about Backpacking & exploring Philippines.

Thank you for stopping by !

 

 

Coron , a fantasy island that actually exists.

I am not a savvy traveler, but my love for natural, virgin beaches and lakes brought me to a fantasy island that actually exists– it’s in Coron, Palawan!

Just look at these photos I am going to share with you, no filters, all exuding in beauty that left me in awe that I revisited this place not only once, but twice in a row. I am already looking forward for our next trip to this tropical paradise. If there is a place I wanted to bring my foreign friends, then it would be here.

Coron has a distinctive charm, it has a rich cultural history that it’s no wonder it’s on the Tentative list in Unesco World Heritage Centre.  It’s the best kept jewel for  beach enthusiasts and nature lover like me . It won my heart , and I’m sure it will capture yours. It already captivated millions of tourists .Well why not , Coron is simply wonderful !

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Approaching Busuanga island, Palawan
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No words…

Coron is just one of the beautiful travel destinations in the island of Palawan .What makes it quite unique from others is its virgin beauty and part of the cultural heritage of the Calamian group of Islands.  Coron covers half of the Southern part of Busuanga. It is the Island of Tagbanuas , natives or the local tribe inhabiting the vicinity , they are descendants of some of the oldest people in the Philippines . Coron has  steep limestone cliffs ,our friendly guide told us that every year, these mountain grows an inch . As your boat cruise around , you see breathtaking rock formations , crystal clear & white sand beaches , green virgin forests , and 7 mountain lakes. This place is so diverse .

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Tropical Paradise Banol Beach

The best way to explore this place is by Island hopping  and explore the Islands of your choice . To get into the famous Kayangan Lake , you need to do a short  by trek  uphill into the wilderness in order to gaze  the amazing views .This can be done with a guide. While boating , you can  also see magnificent views of the steep mountains and the bird’s eye view of the sanctuaries which are protected by the local tribe . It is an Untouched Paradise .

The Twin Lagoon is one of the many beautiful lagoons in Coron. This masterpiece of nature has two lagoons, one where boats dock and another where tourists swim in.To get to the other lagoon, you need to either swim under an opening or climb up makeshift stairs and jump into the lagoon.Just like what you see in the movies. The lagoons are embraced by towering limestone formations. The mix of warm and cold waters of the lagoon adds to its mystique. Totally amazing experience!

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Twin Lagoons

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The majority of Coron Island is still off limits to tourists  who do not have permits to be there. In 2003,  Coron Island and its surrounding waters was declared ancestral domain for the Tagbanua and they now restrict where people can visit on the island . We are told that many of the most beautiful lakes on Coron Island are sacred burial grounds for the Tagbanua and only those Tagbanua who own land on the island can visit them. A photographer and traveller Jacob Maentz , wrote a very nice article about  Coron , as well as Up close & Personal with the Tagbanuas  and their way of life. To view the full article and his amazing photography , See it Here .

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Azure blue , crystal clear waters surrounded by mountains

It’s serene and away from the crowds . A perfect setting for slowing down and just do some reflection. It’s just between you and nature . Isn’t it one of the reasons why we are taking a vacation or a breather? To have a moment of peace . Here , you can  just swim to your heart’s delight , snorkel ,kayak and paddle yourself while gazing to the beauty around you while you hear the birds chirping. If you are interested in wildlife safari and game reserve,you can visit the Calauit island . It is home to various species of exotic African and endemic Palawan flora and fauna where hundreds of giraffes, elans, waterbucks, Calamian deer, monkeys, fresh water crocodiles, zebras, bear cats, bushbuck and a variety of birds roam freely.

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Little fishes in Siete Pecados

For years  now , Coron has also been  a popular destination among diving enthusiast and it has been listed in Forbes Traveler Magazine`s as one of the 10 best scuba diving sites in the world. It boast its unique underwater topography . With clear water as this, you have the best view underwaters!!! It’s like peeking into another world to see the colorful colors and fishes. Snorkeling here is absolutely the best.

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Barracuda Lake

Ever dreamed of owning an island for a day? that you can have the whole island by yourself?In Coron , you can have an island by yourself  for a day… and the options are priceless. I am so grateful that through traveling, I’ve got to experience this.

You can arrange with your guide and  if the island is free , then you can have the whole island for yourself .We were so lucky to experience the exotic Malcapuya Island to ourselves! This beach , with its rugged beauty is really a paradise. One word to describe it is ,WOW! Our guide arranged for us a packed picnic , barbecue , tons of tropical fruits & drinks and the whole beach front as our threat . We retreated in the hammock while sipping fresh coconut juice  while we watch our guide climbing and picking it fresh from the tree. We  also had a huge fresh catch fish .

For me, this is a perfect island getaway and  I had a beach overdose on this trip. The horizon is so beautiful, endless like a painting larger than life where the beach touches the blue skies in infinite contrast. My mind wanders off and my eyes never get tired of this beauty.

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Malcapuya Island with its pristine powder sand beach

Visiting Coron would not be complete without  climbing Mt.Tapyas and having a wonderful Sunset experience . Here you can have a panoramic view of the Coron and just enjoy each moment  while you see painting in the sky.With 700 concrete steps ,this requires endurance & patience .Mt.Tapyas is the 2nd tallest mountain in  Busuanga .

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Chasing the Sunset on top of Mt.Tapyas in Coron

Coron is a wonderful place . Life is taken in a slow pace and it seems that simple living makes the people here appreciate life more. If you spend some time exploring the markets , small native houses along the fields ,the quaint shops ,the neighborhood , the delicious food and the warm friendly locals ,then you would appreciate them more .

Waking up each morning with a view like this from your window is priceless .

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My morning view  from the window  in Coron

Travel Tips !

  • Coron is accessible all year round but its best to visit on the months of March to June where you can enjoy the most of good weather especially on your Island-Hopping trip. At the start of rainy season , and typhoon seasons , Flights are often cancelled.
  • Wear sensible clothing and water shoes.The treks could be slippery and you need to protect your feet from the sharp limestone rocks.
  • Watch the big waves during your Island Hopping .You can even watch a local fisherman get his catch of the day .
  • Experience diving in the sunken ships and diving spots and just enjoy the beauty of  underwater topography .

Where is your next tropical island destination ? How was the experience ?

Thank you for reading , my friends.