Monday, May 16, 2005

Last Chance at the Last Frontier

26 participants had a taste of the last frontier of the Philippines through the Coron Waters Adventure organized and led by PALMC President Banny Hermanos this 13-16 May 2005. Ably assisted by PAL employees and affiliates, Dexter Macapagal and Bunzoi Anonuevo, this 2.8 day-revitalizing weekend (67 hours) was spent mostly on water; 52 hours in, above or under water, 15 hours on land. What is Coron Palawan but islands, water, diving, snorkeling, swimming, shipwreck spotting, trekking and eating that logged in about 75 kilometers moving around the group of Calamian Island. Count the adventures in this action-packed weekend: trek to Mt. Tapyas elevation 210 M ASL, 718 steps for the initiates, lapping at the Kayangan Lake, the cleanest in the Philippines still, snorkeling at the Twin Lagoon and Barracuda Lake, lunch at CYC (Coron Youth Club) island, dock at Banana Island, walk around the Culion Leper Colony, search for pearls at the nearby Pearl Farm, look for shipwrecks at Lusong, dive for giant jellyfish at Skeleton Island, snorkel at corals at Siete Pecados Marine Sanctuary. While at the Banana Island exclusively for us, a series of activities naturally happened aside from the usual tent pitching, seafood grilling, bonfire and socials. Would you believe, basketball, Frisbee throwing and competitive beach volleyball? To cool down the active bodies as we end the adventure Sunday afternoon, we were treated to a hot spring bath at the Makinit Hot Spring. Refueling the energy of the participants for the two days at the island were seafood preparations by Chinese chef Stephen, Boholana Virgie and initiate May. Cooking was done mostly while the group was in transit. Consider yourself disabled without a boat. Moving us around hopping from one island to the next was St. Joseph the Worker Boat captained by Toti and his assistant Tony. Readings by Lito Nazereno showed cruising speed of about 24 km per hour (slower than Super Ferry's 30 km per hour).

Travel like a time warp has a way of transforming us to the past. Our visit at Culion brought us back to the Spanish era in 1740 where the church served at the sanctuary of the soul and a fortress defending the land against the invaders. Visiting the Culion Leper Colony and the Culion Museum set us back to 1906 when the colony was institutionalized and supported through intervention of the American Governor General Leonard Wood. While snorkeling peeping at the corals, we recall in the not distant past that the corals then were more abundant and alive. We hope that as the people of Calamian Island preserved their historical artifacts, they will do the same to their fast dwindling natural resources.

In 2000, travel writer Amadis Ma. Guerrero wrote about enchanting, craggy Coron Island enjoining readers to visit it before its turns commercial, expensive and spoilt. This year, through the selflessness of ace photographer and club president Banny, we were able to catch still the pristine and natural wonder of Palawan for a measly P 1,000 a day. Do not tell that to the other excursionists we were with the WG&A. They spent a lot more and saw not as much. How else can we express our appreciation but say profusely our thanks. The next time we visit, we may not like what we will see. Timely, we were at the last chance at the last frontier of the Philippines.

-Chito 16 May 2005

For a sampling of fotos visit

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