January 27, 2008
We stayed overnight at Pier House. This is where our bonding strengthened. Here, strangers became friends. The rooms of Pier House on its new building is funny. The toilet of every room here does not have a door! So when one have a “call of nature”, the individual closes and locks the whole room! I would say Pier House is pricey. The room rate here is P850 per night. Extra bed is P135.
This what delayed us the morning after at Pier House – the low tide. Because it was low tide, our boat is quite far, in deeperpart of the waters. Learning here: know the tides, consider it in the itinerary. And we have to be fetched by a small boat called “baruto” in 3’s or 4’s. Again, it was quite a unique experience.
We left Pier House at around 9:30am – very late indeed. Our first stop was Panlaitan village at Talampulan Island. We will buy seafood there. At Coron market there were no big fish being sold. They say it was because of the strong wind, fishermen had hard time catching fish. Along the way, we saw a glimpse of the Gutob Bay Islands. It was exciting indeed at this point, seeing those small islands with white sand beach.
At Panlaitan village, the first thing I noticed was the squid that was being dried up. We were able to buy Kanuping and Salamin fish at P65/kg and squid at P80/kg. The price was not cheap but we have no choice but to buy it. This will be our food for lunch. The sand in Panlaitan Village is white, and most of the people there lives by the sea side. It was a good stop-over for toilet break and buying softdrinks and other snacks.
Upon the approach of Black Island, I remember my El Nido days. This place reminds me of El Nido. Limestone cliff, powdery white sand, blue skies, windy and no crowd. Now I understand why Black Island is favorite destination. The only disappointment I saw in Black Island is the cave. The cave is big, but there were bamboo stairs and floorings installed inside the cave. It is really disgusting. You could also see some vandals there. We were told by the boatman that a foreign film was shoot there. Anyway, when you go outside of the cave, you will still be compensated by the beauty of the island beach. There is also a shipwreck trace in the shallow portion of the beach.
After Black Island, we proceeded to Dibutonay Island. This is an interesting find. We discovered that Dibutonay Island offers overnight accommodation. I was able to talk with the owner, Romy Bacosa. A portion of the island had been bought by the Korean, but majority of the island is still owned by Romy. For accommodation they have a big house (P1500 per night). I haven’t really explored the place but I think toilet wouldn’t be a problem here because there’s a house and there are “outside” toilets. According to Romy, the deepwell water here is fresh, which I find surprising. The open cottages can be rented out for P300-500 per day or night. They also have tent for rent at P150 per night. Use of generator and for security is at P620 per night. If daytour only, they have a fee of P100 per head.
After Dibutonay Island, we proceeded to Pamalican Island. But because of the shallow coral reef, our boat had a hard time finding possible landing site. So we aborted our visit there and proceeded to the next island.
North Cay Island. I already knew that there is an overnight lodging here. Now I saw it where. First thing I noticed are the drums (I assumed it full of fresh water). The accommodation rate here is P500 per head. I think the usable house here is only two. North Cay Island, south cay Island and Maltatayoc Island are owned by the Mago’s. Daytour here would cost P100.
We left Maltatayoc at 4pm, we arrived Seadive Coron at 6:30pm. It was a 2.5 hr ride. We stayed at Seadive Resort for shower and rest while waiting for the Superferry trip. It was a free time that night. Some ate at the famous but discriminating Coron Bistro. Some went around the Coron Market area. And some went to Maquinit Hotspring. While me, I settled my bills with the boatman. Here another reason why I don’t want to give my contact numbers at Coron. The boatman and I had a misunderstanding about the boat rate. I know I am not paying cheap, but I didn’t want to argue anymore because I was tired. A note of advice, be very clear about the deal you made with a boatman. I have been a frequent visitor there, but they still don’t treat me as a local there (in terms of boat pricing at least).
Let me tackle this discriminating Coron Bistro. One of my joiner ordered a take-out pizza. They roamed around town to buy pasalubong. When they were about to get their pizza, their order was given to another foreigner who ordered the same pizza. Naturally, this person complained. And here’s what the owner said to them (according to this person): “Filipinos are always late!”. When asked about a win-win situation, the owner said “No win-win, I only win!”. For me, the pizza taste good there. But after hearing those words, it ruins my day. So much for that Coron Bistro. The owner feels certain that no bad news will ruin his restaurant. That’s why I put it here. This is to warn people of this dicrminating Coron Bistro.
Afterward, we all met together at the Coron Pier Terminal. At the Superferry ship I gave my joiners a refund of P470 (P2000-470=P1530). All of these tour for only P1530, and this is still expensive because of the boat rental misunderstanding.
And what I like in this Coron Gutob Trip, is I gained (actually we all gained) new friends here. And everytime I see awe or glow in their eye, I feel satisfied already. Some were already saying “Thank You” to me at Day 1 and at Black Island (Day 2), and I always keep telling them that the trip isn’t over yet. Thank me when it is over, I say to them. But I feel good seeing them elated (well that was how I felt during my first time in Coron). And I was really touched when one of the joiner hand me a pabaon of local chocolate. Somehow, the feeling of being tired payed off. I really love what happened in this first-time organizing of a Coron trip.
And now I plan to organize again.
See you in one my Do It Yourself Coron Trip! Until Then.