Coron is lesser known than Boracay and Cebu, less commercialized with less people and the sea left to its own natural habitat, unspoilt beaches, less light pollution for clear night skies far from city lights ideal for night photography – things that make it perfect for an “escapade”.
Isolated places needs one to be mentally prepared for compromises. They are obviously hard to reach and often with only bare necessities. A flight to Manila and then another flight to Busuanga Island. Then an hours car ride to the ferry. A thirty minute ferry ride and we arrive at Sangat Island Dive resort
As the boat arrives towards Sangat, the deep blue but calm sea suddenly becomes bright and transparent green as you see through the rock bottom . Then you notice blobs of white plastic like things floating on the waters . Not long before you realize that they are jelly fish.
An evening at the stunning Rock bar is well spent watching the sun set
Also striking is the calmness of the inlet and Sangat's shores . It does depend on the weather and winds but relatively speaking sangat has very calm waters . In low ride in the evening it almost becomes the worlds largest transparent swimming pool with still clear water bathed in red-orange sunset
The Rock Bar with jet black starry night in the backdrop. I spotted at least four bright dots moving steadily in the deep sky. Most likely artificial satellites.
The thing about night photography is that its all about trials and patience for that perfect shot. And sometimes a scare too. Some on lookers were curious to see what I was doing in pitch darkness in the beach but I continued to focus on what I wanted to capture. Among others who were curious was a large black in house island dog and it shocked me as it quietly crept up on me from behind as I was concentrating on getting the camera settings right.
30 second exposure at F 3.5 with ISO of 1600
The next day it was a day trip island hopping. First stop was Calumbuyan island. Descent snorkeling area where we spotted the Stone Fish. This fish is a master of camouflage as it sits quietly in the sea floor. Occasionally with bumpy movement as it tries to catch prey. They have venomous spikes all over their body and stepping onto one of them squeezes the venom into your leg resulting in agonizing pain. The only solace is that you wont die but as they say you may prefer to die !
Next stop was Pass Island. This turned out to be a snorkeling heaven. The water was clear teaming with multitude variety of fish and corals.
Back on the boat again and now to discover the Gun Boat Wreck near Lusong Island, Coron
Finally , the last morning at Sangat. While very happy and relaxed , I somehow felt something was missing . I put on my snorkeling gear for one last dip into the clear morning waters. After navigating through for five minutes, I turned back to return to the beach. As I turned I noticed a distinct looking creature. A jelly fish alright but a jelly fish like no other. I was two feet away from the Chironex fleckeri - arguably the most venomous creature on this planet. If the multitude of tentacles wrap around your leg or body, the excruciating pain will drown even an expert swimmer and even if you manage to float or swim back to the shore, chances are that the neuro toxin will stop your heart and you will die within two to four minutes .
While heading back to Busuanga island, we take a detour and stop by the island of Coron. The above is the stunning view while climbing steps to reach Kayangan lake.
Kayangan lake is stunning. It is perhaps one of the cleanest lake in the world, surrounded by mountains all around creating a serene , quiet and natural environment. No wonder a notice read - "Kill nothing but time, take nothing but memories. "
A swim to a secret cave at the edge of the lake is not to be missed.
I had thought that the adventures were done with and it was time to head back home. Little did I know what lay ahead. Now , Cebu Pacific is one of those airlines on which you can completely be assured to have flight delays. This time was a two hour delayed as well , and I ended up missing the last connecting flight of the day. Since the difference between the two Cebu flights was a little less than three hours, they would not refund my consequent overnight stay in Manila. However they were kind enough to book me in their flight next day morning. So I board this big plane the next day and as the plane approaches Hongkong, dark clouds appear and at times, nothing is visible from the window, not even the wing of the aircraft. The pilot announces that we are in for some turbulant weather. Then there is turbulance as the plane jerks and sways. Nothing to worry as many in the flight scream - a bit gamefully with smiling faces like on a roller coaster ride. All is good , till its time to land. I noticed we are flying low in the flight information in front of the seat panel , really low, but I cannot see anything out of my window. My palm is sweaty as the scene below suddenly appears as the dark clouds clear and we are about ten meters from touchdown , but there is heavy cross winds on the runway and then a surge of engine power and the pilot aborts landing at the last second and pulls up the plane powering it back into the dark sky...!
Now this is different. Now there is silence as the plane continues to fly in the dark sky with turbulance. One starts to think about the concerns running through the pilot's mind. "How on earth am I going to land this big plane in this weather ?" About five anxious minutes pass and then finally the pilots voice crackles over the microphone. "Hello this is the captain speaking. Things are under control.....But we are changing course towards Macau due to bad weather in Hongkong". I breathed a sign of relief when the plane touched down in Macau airport where although the weather was bad, it was'nt as bad as Hongkong. But to continue the agony, they would not let us down and they announced that we would be going back to Hongkong whenever weather permits. What followed was an agonizing six hour wait inside the aircraft. Finally , the flight which was supposed to land in the morning landed in Hongkong late evening. And that was the end of this eventful escapade !