Famous for both historical and environmental treasures, Coron and the Calamian Islands (or Calamianes) have started making a name for itself in the world of tourism as one of the Philippines’ best island destinations.
With its crystal-clear waters, pristine beaches and abundant marine life, Calamian Islands are the perfect destination for scuba divers and snorkeling enthusiasts.
The Calamian Archipelago includes Busuanga Island, Coron Island, Culion Island, Calauit Island, Malcapuya Island, Banana Island, Pass Island, Calumbuyan Island and several minor islets.
Coron is one of the islands that make up the archipelago, but its dramatic rock formations paired with the deep blue lagoon and barrier reef make the island a postcard-perfect destination.
Coron is known for the several Japanese shipwrecks from World War II which are located in the area. Surrounded by various rock formations, snorkeling in the wrecks became possible and made Coron one of the most visited wreck diving destinations in the Philippines. These wreck dive sites may be found in depths as shallow as 10 to 30 feet and as deep as 120 to 140 feet, with most of them in the range of just 60 to 80 feet.
Aside from the famous shipwrecks, Coron also has world-class bodies of water that serves as eye candies for tourists. Kayangan Lake, one of Coron’s primary attractions, is one of the two lakes located in the municipality and is dubbed as the “cleanest lake in the Philippines”. Its crystalline waters are nestled into the mountain walls and have the moonscape-like underwater view. It is surrounded by a karst scenery of limestone cliffs guarded and maintained by members of the Tagbanua community who live in the area.
To reach this natural beauty, tourists will have to take a ten to fifteen-minute climb with approximately 300 steps towards the inland lake. For landscape photographers, there is a view deck overlooking the lagoon midway through the steep uphill climb. For those who easily get tired and does not like the idea of climbing 300 steps, a 30 – 40 step detour in Barracuda Lake can be used to get to Kayangan Lake.
Kayangan Lake’s water is composed of 70% freshwater and 30% salt water. Tourists may choose as to whether they will swim or snorkel or just float around using a life jacket.
For most tourists, the twin lagoons are one of the “must-see” destinations in the Coron Island Hopping Tour where they are given the chance to explore the area and enjoy the sceneries and the fresh and salt water that meet in the lagoons’ waters. The first of the two lagoons is the docking site for boats that carry tourists who are touring in the area while the second one is hidden and is only accessible through a small rift underneath the rocks, during high tides, however, a ladder over the rock is used to get to the second lagoon.
The meeting of the fresh water and the salt water cause the waters in the lagoons to get blurry. Aside from the appearance of the water, the temperature of the waters in the lagoons also alternate between warm to cold when the cold fresh water meets the warm sea water. Most tourists who come to the areas choose to relax in the area by just taking a life jacket and float and drift in the lagoon.
Another tourist hotspot in the Calamian archipelago is the Calauit Island which is found in the north-western coast of Busuanga Island and is part of the Municipality of Busuanga.
In 1997, the entire Calauit Island was declared as a wildlife sanctuary and game preserve and is now turned into a tourist attraction known as the Calauit Safari Park.
The animals in the safari park, however, were imported from Africa in the 1970s, including 20 giraffes, and dozens of zebras and antelopes, to save them from extinction due to hunting and poaching.
The bamboo forests in the area were cleared and developed to make the place somewhat similar to the savannahs of Kenya for easier adaptation of the imported animals.
Today, the imported animals are still roaming in the safari park and are continuously increasing in number.
A trip to Coron Palawan will never be complete without visiting this one of a kind hot spring. Most tourists think that Coron is just another place to be included into their summer to go list, however, Coron, unlike what most think is more than just snorkeling and diving; Maquinit Hot Spring is a ‘living’ proof.
The famous 40 degrees celsius salt water Maquinit hot spring in Coron is more than just another body of water where tourists can take selfies in. After being physically active through swimming, island hopping, diving, hiking, and all those other activities from tours, a relaxing dip in the hot spring could really be of great help to lessen tiredness. It also gives tourists the chance to enjoy the sceneries in Coron, a little longer while they are dipped into the warm waters of Maquinit hot spring.
Maquinit hot spring is the only known saltwater hot spring in the Philippines and in Asia. The hot spring is about 25 minutes from the center of Coron and is located between a hill and the sea that is as blue as sapphire, with shores lined up with mangroves and floating bamboo cottages. Boats used for touring may dock right near the mangroves after the island hopping activity of the tourists or the tourists may also choose to hire a tricycle to reach the hot spring.
A group of islands composed of more than 80 islands and islets, Calamian Islands which is commonly known as Calamianes has become one of Palawan’s major tourist destinations over the years, along with the famous Underground River and the marine ecology of El Nido.
With most of the islands and islets composing it unpopulated, Island hopping have become more interesting in Calamianes. Tourists hyped with their curiosity about the unpopulated beauties awaiting them paired with activities such as diving and snorkeling made Calamianes Island hopping a boom to the tourism industry in Palawan.
The most famous islands that are included in the Calamianes Island hopping are located in Gutob Bay in the western part of the Calamianes. These islands include Calumbuyan Island that has the most beautiful coral reef, right from the softest to the hardest ones, among all the islands in the Calamianes.
Malcapuya Island is also another environmental beauty. An island that is worth an hour and a half boat ride but is however visited by people mostly during day trips with times that are usually limited. It may be far from the main Coron island but Malcapuya island is really close to other islands included in the Calamianes group such as Banana Island that is famous for its short strip of white sand beach, and the Bulog Island that is known for its short sandbar that is visible during low tides.
Other islands included in the Gutob Bay are Malajon island, also known as Black Island for its caves. Another is Talampulan Island with its fishing village that is better known as Panlaitan. There are also the North and South Cay and the Debutonay Island which all possess wondrous eye-candies that would surely make the tourists’ visit to the islands worthwhile.