Saturday, May 19, 2012

Coron, Palawan

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The Palawan group of islands, voted by Conde Nash Traveler magazine for its beaches, coves, and islets as the tourist destination with the best beaches in Asia; rated by National Geographic Traveler magazine as the best island destination in East and Southeast Asia region in 2007; and underwater explorer Jacques Costeau, inventor of the modern scuba, has described the province as having one of the most beautiful seascapes in the world.

The limestone formations of Coron, exposed by the lowering sea levels over the last two ice ages, 20,000 and 160,000 years ago; are characterized with sharp jagged-edges, full of crevices, and decked with vegetative growths. It’s home to a variety of nesting birds, and beneath the waters, teaming with abundance of marine life.

One of the interesting sites around Coron is the twin lagoon; wherein the body of water is split by the limestone mountain and the other lagoon is only accessible by a narrow passage (at times submerged by the tides). Best swim across with floatation devices as the lagoon opens to a sudden steep drop, the silence on the other side can be deafening.

Apart from dive sites teeming with underwater fauna and flora, Coron Bay also boast of numerous wrecks for divers. These wrecks are the sunken remains of about 24 WWII Japanese navy vessels, which were attacked on September 24, 1944 by US navy strike fighters and dive bombers from Task Force 38 belonging to the aircraft carrier USS Lexington.  

Coron certainly has much more to offer; inexpensive seafood is abundant, local handicrafts, and our group’s favorite, roasted cashew nuts! On the eve of our departure, we feasted on a buffet of seafood: lobsters, crabs, groupers, and the likes; almost make me wish I have a second stomach that night! Then again, I can always go back.



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