Thursday, February 23, 2012

Snorkeled My Way To Coron, Palawan

Music: Various Artists (acoustic/stripped down live performances by musicians)

Kayangan Lake - Coron Palawan

*Note: Update on this blogpost. It took a while for me because I needed some free time before I write such entry. I must warn you tho, this will be a very long post.

Travelling has been part of my bucket list each year. I always put “See the world” as part of the list. I do not put a specific place on the list because I may not be able to live up to it. But I make sure that every single year, I go somewhere for vacation.

You see, I cannot afford a long vacation. I always have to make sure I have enough resources, the people with me are free, and of course work would not get in the way.  What I mean by resources is of course financial. I do not earn 6 figures a month so each vacation has to be perfectly timed in accordance to the savings, bonuses and seat sale.

Palawan has always been my targeted place to visit. I used to dream about it whenever I look at the pictures people I know post up or on the travel shows, print ads and news. Last year, I had to make sure I cross it out on the list. There are a lot of places to see in Palawan and I am pretty sure it would require a lot of financial planning on my part. What I did was split up all the places that I could see each year. Last year, I went to Puerto Princesa, see the post here: Palawan Trip for My Kaarawan (Birthday Trip) . I had a great time last March, 2011. But that was not enough because Puerto Princesa is not the only place Palawan can offer, there is Coron and the ever beautiful El Nido.

So as part of the financial planning, this year was for Coron and next year would be El Nido.

With that long introduction here we go. We left Manila last February 16, 2012 with the weather looking really bad. I had to ask our travel agent (my travel agent from my Puerto Princesa trip – recommended by my college friend) how the weather is back in Palawan because I do not want to ruin my vacation considering that all the travels would be by boat and the places to see are lagoons and coral reefs. I also joked that since it will be my friend, Jemos’ first out of town vacation – other than his province Pangasinan, he brought the bad weather with him haha.

Our flight arrived on time that cloudy day, we were met by our guide, Kuya Nonoy at the airport and explained to us where we are going, how long it would take to reach the place where we would stay and what we can do with the time.

Busuanga is a different town from Coron, it takes about 35 minutes or less from Busuanga airport to reach Coron town proper. The town proper is small; you can enjoy the place by walking (trust me we did that every single night and it was so fun). First on the agenda was to eat lunch! Kuya Nonoy brought us to Kawayanan for lunch and we had crispy pata for lunch – hahaha there was not much seafood available because we arrived late. After having the hefty meal, we started walking around because we had about an hour to spare before our first place to visit. Took us a few minutes only to realize that the town is small.

Kuya Nonoy picked us up at exactly 4pm for the Makinit Hot Spring. The place is so peaceful; from the town proper it takes about 20 mins by trike. We arrived there with only about 5 people or so at the pool area. It was a perfect scene, then come the rain pour!! It was so fitting, the steam was going up and the area just looked so peaceful. We loved it very much. After about an hour, people started coming by boats that is when we decided we wanted to leave. You see, this trip was like; we were always the first one to arrive at the place or last ones to leave so we had the place all to our selves.

Makinit Hot Spring - Coron Palawan
Makinit Hot Spring - Coron Palawan

Makinit Hot Spring - Coron Palawan

Banol Island - Coron Palawan

Back track, Kuya Noynoy asked us if we want to see the Tapyas view deck. We asked how far it was, he said about 750 steps going up and the same going down (of course haha) the three of us, me, Grace and Jemos, all said “NO!” in unison because of the steps we have to endure. We were there in Coron to enjoy not to get injured haha. So we went straight to Makinit Hotspring – as stated above paragraph. Then he (guide) dropped us off at the Cashew maker’s house. Okay believe me when I say that Manang Linda's (I am not sure if that’s her actual name haha) cashew nuts are to die for! Too bad it is by order (lucky enough we were able to get ours on Saturday).

Then we went back to our unit, took a shower and got ready for dinner. Strolled yet again to look around right after and ate dinner.

Second day was so much fun though the weather was still gloomy. It was perfect because I did not have to worry about getting burnt. We went first to Siete Pecados but the strong wind, current, hard waves prevented us from staying there – again we were first to arrive. Our boatman decided to go to the next spot for us to enjoy and just come back. We then went to Kayangan Lake. My God this place is beautiful! We had to trek about 10 mins going up but it was all worth it! Like the first day, we were the first ones to arrive at the area.

Kayangan Lake - Coron Palawan

The Kayangan Lake looked so peaceful (you can see the photos I posted). It was like a post card, I had to take it all in before dipping in that cold/hot salty/fresh water. My friend had a minor booboo, he was not used to wearing life vests and being that it was a caldera, he got a little scared haha. He was shaking when during his first 2 minutes, I had to swim to him and drag him near the ridge, explained that he has to relax or else he would not enjoy. Kuya Nonoy had to get another set of life vests because he said what he was wearing cannot take his weight. So be it. haha. After a few minutes our guide aided him and let him relax in the water. Finally my friend settled and was left alone.

We then went to Banol Island to eat lunch. It was pretty, white sand but there were a lot of people.

Then we went to Twin Lagoon, my God this is again beautiful. We could not bring our camera because we had to swim to get inside so, part of my checklist is buy an underwater camera or a waterproof one that I can carry with me anywhere instead of that bulky DSLR that sometimes stop me from taking photos of myself. Haha. After the Twin Lagoon, we went to Twin Peak as our second to the last spot. Then back to Siete Pecados because we needed to cross it off our list, snorkeling there was awesome too!

Siete Pecados
Kayangan Lake - Coron Palawan

Snorkeling in an open sea, here I got a little scared. I can only see the islets and the boat. Here I drank a few gulps of salt water because of my friend. I laughed so hard while snorkeling I had to gasp for proper air and then just when I was doing that, strong wind blew bringing in a wave right smack on my face. So I suggest, do not laugh if you are snorkeling. Haha.

Kayangan Lake - Coron Palawan
Kayangan Lake - Coron Palawan
Kayangan Lake - Coron Palawan

Our third day was perfect. The weather was perfect. The sun was up like it was the mightiest – thus my very much burnt self. We first went to Baracuda Lake, I asked why it was named after a fish, the guide said that there were Baracudas there – but I didn’t see any. He said we needed to dive deeper to see it. Like Twin Lagoon and Kayangan Lake, Baracuda lake is beautiful. I didn’t want to leave! After snorkeling, we went to see the Shipwreck, okay there was just one ship under and it was okay for 2 minutes. What made that visit memorable was the school of different fish that came up when we started feeding a few. It was like being one with all the living creatures underneath the still waters. 

Baracuda Lake - Coron Palawan
Baracuda Lake - Coron Palawan

Baracuda Lake - Coron Palawan
Baracuda Lake - Coron Palawan
Baracuda Lake - Coron Palawan

We stayed there longer. Then we went to Atwayan Beach and Coral Garden, okay another open water snorkeling with far shore at sight. That gave me tingles yet again but the water was still and the coral garden was so beautiful, makes you wonder why fishermen tried to destroy it with their cyanide fishing. 

Near the Shipwreck - Coron Palawan
Fish Feeding at the Shipwreck area - Coron Palawan

After a vey long day, our last day we stayed at Beach 91 for about 2 hours maximum before heading to our unit. We were the only ones there and we had the island all to our selves. It was calming, peaceful and breathtaking. I fell asleep with the crashing waves on the background.

Atwayan Beach - Coron Palawan
Beach 91 - Coron Palawan

Albeit it was our last day, we had time to spare Sunday morning so we told our guide, Kuya Nonoy to take us back to Makinit Hot Spring at 7am. We went there but the guard did not allow us because the place opens at 8am. We had to talk him in regarding our flight and what not. By 7:30am he then allowed us and let us enjoy the place all to our selves – again! Haha.

Random Rock Formation in Coron Palawan

Sunday was a bit of stressful you see we came to the airport early. Like 2 and half-hours before our flight. We checked in and were number 3,4,5 in the sequence. Waited for almost 4 hours only to find out that our flight was cancelled due to a “technical problem” imagine our frustration. We waited until 3pm for the next flight and yet that flight was cancelled too. Imagine the scene at the airport. All the foreigners were screaming their hearts out to the ground crew because they had connecting flights. So AirPhil sucked on that part. We were given accommodation and food for free for the day. Because I had a meeting/presentation scheduled Monday, February 20, 2012. I had to go to the nearest Internet shop and write my email for the attendees. We had to send our report as well. But after all that chaos, we enjoyed the rest of the day – our flight pushed through February 20th at 10am – thank God. 

Random Rock Formation in Coron Palawan

Amidst all the chaos that Sunday the whole trip was amazing, Coron is really beautiful. My pictures here are an understatement of what you could see with your own eyes.

Random Rock Formation in Coron Palawan

I urge you to take your time for yourself, enjoy what nature can offer, see things or places with your own naked eye. Instead of just wishing for it, make it happen. Take a trip, see the world, and make a memory.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Anne Curtis Chronicles (Slight Birthday Party Post)

Music: Ingrid Michaelson (Shuffled Album)

Anne Curtis
 (Yes, my photo if you're planning on posting this up might as well give the rightful credit? Thanks!)

It has been 2 years since (last January 28, 2010) I have personally met Anne Curtis. Albeit it is only 2 years, I have of course known her for a while for her various works on tv, movies, print media and endorsements. I saw her briefly when she was 13 years young I think when she visited our province, Tabaco Albay (LCC Show every October of the year). With the absence of digital cameras then, I just took it as a memory. 

I got preoccupied with childhood (okay going around town with friends on a bicycle and swimming on rivers nearby was the thing back in the province when I was a young grasshopper haha) so I did not really bother watching television much but TGIS came in the picture every Saturday, that made me stay home during the afternoons. I loved the Chubi-Anne love team (age range my friends haha). It was cute including the “bulol” days too. 

Fast forward to September 2009, I was watching the news and here comes Ms. Anne Curtis braving the weather to do whatever she can to help people affected by Ondoy in all areas possible. Organizing different activities to raise awareness, funds and extend help. I realized, here is this famous person, crashing through all the craziness around and doing what she can for everyone she could help. Looked her up and found “fannetastic fanneatics” pex page – and it all sprung from there.

I was supposed to attend the F2’s anniversary that September, but due to a crazy circumstance, I had to go back to the office and attend to one of the employees affected by Ondoy, and the crazy schedule followed suit and I was not active on PEX.

Fast forward to December 23rd of 2009, I came from a Christmas party for our adopted street children in Imus Diocese and went straight to Greenbelt for my annual December dinner with college friends. While en route to Greenbelt, I saw two people looking so alike and mall goers turning their heads and taking a third or fourth look – close to staring (okay some of them were actually staring), mouthing “Si Anne Curtis oh”. Then my visually challenged self within few feet away realized that it was her and her baby sister, Jasmine. Looking like shit (excuse the word) because I came from a whole day event, smelling like close to a street child, and of course since it seemed like a last minute shopping for them, I didn’t really bothered much. Just took a quick look and went my way. Besides, I was carrying the most unreliable camera for taking photo of you if there is an absence of someone else to take the picture.

That day can be considered an awakening for me. There she was so simple yet looking so classy and reminded myself I need to be active with the f2s again.

January 28th, 2010. Twitter shirt, MOA and first ever time that I finally met her along with few F2’s who visited her on set (thanks Ann Lim for this). I will not forget that day that seemed like it was long overdue. 

Last 15th of February, 2012. I saw smiles, laughter, tears, and sense of gratitude, proud moments and love. I would have captured it all in my camera, but was tied up. We celebrated Anne’s 27th that night. For everyone’s consumption she was born February 17, 1985 without a “Marie” attached to her name. Yes, I am reiterating this because I made a booboo in the AVP, I put February 15, 1985 – which is totally messed up haha (Sorry again for this Anne). That night was another realization that I did not make a mistake in admiring, supporting, idolizing, defending, loving Anne Curtis and having her back. All of us who were there at the party physically or in mind and in spirit felt that way. 

Seeing her very much touched of the AVP we have presented was a statement of how much she appreciates all her fans. May they be F2s or in other groups or followers on twitter. She never forgets to return the love back.

This is not really a post of what had happened back in the 15th. Pictures would show you snippets of them. But since I did not have much time to prepare my birthday gift for Anne, a blogpost would do (initially) for now.

She is my total entertainer and still holds the 8 titles for me (remember this post last year? The Sensational Anne Curtis).

Happy happy birthday, you are loved by many and I have nothing but kind, beautiful and proud words for you. Thank you for always spending your precious time with us no matter how busy you get, you never fail to make us feel appreciated, recognized, heard, seen and loved.

May all your dreams come true. 

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