My memories seem to betray me as each day – back in the rowdy cosmopolis – passes by, and words that I try to conjure never seem to compare to the reality that was. As Joan Didion would put it, “Memory fades, memory adjusts, memory conforms to what we think we remember.”
Coron was pure magic.
As a city girl who has lived in the Philippines (Manila) her entire life, I constantly yearn(ed) for uncharted territory. Discovering the rest of my country seemed a bit pointless – a truly horrible and unpatriotic mindset brought about by being in the same place for too long. But, an opportunity arose, I took it and have never been more in love with my beautiful country – dominated by myriads of virgin islands and beaches – I can only hope to keep exploring through the course of my small life.
45 minutes away (via plane to the island of Busuanga) from Manila is the municipality of Coron – simple and underdeveloped, which makes it even more appealing. The town proper brims with a roster of busy hostels, authentic restaurants, and colorful stores. Four days were enough to have a glimpse of the Condé Nast Traveler awardee as the best island (Palawan) in the world; its beauty will overwhelm, fascinate, and leave you speechless.
We had two full days to soak up the sun and traverse the idyllic sites including Kayangan Lake, Banol Beach, Twin Lagoon, Coral Gardens, CYC Beach, Balinsasayaw Floating House, Malcapuya Island, Isla Bulog, and Banana Island. Booking tours may conveniently be done online, especially during peak seasons, but there are several agencies in town one can sign up at for a safe and stress-free adventure.
Abounding in white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and limestone cliffs, island-hopping has never been more thrilling; this comes from a city girl who has never been a big fan of nature and wildlife. Closest to my heart is Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoon, and Isla Bulog, which made me feel small yet so infinite. No photograph, no paragraph I may produce can ever encapsulate the big magic I experienced through my stay there. I had a splendid time with my family and our tour guide, Kuya Larry, who made sure I was having the time of my life, guiding me through stony pathways whilst taking my spontaneous Instagram portaits like a true professional (yes, that was him!).
I am learning that it really is never too late to let go of the familiar to make space for new places to have a wider and deeper understanding of life beyond the self. May my comforts never, ever dull my need for wonder.