Philippines above and underwater

Busuanga, Coron

Accomodation

Just one hour flight from Manila and skyscrapers of asian megapolis gave way to the almost post-card -like views of coral islands framed in coral reefs. Couple of minutes more and we landed in the airport of Busuanga, located on the similar island - one of the largest Calamian islands. In order to avoid the confusion I would like to clarify it. The largest island is called Busuanga, so is the name of the airport where all the airplanes land, but the town is called Coron (Coron-town). Coron island is located near-by and people go to this island to see it's interesting things…

Manila-Busuanga flight with Zest Air: 1450 php.

At the exit of the arrival area a lot of cab-drivers offered their services. You could take a taxi or a minivan. The second transport was cheaper that's why we got into a minivan with other pale-face travelers, said the name of the hotel and set off. It should have been noted that the nature around was very weird. Not that it was not that picturesque but one usually imagined the flora of tropical islands differently. There were flat and almost woodless hills covered with sunbaked grass only sometimes you could see separate trees and bushes…

We booked the hotel in advance and payed for it by a card on Agoda.com.
We have chosen Ralph Pension House. Triple Delux-Room with the air-conditioner: $40. Taking into account that there were three of us it turned out to be rather reasonable. Minivan debarked us on a square of Coron-town and left, so we went to look for our hotel using a free sketch-map, that we took at the airport. The town was rather small and everything was located near-by. In a few minutes we were at the reception-desk. Left our baggage in a room. Now we could say that the holiday has stated…

Having accomodated in a room we decided to plunge in the sea as soon as possible. For starters, we went to the tourist's office, located on a square to grow familiar with the town and get some more information. We found free of charge maps, booklets with general information about Calamian people, fly sheets of local hotels and guest-houses. We asked the receptionist of the hotel if we could swim to snorkelnear-by… He showed us some place on the map and told us that we could take a tricycle for an adequate price. We thanked him and went to bargain…

Was it something we misunderstood or was it something the man didn't tell us, but the drivers were of no tractable spirit and didn't want to drive us for the money that we proposed. They wanted 500 php for a round trip. We said that we needed only a drop by. One driver agreed to take us for one-hundred and when we reached the place he demanded one hundred per person. I said: "Are you crazy? I told you one hundred for three of us". The driver made a sad face and complained on expensive gasoline (well that's sacred in these places and no ride can do without a complaint on the expensive gasoline). So i showed a lack of determination and gave him one hundred php over and he left…

The beach turned out to be rather unclean: a couple of local companies hung out and gaped on us like we were some kind of show, the water was too muddy for snorkling and the entry to the beach was fee-paying фи. Sure, how can they get without a fee?… But the main objective was achieved-we swam in the sea, walked along the sea-shore and though the water was muddy we even got to see the corals, sea-stars, sea-eggs and some sea fish - all in all that was enough to get a feeling that you finally swam in the SEA)).

The sun began to set, we didn't have a lot of time for we had to make arrangements about a tomorrow's diving and moreover there was no tricycles on the beach for us to get back so we decided to walk. According to the map it was a short distance just 5 km long so we got back to the hotel in an hour, gazing at the surroundings, taking pictures. The gold rays of the declining sun turned the ordinary landscapes into almost post-card-like views… On our way to the hotel we took a flusk of dark Tanduay in a small shop and we finally tasted this legendary beverage and later no day was spend without this beverage…

When we got to the hotel it was almost dark. So we went to look for a diving center. We googled for diving centers in advance. That's why we were looking for certain diving center — Coron Divers. As I have already written, the town was small and everything that a tourist needed was located in a 5-10 minute walk. "Coron Divers" diving center was no exception and it turned out to be located 50 meters away from our hotel on the same street actually. The price for the diving was — 2700 php for 3 dives a day. Their competitors — Sea Dive had higher prices. The price on their site was — 3950 php for 3 dives. Probably it was possible to get a discount at their place but we didn't want to try. Sveta and Karastel didn't have diving certificates, they only studied the theory in St-Pete OWD, that's why the price for them was a little bit higher. We booked two days for 3 dives a day: the first day included — wreck + barracuda-lake + reef, the second day included — diving to 3 wrecks. So we took some beer and got back to the hotel.

On the verandah of the hotel we met a company of local Filippinos, they drank local brandy and invited us to join them. The evening was great and we hung out. Filippinoes turned out to be sociable and friendly and were partial to drink. Our vocabulary acquired such new very important phrases as "how much does it cost?", "expensive!" and "give me a discount!".
Next morning I went for diving with a buzzing head and took a bottle of water with me. Our guide looked at me and wondered if I was ok and if I was sure that I was ready for a dive. !!!!!Everything is according to PADI! I understand this now passing the exam for «divemasters» certificate:-)

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