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Monday, October 1, 2012

Chapter 1: Pre-Lumineers' Arrival in Coron


This has been my third time in Coron, Palawan. If any, I should be writing this in a routine manner with eyes closed and using only one hand, while the other one makes a salami sandwich. Narrating the 'I did this, we did that, went there and ate at this place, stayed at Coron Eco Lodge'. However, this trip wasn't anywhere near average. It was in fact, a 'some kind of wonderful happened' kind of trip. We agreed to be better of as friends post Palaui trip. It culminated when Lauren and I finally realized we'd be living our life more amazingly by traveling with friends. And a song by the Lumineers, listened on a pair of earphones shared between us two, while waiting for our plane back to Manila, has opened our eyes to this wonderful awakening.

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 Farting wont make the water any less hotter
Our flight from Manila started with a rapid ascent, aboard a Turboprop jet with less than 20 passengers. Ron and Monette were seated at the middle front, while the rest of us were huddled up together at the back part of the plane. Imagine the feeling on your first ferris wheel ride? or a roller coaster, when you feel like a part of your intestine is being pulled out of your butt? Quite a similar sensation when our plane gathered    elevation. Lauren felt briefly scared at that instant and for some weird reason, I felt joy assuring her that our flight will turn up alright. At that moment, I thought I was just playing the role of a one time air turbulence fodder to her, not knowing I will be willingly stepping into the plate to assure her, that she can hold my hand whenever fear or any worry grips her.

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Coron Eco Lodge: http://www.coronecolodge.com/
Mister, can’t you see we are still smoking?Ron bellowed in his mind while keeping that Victor Aliwalas dead-ringer projection and staying cool while he politely dismissed the van drivers offer to take us all into the town. I remember staring at the three of them and thinking to myself, how utterly lonely and impossible to travel solo, when you can easily travel with these wonderful people. Since I've been to Coron twice before, going back wasn't part of my plan a month ago. It only came to fruition when the generous people of Coron Eco Lodge provided me an opportunity to come back. 

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Coron Bistro - where the Margarita Pizza is a must try 
After Ron, Monette and Lauren finished up their smokes, we boarded a van going into the town of Coron. The airport is located at Busuanga and is surrounded by the 7,000 hectare Yulo King Ranch, a source of contention between the governement and its owners, whom the government accuses of being Marcos' dummies, for more than 20 years. In 2010, then President Arroyo issued an order renaming it into Busuanga Pasture Reserve. Whatever its current designation today, the roads leading to Coron town is filled with eye popping visual feast, of rolling hills, lush greenery and lots and lots of cows mingling around. It is so far, one of my favorite roadside scenery in the country. Not even the van's soundtrack of Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus can put me to sleep, I stayed awake throughout the 45 minute trip just to see the view.

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Maquinit Hot Spring 
We arrived just in time for a very late lunch at the town. We hurriedly checked in at the newly constructed Coron Eco Lodge - a post modern style, 22 room hotel located at the town center along Calle Real. We were greeted by the friendly staff and was quickly ushered into our room as if all they ever wanted was for us to rest ASAP in preparation for the fun filled island hopping itinerary they prepared for us for the next day.

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Mangroves
However lacking in sleep we all might be, starvation and alcohol thirst was and always be the first and second on our scratch list. Heavy rains started to pour, and as we fight of walking street space the four of us, Me and Lauren under one umbrella and Ron and Monette on the other, we ended up at Coron Bistro. (I remember, was the highly recommended place of none other than FlipNomad). Lauren and I shared a ham and something sandwich, while Ron ordered wine, to my recollection was the first time, a travel buddy of mine ordered wine on a trip. Monette ordered a Cordon Bleu, which I looked at with bad intention, waiting for her to quit on it so I could clean it up, but she never did because according to her, it was really good.

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We capped our day by having a dip at the hot waters of Maquinit Springs. We were joyous, unmindful of the crazyness of the world we came from. No reading of emails from the bosses, no crime scene to dust for fingernails, no homeworks and lining up at the trains. It was the greatest feeling being in that moment with two great friends and Lauren.

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A few minutes before the Lumineers moment - at the airport
As Lauren writes, we had dinner at a place where topless mermaids exists. We learned deeply entrenched and almost forgotten Tagalog words from Ron, and at the same time developed a deeper connection among each other - none more greater in depth, than the one Lauren and I would have. Remembering back that time at the airport three days later, while listening to the Lumineers' song "HeyHo". Sometimes, all the good things aren't planned, it just happened, or should I say, they do happen. And on my third time at Coron, it finally did.


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