With just five days left in the Philippines before my visa was due to run out, I knew I wanted to spend my final days lying on a beautifully secluded beach, working on my tan, and sipping fresh pineapple juice.
I wanted somewhere similar to Boracay but without the tourists.
Fortunately, my travel buddies had the same idea and, as my laptop had recently broken, I relied on them to research the prettiest beaches in the Philippines. They came to the conclusion that Coron had the best beaches and we booked our flights for the next day.
After a terrifying flight where the propellers on our plane seemed to stop entirely mid-air, and where I was 100% convinced I was about to plumet to my death, we landed at Coron airport and were immediately shoved into an overpacked, overheated jeep having no idea where we were actually being driven to.
Next was an hour of driving through Jurassic Park-esque scenery where Jen and I clutched at each other in fear as the jeep slowly crawled over creaking “bridges” — essentially two flimsy planks of wood thrown over a raging river, and which threatened to snap in half at any minute.
I wiped the sweat out of my eyes and grinned through gritted teeth, enjoying the adventure and simultaneously wanting it to stop.
Am I convincing you to go here yet?
The jeep reached an area with ten wooden huts, screeched to a halt, and then the driver motioned for us to get out with no explanation. We piled off with our bags as the jeep sped off into the distance, its tyres kicking up a mixture of gravel, mud and dust all over us.
Under the sweltering heat and humidity, we stumbled along the dirt track for what felt like hours but was more like 30 minutes, desperate for a sign of humanity.
We eventually found a small sauna disguised as a guesthouse where we decided to stay. It was kept at a permanent temperature of 40 degrees celsius, and the owner appeared to be crazy.
At least it was full of Christmas cheer.
As I collapsed in my bed, drained and dehydrated, I decided that beach time was definitely needed so found the owner to ask where the nearest beach is.
What I got in return was a blank stare and a handful of brochures. Upon enquiring further I found out that there were in fact no beaches in Coron town.
The beautiful beaches of Coron that we had read so much about were a 1500PHP ($35) and 30 minute boat ride away…
At 7 a.m., we arrived at the crowded boat dock and fought our way through the hordes of people until we spotted the hostel owner frantically waving to us from a small boat. That was better: there were only two other people on our tour.
I allowed myself to relax as we glided past dramatic limestone peaks and secret islands with powdery white sand beaches. The Philippines is so, so beautiful
This was precisely what I had come here for.
Just look at the colour of that water!
Our boat slowed to a halt and our tour guide pulled out a bag of snorkelling gear and announced that the first stop on our itinerary would be snorkelling at Siete Pecados for 10 minutes.
Sitting back I smiled as I listened to the gentle splash of water against the side of the boat and watched my travel friends snorkelling in the distance. I would have joined them, but, um, seawater brings my face out in a rash.
We reached Kayangan Lake, our next stop. With views like this it was definitely worth the 200PHP entrance fee!
After six hours of sailing our tour guide announced that we would be heading from the lagoons to the beach. That water!
I jumped out and leaped up to the beach, laid down my towel and began to relax. What a beautiful part of the world!
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