All gloomy when we landed.There's nothing to do at the airport so we just picked our bags and got out as quickly as possible.There are many passenger vans parked in front of the arrival area.We informed one of the drivers of our accommodation and we were off to go. Fare is 150 per person.The ride was faster than I thought, it too us only 30 minutes.It started to rain a few minutes after we set off so the Grand Entrance that I was hoping didn't happen. Sayang, gusto konpamandin pagdating palang sa isang bagong lugar "Wow Philippines" na kagad.
CORON ISLAND (backdrop) from Mt. Tapyas
traveled with Julius of http://lakwastserongtsnelas.blogspot.com/ for the 1st time
We walked to the main road and after approximately one kilometer found ourselves in a cheap restaurant.
So unless you are desperate, don't eat at CENTRO CORON.
I don't recommend it.Waste of money.
We hurried back at our accommodation to get a few things.We decided to check out Mount Tapyas and Maquinit Hot Spring before it gets dark. Some organized tours would offer 350/ pax on this segment which includes a town tour (church, town hall etc.) which you don't have to see believe me).
350x4 pax = 1,400 pesos.That's quite pricey. So what we did was we randomly picked a tricycle driver and agreed on a fare. He asked for only 300 pesos for both Mt. Tapyas and Maquinit Hot Spring.But since we realized that Maquinit is far from town.We gave the driver 500 php. He was very happy.
Mt. TAPYAS is a hill in Coron Town.It could be seen from any point downtown.You can walk to there from the port or public market but I don't really advice that.Reason is, you have to deal with 700 steps to get to the top and that's quite tiring. It's a relief though that the steps are concrete and there are enough sheds along the way to pause and catch your breath.Since it was already 5pm when we started climbing and it rained prior to our visit, the air was cool.It felt good coz we were sweating just enough but the air kept us chill.Tamang pawis, tamang lamig.Ang sarao sa pakiramdam.
The place is perfect for sunset.
Unfortunately for us, the sun didn't show up that day.Still, the climb was worth it.Makes for a good view of surrounding areas, of mainland Busuanga on one side and Coron Island on the other.I told my wife "that's where we will be hopping for two days". Reminds me of Nacpan-Calictang Twin beach in El Nido Palawan.We went there on our first day in Coron as a side trip, climbed the hill and saw the islands of El Nido from there.Same line that I told my wife---"that's where we will be going tomorrow".
Like the hill/island in Nacpan, Mt. Tapyas is a good introduction to the place.It gives you a perspective as to where things are and it excites you to embark on an island hopping the next day.It took us only a few minutes to stay on the summit of Tapyas. The hike down was faster and easier but it targeted a different muscle group.We felt our legs shaking when we finally reached the bottom where our hired tricycle was waiting to take us to Maquinit Hot Spring.
Maquinit is another 30-minute ride from Mt. Tapyas.I thought it's actually near but road condition is really bad. The rain-soaked dirt road made it more difficult for our driver to navigate. Ang putik!
MAQUINIT HOT SPRING Entrance Fee
Twas already dark when we got there. Maquinit Hot Spring is a private property. Entrance fee varies depending on age or residence.Locals pay only Php75 while tourists (including Filipino tourists) have to dish Php150.
Non-resident Adults ---Php150
Our friend Rupert thought it is expensive.In my case, I didn't care anymore.I felt my legs were sore from the climb in Mt.Tapyas that a hot bath would be a good relief.
It was my first time in a natural hot spring in an outdoor setting. I remember discussing aboug the place with my South Korean students and seeing one photo on Naver kinda disappointed me.It looks and feels better in person though.The water temperature was perfect.I frequent public baths in Manila and their hot pools are either a hit or miss when iy comes to temperature.This one's is perfect. Nakaka-relax talaga.
The hot water flows from the hill nearby but we noticed that it is actually salty.Weird.I remember reading that the hot sprjng water combines with seawater that's why it's a bit salty but not as salty as the sea. That notion kept us curious coz it was low time during our visit and the sea level was so low compared to the spot where the hot water flows to the man-made pool.Amazing.
We stayed for an hour or so and noticed that there were still quite a number of people even if it was already past seven pm when we left.No overnight stay here.The resort closes at 8:30pm. There are cottages for rent and a small store selling beer and other essentials.No fresh water shower so don't even think about cleaning before and after dipping on the pool.That wilm have to wait until you get back to your hotel.The lack of shower is what prompted out friend Rupert that it is expensive, especially because no maintenance effort is needed for the water to fill thr pools. "Ni di sila nagbabayad ng NAWASA" added Rupert.
But as I said, you only get to see a few places like this in the Philippines --- a hot spring with an outdoor setting.It is still worth the experience.