I’ve gone ahead despite the pounding in my heart that says:
And just like that, I survived four days in Coron, Palawan alone. What a great way to welcome my 26th year of existence!
And all because of the furnishing support of the people around me, who believed that I could make it on my own, who pushed me to step out of my comfort zone.
The night before my trip, I was very reluctant to pursue it. My clothes were lying on the floor, all scattered around. My bag was empty, and I didn’t know what to put first. I was a mess. Only then I realized how reliant I am towards Ace that even packing my things became a challenge. I had to admit that I tend to overpack, that is why he does all the packing whenever we travel. Nonetheless, I tried my best to pack the lightest as I could, but I still failed.
Ace accompanied me to the airport for my 5 am flight. His uneasiness was very contagious as he kept asking if I had everything I needed. Well, I couldn’t blame him for feeling that way. After five years of being together, it was the first time I’d be away for days. I expected he’d be worried.
I arrived at Busuanga at 7:30 am. A weird feeling crept inside me as I stepped out of the plane. “This is it! There’s no turning back! I can do this!” I whispered to myself. I walked to the exit and saw tour guides holding placards with guest names on it. I stopped and looked for my name, but I didn’t find it. I thought I was doomed.
“What hotel po ma’am?”, a man approached me. He pointed the van that would take me to my hostel.
From Busuanga Airport, the town of Coron is a forty-five-minute drive. The view along the way was spectacular. We passed by a vast grassy field that I later learned was a private ranch. The lush greens along the way reminded me of the Subic Forest in Subic Bay National Park. The positive energy from that ride was enough to put my heart at ease.
The driver dropped me along with a Chinese girl named Ling in front of our hostel. The staffs immediately accommodated us and took us to our quarter. I stayed at Happy Camper’s Hostel because of the good reviews I’ve read online. I also have friends who had checked in there before. Our room is a shared one. I chose a bed next to Lings.
After lunch, we agreed to explore the town together. We visited Maquinit Hot Spring, the Cashew Factory, and we also hiked Mt Tapyas.
Exhausted after a day of strolling the town, we decided to hit the hay right after dinner. Not bad for my first day after all.
I was already up at 7 am the next day. I had a cup of coffee and then prepared my things. I booked an island hopping tour package for two days with JY Travel and Tours. Ling happened to book with them, too. Unfortunately, my scheduled tour for the day was different from hers. So, we had no choice but to part ways at the port.
Since I was a solo guest, the tour operator put me along with another group. At first, it felt really awkward to be alone and not know anyone. I also had a problem with conversing in Filipino, which made it harder for me to fit. I was silent the whole time until we reached our first stop.
Our first destination was the infamous Kayangan Lake. It is the most visited spot on the island. They said you haven’t been to Coron if you haven’t visited Kayangan. Dubbed as the cleanest lake in the country, I already expected people to flock the area. As I climbed the steep staircase to the view deck, I came to a queue of people waiting for their turn to take a photo. But the beautiful view you see from there was not the lake yet but the azure waters of Coron Bay. To get to the lake, you still had to descend through steep, slippery stairs.
Though because of the swarm of people, the lake wasn’t as magnificent as I thought it would be, it was fairly clean. The water was clear, and you can still see the rock formations underneath. But I didn’t stay there for long because I felt so lonely looking at the people having fun swimming in groups. I went back ahead to our boat.
We had a reef-hopping spree all throughout the day. We were able to visit Las Islas de Coral, Green Lagoon, Quin Reef, and CYC Beach. Our tour guide also prepared a sumptuous lunch for us. Additionally, I started to be comfortable with the group, which made me feel really better.
My day ended great! Our tour finished at around 5 pm. Ling was already at the hostel when I arrived, also done with her tour. We rested for a few hours and headed out for dinner. Since it was rainy that night, we decided to just go back to the hostel right after eating. Probably tired after a long day of an island tour, she fell asleep early. It didn’t take me a while to do the same.
The next morning, I woke up to a heavy feeling. I still had a hangover from the other days’ activity. My alarm kept ringing. Afraid to wake up other guests, I dragged myself out of bed. I forced myself to prepare for another set of frolic island hopping.
While brushing my teeth, I looked at the mirror and smiled. I suddenly thought of Ace. This was a usual situation every time we travel. He always had to drag my butt out of bed to get ready. Oh, I missed him! But this time, I had to do it myself.
I came back to my senses when I heard a knock on the door. I hurried up and prepared my things. At 8:30, I was already at the port waiting for my new group. Gladly, most of them were from Cebu, specifically Liloan which is very near my hometown. They were accommodating when they learned I was traveling alone. I didn’t feel out of place, at least.
Our first stop was Luluyuan Lake, also known as the Barracuda Lake. They said there are barracudas sightings in the deeper area of the lake, hence the name. However, only professional divers are allowed to go to that area.
The lake lies behind the limestone cliffs facing the Coron Bay. To get to it, we had to climb the stairs, but unlike Kayangan Lake, there were fewer steps.
We also visited the Twin Lagoon on that same day. It was probably my favorite stop during my entire stay in Coron. The lagoons are separated by a thin rock wall. The first one serves as the docking area, while the other one can only be accessed through a small hollow on low tides. It was quite a challenge getting through it because we had to lie on our backs so we could watch our head and avoid hitting the sharp cave ceiling.
We had more stops on that day which were fairly stunning. But the Twin Lagoon paradise made a mark in my memory.
At 4pm, I was already at our hostel. I took a shower and decided to have dinner early. It was my last night in Coron, and I wanted to stroll the town at night. However, Ling already checked out so no one could come with me. The thought of walking on the streets at night alone scared me and made me cancel my plan. So, I decided to just go back to the hostel to pack my things for my flight back to Cebu the next morning.
THOUGHT about Coron:
Coron is a beautiful utopia that didn’t disappoint me. The people are accommodating and friendly. I also have to highlight how safe the place is for solo travelers. In the future, I would love to go back to this astounding paradise with Ace.
THOUGHT about traveling solo:
I was scared but I did it! I am very proud of myself for going out of my comfort zone. I discovered a lot about myself. Going to Coron alone reminded me how strong and brave I am. It reminded me that I am capable of doing things on my own, managing my time, my money, my things, and even myself. It also made me trust my own judgment and instinct. It made me free.
But I had to admit, I missed my husband’s company the entire time. I wished I did all the island hopping spree with him, I wished he was there to speak Tagalog for me. I just wished to experience Coron with him.
I guess, solo travelling really won’t work for me. But would I want to travel solo again? Definitely! But for now, let me make up to Ace.
Over to you, what are your thoughts about solo traveling? Let me hear your thoughts.
’til our next story!