Coron : Lualhati Park, Mount Tapyas, Maquinit Hot Springs, etc

Day 2 of our Coron trip from last December (read about Day 1  HERE).

Originally we reserved this day for exploring Malcapuya Island, but there was a storm that day so our tour guide showed up at our hotel early that morning informing us that it wasn’t safe to go on a boat.  It was a little weird because the sun was out and the weather looked really good from our hotel, but apparently it’s a different story out on the open sea.  She told us that another tour group went out to Malcapuya Island the day before and they’ve been stuck there since then because the boatmen didn’t want to risk getting swallowed up by the storm.  Instead of letting our day become a total waste, we decided to just relax that morning and go on a city tour later that afternoon.

The day before, my mom spotted this quaint little restaurant with mermaid statues near our hotel, so we figured we’d walk there to grab some lunch.  That way we can do a little exploring on our own before our tour that afternoon.

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The restaurant was a short walk from our hotel.  It was called La Sirenetta

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Lovely dock leading to the restaurant.  (You can sort of see the gray clouds out at sea here)

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Here are the mermaid statues that my mom saw

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We were really hungry at the time so we grabbed a table immediately and asked for a menu.  But upon closer inspection, we noticed that most of the things they served would take a long time to cook (pizza, pasta, etc) and we weren’t really up to waiting, so we decided to look for a different place to eat, where we could get our food quickly.  We remembered that we passed by this little hut that looked like a small carinderia on our way to La Sirenetta, so we figured we’d check it out.  This was when things got a little funny.

Once we got to the “carinderia“, we noticed that the place was empty, but there was a table prepared for 7 people.  They also didn’t have any food set out like in a regular carinderia/turo-turo, so we figured that this must be a place that took orders instead.  A young lady came out and asked what we were looking for, so we asked for a menu.  She told us that they didn’t have menus, but they do take requests.   We thought that was a little strange.  My dad joked that he wanted lechon, but obviously they didn’t have that.  While we were thinking of what to eat, another lady came out and told us to have a seat while they prepare our food, and she pointed us to the table that was already set.  We thought this was even stranger because the table was obviously reserved for someone and we haven’t even ordered anything so what were they going to prepare?  As soon as we sat down she started bringing out plates of food, all cooked and ready to eat.  We tried to explain that we didn’t order anything and that they were making a mistake and giving us someone else’s food. The lady, obviously as confused as we were, went to the back to call the owner.  When they came back out, the first thing the owner said was “Oh, ayan na pala si Sir!”, referring to my uncle.  It turned out that my uncle went on his own little adventure early that morning and checked out all the places there were to eat near our hotel.  This was one of the places he stopped at and he had a conversation with the owner.  He told her he was on a family vacation with 6 other people and that we were probably going to look for a place to eat lunch later that day.  He asked her about the foods they served and she informed them of their specialties.  Before he left he said “okay”, which he took to mean as “okay, thanks for the info”.  But the owner understood it as a confirmation that she should cook all the foods she mentioned.  (Her Tagalog wasn’t that great, which explains the misunderstanding).  So as soon as he left, she ordered her staff to go to the market and buy the ingredients needed for all the things my uncle “ordered”, and she had them prepare it at once!

Later we found out that they weren’t even an actual restaurant.  They were a cafeteria meant to prepare food for the guests in the guesthouse next door.  Which explains why they didn’t have menus!  It was a good thing we were starving and decided to skip out on La Sirenetta, otherwise all the delicious food they had prepared for us would have gone to waste!  (It makes me wonder if this was the only restaurant that prepared food for us that day.  My uncle told us he stopped and inquired at a number of places – I sure hope the other people he talked to spoke better Tagalog and understood that he wasn’t making a reservation or placing an order.)

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The whole time we were there, we kept glancing at the door to see if another group of 7 would appear and accuse of us stealing their table (and their food) but no one showed up.  So I guess the food really was for us.

After lunch we headed back to our hotel to rest for a bit before Michelle picked us up for our city tour.  She came around 2pm. Our first stop was Lualhati Park, which was just a 2 minute walk from our hotel

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(Told you the weather was nice from what we could see)

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Street kids who were more than happy to pose for photos

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Afterwards, Michelle took us to see some of the landmarks around Coron

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Like this RBOUR CENTR sign.  (Some of the letters were missing XD)

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Michelle told us that Coron translates to “clay pot” in English.  Supposedly the place looks like a huge clay pot from above, which was where the name came from.

Again, this trip took place in December, so they had a giant Christmas tree made of abaniko fans (at least I think that’s what it was …)

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There were also different parols (Christmas lanterns) on display nearby.  Michelle told us that they were entries for a parol competition that took place earlier that month:

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Ezra found this yellow flower nearby

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And I stole it from her XD

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Afterwards Michelle took us to a souvenir shop so we could buy some pasalubong

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Picking out shirts for Ckloy and Kurt

The highlight of the day was when Michelle took us to Mt. Tapyas.  It’s a well-known landmark in Coron because of the giant cross on top, and the gorgeous view that it has to offer.  To get to the top, visitors have to climb 720+ steps:

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The good thing about the climb is that the steps were even, so it made it a little easier for us

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Made it to 100 steps with no trouble at all

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I was a little short on breath by the time we reached 200 though

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Stopping to rest before continuing up.  (I have no idea what Raffy is doing though…)

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Have no idea what Ezra’s doing here either.

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Looks like Cap’t Raffy has found something interesting

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Only halfway up but the view is already so beautiful

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Taking another break at around 500+ steps

After this most of my shots were of Raffy and me since we stayed behind to take pictures while the others headed on up

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JUMP!

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Love the back light

Finally, after 720+ steps, we made it to the top:

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The famous cross

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Hoorayyyyy~

Obligatory pictures of the view from the top:

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(Raffy took that last one, isn’t it beautiful?  It’s like a painting!)

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After admiring the view and taking loads of photos at the top, we headed back down to make it to our final stop of the day – the Maquinit Hot Springs:

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There are lots of hot springs where we’re from, but what made this different was the fact that it contains salt water.  (Not that we drink the water in hot springs, I’m just saying …)  Anyway, a good hot soak was the perfect way to end the day after all the climbing and walking we did earlier 🙂

After this Michelle took us back to our hotel and we spend the rest of the evening packing and resting up for our flight back to Manila the next day.  We did go out for dinner though.  Any guesses where?  Yup, we went back to that little carinderia/cafeteria place again XD  We really enjoyed our lunch earlier that day and we felt kind of bad that we almost made them waste food so we decided to eat there again.  This time, we made actual reservations and pre-ordered our food for real.  When we got there, we had our table all set up again.  The only thing was, there was a party going on (I suppose it was a sort of Christmas party for the staff and the guests there).  The owner didn’t tell us there would be a party so we felt a little awkward (again) for crashing it.  But she didn’t seem to mind at all.  In fact, aside from the food that we ordered, she kept bringing over dishes from the buffet they had set up for the party and sharing them with us!  She made us feel really welcome and we appreciated that.  We had a wonderful last dinner in Coron thanks to the owner and her staff 🙂 

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