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Coron 2023: Part 3


23.3.23 


Watermelon, fish, bananas, and rice served for lunch.

How have I not written anything since Tuesday? Poor form, Alex. 


We visited a beach where our group was to have a lunch of fish, noodles, prawns, watermelon, vegetables, sliced (and peeled) cucumber, and tiny bananas. These Saba bananas were denser and sweeter than the regular Cavendish bananas and are the banana of choice in the Philippines.  


After lunch was a stop at a viewing point overlooking the bay, which much like the rest of the trip was inundated with tourists. Somehow the volume of people in the queue were more interesting than the eventual view over the bay, such was the diversity and length. One impatient Italian was upset with how long the queue was taking, as if he expected people to hurry through the experience. There was a small cave to the right of the overlook that was wide and shallow, and full of stalactites - perfect for bats, though it was too early to see any flying.  


Finally, down the other side of the very steep staircase was a Kanyangan lake, protected by the limestone walls from overly mixing with the seawater. It was deep and wide, and there was eventually a barrier stopping you from swimming too far out. Little decks had been built to service the visitors, who were all stepping over each other to find a place for their bags and phones before diving in. Stones had been arranged on the waterbed in a heart shape with ‘I love Coron’ underneath, which seemed to contradict Nicole’s sad stories about the lake.  


To explain, tourists are not professional freedivers. Even if some of them are, diving into freshwater is a different experience from diving into saltwater as it’s less dense. So, people dive as they normally might but sink further, faster, until they can no longer make it back to the surface in time and drown. For me, I could definitely feel the difference. The water felt cleaner, less rough. I could move more smoothly with each stroke and propel myself further. Dangerous indeed. 


A wooden path to a stilted house overlooking Coron harbour

We were home for 4pm. Nicole, Mika and I had ribs for diner, and they gave me a menu with no prices on it. When my order did come, I had a quarter of the top of the rib cage, with lots of perpendicular bones and no meat. 3/10 mostly inedible. 


I’ll stop talking about that day because otherwise I’ll never catch up. Onto the 21st! 



 

There’s no power at Busuanga airport! No air conditioning! Nowhere to buy water! There’re also birds flying around! 


The 21st, as I touched upon previously, was a day I had nothing planned for. So, I went around Coron proper to see what was there. As it turns out, there’s not a lot! 


Walking into town (the same stretch of road that I’d met Nicole on and the closest thing to me that felt like a main road) would only take 10 minutes if that, so I decided to continue one or two streets further up. It wasn’t worth it. Nothing there. Instead, I spent a total of 2 ½ hours walking around including getting lunch. The streets were much the same – no or limited pavement, chickens either caged or chained, and warm fine dust hanging low in the air.



It was obvious there wasn’t much Coron had to offer. If you weren’t planning on taking a daily excursion you would be left in Coron to see what the residents do during the day; which is to say (on that day) nothing particularly exciting. 


Although, there was some sort of float event happening in the square. It felt like half the town had shown up to see five or so floats parade around the playground. Men with ice-cream carts rang bells like the child catcher. Again, it felt nice to be as tall as I am, as it meant I could look over everyone else and watch, rather than struggle and strain to see. One of the floats I saw included a helicopter and tank made of cardboard, with the tank inventively acting as a shell for the motorcycle underneath. It had a woman on a fire engine dressed as ‘Justice.’ The crowd went wild at that one. 


The walk around town also reinforced just how big cock fighting must be here, if that is indeed what they’re being bred for. Every other front door had a chicken next to it. People kept calling me ‘sir’ too. I can guess why, but it’s still weird to assume that moniker. Nearer the water, I found a small group of houses on stilts. The path to the houses furthest out were bamboo, but some had broken and were eerily bendable under my weight. Some unlucky items were lodged in the thick black mud underneath, and I imagined how unlucky someone would be to fall off the side at night. 



A walk further down the road didn't reveal much more, except a dead cat and the awful combination of exhaust fumes and dust. So, I had lunch and headed back to the hotel. The receptionist said it was too hot for me to try hiking (not that there appeared to be anywhere to hike to around us) and too hot to try out the hot springs either. Admittedly, it was around 36 degrees, so he had a point. I spent the rest of the day napping, writing, and waiting to have dinner with Nicole and Mika, which we later did. Very, very, uneventful. 

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