For the second day, which is technically our first day for the trip, I woke up looking forward to the food that the lodge has for us. Normally, they would ask guests to pick from their menu the breakfast that would be served for tomorrow.
After breakfast, we had the chance to go around the town proper and see where can we find the places that we need. There’s BPI about two blocks away from the lodge, then there’s Julie’s Bakeshop a couple of meters from us. The town proper is as idyllic as it gets. No brash noises and you can just walk around without worrying for your safety. However, I was worried more of the mosquitoes upon hearing that there was a dengue outbreak quite recently. We almost did not push through with the trip, but thought that citronella and Off! lotion can do the trick.
It was a Saturday, and while I was itching to finally get out and explore Coron, I did not realize that the town tours won’t be due until later in the afternoon. Well, it was a blessing in disguise because I had time to watch the opening ceremony of the UAAP. Our school, UP, is the host for this season and I never felt so proud of how culturally significant the presentation was. My heart was swelling with pride!
A little around 3:00 P.M., we started walking to the Coron Galeri for our town tour. They say that an air-conditioned van is normally used for this, but as it was only the two of us, we just used a tricycle. Our first stop was the souvenir shop. I was not really too keen to go there this early on the trip, as it is customary for us to buy souvenirs on our last day.
For our next stop, the trike brought us to the foot of Mt. Tapyas to trek and see the island from the view deck. Stupid us, forgetting to bring an umbrella on our way up. The sun was still shining a quarter of the trek, but the barely halfway, it began to drizzle that we have to make a couple of stops when the pouring became tolerable. Good thing that there’s a roofed portion every hundred steps.
Then around 200 steps near the top, it was raining hard. We only had plastic sando bags with us and we put them on our heads just to continue climbing. LOL It was already almost 4:00 P.M. and we still had to go down and visit another area. We just thought that since we’d be going to a hot spring after anyway, we could be as messy as we can.
We stayed for around 15 minutes at the viewdeck, trying to get a panoramic shot of the island. The rain has stopped, but it was quite windy and having a wet cotton shirt on your back is not a good idea healthwise. It is a no-brainer that the way down was easier. Thanks to gravity, we were back at the bottom of Mt. Tapyas within 10 minutes. The tricycle driver was not there, though, and I had to call him to let him know that we are ready for our next stop.
Maquinit Hot Spring, if I’m not mistaken, is located southeast of the town proper, off the Coron-Busuanga Road. It was already getting dark and the road was also getting less and less paved. We fortunately arrived in Maquinit Hot Spring with a little bit of sun peeking from the clouds, enough to appreciate the environment around the spring. It was located near the beach, thus mangrove trees abound the area.
The usually itinerary, I guess, is to let the tourists go up Mt. Tapyas. Then, with legs aching and backs at the brink of breaking, a nice warm bath is usually in order. We were the first ones to arrive in Maquinit, save a couple of Japanese tourists who looked at home in the HOT spring. The water was, well, hot and it was feat to even put your legs in the water.
Several minutes of wading in the water, I finally mustered the courage to finally submerge myself. Oh dear, I’ve been to several hot springs before but they seemed relatively tamed compared to this one. They should be renamed as warm springs as they could not hold a candle against Maquinit’s hotness. LOL
By the time that the sun has completely set, several tourists began filtering in the entrance. I recognized them as the people we saw on our way down Mt. Tapyas, thus reinforcing my belief that the Mt. Tapyas-Maquinit Hot Spring is the advisable circuit. Speaking of advisability, they normally dissuade tourists from wading too much in the water for more than 30-45 minutes. Especially for those with hypertension and other cardiovascular conditions, overstimulation from the temperature can make matter worse.
The tour package, which cost us 550 per head, covers the rent of the trike, a snack (overflowing and oh-so-yummy pancit bihon and softdrinks), and the entrance for the hot spring. I had no idea if it would cost us less to do this town tour on DIY, but the way it was explained to us, it was more or less the same.
Anyway, I was looking forward to the island hopping tour the following day as I cannot wait to feel the sand on my feet!