Our 2nd full day in Coron was for the Island Escapades Tour. Arranged via our hotel, we were picked up at 7:30 AM and brought to the port area for a one and a half hour boat ride across the sea to three islands: Malpacuyo Island, Banana Island, and Bulog Dos.
Getting to these three islands was actually tiresome. With party cloudy skies, the waves were a bit rough and there was plenty of splash. Our first stop was Malpacuyo.
Malpacuyo Island – The strong waves on the beach reminded me of Pagudpod. I immediately went to the water to just take it all in. Lots of kubos and seats, an island with a basketball court and a house.
Banana Island – about 15 minutes from Malpacuyo Island, is where our tour group had lunch. Served were crabs, fish, and grilled chicken. Plenty of rice. This was a favourite because it was a great place to chill. There’s a beach with calm waves ideal for light snorkelling and kayaking. The other side was a beach with stronger waves. There were some private little houses on the island. A bathroom is available.
Bulog Dos – about 15 minutes away were these two little islets that were connected by sand bars. It was low tide so our boat could not approach the island. Some of us swam/walked through the water to access the rocky island. I went to the other side to look for the tour guide’s nemo “may mga nemo dun sa kabila” but it was too rocky. I was also scared of stepping on baby starfishes, if any. I did some snorkelling and saw a small sea urchin.
After a 1.5 hour-long boat ride back to Coron town, we refreshed and had dinner at Kawayanan Grill. It is more of an inuman place. Like a local version of Gerry’s Grill. Compared with our first night’s dinner at Santino’s Grill, Kawayanan was disappointing.
Smith Point lies on the westernmost tip of Coron Island. It was what the hotel recommended for a private day trip. We signed up for two tours (Island Escapades and Coron Island Tour) but I wanted to do those on different days. I wanted to have a simple birthday picnic at a beach.
Our first full day in Coron was at Smith Point. I arranged for a private boat to take my family. We paid about PHP 2,000 for the boat rental which comes with the crew (who will also grill and prepare the picnic food). PHP 100.00 each was the “island visiting fee”.
After my parents did some groceries at the public market, we reached Smith Point before 11:00 AM. It was a quick 20 minute boat ride across the Coron Passage.
At high tide, the waves were beautiful! We had the whole beach to ourselves except during lunch hour when two other tour groups had their buffet lunch at Smith Point. They left after eating and we had the beach again to ourselves.
Smith Point is a small beach cove with about four or five kubos/huts. It is surrounded by limestone cliffs. There are no bathrooms on the beach. There’s a cat, a dog, and a monitor lizard if you are lucky to catch one picking up scrap food.
The Philippines’ says thank you to the world for sending in aid and support after the devastation brought by Super Typhoon Haiyan (known as Bagyong Yolanda in the Philippines).
The advertisement of “thanks” #PHthankyou was released at major cities worldwide like New York, Paris, London, Tokyo and Singapore. I happened to pass by ION Orchard last weekend to take a peek.
The ad appears every few minutes along with MediaCorp OOH and ION Orchard commercials.
According to a report on Channel NewsAsia, the Singapore Red Cross raised more than S$10 million in donations for the victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan (approximately PHP 350 million).
I hope that the worldwide donations reached the people that need them the most.
I witnessed the outpouring of love and charity after the onslaught. My Singaporean colleague’s sister organised a fundraiser for victims of the typhoon. A librarian at work showed empathy and concern if I had any relatives in the affected areas… then she e-mailed me a link to a donation drive that was happening in Singapore. My boss kindly asked everyone to donate to the victims if they could. The HR department at my company organised a bake sale where the proceeds would go to Typhoon victims.
My Filipino friends in Singapore also came together to remit cash into donation accounts set up back home. There was a food packing and donation drive that took place at Labrador Park. After I made my own remittance at Lucky Plaza, the lady behind the counter said there were many people who had made remittances for the purpose of donating to the likes of Sagip Kapamilya or Red Cross Philippines.
If I were back in Manila I would’ve taken time off to help out at relief centers. My friends in Manila organised their own donation drives as well. Some even went to Manila airport to comfort the evacuees coming from Visayas.
So yes, #PHthankyou to others may seem like an advertising campaign. But from where I see it, the world did give back to the Philippines’ when the country needed it.
Singapore, thank you for helping the Philippines. 🙂