After my day on the water, and a refreshing shower, I figured I should devote a little time to the streets of Coron. I ventured out with my camera, but no real purpose or destination in mind. On the way out of the Sea Dive resort I ran into our captain from the day, Jam-Jam, who seemed amused when I responded "I don't know" to his question of where I was headed. If there was a rush hour in Coron I think I ran straight into it, the market and surrounding streets were overflowing with people, many of which appeared to be school kids, recently released from class. I zig-zaged my way through the rows upon rows of market stalls, covered a few blocks of the center of town and started to head up towards Mt. Tapyas when I ran into Ian, my new friend from the previous days boat.
Ian was out for an afternoon walk to explore the town, same as I was doing, so I decided to join him eventually finding ourselves in a very Korean cafe. I was actually surprised by the amount of Korean I saw in Coron; Cebu sure, I know a lot of Korean's move there, but all the way our here on this tiny island? We eventually found ourselves at Lolo Nonoy's, an unassuming but delicious spot for dinner. Although I wasn't very hungry thanks to my lunch feast, we ordered a variety of Filipino dishes: pork sisig, pancit bihon, and lumpiang ubad, after all this was one of my final meals in the Philippines. We finished the evening with a few more drinks back at the Sea Dive resort, relaxing evening to a great [first] day in Coron.
Friday morning I was up early, no surprise there, arranged my airport pickup for later that afternoon, and then decided to make the trek up Mt. Tapyas. It's not so much of a hike as it is a never-ending staircase up the side of a hill, 720 of them to be exact. From the top of Mt. Tapyas (and on the way up) you could see some of the effects that typhoon Haiyan had on Coron. There were many trees uprooted from the ground, buildings destroyed, and most notable was the cross at the top of Mt. Tapyas which was completely knocked over.
After my hike it was still early so I wandered around town trying to decide what to do with the rest of my day, more importantly, what I was going to eat. I did another stroll through the market looking for any last minute purchases or souvenirs, and then wandered over to Lualhati park to relax and observe the boatmen at work. Before heading back to the hotel to pack up and leave I returned to a small restaurant I had walked by the day before. I ordered my final Filipino breakfast, this time opting for the Longsilog, and thoroughly enjoyed every last bite.
My time in Coron definitely went by too quickly, I wouldn't have minded another day to relax and explore, hop around some more islands or check out the hot springs. There were definitely less tourist in Coron than in El Nido which let me get a better feel for what the city is really like. In El Nido you really only get to experience all of the stores and companies catering to the tourist, not too many mom and pop shops left, and if there are you kind of have to look for them. Although I was reluctant to leave my airport shuttle arrived right on time to deliver me to the airport. It was an interesting ride, winding through the countryside of Busuanga island, but allowed me to meet Jan and his friends - providing me with a great ending to my time in the Philippines.
7,500 islands of pure bliss. I've been twice, both times arriving with a "what am I doing here" hesitation, but weeks later resisting my departure. Forget about being on time, or eating lots of vegetables, but welcome beautiful sunsets, gorgeous beaches, and welcoming, friendly locals.