Why you’ll never tire of Coron | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

"Seed Man" figures made from large seeds, seashells and other natural materials at the Coron Souvenir Shop
"Seed Man" figures made from large seeds, seashells and other natural materials at the Coron Souvenir Shop

Approaching the majestic limestone cliffs in  Coron, Palawan, brings one a sense of calmness and security. You get the feeling that the place has been there since the advent of time.

Anthropological findings say that 25 million years ago, the cliffs were actually coral reefs, and Coron was under sea level. When the North and South Poles froze from global cooling, the sea level receded, and thus emerged the rock formations on the group of islands in Palawan known as Calamianes.

Coron has 13 lakes, but only two—Barracuda and Kayangan Lakes—are open to the public. “The rest are sacred to the Tagbanua tribe. Access to these lakes is forbidden to outsiders,” said tour guide Andy Fernandez of Calamianes Expedition.

He pointed out that his boss, Al Linsangan, “made contact with the chieftains of the Tagbanua years ago. He earned their trust, and the tribe agreed to open the two lakes for tourism.”

Hidden lake

The biggest and most beautiful lake in Coron is hidden in the central crater of the Tagbanwa’s most sacred mountain.

Fernandez said that only a few have seen this “Mother Lake,” adding that “there is a gigantic duhat tree in the center of this lake. My boss, with the Tagbanua, made an offering of fruits and fowl to the Mother Lake. They placed the offerings on a bamboo raft and sent it off to the lake. Instead of floating, the raft sank. The natives took this as a good omen,  that their gods accepted the offering, and trusted my boss and welcomed him into their tribe.”

But even if not given access to the  fabled Mother Lake, tourists will be glad to see Kayangan Lake. Located in the western tip of Coron, Kayangan Lake was derived from the natives’ term for “opening” because it resembled a mouth when seen on a map.

From the port in Lualhati Park, a short boat ride leads to the foot of a mountain; about 150 steps up and 100 steps down is Kayangan Lake.

Swim in its cool, clear waters  or marvel at the massive limestone walls looming over the place.

Nearby is Siete Pecados—seven small limestone islands in the middle of Coron Bay where you can do more swimming and diving.

Fernandez said Siete Pecados is the best diving and snorkeling site in Coron, with colorful corals and schools upon schools of  puffer fish, dory and clown fish. Giant clams shut down their shells when you swim near them, and dangerous-looking sea urchins, with their long black spikes, litter the seabed.


Next stop is Twin Lakes. From Coron Bay, the boat passes by narrow, craggy limestone mountains, the sides filled with the greenest of trees. The vibrant, turquoise waters reflect a mirror image of the mountains, lending a magical atmosphere.

At the end of a narrow network of winding limestone cliffs is a small opening carved at the bottom of a mountain; you either swim or ride a bamboo raft to enter it. Beyond the cave is a hidden lake, enclosed on all sides by the pale limestone mountains. Inside, the twitter  of songbirds fills the air.

Kalachuchi Beach is the chosen setting for lunch. In one of the many huts you can enjoy pork barbecue, chicken, fish, pako salad and rice, with fresh watermelon for dessert—all prepared by the tour staff.

A few minutes away is Maquinit Hot Springs, its natural heat coming from the island’s volcanic activity. The waters feel very hot upon your initial dip, but eventually you get used to it.

After the day-long activities, you get to relax at The Funny Lion Inn, a boutique hotel with a safari-inspired theme and touches of modern minimalism.

It has 31 rooms, a swimming pool, a restaurant, a roof deck bar with two Jacuzzis and a spa.

The Funny Lion Inn is one of the few places in Coron that serves Tagbanua coffee, whose beans are ground and roasted by tribe members themselves.

The hotel looks out into a tranquil cove with virgin mangroves and kayak trails; its roof deck bar affords guests a fantastic view of Coron Bay.

Grab a cold drink, sink into the Jacuzzi, and watch the sunset. Life is good in Coron.

Contact 0905-3955445; e-mail [email protected]; Manila office tel. 5539549, 0917-8619441