The first time I went to Coron, I was not even supposed to be there. My flight was supposed to be for Butuan and I had grand dreams of going to Siargao on my own. It was October 2007. There were no direct flights to Siargao then, or even Coron.

But a Philippine Airlines plane had some problem landing on the Butuan airport and flights to the airport were cancelled for the day. We were informed we could fly the next day – but I did not want to go home and unpack my bags only to pack them back again for the next day. I hung around for a few hours hoping to get on any other flight, to no avail. Until I realized, it was a Friday! I knew for a fact a Super Ferry boat leaves for somewhere on a Friday afternoon. I took a cab, told the driver to bring me to the Super Ferry pier, and off I went without a ticket, without knowing where I was headed.

It turns out, the boat was bound for Coron. Among a number of chance passengers who were all locals, I made a friend. Jeff, who regularly goes to Manila to visit his family and buy some vegetables (you’d think he could get those vegetables in Coron but well…), would be my friend for the next week and would introduce me to all his other friends, one of whom, a girl named Hope I would become very close to.

On that first trip to Coron, I did not get to do any sightseeing or island hopping. It was too expensive to rent a boat on my own and by myself. Jeff, together with Hope and her boyfriend, and I instead rented kayaks and kayaked all the way from Sea Dive to Siete Pecados and the Calachuchi snorkeling site – and back. I told myself I’ll come back to do more of those island hopping and stuff.

My second trip to Coron took three days to plan. It involved me googling to look for people who were going on a trip to Coron that weekend, people I could, hopefully, go and split the expenses with. That’s how I found Owen Ferrer and his DIY trip. Owen and I would end up being friends. I spent a total of P1,600 on two-days of island hopping with Owen and his group. That included the overnight accommodations, 2-days worth of lunch and all the fees. That was such a bargain! (And one that would never ever happen again in any of my trips, anywhere LOL)

When I came back to post the photos (wherein I got carried away with the saturation and brightness by the way and to this day I deeply regret, ahem. What can I say? I was trying to find my own art form. And my art form turned out to be something like “making my photos look unlike how they actually were as much as possible”), my newly-made Travel Friends friends saw the photos and suddenly, we were all on Yahoo Messenger conferences. They did not comment on my supposed-art form but they all thought Coron was beautiful and is well worth a trip. Thus, the TF Coron Palawan trip was born.

Friday afternoon, taking a photo of the sunset in Manila Bay

At the TF orientation, photo by Cha Santos

At the TF briefing, photo by Cha Santos

At the TF briefing in the Tourist section, photo by Cha Santos

At the Super Ferry Fiesta Resto, photo by Cedric Valera

At the Super Ferry bound for Coron, photo by Rex Literato

This TF trip was going to be legendary. It was an all-star cast trip. The grand reunion of the TF-Ilocos people and the TF-Caramoan people. TF-Coron was where we all came together to meet each other for the very first time.

So we are all up and about, photo by Cha Santos

Kaladkarin then, photo by Cha Santos

Rex, Angku and Ryan, photo by Cha Santos

Tawa-tawa naman tayo diyan ano cuz?, photo by Gerry Perando

Boat 2!!! at CYC Island, photo by Gerry Perando

Cousins Angku and Mhond at the CYC Beach, photo by Rex Literato

We didn’t even know in Ilocos we were cousins, except for the fact that we both looked familiar to each other. It would be later when I would realize that he was at my eldest sister’s 18th birthday party, because they went to school together. I was too young to remember, or care, more likely. I was twelve then.

Another whole group pic. At CYC Island, photo by Ayla Liberato

Breakfast, photo by Gerry Perando

Some girl in North Cay Island, photo on self-timer

Okay, so I snuck some photo of my back in here. Hahaha. Everyone was busy doing his/her own thing, playing poker in some cottage, swimming and snorkeling, taking their own photos, sunbathing so on and so forth. And I went around the island to see for myself what’s there to see, and I found this nice spot where, ahem, I wanted to take a photo of me in it, but guess what? I was all by myself. And since I have nothing in front that I can be proud of, I ended up taking a photo of my back instead. North Cay Island would still be in my top islands in Coron to go to. An island small enough to go around within 20 or less minutes, great snorkeling site right in front and nice, cool cottages right in the middle. I could probably get away, spend some quality time for myself or something to that effect, on this island for a few days. I should know how to cook though.

Sleeping in North Cay island, photo by Gerry Perando

I love this photo by Gerry. The colors are just beautiful. And this is the epitome of Angku on a TF trip, or any trip, for that matter. Aloof, relaxed, asleep.

In the shade, on a hammock, photo by Ryan Flores

Ok, so sometimes I can be found laughing too, photo by Ryan Flores

At the port waiting for ferry bound for Manila, photo by Rex Literato

Just having fun while waiting it out, photo by Rex Literato

Jaja, Cha, Tere, Maya, Sonj, Au, Aj, Angku, photo by Rex Literato

We even made it all the way to Jollibee after getting off the Super Ferry, photo by Rex Literato

On the Coron trip, we were reunited with the friends we made in Ilocos: Eds, Malen, Au, Poms, Rex, Leia, Cha to name a few.. and new friends were made. Aside from Ced whom I first met in Bagasbas in May, brother and sister AJ and Maya, Tin, Mei, Sonj, Ma-an, Deneb, Gerry, Neil, Jerome, Cae, Bryan, Benjo, Kabbie and Mitor, the best part of this trip I think was meeting Ver.

The morning after, Super Ferry bound for Manila, photo by Ver Esclamado

Ver, who made the Coron trip, such a memorable one. I would always remember fondly the way he and Neil raved about silly stuff on that dark Saturday night in the island where we pitched our tents on. You make me laugh all the time Ver, you silly person. 😛

This whole trip is filled with memories of friends made, friends come and gone – though hopefully not forever. We don’t get to see you anymore, Malen, Mel and Mhond – just because you’re not in the country. We don’t get to see you as much as we should Deneb, Gerry, Cae, Jerome, Sonj, Au, Ma-an, Mei, Jaja, Totoy, Kabbie and Mitor, and you too Benjo – though you guys are all still in this country! 😛 And where are you now Eds, Neil, Bryan and Jaycel? And I don’t care where boyish is, what’s his real name anyway? 😛

*Some photos I have on my multiply site,in the the album filled with photo grabs, are untraceable. I don’t know from whom I got them, but all the others that I could trace are properly credited and the photos link back to its original source.