Chilling at The Dolphin House

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We had plans to move on from Moal Boal to the nearby island of Bohol but we fell in love with The Dolphin House and couldn’t bear the thought of leaving.

We decided to stay put and make the most of our final days in the Philippines in this wonderfully peaceful haven.

We are so lucky to find this place and not have to share it with other guests. The Dolphin House is set in picture perfect gardens with a wonderful pool and plenty of relaxation areas.

An incredible reef sits right in front of the resort and we’ve been snorkelling every day after breakfast.

About 100 meters off the shore is a huge drop off which is perfect for spotting turtles. We’ve seen at least 3 everyday. The coral is really healthy here and the marine life is so rich and varied that we see different fish every day. The beach is beautiful and quiet.

We have really enjoyed relaxing and recharging over the last few days. We treated ourselves to a massage which was altogether a much more enjoyable experience than Boracay. The food has been incredible and easily the tastiest of our trip so far. We feel thoroughly spoilt and lucky.

Having a Whale of a Time – Oslob

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The threat of this morning’s 4am alarm was enough to curtail last night’s drinking to a reasonable hour.

The 6 of us were joined by four more guests from the Blue Orchid as we set off for Oslob, home of the whale shark at a ghastly 4.30am.

Oslob is located on the south east coast of Cebu island and is a two hour drive from Moalboal. It is renowned for its whale sharks and the tourists who pay to swim with them.

It’s a bit of a controversial enterprise because the whale sharks are fed each morning by local fisherman in order to lure and keep them in the area. Conservationists worry about potential adverse affects that this may have on the migratory species, regarding the scheme as unsustainable.

Proponents of the hand feeding respond that the project protects the whale shark by keeping them safely in the waters near Oslob and away from the hazards of the open ocean, where they risk being poached.

It’s an interesting argument and generally speaking we would tend to support the conservationists and opt for a more natural diving experience to interact with these gentle giants. That said, the chances of us actually stumbling across these creatures is slim and we’ve read reviews that they are respected in Oslob (possibly because if such big business now). In addition, a diving instructor from our resort gave us his opinion in support of the program, voicing no concerns for the health and safety of the animals which confirmed our decision to go.

As we pulled up to the beach at 6.30am we stopped for a quick bite to eat and coffee before being shown into a briefing area. We were told that we mustn’t wear sun tan lotion because it can wash off and have an adverse affect on the whale sharks, and that a 4 meter boundary around them must be adhered to at all times. Apparently there were marine biologists in the sea at all times monitoring this, and anyone caught attempting to touch the whale sharks could face a prison charge!

We were taken out on a small boat and just 100 meters from the shore were these incredible animals. It’s very hard to imagine the sheer grandeur and scale of these beauties until you are face to face with them in the water.

It really was breath taking. They were effortlessly gliding past us in the water, occasionally surfacing to feed. They are technically the biggest fish in the world and some can grow to a staggering 21 meters long.

Despite being huge, they were graceful and peaceful and whilst they seemed only an arms length away, they never touched us or showed any interest in us gawping at them.

You’d be hard-pushed to find someone who isn’t impressed by the whale sharks and their huge scale. A real one-off experience that we won’t forget.

Buoyant from the experience, we headed back to MoalBoal in high spirits, exchanging travelling tales with our bus companions.

Having enjoyed the resort and food and pool so much, we wanted to stay at The Blue Orchid for longer but there sadly was no availability. We managed to find another resort just up the road and headed to our new digs, The Dolphin House.

We couldn’t believe our luck as we were greeted with welcoming cocktails and shown around the pool and beach area. The Dolphin House is a beautiful resort, set in immaculately tended gardens. It has a series of cabanas overlooking the dazzling stretch of coastline and we seemingly have the place to ourselves.

We didn’t hold back on making use of the pool and the bar’s happy hour as we settled into a picture perfect sunset.

Jumping Jack Flash – Canyoning Fun at Kawasan

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This morning we woke up to a great breakfast at the Blue Orchid. This resort is on White Beach in MoalBoal, the quiet and prettier sister to Panagsama beach and it’s a lovely place. We felt justified in ordering big omelettes because we had a day of energetic canyoning at nearby Kawasan Falls ahead of us.

We actually ended up surrendering half of our plate to Captain, the adorable 8 week old puppy at the resort.

She was found abandoned on the dirt track road on the way to town and picked up by one of the dive instructors. The staff were anxiously awaiting the general manager’s return to see if she was allowed to stay. She was adorable and hugely popular with guests who were all fawning over her.

Our guides came to pick us up in the infamous ‘party bus’ and we joined 2 other couples from The Blue Orchid who would be our group for the day. After just a few minutes of conversation it was clear that we were all going to get on really well. Roxanne and Erik were from LA and Jordan and Charity were from Toronto and they were all great fun with a similar sense of humour and an awesome thirst for adventure.

Arriving at the HQ for the Falls, (which was essentially the front room of this family enterprise) we were kitted out with crash helmets and life vests.

We were then ushered onto motorbikes to take us on the 10min uphill drive to the start of the canyoning experience. Bikes are not my favourite, so I was particularly twitchy to discover that both Gary and I were being ushered onto the same bike, with a driver already revving up. Three is a tight squeeze and being the bread in this motorbike sandwich was thrilling yet terrifying in equal measures. The parting advice provided by the instructor was to sit still but no worries there – I was successfully paralysed into submission.

I was clinging on to Gary’s shoulders with such force as we hooned it up the steep, windy hills that I left indentations on his skin. The rest of the day would be a breeze in comparison to that.

Once at the top, we were required to sign in. This seems to happen everywhere in the Philippines and it’s generally a pointless exercise. No matter where we are going or what activity we are doing we are usually requested to log our names and nationalities on some make shift paper form. At first we assumed it was a safety process, but it’s become a bit of an ongoing joke that we arbitrarily sign in everywhere but are never required to sign out when we complete an activity. So we could easily get left behind in the darkest depths of the waterfalls without recognition. In addition, every single place we go to, whether it be an island or a beach or a snorkelling trip requires a small fee and it’s own ticket issued by its own office. We end up with so many random slips of paper and logs of our name. No sense of official process or useful info.

Anyway, I digressed. We embarked upon a 20minute walk in the gorgeous countryside to reach the start of the water. The scenery was beautiful and our first glimpse of the fast-flowing stream was incredible. The water was such a wonderful colour; an incredibly inviting milky aqua.

The guides eased us in with a small jump into a lagoon like area and once we’d all completed this the fun began. We spent the next three hours clambering, climbing and jumping as we made our way down towards the main falls. Our guides were amazing at showing us how to jump and where to aim for to guarantee the deepest, safest water. They’d encourage us to lift our legs up when jumping into shallow pools and point out big underwater rocks to avoid when we were swimming.

The scenery made such an epic backdrop to the activity. Huge gorges lined with lush, green tropical vegetation. Butterflies dancing along the water’s edge and wonderfully vivid blue pools and lagoons. It felt like something out of Avatar.

The streams would occasionally pick up force to create mini waterfalls and propel you with speed and strength over rocks and at other times you could lay back and enjoy the lazy river experience as you were gently propelled along. The whole team absolutely loved it.

There were about 4 big jumps along the way, ranging in height from 4 to 15 meters. They weren’t compulsory and anyone who didn’t fancy it could opt out and scramble down the rocks. We had such a lovely group that helped and encouraged each other when we were wavering on jumps. I am generally a complete wuss when it comes to these types of activities but I really wanted to accomplish as much as I could on this trip so I braved a couple of the big jumps. I didn’t want to linger for too long on the edge and give myself time to back out, so as soon as I was told I was up I’d make the jump. What an amazing feeling.

The higher jump a little later was scarier because a run up was required in order to clear some rocks jutting out. I am not the most graceful of people and immediately, visions of me stacking it just on the run up poured into my mind. Our guide was very prescriptive about where our footing should be. Close enough to the edge to give yourself the best chance of clearing the rocks but not so close to the edge that it crumbles beneath your foot…..ok great. Gary went first and aced it. I went second. I had put so much emphasis on getting my footwork right that I hadn’t been concentrating on preparing my body for entering the water. You see others jumping and holding themselves straight and streamlined. I was more of a sprawling mass hurtling towards the water with my face leaning forwards to take to brunt of the impact. Definitely not the most graceful but I was chuffed I did it. With a little bit of coaxing from Gary (who climbed back up to do the jump a further 2 more times – maniac) both Jordan and Eric also nailed it.

Needless to say that Gary was a pro when it came to this activity and you could tell he was in his element, leaping off every jump and doing back flips.

A hint of danger to give him that rush of adrenalin he needs and this was the perfect activity.

He was the only one out of our group to brave the final jump. We’d been told that it was the same height as the previous one we all did, but as we approached its edge and looked down we realised it was at least a couple of meters higher. To add to the fear factor, a waterfall fed into the landing pool where you needed to jump. I did get a vid of Gary doing the jump but the camera angle is so wide that he looks like a tiny dot.

We emerged out of the canyoning activity to the third largest of the Kawasan Falls. We had an awesome BBQ lunch right at the water’s edge before walking on to the highest of Kawasan Falls. A spectacular, powerhouse plunging 20meters into the bluest of pools.

What a reward for the day’s work. We had a swim before heading back to resort, all in high spirits.

We arrived back at the Blue Orchid just in time for Happy Hour and the whole group sat there in our wet clothes for the next 3-4 hours drinking, eating and chatting.

A great day.

The Birthday Triple

We woke early on the 23rd of January 2018. It was my 46th birthday. Surely that’s a mistake, I still feel around 35ish. To distract me from calculating 2018-1972 over and over again we had booked an island hopping tour. This little gem of a tour promised a trifecta of goodies. It would whisk us over to Pescadore Island for amazing coral, then slice our way through the waves to find turtles and mosey on up the shore to see if the thousands of sardines were up for a play.

First we had to catch breakfast. This proved to be more elusive than we had anticipated. After waiting a full hour we eventually gobbled down our omelettes and just as we finished the boat arrived to pick us up.

Yet again minimal communications from all involved but somehow it always seems to work out. I guess when people do this all the time they don’t appreciate that newbies need an explanation of logistics so they know what to expect.

We waded out to the cute little green and white Bangka boat and climbed aboard. The skipper pulled hard on his starter motor and an almighty racket thundered into being. Awesome, the engine had no cover. Emily and I waved at each other and mouthed “See you when we get there” as no chat was possible over the din.

We could see Pescadore island about 3km straight out to sea but the boat headed along the shoreline. Again, no comms, so Emily and I shrugged our shoulders and wondered where the hell these guys were taking us. As it turns out every boat going to Pescadore Island must first head to MoalBoal dock, the skipper and I then scrambled over sea urchins, walk the 500m to the tourist office to fill in a piece of paper with your name and residency. Oh and pay 100 peso each. You gotta love the red tape. I’m sure it is useful to someone.

We scramble back on the boat and the skipper fires up the torture machine and points her bow at Pescadore Island. We hoped it would be worth it. I am happy to report it was totally worth it. Once moored, the skipper killed the engine and the peaceful sound of lapping waves soothed our ringing ears. Diving into the pristine azure waters for the first time to be greeted by colourful coral and a myriad of beautiful fish. We both love snorkelling especially with so much to see. Floating around, controlling your breathing and taking it all in it is almost like meditation. Or what I imagine meditation to be like. After 30 minutes of swimming amongst the coral gardens we reluctantly head back to the boat for goal number 2: Turtle spotting

As it happens the boat took us almost right back to where we started. The skipper told us to wait on the boat he will find turtles. No sooner had he dived in he had spotted one and told us to jump in quick. Sure enough as we entered the water a turtle was swimming by. He had been asleep on the coral but was now heading out to sea. We followed and filmed for a while even diving down to get a closer look.

What a treat. Goal 2: tick. This birthday was tuning out to be a cracker.

After seeing a few other turtles including one massive one we decided enough was enough let’s go for the sardine run.

This was only a short hop up the coast right off Panagsama beach, literally 30m from the shoreline. At this distance the coral dropped off sharply into the big blue. Jumping off the boat we were greeted by a shoal of thousands of sardines.

I have never experienced that many fish so close before. It was mesmerising. Such a unique experience we both felt very privileged and lucky.

The sardines would be disturbed by the slightest of movements and change direction on mass. Seeing their scales reflect the sunlight and dazzle us was just incredible.

That afternoon we had to transfer to the Blue orchid resort which was further up the coast on white beach. We forgot to negotiate the trike fair and got a little stung on the fee but what the heck it was my birthday so not worth arguing and spoiling the good vibe. The Blue Orchid was amazing. Right on the water, beautiful pool and tasty signature Blue Orchid Beeze cocktails. Unbeknown to me Emily had arranged a romantic dinner by the sea.

Complete with birthday cake.

Very grateful. Thank you Emily for making it a very special day. That will be hard to top.

Festival Fun in Cebu City

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Having had an amazing time exploring Palawan in both El Nido and Coron, we’ve moved on to new adventures on the island of Cebu.

We headed for Coron airport in a staggeringly stuffy mini van that was crammed to the gills. Coron airport is tiny and hot and boasts the most disgusting toilet I’ve experienced thus far on our travels. As we checked in for the hour flight we were told that our luggage was over the weight limit and that we could either redistribute the weight by transferring into hand luggage or pay a fine. Apparently we were allowed 10kg hold luggage and 7kg hand luggage each. Our actual hand luggage was barely 2kg between us but the airport staff wouldn’t budge when we tried to explain that surely the deficit here makes up for going over with other luggage. Unable to shake the feeling that we were being had, we reluctantly coughed up the fine that amounted to more than the cost of the actual flight.

The flight was very smooth and we had beautiful views of sun-kissed islands below. It’s easy to get complacent here when lavished with such amazing sites on a daily basis and we have to remind ourselves to appreciate and savour every minute.

Having read reviews that it’s smoggy and congested with little of significance to see, we weren’t initially planning to spend any time in Cebu City. That was until we discovered that the annual Catholic festival of Sinulog was being held the following day. Having done a bit of research we discovered that it’s the grand daddy of Cebu’s religious fiestas, with people flocking in from all over the country to party.

Enough said, we changed plans and booked two nights to tide us over the Santo-Nino celebrations. Our hotel presented us with Sinulog t-shirts and wooden beads as we checked in.

We stayed in the uptown Lahug district that boasts the city’s best bars and restaurants. Having not had a steak since we left Blighty, we were both craving a sirloin and good old Trip Advisor pointed us in the direction of Soho Park, a smart bistro in IT town. We indulged in a wonderful bottle of red as we devoured our juicy steaks and were just finishing up when the chef came out to say hi. Having chatted for a little while, it transpired that he was a Brit and had previously worked at the Hand and Flowers in Marlow for a short stint. What are the chances?! Having met and fallen in love with his Filipino wife whilst out in Dubai he relocated to her home city of Cebu and created his dream restaurant here. Small world.

The next day dawned particularly grey and wet which was a huge disappointment but we were sure that wouldn’t put anyone off. We had little idea of just how big a deal Sinulog was and it was only when we tried to flag a taxi down to get us into the action that we realised. All the drivers laughed at our ambitious request to be taken to the festival’s epicentre, and we settled for “as close as you can please”.

We were in Cebu for the main event but celebrations had been taking place for well over a week, culminating in today’s 2am mass service and grande parade.

The main boulevard dissecting the city was closed off and hosted a huge carnival procession from 8.30am to 4.30pm. Dancers, floats and sponsors all took to the street as the public spectators swelled on the pavements to cheer them along.

It truly felt like a wonderful and inclusive celebration. Each different float or team, accompanied by their own band would stop at points along the procession route to perform their carefully choreographed dance. We felt privileged to be able to celebrate with everyone else and there were only a couple of occasions where we felt that we were being watched a little too intently by some dodgy looking characters in the audience. The pavements were flanked with make shift stalls, touts and BBQS, catering for the masses. There was a heady smell of smoke and sewers and food in the air and the noise was deafening.

It was such a cool, visceral experience.

As we made our way back to our hotel, totally pooped we stumbled across an incredible French wine bar in the most unlikely of neighbourhoods. It was a sublime pocket of deliciousness in an otherwise grey street and we loved its design and style.

Cebu City is loud, dirty and ruthlessly fast-paced. That said, everyone is friendly, hardworking and welcoming of us despite living with very little. Heritage and tradition jostles for space with an ever-pervading mall culture and American influenced modernity. This is a theme we’ve noticed in previous Philippines destinations but not to the extent as here in Cebu City. Advertisements on the TV and in sprawling shopping Centers promote aspirational western looking families and skin lightening products for girls are everywhere. Cheap, fast food chains including the ubiquitous Jolibees (fried chicken) are on every street corner. In fact I counted 5 during a 3 minute taxi ride around town. Interesting times for sure.

I’m so pleased that Sinulog presented us with the opportunity to stay in a city and get the full, diverse Philippines experience and not just the picture perfect island getaways we’ve been lusting over on Instagram. What a country.

The sun finally shines on Coron

After two days of unwelcome overcast steel grey skies we tentatively peeled back the curtains to reveal blue, glorious blue as far as the eye could see. I know in England we are obsessed by the weather but it is no different here. We are lucky to be away for so long that we get a better opportunity to see things in all their glory. It’s just a shame we never got to see the Islands and their beaches on a day such as this. No matter we decided to make the most of it and head to the closest highest point Mt Tapyas.

Unexpectedly the way to the top was lined with even concrete steps and metal railings. It’s an on going joke between us that here in the Philippines no step is ever the same height throwing us both off guard at times and making the other laugh as we inevitably do a comedy stumble. Emily particularly loves my pratfalls and I’m happy to pretend to be clumsy 🙊. The view from the top was well worth all 750 steps and about the same amount in beads of sweat.

Thankfully the journey down was much easier helped out by a cheeky coconut ice pop. Pop ice? Popsicle? Lolly ice? Ice lolly? Thinking too hard?

Anyway….

Whenever we get a chance we love to wander around the local food market so that was our next destination. Being a super foodie Emily gets really excited by the many different ingredients. She loves the cut and thrust of local life and there is nothing more real than people putting food on the table. It’s a real snapshot of a place. The smells, the colour, the textures, the characters, it’s all so immersive. You can tell immediately that this place is for locals as I have to duck to get under the tarp roof. The Philippines has an added advantage in that I feel tall here.

We enter the first row of the market in the fish and meat section.

Slowly wading through the bbq smoke to the vegetable section. Shit they do have veggies. Why do we not see these on any menu? At least not in most restaurants we have frequented.

We see a few things that we have never seen before and try to make a mental note to google it but like most people we forget.

The rest of the evening was spent drinking mango margaritas watching the glorious sunset from a gorgeous waterfront bar called La Sirenetta.

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Emily also dared me to take a sneaky picture of this girls back tattoo because she wants the same.

Only kidding Mon and Rob x

Escapade Tour – Coron

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We’ve been holding out on booking this tour in advance because we really wanted some decent weather for it. Alas it got to our final day in Coron and sadly it dawned cloudy. With no more time to wait, we headed down to the pier to book a spot on what’s called the ‘escapades tour’, featuring 3 of the most beautiful beach spots on the islands surrounding Coron. It turned out that we had literally missed the boat and the tour was fully booked, leaving us with the sole option of hiring a private boat.

After negotiating a price we boarded a boat that was big enough for 16 passengers, complete with 4 crew. The wind was pretty strong, sending huge ripples across the sea. The 1 hour 40minute journey time to the furthest Island actually took 2 hours 30mins. To be fair to our skipper, he did a good job of altering the route by going round the island the opposite direction in order to minimise swells and choppiness and gain some shelter. Clearly Gary has plenty of boat experience and was absolutely fine. I on the other hand spent the majority of the journey in a brace position, holding on for dear life as the boat rode the waves, heaving from side to side. There was only one other boat headed in the same direction as us and rather disconcertingly it turned around about an hour into the journey and retreated back home. This did nothing for my nerves.

We eventually sailed into calmer waters and I loosened my death grip on the seat long enough to allow the blood to return to my white knuckles. Gary assumed his favourite position at the bow, taking in the waves.

Our first stop was the gorgeous Malcapuya island which boasted a wonderfully picturesque white sandy beach. We had an hour to explore the rugged coastline here and snorkel before moving on.

The second stop was Banana Island, so-called because of its bendy beach. We stopped for lunch and chilled out in hammocks as we gazed out to sea.

These spots are a little further away than other tours from Coron, making them feel nice and quiet and remote.

We hopped over to Bulog Dos Islands for our final destination which was really epic.

The two islands are joined together by a sand bar which you can walk out on. The sea was such an awesome azure here. It was incredibly windy which really took our breath away, and gave us mental hair.

It’s a real shame that the sun didn’t break through the thick white cloud. We had hopes that it would burn off and bathe the beaches in wonderful light and reveal the pure turquoise of the shallow waters but sadly it stayed pretty dull throughout. It’s such a shame because we’ve seen so many blogs and reviews that feature incredible pictures of the sites. We could still appreciate it’s beauty regardless.

I was not looking forward to the return boat trip back to Coron town, but mercilessly the wind died down slightly and it wasn’t as rough on our return. I still had sea legs and wobbled around for a good hour after we got back on dry land. Coron really has shown us some incredible natural sights and whilst the weather has been underwhelming, it’s still been worth the travel.

Coron Tour

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Yesterday we went on what’s called the “Ultimate Coron” tour. Confusingly, we are staying in Coron town which is on Busuanga island but Coron Island is a separate entity, 20mins away by boat. Coron Island is the main draw in this area and almost everyone comes here to do a tour or charter their own private boat to explore. It’s an imposing and inaccessible jungle clad, limestone island, studded with a couple of magnificent lakes.

As we’ve found with other tours in El Nido, it’s organised chaos here. We were picked up at 8.30 and herded into a busy port area with many other passengers, all looking confused and unsure of which boat they would be allocated. Given that there are up to 6 different set tours, it’s definitely not straight forward.

We were eventually shown our boat and we sat waiting in the sun for a good 40mins as more and more passengers got loaded on. The two benches on the boat filled out and yet more and more passengers arrived, cramming in where they could. Soon there were too many people and they had to just perch anywhere they could. Another example of Filipino resourcefulness or blatant flouting of health and safety.

We eventually got going and made our way to Coron Island, gliding over wonderfully still, turquoise water. Our first stop was Twin Lagoon, accessible by swimming through a jagged arch. Both were gorgeous.

We then headed to a coral garden for snorkelling and onto CYC beach for a fish BBQ lunch. The island and beach was very beautiful but sadly the weather was pretty overcast. We’ve found that the sun makes all the difference here, adding incredible sparkle to ripples in the sea and intense vibrancy to the azure blue of the water and white of the powder sand. We’d heard so much about Coron and seen such perfect postcard pictures of the beaches that it was a little disappointing that the beach wasn’t bathed in sunlight for us.

Following lunch we stopped at a site called Skeleton wreck, where it’s possible to see the remains of a sunken war ship just 6 meters down. There are actually over 10 sunken Japanese warships and merchant ships around these waters, making Coron very popular with divers.

We then went to the star attraction of the island called Kayangan lake. The colour of the lake is unreal. A concentrated, milky aqua, set against dark grey and green jungle. The lake is all the more rewarding for being set in such an inhospitable environment. Accessible by a steep climb, and set within unforgiving, sheer mountains. We were told that sadly two tourists died here last year, attempting a free dive in the lake. A sobering reminder of how remote it is here and the reasoning behind the enforcement of life vests for all visitors. We were both in agreement that the lake would be even more incredible if the sun was out in full force, but is was very impressive nonetheless.

Our final stop for the day was called Siete Pecados. It’s a small protected sanctuary just off the coast, boasting some of the best snorkelling we’ve experienced so far in this trip. A myriad of colours, fish and different coral species. We saw starfish, angel fish and an eel. It was the perfect end to a great tour.

Welcome to Coron

So after the second attempt we finally ended up on the fast ferry to Coron. The previous ferry never left Coron due to bad weather so we had to stay another night in El Nido. Another 4am start so we could make sure we get to the ferry terminal at 5am. I have to say that the organisation for things like this is terrible and the communication is non existent. Anyway…

The journey took about 4 and half hours and we slept for most of it, thankfully. Coron Town is to be our home for the next 5 nights whilst we explore the Calamian Islands. Similar to El Nido and the Bacuit Bay there are a couple of highlights we want to see via tour boats.

Coron Town seems more established than El Nido and not as touristy. It’s still full of trikes and motorbikes and very busy but mostly locals.

After a wander around town we ended up in Altrove, a lovely Italian restaurant, for an awesome pizza.

Our hotel, TreeTops Lodge, is pretty reasonable and a lot cleaner and brighter than the last place in El Nido. After a stroll around the town and talking to a few tour agencies to arrange a tour for the next day the decided to get some lunch over the water at La Sirenta. I have been craving savoury crepes for ages and this place had them on the menu. Result.

The view from wasn’t bad either.

After a couple of Mai Tai / Mango Margaritas and with the cloud cooling the afternoon heat we decided to head to Maquinit hot springs.

Maquinit is one of the very few saltwater hot springs in the world. Located along the southern coast of Busuanga Island, it is one 30-minute tricycle ride away from the town proper of Coron along a rough, curvy road. It is said that the water gets heated by a volcano and springs up into the two-tiered circular pool. Its rough walls are built from stacks of rocks and its floors strewn with pebbles — not very friendly to the soles at first touch but adds a more natural feel, as do the surrounding mangrove forest and the adjacent beach.

When we first arrived we couldn’t understand why lots of people were sat around the edges. Dipping a toe in we understood. The water temp was about 40 degrees. A quick float out to the middle for 5 minutes and we were also sat on the outside trying to cool off. An amazing bonus was that our sand fly bites that had been itching us to death miraculously stopped itching. Result. The springs were so relaxing and our bodies were so buoyant it reminded me of those floatation tanks I have been meaning to try. No need now.