We took advantage of the long weekend and headed off on our first trip. We wanted a chill weekend so we chose to go to Palawan. After some trip advisor hunting, we decided to head to the Busuanga Bay Lodge. We were able to get a really good deal from Expedia (half off I believe!) and two weeks later we headed off.
We arrived at the airport and they weighed our bags, ok normal. Then they were like, ma’am, your weight please. What? Please step on the scale ma’am. So, I weighed myself at the airport. We arrived at a tiny airport in Coron with two terminals and easily found our ride from the airport to BBL. We were greeting with music and singing, which was a bit over the top in my opinion, but I guess some people like that kind of thing. All I cared about was the amazing view from the Pavillion.
We had a quick, delicious lunch, then headed over to check out our Deluxe Casita. We were not disappointed by the view, huge room, and oversized bathroom.
We headed down to the waterfront for some kayaking and stand up paddle boarding (SUP). After about an hour of that we got to relax in the infinity pool with some cocktails and enjoy the view. We finished up the day with an excellent meal. They offer a free hike, so we opted to do that on day 2. Our activities planner warned us that it may be too hot to go at 9am, but I assured her that my time doing Bikram CrossFit had prepared me well for a hot hike.
Two people from staff met us with a book about birds in Southeast Asia and we headed off to Conception Falls. To our surprise, one of our guides grew up in Conception. We had assumed the staff had gone to school for hospitality and jumped around from resort to resort, but that was not the case. We asked where he had learned English so well, and he said, “In school, interacting with guests at the hotel, and reading lots and lots of books.” The path to the falls was not built for a tall person, poor Mark had to spend half of it bending over, until the trail covered in arching branches opened up to a vast field with hip high grass.
I was tempted to ask who maintained the trail, then I saw the guides removing branches as we went, everyone did their part. It took about two hours to get to the falls. We arrived hot and ready to jump into the cold water. We even got to climb up and jump off from the top.
We walked back through the town of Conception where the nicest house was owned by the elementary school teacher, checked out the pier, and then took a nap.
We joined two other groups from BBL on a full day tour around Coron. We started by heading out to the Twin Lagoons for a little dip. Some of the water is warm from the ocean, and then there is a layer of cold “fresh water” on top. The lagoons are surrounded by breathtaking limestone cliffs and are filled with unbelievably beautiful water.
Next stop was the famous Kayangan Lake. When you google image search Philippines, this undoubtably shows up. The water is a shade of blue I have never seen before, and everyone takes a picture on the same rock. It’s 150 steps up, then 150 steps down to the iconic lake.
We stopped for lunch on the beach and finished the day snorkeling around Siete Pecados. It was low tide though, which made swimming over the reefs a bit challenging and I believe was the cause of fewer fish to see.
Something didn’t sit right in my stomach. I was up sick all night, thankfully we brought antibiotics, so by mid morning I was feeling better, but extremely exhausted. I only got up to get a massage at 4pm and some plain rice for dinner, then back to bed.
This was a bit upsetting given the cost of excursions from the resort and the fact that we only ate at the resort or on resort trips. I know it’s the developing world, but for that amount of money, I did not expect to get the worst food sickness I have ever had. I was also very thankful to one of my closest friends starting her 4th year of medschool who gave me some advice on an issue with the antibiotics, everyone should make friends with a Dr., they’re useful.
We finally got a day at a white sand beach! We were greeted by a cute 6-month old lab named Homer. The snorkeling was pretty good, though I didn’t get great pictures on the go pro, and the beach was beautiful.
We left Pass Island in hopes of viewing a WWII Japanese shipwreck, but were greeted by a swarm of jellyfish, so that was a no-go. Then we headed back to the resort to catch our ride to the airport.
There were, of course hiccups in the trip. Most notably, getting sick. The resort also couldn’t get our credit cards to work, which was surprising since we both have Visas, so technically we still haven’t paid for the excursions and food. It was suggested that since we live here we should get a Philippine bank account because international credit cards often don’t work. To that I respond, this is the first time our cards have not worked, we have guaranteed fraud prevention and repayment from fraudulent transactions, our cards come with rewards, there are no international transaction fees, we will be moving every couple years, and do you suggest this to all guests? Because, I’m certain you have plenty of international visitors. All those things aside, the trip was, overall, very nice. Excursions were a bit overpriced if you didn’t have a large group, but they’re certainly worth doing. The room was fantastic, especially for the rate we paid, the food was good, the views were amazing, and every place we went was astonishing.