CORON – The birthday getaway: Day 0

I am not really sure how to write the intro for this blog entry especially after realizing that this is one of those “too-late-to-be-posted” type of  content. This is a story that took four months in the making, simply because I keep on procrastinating about it. God, how I love that word. But hey, summer season is here so I’m guessing this entry would fit in just nicely.

You can call it mid-life crisis or something like that but around this time last year, I had this feeling that I need to do something outrageous once in a while. So right after my Puerto Princesa trip with my mother and bro, I impulsively booked myself a flight to Coron, Palawan right in time for my birthday. I booked it during one of Cebu Pacific‘s Piso Fare promo so the roundtrip ticket only cost me less than 1.3kPHP, such a great deal seeing that the year-round fare is at 5.8k – one way.

The period between March until December was full of excitement and uncertainties. Excited because this will be my first time flying on my own while feeling uncertain because my mom would not let me travel alone and I’m finding it hard to look for a suitable travel companion. In the end, I finally convinced a friend (and her sister!) to join me though they’ll be flying the day after my flight.

Everything went well and fast-forward to November, we were simply counting the days off until our Coron trip when Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) made its landfall in the Philippines. To those who might have missed it, Typhoon Yolanda is the deadliest typhoon that struck the country, leaving at least 6,000 people killed and 1,000 missing. While Samar was the point of Yolanda’s first landfall, it crossed the Visayan region and eventually made its final landfall at Coron, Palawan.

With less than a month prior to our trip, my friend and I were unsure on pursuing the trip. We have been watching the news and it rarely mentioned the situation of Coron. Given the overwhelming damage that Samar and Leyte received, it was quite understandable that the media was primarily focused on those areas.

Two weeks later, updates on Coron’s situation broke into the social media. Photos of blown roofs, damaged boats, and fallen trees circulated the Internet, alongside with the appeal for financial aid and the hope for rehabilitation. Resorts and inns started updating their Facebook pages on their status – a few damage boats, no electricity but business as usual. And they are desperately in need of visitors to bring the local tourism back to its feet.

It was the sign we were looking for. We sent an email Travelbook.ph to check if GLC Lodging House (the inn we booked with them) is already back in business but got no reply. So much for Customer Service, I’d say. Luckily, we managed to get the inn’s number after a quick Google search. Yes, they’re back in business. No, electricity isn’t back yet but generator’s running so it’s all good.

And so, December 1 arrived.

My constant travel buddy Uno of Where’s Uno says hi. Naks, parang travel blogger lang si Uno.

IMG_3280

I am no aviation expert but I heard that Busuanga airport has a shorter runway compared to other aiports so that is why they are using smaller planes such as this:

IMG_3283

IMG_3284

IMG_3287

IMG_3291

Just had to take a shot of this. Those white spots are the condominium roofs from Pico de Loro Cove in Batangas and I’ve got a company event the day after I get back from my Coron trip.

IMG_3293

IMG_3296

IMG_3297

IMG_3298

Welcome to Francisco B. Reyes airport of Busuanga Island, Coron, Palawan. Even prior to landing, I could already see the damage caused by Typhoon Yolanda through the number of bent and fallen trees in the island’s surrounding hills. And upon touchdown, this is the sight that greeted me – peeled-off roofs, glass-less windows, and missing letters from the airport signage:

Francisco B. Reyes Airport - Busuanga

Francisco B. Reyes Airport - Busuanga

A van was already waiting for me outside the airport together with a man carrying a sign that says, “GLC Lodging House, Guest: *insert the weirdest version of my name here.” I was totally hesitant on approaching him, unsure whether it was actually my name on the sign. “Excuse me po, erm, ako po ata yung nasa sign niyo.” He confirmed my suspicions so I had my bag loaded and took the front seat.

The 1-hr drive from Busuanga to Coron would have been so quiet if it weren’t for my fellow passengers who happened to be from DSWD. Apparently, they flew to Coron to assess the post-Yolanda situation and note any help needed. They chatted up with the driver on what happened during and after Yolanda hit Coron, who gamely narrated their rehabilitation efforts and ranted on how the media kept on exaggerating the news. According to him, the road that connects the airport to Coron was not passable after the typhoon due to the volume of fallen trees. Knowing that the airport is the fastest way in and out of the island, the locals gathered together and worked on clearing the area, making the airport accessible just  two days after the typhoon. Relief aids were received and distributed at once while tourist boats were repaired almost immediately to ensure that tourism businesses will resume as soon as possible.

IMG_3304

The van dropped me off in front of a compound with a big sign that said Rudy’s Place. I was a bit confused at first but apparently, Rudy’s Place and GLC Lodging House were owned by the same family, quite explaining why they are within a single compound. I was greeted by an elderly man and a young woman who lead me to a cozy-looking house with four rooms. Apparently, I was their only guest so the first room was given to me. There was no electricity in the house but they reassured me that they have a generator that will start supplying power by 6PM.

Since waiting for the power supply did not look that appealing to me, I left my bags in the room, grabbed my keys and hailed a tricycle headed to town. At sundown, Coron was a bit dark with all the dead streetlights. Very few establishments, mostly hotels and food chains, were ran by generators while the rest are lighted by candles. Not wanting to eat dinner in the dark, I walked around and found Big Mama’s  Pinoy Hot Pot and Grill. Its bright lights, outdoor fans, and loud music sure enticed me to have my dinner there so I sat down and ordered a plate of good old tapsilog (Php150, le gasp!). 

I did some grocery shopping after dinner and headed straight back to the lodging house. With the generator already running, the house did not look as gloomy as it was earlier but I was informed that they will be turning the electricity off by 11PM to conserve gasoline. It was already half past 9 so I barely had two hours to freshen up, recharge my gadgets and go to sleep. Things didn’t go as planned as I lay wide awake until I heard the power shut down. I tossed and turned in the dark hoping to get some sleep but the heat took its toll on me. I tried reading a book, playing with my 3DS, and even watching a movie to tire my eyes out but to no avail. Electricity went back on at 5AM, the aircon started running again, and that is just when I was able to fall asleep.


NOTES:

  • First post took longer than I expected. Watch out for the next installment and hopefully, there will be less words and more pictures.
  • I booked my rooms via Travelbook: GLC Lodging House at Travelbook. You can contact them directly at 0949 859 3333.

2 thoughts on “CORON – The birthday getaway: Day 0

  1. Pingback: CORON – The birthday getaway: Day 1 | doraymanlalakbay

  2. Pingback: CORON – The birthday getaway: Day 2 | doraymanlalakbay

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s