coron day 2: the lakes and the fishies / by mmkeyes

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Day two was nothing short of incredible. Due to minor jet lag, we all woke up at 5. We had a traditional breakfast at a little place called El Bistro before heading out on an island hopping tour. Along with two Filipino friends we had met the night before, we took a private tour to a bunch of sites we wanted to see in the area. Because it was private, our guides took us to the sites in an order that allowed us to see them alone--without twenty other tourist boats. It made for an unforgettable day. First Stop: WWII Shipwreck

This was such a unique experience! We snorkeled around a Japanese shipwreck from World War II, with beautiful fish swimming around and inside of the eerie shipwreck. The site above water was amazing, and the sites underneath didn't disappoint.

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Swimming there with Brandon is one of our guides. He was an insanely good swimmer! Your ears experience intense pressure when you dive deeper than about 12 feet, but this kid could go as deep as you please. He'd disappear for a couple minutes at a time, popping up in a completely different spot, still not even gasping for air.

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Second Stop: Unplanned Snorkeling

Thanks to our Filipino friends who spoke Tagalog, we were able to communicate more than we normally would have with our guides. Because of that, they understood our desire for good snorkeling and made an unplanned stop for us. At all of these sites, there's a fee charged. There's always a guy paddling around on a boat, collecting money from the tourist boats. Where the money is actually going is the question everybody wants answered, since these islands are often inhabited by extremely poor groups.

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Third Stop: Twin Lagoons

This place was bizarre! Two lagoons are adjoined by a small water passageway small enough that you have to swim under it to access the second lagoon. It's only available at low tide.

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The lagoons are a combination of freshwater and saltwater which leads to a crazy swimming experience. In some places, it looks like you're swimming in oil; in other places, it's crystal clear. It also has really dramatically-changing warm and cold pockets.

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Our guides took us to a hidden rock that we could stand on for better views of the lagoon. As slippery and small as it was, we managed to get all four of us on there at once. Our watershoes saved our lives so many times on this trip.

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We had this amazing lagoon all to ourselves
We had this amazing lagoon all to ourselves

Fourth Stop: Kayangan Lake

We stopped at the entrance to Kayangan Lake for lunch. We reconnected with nature by eating a lunch that looked like this:

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Pretty sure we had snorkeled with that fish earlier in the day. Little did we know, we had many more meals like this headed our way.

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Kayangan Lake is the most famous site of Coron, and possibly of all Palawan Province. It's the cleanest lake in the Philippines. The boys especially were in heaven, jumping off the wooden dock path, diving as deep as they could, and exploring the rock formations underwater.

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The rock formations reminded me of an ice castle. It was absolutely stunning. And really sharp, guys. Once again, the water shoes saved us.

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We spent a long time at the lake, swimming around and exploring. 

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The guides also took us to a secret cave with a deeper, small passageway that Brandon and Travis decided they just had to swim through. They're insane. They barely fit through it, and it was about 12 feet underwater. It gives me claustrophobia just thinking about it. 

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 Fifth Stop: Siete Pecados

Our last stop of the day was a snorkel spot. It was shallow and crystal clear. And it definitely had more than siete pecados.

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We were also creepily stalked by a protective fish. It would just sit and stare at you and then suddenly make a beeline for your head.

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We fed the fish bananas

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Here was our group for the day--us four, our two Filipino friends, and our guides. Believe it or not, the two younger boys who were our guides are 28 and 21.

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After we got back from our tour around 5, we walked around town and had dinner at a place called Santino's where we had ribs, guyabana juice, and fries. Later on, as we walked the town some more, Brandon and I got a strawberry drink that probably had more sugar than anything I've ever eaten (which is saying something), and then he made me try on this super cute hat that you're jealous of.

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A tempting buy, especially since, despite having put on 50 SPF sunblock three times during the day, I got fairly burned on my back. Not cool, sunblock. I trusted you.

I had to step up my game the rest of the trip to avoid more burn. The sun is brutal in the Philippines. The boys went alone to get another massage, since the thought of someone digging elbows and fingers into my sunburn wasn't appealing to me at the moment. Jessica and I ran into the Elders on our way home, though! They told us that a new branch had just been opened up in Coron a few months prior. The work moves forward!

Our first full day was going to be hard to top, but the Philippines had so much in store for us!