Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The clock stops in Coron, Palawan

If you want to have a quiet getaway, try exploring Coron or the Calamian Islands Group on a weekend.Super Ferry 19 (Our Lady of Good Voyage) goes to Coron every Friday afternoon.

It departs from Manila Pier 15 around 4 p.m. and arrives at 5.30 in the morning the next day, just an overnight trip.

When you’re there, enjoy whole day island hopping, take a banca and go around Coron Island and discover its coves, lakes and lagoons.

The best one is the Kayangan Lake, a picturesque postcard perfect with its limestone cliff and very clear waters. Kayangan Lake is considered the cleanest lake in the Philippines.

Then take a dive at the Twin Lagoon. Twin Lagoon’s separated by limestone cliffs with a small
underwater tunnel. Snorkel around Siete Pecados, according to travel books most of corals around Coron Island are dead except for the Siete Picados. There’s one huge corals in Siete Picados, our bankero-cum-tour guide calls it The Last Supper.

End your island hopping by taking a dip at the Maquinit Hot Springs.Before you depart for Coron Pier for your trip back to Manila, end your visit by climbing up the 775-step Mt. Tapyas.

When you visit Coron, don’t forget to bring your camera then grab a very reliable backpack, slippers, plenty of sun block, shades, towel and extra shirts.

I forgot the name of this bankero-cum-tour guide na mura ang bayad. We hired his boat whole Saturday afternoon. Usually, people are tired to explore the place after arriving from the port of Coron.

So just rest in the morning, enjoy your bed till noon time and tour the place in the afternoon.And if you are not a beach addict you can tour and enjoy Coron in one afternoon.If you want to be free from the traffic and pollution, away from a challenging life, try to spend one weekend in Coron.

No matter how far, Coron is simply the best weekend getaway you can get.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Opol Aviary

Rupert Domingo and friends introduced wild water rafting in Cagayan de Oro City in June 1995.

Locals embraced the new sports adventure and it spread by word of mouth among locals and tourists.

In 1999, four years after being touted as pioneers in the wild water rafting business, Domingo, 44, ventured into collecting lovebirds.

"My parents have a 2,000-sq.m. lot in Taboc in Opol. The place hasn't been industrially maximized so we put up a nipa hut there and that was where I placed the birds. It became our place to unwind," he says.

He says it was just experimental, with "bird cages made of used billboards then."

Then the word spread out, close friends and rafting buddies became eager to see his bird collection.

"From one group of friends to another, they visit the place in Opol, especially after a few runs from water rafting," he adds.

This helped him come up with an idea of developing the area for public viewing.
With the creation of an aviary, he hoped that birds and its environs would be appreciated by people.

Today, Opol Aviary, the only one in Misamis Oriental, welcomes children and adults from nearby towns."

Visitors in the aviary are mostly students and guided by their teachers. Dropping by at the aviary becomes an activity during out-of-school exposures. Some visitors are backpackers and travelers going to Iligan City," he says.

The aviary, which houses more than 200 species of animals like birds, rabbits, fish and deer. It does not get any financial support from the government.

In October 2005, the family poured out P800,000 to put up a high beam for its 25-feet aviary."

This is entirely at our own expense and providing for the maintenance including sanitation. Birds and other animals are once a month inspected by the city's veterinarian. Other than that, we also pay the personnel manning the aviary," Domingo says.

Opol Aviary collects P30 entrance fee for adults and P20 for kids."

And I think this is the only aviary in the Philippines where senior citizens get a free tour," he says.

How to get there:

The aviary is about 9 kilometers from Cagayan de Oro City.

Take a jeepney that plies the route El Salvador or Opol from Bulua terminal.

Tell the driver you're going to the Opol Aviary.

Roundtrip jeepney fare would cost about P30.

If you want an air-conditioned ride, take a taxi from the city.

One-way fare would cost you around P100. For reservations, call (088) 8571270.