After dropping our things at the house, we headed out to look for someplace to eat. Ms. Tess suggested that we try Lolo Nonoy's, since it's been receiving good reviews from guests. So off we went to Lolo Nonoy's to have our late lunch. The food was great. It's the lutong bahay (home cooked) type. Jen and I had menudo, my favorite. We exchanged stories while eating and simply relaxed.
We finished our lunch past 3 p.m.. Our town tour was scheduled at 4.30 p.m., so we headed back to the house. It drizzled a bit when we were eating, so we decided to head back while it's not yet raining. Every time I visit a province and look around, the simplicity of life in the country never fails to dawn on me. This trip was no exception. Walking along the streets of Coron, I felt how slowly time passes by in the country, unlike in the city when everyone seems to be in a hurry so as not to be late for his or her meeting or whatever appointment.
When we reached the house, we rested a bit and prepared for the tour. At 4.30 p.m., two tricycles were already outside the gate, waiting for us. Our first stop was the St. Augustine Church. There was an activity for kids inside the church when we got there. Someone was leading the rosary. Some people say that if it's your first time inside a church, make a wish and it will come true. I do that every time I'm in a church for the first time. Did my wishes come true? Well, I couldn't remember my wishes anymore, so I don't know if they came true. Haha! At St. Augustine Church, I made a wish, which I will keep a secret. Will it come true? In due time, yes it will. I believe. :)
Our next stop was the Coron Municipal Hall. Another great photo opportunity! So we took out our cameras and clicked away.
We passed by the souvenir shop, but we didn't stay too long because we'll still go there on our last day to buy pasalubong (treats from a trip that you give to your family or anyone close back home). After that, we went to Mt. Tapyas.
The road leading to Mt. Tapyas was inclined. We could tell that the driver was having a hard time driving the tricycle up the incline, what with five of us there. Three of us went down for a while because we thought we needed to rearrange ourselves so that the weight would be evenly distributed in the parts of the tricycle. But to our surprise (and HUGE laughter), when the three stepped out of the tricycle, the tricycle sped off, leaving them behind. Ate Micah and I (we were left inside) couldn't stop laughing. Good thing Mt. Tapyas was already close when that happened.
At the foot of the mountain awaited the 724 steps that we had to climb to reach the peak. 724 steps!!!! Are you crazy? That's... a lot. None of us climbs mountains on a regular basis. In short, we're not really hikers. But are we up for the challenge? Of course!
So there. We climbed the MANY, MANY, MANY steps of Mt. Tapyas. Going up the first hundred steps was fine. A hundred didn't seem a lot. On the 100th step, we posed and took a picture of ourselves. And we did that on every succeeding hundredth steps.
The ascent to Mt. Tapyas was exhausting. But we were consoled by the panoramic view of the islands that greeted us as we went higher. It could've been fantastic if not for the bad weather, but beautiful nonetheless.
At last, we reached the 600th step. Just a "few" more, and hooray for us. I was behind my friends. With tired legs and severely depleted energy, I managed to climb up the remaining 124 steps. When we were about to reach the top, we goofed around and pretended that we were reaching the summit in slow motion. Our friend JM waited at the last step and took a video of us climbing in staged slow motion, with facial expressions to boot. Wahahahahaha! It was crazy!
Four of us - Jen, Ate Peps, Ate Micah, and Ate Ivy - bought Gatorade energy drink from the kids who were with us during the ascent. And because we were so hyper and crazy, and because all of us have a background in media, we decided to shoot a Gatorade commercial! Wahahahaha! I'll post the video when the person who has it uploads it in Facebook.
Then, we saw dark clouds hovering on one of the islands. Rain. Any moment, those rain clouds would visit where we were. So we decided to go down after taking a bunch of photos and shooting the crazy commercial. Then, it started to drizzle. And rain poured. We hurriedly went down, careful not to slip. We scrambled for shelter. We found one midway down, thankfully. But we were drenched.
We waited for the rain to stop before continuing our descent from Mt. Tapyas. Our next stop was the Maquinit Hot Spring. It was far, and the road going there was dark. We got there at around 7 p.m. We were about to change into our bathing suits and rain poured again. We might get sick if we push through with it, so we just decided to go back to the house, foregoing our hot spring experience. The payment could no longer be refunded, but we didn't care anymore. We just wanted to go back. And anyway, we would go island-hopping the next day. We would have enough encounters with the water. Haha!
Exhausted and drenched and hungry, all we wanted at the end of our first day in Coron was to have dinner and to bathe. We stopped to buy food at a local eatery, brought it to the house, and took turns bathing. We also viewed the photos taken using our cameras and basically chilled out. We all looked forward to the next day, hoping it wouldn't rain so hard.