There is nothing more breathtaking for me than unspoiled beauty. It can come in the form of an exquisitely preserved edifice, a dish that elegantly brings out the main ingredient’s natural flavor, a perfectly executed musical piece or an unblemished natural site. Truth be told, Coron was a magnificent natural beauty. It looked, felt, sounded, smelled and yes, tasted, unblemished.
Last 17 October to 20 October 2013, my sister and I flew to Palawan for the first time and landed in the Pablo Reyes Airport after a very, err, disappointing experience with Cebu Pacific. Our original flight was at 12:50 in the afternoon. Before that, I had to attend to two meetings, one in Boni and the other one at Buendia. Both started and finished promptly. I got to the airport at 11:30 AM. Lo, our flight was delayed to 2:30 PM. Once we got inside our aircraft at around 3 PM, the staff told us that the airplane had problems with its breaks, and thus, we had to deplane!
Anyway, going back to our discussion of BEAUTY: well, words cannot, in any way, do justice to the entire experience. In fact, even our digital photographs can not fully convey the full beauty of nature witnessed in Coron. In fact, the pictures we took only offer one layer of the multiple levels of grandeur we experienced. If we only had an underwater camera, we could also be able to share a fragment of the celestial beauties of the sea.
I will end this post commending the people of Coron, Palawan for the superb quality of service we received from all the persons we encountered there.
First, our accommodation, the Coron Eco Lodge and its staff, were impressive in terms of service. Courtesy, amiability, helpfulness and most of all, sincerity were very much ingrained and operationalized (too corporate a term, sorry!) in the daily routine of the lodge. If those identify their corporate values, then they should be given a “A+” for truly living out their brand. It felt both like a home but also a professional enterprise.
Likewise, our tour operator, the Nice In Paradise Tour company was an excellent group. Led by the tour guide Ram, we had a safe and successful trip to beaches and islands. The food they served was excellent!
On our first day, we had steamed crabs, grilled fresh parrot fish (really good! the meat was firm, lemony and savory!), chicken inasal, ensalada of lato or seaweeds, adobong pusit, pinakbet as well as fresh fruits. For our second day, we had grilled alumahan (equally fresh!), grilled liempo or pork belly, steamed crabs, lato and ensaladang talong.
Our new friends, a French couple (the boy was a chef) and a Brit traveler, just loved the food. They were amazed at the simplicity and ingredients of the food. And I do concur that they were exceptionally fresh and delicious. One thing though that all Filipinos should be privy to is how they present their food. The opportunity to greatly impress was missed when the dishes were served so plainly on plastic plates and cheap pots. Just imagine how impressed people would be if these dishes were prepared on meticulously cut and folded banana leaves, bamboo containers or other ethnic, local materials?
At any rate, the entire experience was inspiring, with nature’s beauty truly moving and uplifting. No billboards, no loud karaoke machines, no clubs but just pristine and serene people and surroundings.
Upon returning in Manila, the first thing my sister and I did was go to the Pink Sisters chapel and hear Sunday Mass to give thanks for the delightful experience we had in Palawan. May the local officials of these beautiful places like Coron realize that their strength is in their simplicity and in their environment’s beauty. I pray hard that when I return (because for sure I will!), the same quality of air, land and sea AND people will still charm us and inspire us.