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Tao Philippines - Part 1 of 3

Written on November 15, 2012

From the shipwrecks of Coron to the lagoons of El Nido, and serenity in between.

It took me a month to draft about our five-day Tao expedition from Coron to El Nido. Perhaps it’s because no matter what style I use, my narration will always be an understatement, a cause of injustice to our experience. I originally want to come up with something creative, philosophical or religious, but every time I condition myself, the excitement just keeps rushing in. To make things simpler for me, I will just narrate ten things why you, too, should be on 

Krisolo boat.

1 - Go Island Hopping

Northern Palawan is the home of about a hundred islands in the Philippine archipelago, so when you get to this area, you’ll feel like taking out your sexiest two-piece swimsuit for island hopping and beach bumming. Most tourists flock either in Coron or El Nido; that is why travel agencies densely sprouted in the last three years and arranged one-day trips for them. Though these are good enough, the expedition made me realize there’s much more to see 

in between these towns.

Tao Philippines is the only company that bravely sails through the islands and islets of Coron, Busuanga, Culion, Linapacan and El Nido. With excellent reviews on various international newspapers and magazines, this unique route gradually became popular among adventure-seekers from different parts of the globe. On our first and last days, we were with plenty of trippers because our destinations were the common tourist spots, but for three days, we claimed the magnificence, serenity and sacredness of our island stops. The placid beach walks, pristine waters and unspoiled forests gave us a big break from the hustle and bustle of big cities.

2 - Snorkel and Fish

When we snorkeled in Honda Bay last 2009, I was awestruck with what I saw. I couldn’t believe how rich underwater life is in seawater just about five-feet deep. It was one of the reasons why I told myself I would definitely come back, even if I’m a cowardly swimmer. My second visit didn’t frustrate me at all, and I owe that to Tao. Kuya Romy, our expedition leader, led us to fringing reefs and

shipwrecks enlivened by hard and soft corals and colorful fish. 

I remember passing through boulders (yep, bigger than me), waving at a bat fish, staring at sea urchins, oysters and giant clams, mentally measuring the width of table corals and never getting enough of 

unlimited supply of cabbage corals around Tikling Island.

I wished I did some research beforehand to be able to identify these animals with my mask and snorkel. I wished I could dive so I could take the underwater photos myself. I wished there was enough sunlight during the trip so we could see the creatures clearly. But you know what, even with these hang-ups, I was more than satisfied. I had seen a lot, and I’m very grateful.

In the previous expeditions, the crew said they were able to see dolphins, whales, turtles and even sharks. Nope, we didn’t see any of them. The closest we could feel was a school of tuna chasing after their prey as we were about to go to Helicopter Island. We recognized the attack through the bubble patterns released to the surface. We tried to catch one but to no avail, so for this trip, Ate Anna, the cook, couldn’t use the wasabi she brought for sashimi.

3 - Brave the Weather

Typhoon Marce was with us for five straight days, and it made the weather rainy, gloomy and windy. Rain started to pour on the day we got aboard, and most of the time the sun wasn’t visible at all. From afar, the islands looked gray and the sea dark, yielding a monochrome and dramatic landscape before our eyes. They typhoon also scared the hell out of us. There was a time when we had to stop beneath an island for protection because the rain reduced visibility to zero. Also, when we crossed the Linapacan strait, the huge waves literally rocked our boat and made us dizzy. 

Adventure it was!

The weather was the culprit why I couldn’t take astounding pictures I can show off to everyone. Less sunrises and sunsets, no starry skies and no suntanned skin for my other companions. Iko (SLR) stayed in the bag most of the time. Good thing Ali, our underwater camera, was there to do most of the flickering. On the hindsight, the typhoon let me

  • feel different kinds of raindrops. On our first day, the sky poured so hard the raindrops felt sharp on our skin. On other days, they felt soft.
  • notice the rain slowly curtaining mountains, as if the theater show was over.
  • see how the rain chased after our boat and created innumerable ripples. At times, it seemed to be in a hurry. At times, it preferred hanging out with us for hours.
  • realize wearing a life vest during typhoon has two purposes – for safety and warmth.
  • feel braver at sea. The experience justified the waiver we signed before the trip.

Once in a while, the nimbus clouds would give way to the blue sky but not for long, killing our excitement and hope to feel the tropical sun on our skin. The typhoon was the reason why crossing to islands was a bit slower. It also dictated what time we had to leave and where our next stop was.


  1. Tim Smithson said...
    Im loving this review! awesome places to lurk!
    November 6, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    dan said...
    magpabook na lagi ta para next year! grrrr
    November 7, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    Lakbay Diva said...
    ♥ haaaaayyyyy
    November 7, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    Mustachio said...
    Tao Philippines! I wanna!!! Looking forward to reading parts 2 and 3 :-)
    November 19, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    Chyrel Gomez said...
    Nindotaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!! Please blog soon about part 2 and 3, Kit! Please? =)
    November 21, 2012 at 7:24 AM

    The Travel Teller said...
    Haaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyss. :) I wanna be HERE! <3
    December 3, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    Kai said...
    asa naman ang part 2? *pressurepressure
    January 25, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Chyrel Gomez said...
    Asa naman ang part 2? Hehe.
    September 25, 2013 at 5:01 PM


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