Coron 2017: Frugal Mode Tourists

June 07, 2021

(πŸ“·: Inoh)

This trip happened 4 years ago. Yup, it's been that long and I have not written my travel log for this! ☹️ Because the events have happened several years ago already, bear with me as I try to recall the memories I have made during this trip. There were lots of things that stuck with me up to this day, and you will know why when I get to those parts. πŸ˜‰

In traveling locally, I just always tag along with the plans of my colleagues. They know the best sites to visit in the country. I've been with them to Cagayan de Oro and Camiguin, Cebu, Danjugan Island in Negros Occidental, and Sagada! For the second time, our counterparts from abroad joined us for this huge team building to Coron! Writing this today during the pandemic made me realize how much I really crave social interactions with my colleagues. These out-of-town trips really made our bonds stronger through the years, and the connections we have established with each other (including higher-ups like the directors and vps who were with us in this trip) have been very useful as we supported each other remotely this time. 😭

This trip really stood out to me because interestingly, I was able to experience Coron in two ways - first as frugal backpacker tourists, and second as VIPs in an exclusive resort. 

How did that happen?

The official trip dates of our office team building were just 3 days and 2 nights in a lush exclusive resort in Coron (clue: it's the same resort BTS went to when they visited the country LOL). Some folks from the Manila team (including me!) wanted to experience Coron in a longer period, so we decided to fly to Coron a few days earlier. But we don't have the budget to stay in an expensive resort. So we decided to stay in a cheap backpacker hostel during the first days of our stay, then we would just officially join the rest of the team in the exclusive resort a few days after. That's the plan that we laid out and executed.

Here's the highlights of our first few days in Coron as backpackers.

Travelled to Coron via Ferry
I'm not referring to those fancier ferries out there. We travelled in the cheapest ferry transportation, I think, wherein both people and cargo are travelling with us. April Rose is the ferry's name. The baggage fee here are way way cheaper compared to the plane, that's why it came to no surprise when we saw a lot of huge boxes with passenger items. In fairness, we were booked in an airconditioned room full of bunk beds (although I could remember particularly the smell of the AC inside that room will make you think that the space was already over capacity with what the AC could handle πŸ˜…). We travelled at night and were set to arrive to Coron in the morning.

It was during this trip that I realized that I'm very close already with my colleagues (I was with Pril, Annie, and Inoh here) that we were already comfortable being in this kind of situation with each other. I could still remember that none of us thought of bringing food and we realized we were already hungry. Good thing Inoh was able to secure us some rice and hotdogs for dinner from the food supply on the boat. I remember laughing with Annie and Pril telling each other that we would indulge ourselves with the most delicious food when we arrive in Coron. πŸ˜‚

It was also during this trip that Annie and I had some deep conversations. I learned more about her family history and the learnings that they had along the way. My takeaway from our talks was that it's important to have social skills that enables you to connect and respect people from all walks of life. That's how her family found their success. I have always admired how her husband is such a social butterfly (during that night, Inoh was already exchanging drinks with the boatmen πŸ˜‚). I really learned a lot of life lessons from Annie that night.

It was also during this time that we attempted to talk to Pril about something, but we backed out because we weren't able to find the right timing. Honestly, my opinion about that matter (up to this day) is that I was in no position to have an opinion in the first place LOL. It's her personal life and we're all adults so we don't need other people's supervision. What I told myself, and I have proudly followed this through the years after, was - if someone asks, I'll tell the truth. I won't hide anything. As of this writing, fortunately, they're still together and they seem happy. That's all that matters.

We were awake early in the morning (still on the ferry) and I was just amazed to see the view of the calm sea at that time. It was a memorable scene for me because I could see the horizon in 180 degree view. I could see the moon setting on the other side (yes it was a full moon that night, I remember!) while the sun was rising on the opposite side. It was a surreal view, one that I would rarely see in my life. πŸŒžπŸŒ•

We met E in Coron (our adventurous team counterpart who flew in from the US). He told us he would have wanted to join us in the ferry ride, but we told him it was not really worth it for him. πŸ˜…


Sightseeing in Coron
These people I'm with were all outdoor beings so thanks to them, I was able to experience a lot of nature during our first few days stay in Coron. 😊

Atop of Mt. Tapyas (πŸ“·: Inoh)

At the rooftop of our hostel, playing cards late at night, after a few shots of soju (πŸ“·: Inoh)

Of course I'm the one in rash guard. πŸ˜… Inoh was practicing landscape photography then that's why he had all his camera gear and his photos were amazing.

We hired a boat for island hopping and we were able to eat lots of delicious seafood that the boatmen prepared for us (full disclosure: I liked our lunch that day better than the fancy one we had with the whole team a few days afterπŸ˜…). 

I just realized now, writing this, that I was the fifth wheeler in the group LOL. But I didn't really feel that when I was with them because everyone was very accommodating. We just had to speak in English all the time because E was with us. πŸ˜‚ Hmm there were a few awkward moments in the hostel LOL but meh, I just minded my own business. 

These were really fun times. I can't wait to travel again with these peeps again in the future, after this pandemic (with only the two of them I guess this time, due to logistics and other factors πŸ˜…). 

~o~

Names slightly changed for confidentiality.

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