Monday, March 26, 2012


It’s almost a decade when I left the province and ventured my future in Manila.

But from time to time, I visit Ilocos to take a break from the busy life of the city. Maybe a couple of weeks would do to check out what’s the latest buzz on the family including the all our relatives.

Actually, I am already spending my second week of my month-long vacation. This vacation in my hometown would rather be the laid back one after a spin-off in Coron and a planned trip to the mountain regions of the north in the next few weeks.

Nevertheless, I am enjoying the slow-pace of life here. If it would be possible not to time-track everything I am doing, it would be great. I wanted to imitate Nate’s adventure in Pantanal on Grisham’s The Testament where he didn’t need a clock to keep on-track of the time.

Like a new adventure, I took my old bike from the garage and visited the places I’ve never been for the past years. The road was still familiar but the surrounding’s already new. New houses were built and unfamiliar faces welcomed me.

On my joyride, I was able to see my kindergarten school. It’s quite funny to remember how we squeezed in 20 children in an old wooden room. The school is now well maintained and cemented, a bigger room perhaps for the children.

Well, I think I am going to do this more often. Every time I’ll be visiting my province, I would make time to get my bike of the garage and go to the places waiting for my return.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Scuba Diving in Coron, Philippines

On March 10, I brought my mom to Coron to take a break from our daily routines at work. When she saw my pictures a couple of years ago, she started bugging me to bring her there. Fortunately, I found a good deal for plane fares and hotel accommodation.

I can say that our trip was priceless. I can see in my Mom’s eyes how awed she was on the islands of Coron. She even dipped into the waters to try snorkeling and amazed with the underwater creatures.

mom posing underwater

But the highlight of this trip was my scuba dive. On March 15, I was able to cross out one more item on my bucket list before I reach the age of 30. First, I need to persuade Mom to let me dive into the open sea. Maybe, it took more than an hour of negotiation before she said it’s my choice. LOL!

Around 6 in the morning when I started packing my bag with food stuff and walked into the nearby dive shop. There were already a couple of people there preparing for the scuba diving. I also realized that I’m the only Pinoy going to dive that day. All of them were mostly from Europe, Oz and America. I just can picture myself standing there dwarfed with those foreigners.

Anyway, after a two hours boat ride, we were able to reach the East Tangat Gunboat. We had orientation first and then did the shallow diving (along the island’s shore with reef). When everyone felt comfortable with our oxygen, we did the reef diving and reached the shipwreck around 10 meters below.

My first dive was awesome. It was surreal to see underwater creatures dwelling at one of the war ships during the World War II.

lion fish

Next dive was at the Olympia Maru. It has to be done in the open sea and do the back dive. You need to have a good fighting spirit, I must say, because waves are big and you have to fight the strong current. I had more than 5 cuts and scratches here because we need to hold the rope that clings to the buoy.

We need to swim 18 meters down to see the shipwreck. Video below:

I am already hooked with this new adventure. I got my first certificate – Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) though, but surely I’m going back to Coron to take the Open Water Course and have myself licensed as a scuba diver.

To finally cap off the day, we enjoyed an ice-cold beers, fresh catch seafoods and lots of travel stories with my new buddies.

Accommodation: Ralph's Pension House = Php 1200/room good for 2. (Tel: 63915 443 2193)

Tour Package for Day 1 - Php 850/each with lunch. (can be arranged with the staff of Ralph's Pension)

Scuba package by Coron Divers - P3800 for DSD and 1 open water dive. Certificate is optional. (Tel. 63918 6539854/63916 3275757, look for Mr. Arni Pabelonio).