MANILA, NOVEMBER 17, 2010 (MALAYA) BY REDGIE F. CINCO - We are now on our final approach and will be landing soon," the pilot proudly said. But even before the announcement, a virtual visual feast had already been on display from our airplane windows. The vast expanse of islands scattered about the lower horizon seemed to act as a teaser to the actual experience of this island destination: Coron.

Less than an hour from Manila via air, one lands at Busuanga airport on Busuanga island, a part of the dynamic Calamianes island group chain on the northern tip of Palawan. From Busuanga airport, Coron is reached via a short 30 minute land trip through cattle fields, meadows and leas.

Upon arriving at the doorstep of Coron, one is whisked into an old town scene devoid of any modern pretensions. This is exactly the kind of charm Coron residents want to project to visitors and tourists alike. In fact, this early, local travel leaders, stakeholders and Coron residents have banded together to study the effects of overdevelopment in other popular island destinations around the country. Of course, they do realize the inevitability of change and development. Their main intention is simply just to curb the debilitating effects of overdevelopment by taking the bull by its horns, as it relates to urban planning, population, water resources management, power, and the environment as a whole.

Truthfully, its old town charms are complemented by various inland activities endemic to Coron. At the center of town and a mere 700 plus steps up is Mount Tapyas. It offers a panoramic view of the verdant landscape of Coron as it sprouts up from the clear and inviting ocean waters. On its view deck top sits a huge cross which locals say was erected by the spouse of a plane crash victim some years back. It becomes even more majestic at night when the cross is lit, making it visible from various spots from town.

There are many a hot spring all over the Philippines and the whole world as well. But Coron is home to one of only a few "salt water" hot springs in the world: Maquinit Springs. A short 20 minutes away from the center of Coron, this unique hot springs boast of a constant 40 degree C temp sure to give modern day spas a run for their money.

Coron also serves as a jump off point for many inter-island activities. Coron Diving has long been a major pull for the town, what with its numerous shipwrecks sunk during World War II. As an added come on, Seadive Resort houses one of five recompression chambers in the country, making divers more secure Coron since Decompression Sickness (DCS) is a major concern in sport diving.

And of course, there is island hopping. Ditaytayan island and Malpacuya island are two of worth ready to give the white sand beaches of Boracay some stiff competition. But it doesnít stop there as Coron has a lot more undiscovered coves and islets awaiting the willing adventurist.

With natureís generous endowment of awesome beauty coupled by the residentís careful approach to its development, Coron promises to be a magnificent eco-tourism jewel sure to entrance tourists at each and every visit.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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