Coron, Palawan (Day 3)

The third day in Coron started at 3.30 am for us. The reason why the day started way before daybreak was because we wanted to visit the Calauit Safari Park – a safari located almost 3 hours away from Coron by boat. It was a really mind-calming experience to lie down on the boat, watch the sun rise and listen to the sound of the waves as they lapped against the side of the boat. It was a gorgeous day, I love the reflection of the fluffy clouds in the water.

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Coron Bay, Coron

Calauit Safari Park is located on Calauit Island (also part of the Calamian Islands). The safari is special because it is in fact the first successful translocation experiment in Asia. The research question was: is it possible for African wildlife to adapt to a tropical habitat and co-exist with the native animals there? 8 species were translocated to Calauit Island from Kenya. Out of the 8 species, only the gazelles and topis had died out. It is quite interesting to see how animals from Africa co-exist with native animals on Calauit Island, in particular the Calamian deer. Ideally, the animals are free to roam on the island but the people put up fences around the safari area because the giraffes and zebras graze so much, that they are, to a certain extent, endangering the local flora. While they allowed some animals (e.g. giraffes, zebras, impalas) to roam freely within the safari area, other animals were kept in enclosure (e.g. python, porcupine, wild boar). I understand that they enclosed some animals for safety reasons but I don’t see how these animals in the enclosure contribute to the aim of their project.

We had the opportunity to feed the roaming giraffes and Calamian deers with leaves and it was quite fun. We also touched the python, tortoise and small crocodiles in their respective enclosure. I remember it was a really hot day, that was first time in my life where I had to use an umbrella to avoid the sun when we walked around the safari.

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Calauit Safari Park, Coron

We stopped by the Pass Island to have our lunch. Pass Island is yet another gorgeous island blessed with a white beach and clean water. On a separate note, I love the Filipino boats, they are essentially “catamarans” which are geometry-stabilized and thus they do not heave or sway too much. These catamarans may not look fanciful but we certainly felt rather safe sailing on them.

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Pass Island, Coron

Our last stop of the day was the Skeleton Wreck. I didn’t attempt to bring my camera underwater so I do not have any photos. The Skeleton Wreck is essentially a shipwreck and it was actually the second shipwreck that we had seen, the first being the Lusong Gunboat on the second day. There are 14 shipwrecks discovered in the waters around Coron but only 2 could be seen from snorkeling depth. The reason why there are so many shipwrecks in this area was because during World War II, the Americans attacked the numerous Japanese ships at anchor in Coron Bay and around the Busuanga Island. The Skeleton Wreck was a lot shallower as compared to the Lusong Gunboat and that was probably why I have a deeper impression of the former. It was so shallow that we could even attempt to stand on the shipwreck. I must say it was quite creepy to see and touch the shipwreck and the soft corals on the wreck. Seeing the soft corals on the wreck reminds me yet again of how nature mocks us – we had our wars but nature just disregarded what we did and continued to do its own usual thing. It is hard to describe the feeling I had at that time, I just felt very, very small on this planet Earth.

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