Bucket List Item: [x] Go on a safari – DONE!!!
My friend, have you recently fulfilled an item on your bucket list? I do. One item was removed from my list during my trip in Coron. Based on my research about Northern Palawan, I can fulfill an item on my bucket list which is to go on a safari. Since my friends also dreamt of going to one, we chose to go to Calauit Safari when we finalized our itinerary. Though our expected close encounter with tigers and lions never happened, we did have a memorable experience with a close encounter with other animals in the safari. Since it was informed to us that the tour will start at dawn, we place this as our second day activity at Coron. How much? It’s Php 2,600/pax inclusive of lunch, boat rental and entrance.
Call time was at 4:00 AM and we still have our hangover from our first tour. We chose to go to Calauit via boat for more excitement. And that boat ride was more than we expected. Aside from being dark at that time, news said it will rain in Luzon and we were not spared. It was raining with thunderstorm when we were travelling in the middle of the sea! I cruised the sea before for more than a day in a large ship but this one was scarier because our boat was small, we don’t have any electricity and it was really pitch dark! After an hour and a half, the rain had stopped but the waves were bigger till the last 2 hours of our travel. Yes, we travelled from Coron Town to the island of Calauit for more than 3 hours. But don’t worrry because once the sun shines, you will enjoy the different rock formations and clear waters along the way.
“The Calauit Island in Busuanga, Island of Palawan was first declared as a game preserve and wildlife sanctuary by the power of Presidential Proclamation No. 1578 issued on August 31, 1976. This was in response of the Government of the Philippines to the international concern to save the diminishing numbers of African animal population in the country of Kenya, Continent of Africa. The Giraffees at Calauit island was chosen for its relative isolation, size, topography, and vegetation, which provides the necessary environmental variability.” – Source: CalauitIsland.com
Can you travel from the town of Coron to Calauit Safari via land? – Yes! But the length of time for travel is the same. The thing also is you will be dropped of from a port near the Safari and take a short boatride going there.
After docking our boat, we were welcomed by their receptionist and intorduced our guide, Kuya Omar (I think? Forgot his name. Hehe!). A native of Manila, Kuya Omar was very knowledgeable about the history of the Safari, the animals living there, the trees and plants surrounding the area.
We were first introduced to the zebras:
Then to the tall giraffes:
If you want to feed the giraffes, just pay Php 100 for the feeds. You will be asked to go inside a gazeboo with wooden gates which allows you to feed them without the danger of getting hurt.
I’ve been to many zoos but this is the first time that I fed animals up close. I was quite scared after one of the giraffes planned to run and attack my friend because they have an impression that they will be harmed. But they were behaved during this activity. After the short “feeding program”, we rode a 4×4 and roamed more.
Aside from the two animals, Calauit has more to offer:
After the trip, I was impressed by the move of Ferdinand Marcos with this project. Regardless if he started this to preserve African animals or for mere tourism purposes, it was a good move to enjoy the beauty of this island. I just hope our Department of Tourism and Department of Environment and Natural Resources will help them more to preserve the animals and this place.
After spending our morning at the Safari, we went to Black Island for our lunch and bum at the beach. The island’s sand was not black but was creamy white. The “black” on the island are the mountains of black limestones that towers the island. Though it rained during our visit, we still have another activity to do: spelunking!
There were 2 caves in this island and I forgot the names but both have unique stories. One have sparkling stones which the crony treasure hunters of the late Fredinand Marcos dug and found the Yamashita Treasures.
The other cave has a river inside where you can see different shapes including a man on bended knees proposing to a lady. They say that this was also a place where a certain adventure-drama tv show was shot (forgot the shows title).
After staying till afternoon, we rode our boat and went in the middle of the sea to see a shipwreck. Remember the time that we skipped 2 islands on our first day? Instead of asking for a refund, we called our contact at Coron Galeri to include this place on our second day itinerary. Of course, a trip to Coron will never be complete without seeing one of the many shipwrecks found under its sea. Among all the shipwrecks here in Coron, this can easily be seen and touched by snorkeling especially during low tide.
Too bad we do not have any waterproof cameras with us on our trip that we don’t have our own pictures to document what we saw. But the ship was so near that we can even touch the boat and felt the metal with shells sticked to it. Since it was under the sea for a long time, the wreckage became an artifical reef for corals and fishes to thrive. After less than an hour, we decide to go back and head to mainland since the waves were dancing frantically that made me dizzy.
We have so many activities for this day that a second post is needed. Hope you learned something to arrange your tour in Coron this summer or the next.