Coron and the Calamianes – Part 1

Thursday, April 22, 2010




The country’s last ecological frontier. If you are of the more adventurous type and loves bio-diversity then the best place for you to explore is Calamian, composed by the islands of Coron, Busuanga and Culion. These are the islands where to find spectacular drop-offs' deep dives, caves and wrecks and a rich varied marine life. The are more than 500 marine species to encounter as compared to the Caribbeans only 60.

Be aware that there are no fancy 5 star hotels or restaurants here. No Macdonald’s, no KFC’s, no ATM’s, no aircons. So whenever you plan on going here, you’ll be in for an adventure. It’s just between you and mother nature.


Wreck Dives

The area is central to historical marine battles between the US and Japanese fleets during the second World War. A handful of war-torn Japanese ships were sunk during those days most of which were supply cargo ships. Shipwrecks can be found in a depth as shallow as 30 feet and as deep as 140 feet, perfect for sports divers. This is why Coron is one of the favorite destinations for wreck diving sites in the country. Diving enthusiasts, seasoned and recreation divers alike  frequent  here to explore the Japanese shipwrecks of World War, an underwater museum so to speak.

The area around the shipwrecks also have pleasant rock formations which provide for excellent snorkeling opportunities, with underwater visibility extending up to 80 feet.

Famous wreck dives include the Irako, a Japanese refrigeration ship and a wreck teeming with marine life such as big groupers, tuna, yellow fin, lion and scorpion fish, etc. It is possible to go down into a cargo hold at 36m and swim through its galley. Then  there is Okikawa Maru wreck which is a civilian tanker lying in about 26m deep and is the largest of the wrecks. This wreckage is also abound with several species of marine life. Aside from these two, there are at least 8 other wrecks to explore each of which offers spectacular views, diving challenges, and exotic marine species. 

The Cathedral Cave


Not to be missed, is the famous Cathedral Cave, a cavern under the island, also known as “Gunter’s Cave” so-called because it was named after Gunther Bernert who was one of the first group to explore it. The cave illuminates when a shaft of daylight penetrating from a fissure higher up the outside rock face. Breathtaking colorful corals are visible in the area and look out for lobsters and cowry shells. Entrance is through a near-vertical “well” opening, 6 meters deep underneath Coron islands southern-most cliff, then tunnel-dive 12 meters toward the cave. What you’ll see after that is an 8-meter deep crystal-clear water, an awe-inspiring interior adorned by stalactite/stalagmite formations, shiny-smooth limestone walls and an oval rock window through which a single shaft of daylight illuminates the cave’s prehistoric interior.