Out in the middle of this October sea, blue-black in the mid-morning sun, shadowy hills and mountains undulating hazily around, it hardly matters that there exists another world to which many of us belong. That noisy and tiresome world that makes unfair demands.
Out here, in this watery expanse, the only sound is that of an outrigger chugging happily and determinedly at a spot in the distance, the white wisps of clouds against the sky’s baby blue my make-believe navigational compass.
There is nothing else that disturbs the wide, mostly placid sea; and beyond, the islands, green and white against the silver-speckled shimmer of deep blue, might as well be hermitage.
Coron in Palawan is NOT paradise—at least, not yet.
But it is the closest one could get to paradise, especially if, by that word, one means a place that’s light, and clean, and the colors stark in the sun, inspiring child-like wonder and awe at Nature‘s raw beauty, as well as a deep reverence for something sublime that only the soul understands, then it, indeed, is Paradise. Mine, in any case.
Once a sleepy coastal village in the southern tip of the Philippines, Coron has woken up to the sight of “paddle-hungry” tourists and vacationers seeking a day or two of relaxation in a secluded island and among its pristine waters.
Time may be spent taking all of Nature in in big gulps, or, as us modern creatures happily replace simply seeing by clicking madly away, for fixing permanently in an eternal moment wildly beautiful images for taking along with us, for seeing again in the future, and for re-living the moment when we are back where we were from, using them as collateral, so to speak, for the bad debts of days ahead, then that’s not time badly spent.
This fishing village is cashing in on the tourism boom so that every other house is a lodging or a pension house, and every other person owns a boat for hire for hieing you off to Malcapuya for an overnight stay, or to picturesque Lake Kayangan, Banana Island or Banol Beach, for a day of sun and sand, capped by a hearty lunch.
The islands of Coron, in tweaked Hemingway, are immoveable feasts for the eyes.
Sleepy no more, the Poblacion of Coron is a hub of expeditions and expectations, and no two island hops are the same. Not, in my case, when I first came here, at the turn of the millennium. Not now, some eight years later, and many developments, not all fortuitous, besides.
Barring mishaps, the boat that takes you out to sea brings you safely back to terra firma, hopefully not against your will. I take a parting shot at that stretch of sea now in subdued colors in the gathering dusk, and sigh.
Under this tranquil sky, beyond the wide stretch of the pacific waters, one forgets that there’s a spot under a different heaven where it is not as tranquil.
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.