Locked beyond towering limestone rocks in Coron Island (one of the islands in the Calamian group of islands in northern Palawan), this lake is considered to be the cleanest in the Philippines (if not in Asia). Its calm turquoise water seemed more tranquil once you are swimming in it.
Kayangan lake is one of the most popular destinations for those visiting the town of Coron (situated on the south eastern end of Busuanga island and popular for its dive sites - coral gardens and countless sunken ships). The lake is a short bangka ride out to Higantes Coron Island ("higante" means giant, at a distance the outline of Coron island takes the form of a sleeping giant).
dock area (after some of the boats have left)
We were taken past colossal limestone formations into a small bay. When we arrived, the small beach was packed with moored outrigger boats.
The place is being maintained by the local Tagbanuas (an ethic group in central and northern Palawan and one of the oldest in the Philippines). Each visitor is required to pay Php 200.00 for the upkeep of the place.
view of Kayangan bay from the peak
From the dock area, we have to hike up a steep trail with stairs made of limestone rocks. A great view of the bay below greets everyone at the peak. Its a popular place for getting souvenir photos while catching your breath. Unfortunately, there is limited room thus the view of Kayangan bay from this vantage point is probably one of the most common photos of the place.
down to the lake
From this viewing area, we followed a small trail down that opens up to a pool of calm blue-green water.
snorkeling in Kayangan lake
A wooden walkway runs for a few meters around one side of the lake. This provides visitors a convenient rest area as the lake does not really have a shore.
One could spend hours snorkeling around the lake and exploring small caves on the limestone walls. While swimming around, I saw peculiar limestone formations jutting out of the lake floor and schools of small barracuda-like fishes. It was a real treat and worth the slippery hike. Mere photos cannot do justice to the real essence of the place.
There is one thing that bothers me though: as more people come, the risk of actually polluting the place (and destroying it in the long run) increases. During our visit there, I already notice people with no regard for the place leaving their trash behind. We had to pick up a few empty bottles of mineral water on the hike back. What's more saddening is that some of these trash have already found their way on bottom of the lake.
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