A week in Coron (Island Paradise) (9/22-10/2)

Trip Start Mar 21, 2006
Trip End Oct 05, 2008

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Flag of Philippines  ,
Thursday, October 5, 2006

I returned back to site on Tuesday after a wonderful week's vacation with seven other PCV's in Coron. The original purpose of the vacation was to get my SCUBA Diving Certification. Sadly I started to come down with a cold the last few days in Iloilo. I completed two days of the SCUBA course including one day in shallow water practicing our skills. It is a very strange feeling to breathe normally under water. The second day in the water I woke up and just did not feel right about finishing the course. I did something I rarely do, I swallowed my pride and competitive spirit and I chose not to continue on with the course. This was a very difficult decision for me, and those of you who know me well, understand how competitive I can get. But it felt very good to listen to what I was feeling and follow that (however emotional the decision was). Prior to coming to the Peace Corps I thought I would learn many of things I can do, up to this point I have learned more about what I can't, which is perhaps just as important. I am slowly realizing I am not as tough as I'd like to think I am.... I know this is a very important realization ... as hard as it may be to admit it!!

I still had a wonderful vacation in Coron and recognize how privileged I am to be on this journey and spend time in the beautiful surroundings of the Philippines. Coron is a quaint little tourist town that up to this point has kept its local spirit (besides many of the Ex-pats that live there to take advantage of the diving). There are no Jollibee's (Filipino McDonalds) and because of the typhoons we were without power for almost half of the week. We stayed at a wonderful little pension and spent our days out on the boats SCUBA diving, snorkeling, going to the local natural hot springs and even had a kayaking adventure.

On Sunday our last day in town Aaron (PCV) and I decided to go kayaking for the morning. We had a nice little paddle to a cluster of islands about an hour from the main Port of town. On the way back we were traveling against the current and the waves started to pick up. Slowly the inside of the kayak began to fill with more and more water and we did our best to bail it out but it kept getting harder and harder to paddle. Thankfully we were close enough to the pier and there were some men working on a docked boat. We tried to get as close as possible but the kayak kept filling with water and we eventually flipped over. We were able to hang on to the kayak as a floating device until we waved down the attention of the men working at the pier. They were able to lower a ladder so we could get out of the water and then with a large struggle it took about eight of them to lift the kayak out of the water. When we flipped it over we realized there was a hole in the bottom and it was filling with water on the inside, hence why we sunk. Needless to say we did not pay for the rental of the broken kayak and we were very lucky to have not been further out in the water. So between the SCUAB adventures, sunken kayaks and beautiful scenery of Coron I had a wonderful week vacation with fellow PCV's.

Next week I am facilitating a workshop for the cave guides and tourism council in Ambongdolan. I will be teaching them the Leave No Trace Environmental Ethics to help preserve their caves. I am looking forward to see how this event turns out. I'm sure I will have plenty to share after next week.

I hope everyone is well, sending love from the Philippines!



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