The coastal area of Coron Island known as Twin Lagoon is undoubtedly one of the most impressive geological features in the region, especially when viewed from above.
Some of these large sunken blue holes formed by karst limestone are nearly perfect circles, and the shallow, rocky reefs that surround them are full of marine life. The collapsed areas of limestone form deep pools of blue, differentiating themselves from the shallower surrounding waters.
Many tour guides and boatmen choose the twin lagoon location to prepare lunch since the waters are calm, and there is plenty of space for boats to park without crowding one another. Additionally, visitors can be occupied with kayaking, swimming, and taking their time to explore the lagoons while lunch is prepared on board. There are no shortage of activities at this location.
Swimming The Twin Lagoons
Water activities are of course the most common here at the Twin Lagoons, and while kayaks are only available by bringing your own (check with your tour operator ahead of time if you wish to be on a boat that has a kayak), few pleasures are as simple as swimming from one lagoon to the other.
A collection of traditional tour boats are moored at the western entrance to the large lagoon. This passage is roped off where a soft sandy bottom slowly slopes off to a deep blue hole.
At sea level, everything looks the same as it does anywhere on Coron island: surrounded by sharp rocks that jut directly out of the crystal clear blue-green waters. While this perspective is certainly impressive, it does not compare to the birds eye view.
A small residential hut on stilts above the water, appears to act as a sort of caretaker station at the entrance to the lagoon, but the residents didn’t acknowledge any of the tourists visiting this day. Floating on further into the lagoon means the water is quickly getting deeper; and below your feet you can see the ruminants of a reef system that once flourished here, but is long gone.
At its deepest point, you can’t even see the bottom on a day with bright sunshine. Looking straight downward is surreal, because the rays of light penetrate deeply into the blue… then seem to disappear, swallowed up by the ocean. When you get to the rocks, there are bamboo stairs and a small hole under the rocks that connects the two bodies of water. You can easily float from one lagoon to the other in low tide, but at high tide it requires a short swim.
On the other side, a rock sits in the shallows and the next drop off is just a few meters away. There were several schools of bait fish here, and the occasional predator looking for a meal. It really pays off to be calm and patient in this location and just observe nature at its finest. A number of tour boats park here as well, as entry is possible from the other twin lagoon. Because of this, some tourists will be making the reverse swim to get back to their boats. For us, we can just backtrack and float back to our own boat once we’re done at this location, but it never seems like enough.
This Day’s Drone Experience
It is important to remember that every single island hopping tour in Coron is different. The tour group’s captain and guide use their best judgment to make sure their group has the best experience possible and that often times means switching up the order of the day’s locations to accommodate crowds.
The choice to privately charter a boat, was made specifically to ensure that there would be adequate time to photograph the lagoons with a drone. I had lost the footage from the previous day’s drone flights due to a bad filter, so I had to make sure that I got great footage the following day to make up for the loss.
I spoke with my guides ahead of time to make sure I was lead by people that knew flying a drone was my top priority.
Guides are often times hesitant to recommend locations for tourists to fly since the mountains in the area can be a dangerous obstacle for a casual drone pilot. After all, a guide that recommends a location to fly that leads to a crash, may feel some level of guilt about it.
The number of excited drone pilots seems to far outnumber the concerned boat captains, which does result in many crashes in the tough flying conditions of Coron.
It is rumored that some native Filipinos of Coron Island are very adept at climbing these cliffs and have gained a reputation as drone retrieval experts! While that is comforting to know, watching someone climb a mountain equivalent to a 5 story building just to get your drone out of a tree, would not be a productive use of time here.
After having a peaceful and delicious lunch of grilled squid and pork adobo on the deck of our boat, the Captain was eager to recommend getting away from the entrance to the lagoon before taking off. It was clear that his suggestion was a good one, simply because this area is surrounded on three out of four possible sides with sharp cliffs.
We pulled up anchor and motored just around the front face of the rocks that protected (and effectively formed) the lagoon. Deciding that this was a great place to spend the rest spend the rest of the afternoon, we dropped anchor in the shallow sea. The sandy and rocky bottom was only 2-3 meters deep here.
From this spot it was quite simple to have the drone avoid the rocks, and it was easy to get high enough to fly over them, revealing the true beauty of this location. It really MUST be seen from the air to appreciate it in its entirety.
After several successful flights (which involved takeoffs and landing from the tiny boat) there was time left to snorkel in the shallows (which are still about 6-9 feet deep (2-3m) and visit some of the marine residents of this rocky reef.
Because this location is so close to Coron Harbor, you’re able to stick around until about 4:30pm and still be able to make the Philippine Coast Guard’s 5pm curfew for tour boats. That’s a huge bonus!
World-Class Ecotourism and Water Activities Destination
Coron’s Twin Lagoon is a bit of an anomaly in Coron. First of all, as mentioned in the previous section, it is a very close trip from Coron Harbor. Most island hopping destinations are an hour or more journeys via a traditional Filipino pump boat, so having such a magnificent destination with this much space surrounding it, so close by… that combination is really a rarity.
Secondly, there are more activities available here at Twin Lagoon, than you have time for in one day. From drone photography to kayaking and free diving, the land and seascapes here allow for a host of activities and promote exploration. Because this area is so huge, boats can spread out and not feel so crowded. The large number of safe (and interesting) areas to park a boat are almost limitless… at least by the numbers of current tourism in Coron. Because of the large area that this feature takes up, here is no chance of overcrowding like at the nearby Kayangan Lake.
Lastly, Coron’s Twin Lagoons are a world-class geological wonder. The view from above is something out of National Geographic, or BBC Travel, but yet it is an accessible and affordable destination that has a high capacity for tourists. This is a dream trip for many wander lusters around the world. The ability to swim the crystal clear water and explore the coral formations alongside the marine life that call them home are truly a world-class experience.
In summary, the Twin Lagoon is not to be missed when in Coron. The argument could even be made that a tour boat full of people could spend an entire day around the Twin Lagoon and not run out of activities to keep them busy. Hiring a private boat to do such a day would be ideal if you have a large group; just don’t forget to visit the Palenque first to stock up!
Enjoy your days in Coron and make sure to spend time in Twin Lagoon!