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Showing posts from July, 2020

Conquering Mount Tapyas

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Seven hundred and twenty.

That’s the number of steps we climbed today to reach the top of Mt. Tapyas.  From our achorage, we can see the C-O-R-O-N sign lit up every night along with a tall cross and a few cell towers, for added ambiance.

We woke up before sunrise to avoid the heat of the day and started our ascent.  Only seven hundred and twenty steps to go!  Although many tourist attractions here are empty these days, Mt. Tapyas was buzzing with people of all ages getting in their morning workouts.  It was encouraging to see so many people making health a priority in the wake of a lengthy lockdown.  Kindly, the creators of this stairway thought to post numbered increments on the stairs.  Somehow, it made the 720 seem more achievable when broken down into smaller chunks.  Each time we reached a marker, it was a bit of a celebration!  (And a great excuse for a brief rest to catch our breath!)


Periodically, we’d also stop to admire the changing views and spot landmarks down below.  L…

Barracuda Lake - Coron Island, Philippines

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Coron is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines.  Usually, the streets are packed with foreign adventurers, eager to experience all that Coron has to offer, but these days, we’ve got the place to ourselves.  So now that Coron has loosened movement restrictions, it’s time for us to see some surrounding sights.  This time, we opted to visit one of the most renowned dive sites here, an underwater environment that feels like we’ve entered an entirely new world.



Salinity and Temperature Tucked within the towering karst cliffs of Coron Island, lie the warm, cyan waters of  Barracuda Lake.  Formed by sunken limestone rock, this lake contains both fresh and saltwater, with a layer of brackish water nestled in between and heated by geothermal activity.  The changes in both salinity and temperature cause the water to form three separate layers in which light refracts differently and impairs vision.  The separation of varying water temperatures is called a thermocline,…