Have you ever wondered what Hollywood, Brasov (Romania) and Coron, Philippines might have in common? Obviously not, but I will tell you: their names, written in huge letters and placed on a high hill so that they can be seen and admired from a big distance. Probably the similarities stop here because, in other ways, they are very different and they are situated on three distinct continents. Moreover, unlike the first two, Coron also has a huge iron cross which is placed behind the letters, a cross built after the old wooden one was completely destroyed by the Haiyan typhoon.
The two adjoining elements have intrigued us since the first day we arrived on the island, so we couldn’t leave Coron unless we climb Mount Tapyas where to admire a 360-degree panorama of the city, but also for a sensational sunset. Although it stands out most, Mount Tapyas is outstripped, in terms of height, by its “neighbor”, Mount Darala, whose peak can be seen very clearly from the observation point. The name Tapyas has a story to share. They say that its name can be translated to “chopped”, and it is being trimmed on a side by the US forces during World War II.
How to get here:
How to get to Coron I’ve told you in previous articles. Although there are various options, I chose to fly from Manila to Puerto Princesa, take the van Puerto Princes-San Vicente-El Nido, and boat transfer from El Nido to Coron. To reach the starting point on Mount Tapyas, you need to find the intersection of streets San Augustin and Nueva. You can do that by walking or taking a pedicab. From here, take a few yards to San Augustin and reach the base of the steps. I hope you are in a good physical shape because you will have to climb more than 700 steps to the top. The good part is that along the trail you can rest on the specially arranged benches.
After 20-30 minutes of climbing, the first stop will be in front of the huge iron cross on which “Welcome to Mt. Tapyas Coron Palawan, Philippines” is written. You already know that you have reached the point of observation, you are situated behind the letters that make up the word Coron, and you can enjoy the beautiful panorama of the city, but also the island of Coron and other islands further afield, which can easily be seen from this point. I recommend you spend here a few minutes, then climb the stairs near the cross and get to a much quieter and less noisy place that I personally enjoyed very much.
In this place, there is a green-roofed turret, guarded by a few trees and beautified by Mount Darala, whose peak rises in the background. We spent some time on the green grass and enjoyed the view, and then we rushed to catch a place in the crowd of tourists, where everyone was waiting enthusiastically, with their cameras, tripods, and telephones to get the best sunset photos. In a few minutes, the sky gained orange and reddish tones, and the scenery became enchanting. It was the gift received after the effort made to climb the 700 exhausting stairs. Well deserved.
10 meters above sea level and a 360-degree panorama are enough reasons not to miss the climb of Mount Tapyas. It was a great experience, but to fully enjoy it, you should follow these tips:
- Visit early in the morning to catch sunrise or afternoon sunset
- Get warm with sporty ladies shoes
- Take lots of water, some snacks, and a photo/video camera
- Dress as lightly as possible because the 700+ steps will make you sweat
- Before you start off, apply your sunscreen cream