Coron Chronicles: Life, Celebrities and Crabs

It is fun to engage locals in conversations while you’re on trip. It gives you a better perspective of their way of lives, the history of a particular place and you might even get a snip of their celebrity encounters!

Anecdote #1

Our tour guide, Kuya Ferdie shared that we should not take pity on Coron natives, the Tagbanua because though they may dress and look simple, these guys are actually rich. They have been awarded the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Claim in June 22, 1998 thus giving them the right to over 22,000 hectares of land and sea.

The booming tourism industry in Coron gives them ample resources, in the form of entrance fees ranging from P100-200 per tourist, for gadgets and whatnots that urbanites likewise enjoy. Just imagine how much they earn per day during peak season.

His family was just one of the many tourists enjoying Coron paradise. According to my friend's research, he's an Iranian studying Nursing in Manila.

Anecdote #2

Our boatman, Tay Sitong, an owner of five boats (it used to be seven! O ha!) was lucky enough to meet and service celebrities like Lovi Poe, Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes.

He said that Lovi was really nice and made small talks with the locals. Marian, on the other hand, verified what she is so infamous for in tabloids and in Youtube. Nuff said. Dingdong was his amiable self, the complete opposite of his girlfriend (who according to Tay Sitong, would douse her hand in alcohol each time someone shakes her hand). He made no fuss as market people shook hands with him and he doesn’t mind even as some hug him and take pictures with him.

Side note: There is absolutely nothing wrong with being clean. But there is that fine line between being snooty and being hygienic. IMHO.

Tay Sitong was personally approached by the director  to be casted as an extra in one of GMA’s teleserye where he played a fisherman. Sad thing is, he never got paid. But he said it was ok, though.

Anecdote #3

We hired Tay Sitong’s boat to Malcapuya Island for P3,000. He let us ride on his special boat, named after his granddaughter, Giselle. When you hire a boat for a day, the captain earns P500 while the boatman or spotter gets P300. He decided to keep the P500 to himself as he personally manned his boat and his assistant, Louie, took an absence from school because he may be a local, but he hasn’t been to Malcapuya yet. So he grabbed this chance.

The gang at the View Cliff with our boat captain and owner, Tay Sitong and his boatman, Louie.

A tip after the ride is very much appreciated, especially since they also cook your meals while you bask in the sunshine and frolic in the waters.

Contact Number of Tay Sitong: 0949-8464544

Anecdote #4

This is my experience in the market while buying some crabs for pasalubong. Initially, Nanay (the seller) told me that she doesn’t have a small box for 2 kilos of crabs. So I decided to buy a little styrobox from the next stall for my crabs and went back to Nanay.

Then Kuya Fruits (I call him that because, well, he sells fruits and I didn’t get his name) saw what I was holding and our conversation went like this:

 Kuya: Para saan naman yan? (he asked unsmiling, while pointing at my styrobox)

Me: Para po sa alimango.

Kuya: (in his trying-to-be-masungit voice) Di mo kailangan yan. Karton lang pwede na. Yung pera mo, ipambili mo na lang ng alimango. Isauli mo na yan.

Me: Kuya, nakakahiya naman po kay Ate.

Kuya: Ba’t ka mahihiya eh di mo nga kailangan niyan? Di na rin kayo magkikita bukas. Isauli mo na yan at ihahanap kita ng maliit ng karton.

My fab hat and the man behind me is the nice fellow who packed my crabs. Sweet!

After much deliberation, I did. But since I do not have the heart to return it, I just had it exchanged for a fabulous hat (which I truly love). Kuya Fruits on the other hand went back with a small box, asked for my crabs and proceeded to pack it like a pro. He even placed some bakawan leaves to keep the crabs fresh. What a sweet, huge, goon-looking man!

As a token of thanks, I thought of buying mangoes from him to which he said, “Sa Maynila din galing yan. Dun ka na lang bumili. Mahihirapan ka pa.”  He is such a darling, I swear!

My last attempt was to give him a tip, which he refused outright and I cannot budge him into taking it so I just thanked him profusely for packing my crabs. And just as he promised, the crabs were still alive when I arrived in Manila hours later.

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