Coron Island Natural Biotic Area
Coron Island Natural Biotic Area is part of the Tentative list of Philippines in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
Coron Island is dominated by Permian karst landscape with spectacular rock formations surrounding beautiful lagoons and 11 crystal clear turquoise lakes, of which 3 have underground connection to the sea. Rare flora and fauna, including swiftlets famed for its edible bird’s nest inhabit the rocky cliffs while coastal areas are covered by mangrove forest and the forested hills is home to the endemic Philippine cockatoo. The island is the ancestral domain of the Tagbanua, who considers the lakes sacred and whose livelihood include maintaining and collecting the bird’s nest.
Map of Coron Island Natural Biotic AreaLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
Coron is a haven. Seriously, it's got the scenic beauty, biodiversity, traditional culture, and the prices and atmosphere of a Philippine provincial town. Coron Island, the center of all the greatness of this place, can be reached by the many day tours offered by the even more numerous pumpboats at the pier of Coron town proper. Tours go to the island itself, as well as marine areas around the island and further outlying islands. Sites visited within the property include Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoon, and Coral Garden among others. Lunch is usually done on one of the beaches of the island, nestled in the middle of walls of jagged limestone. I visited Coron back in October 2013, and I definitely want to go back. We took 3 different day tours via pumpboat to Coron Island, its surroundings, and some outlying islands like the Bulog sandbar, and each day was a day in paradise.
Coron is one of the most spectacular coastal/insular limestone areas in the world. While Ha Long may have more numerous islets and caves, Coron has lakes, lagoons, and rich pristine marine and land ecosystems. Kayangan Lake is definitely the highlight of the beauty of Coron. Climbing up from the shore, one would come across the best, most iconic view of the trip, looking back down towards the lagoons and sheer limestone cliffs of the island. After a steep trek down through the forest, we came to the beautiful green-tinged lake itself, surrounded by more limestone cliffs. The beauty continues underwater, as jagged spikes rise from its depths. The lake is brackish, but it's extremely clear and in pristine condition, with an intact ecosystem of fish underwater as well. Barracuda Lake is much like Kayangan, but it's a deep blue, and there seemed to be less of the stone pillars and more of just the deep blue. We didn't see any barracuda though.
Twin Lagoon is the other highlight, where the rugged coastline forms calm bodies of brackish water in between the peninsulas and islets. Twin Lagoon is called as such because of its secret twin, which can be accessed by swimming only at low tide, when a small opening in the rock leads to a completely enclosed lagoon. At high tide, one must climb the ladder over some rocks to reach it. Other lagoons, like Hidden Lagoon may also be visited during these tours. Coral reefs are also an important stop, and we enjoyed snorkeling among the rich ecosystems in Coral Garden and Siete Pecados, the former being remarkable for all the vibrant colors of its coral, and the latter being particularly memorable for all the fish that swam in our midst, including our breakfast favorite, Danggit. We also visited Skeleton Wreck, a Japanese WW2 vessel, and Coron is known for its numerous wreck dive sites.
Although it's not possible to observe the Tagbanua culture of Coron Island on normal pumpboat tours, I believe the natural beauty and importance of the site and its ecosystems are easily worthy of World Heritage status, although I personally would prefer an inscription together with neighbouring El Nido, which I have read has similarly spectacular scenery and pristine ecosystems.
The property is currently the Philippines' only mixed cultural and natural site in the tentative list, and one that has most potential for inscription.
On surface level, most tourists would be quick to compare Coron with El Nido (another property in the tentative list) in terms of natural landscape, beauty and biodiverity. Hence, there is a need to promote how the culture of the Calamian Tagbanuas - the indigenous group living in Coron - is intimately intertwined with landscape and seascape management of the island, its surrounding reefs and islets. See uploaded photo describing the vast expanse of the property.
Management-wise, the whole Coron has been declared an ancestral domain for the Tagbanuas, making them able to assert their traditional rights and continue their traditional fishing practices. Many of the areas in Coron are classified as strict protection zones, off-limits to tourists, as they are considered sacred fish sanctuaries for the Tagbanua.
2006 Added to Tentative List
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