Clean and Green Kayangan Lake

It used to be an almost deserted cove when we first docked here 15 years ago. This time around our boat jostled for space with almost two dozen other motorized outriggers in a now-busy parking lot. The same boats practically blocked the view of the cove at ground level – a mild disappointment. The docking area had also been graded to allow easy access for tourists going on island-hopping tours around Coron Island. And they are now charging an entrance fee to the lake although that was already included in our island-hopping package.

crowded docking area for boats at the entrance to Kayangan Lake

The cove at the entrance to Kayangan Lake can get crowded with motorized outriggers during peak season for tourists.

Still a Sight to Behold

karst formations at the entrance to Kayangan Lake

Karst formations at the entrance to Kayangan Lake

Some things haven’t changed, though, and just as well. More than halfway up the steep slope from the docking area towards Kayangan Lake we could still stop at a view deck and stare down at the beautiful cove from where we came. The iconic view of towering karst formations and crystal-clear turquoise waters still continue to mesmerize. And then it was on to old Kayangan Lake, said to be the cleanest in the country and among the cleanest in Asia.

crystal-clear brackish waters at Kayangan Lake

Kayangan Lake’s brackish water is so clear one can easily spot fishes and other marine life.

And clean it still is. A mixture of salt and fresh or brackish water, Kayangan Lake is still a sight to behold with its crystalline waters offering up to ten meters visibility. Although equipped with masks and snorkels, we didn’t really need them to observe fishes swarming playfully around us. Here and there we would also spy a shrimp or small crab hiding amongst the rocks down below.

Kayangan Lake

Fortunately the pristine beauty of the lake has not changed much over the years. Perhaps the only noticeable difference from the last time we were here is the wooden platform erected on the banks of the lake by the native Tagbanuas that serves as a launching and resting pad for swimmers and divers.

visitors swimming at Kayangan Lake

Swimming in crystal-clear waters

Coron Island’s Karst Topography

Coron's karst topography

What initially attracted us to Coron was its karst landscape. More than 15 years ago we were simply awed by the surreal sight of the primeval towers of limestone that dominated Coron Island. Just the sight of the imposing karst towers surrounded by aquamarine waters was reason enough to visit Coron but the island has many other attractions in the form of coves, hidden lagoons, inland lakes, white sand beaches and coral reefs containing a wide diversity of marine life.

karst formations at Coron Island

Coron Island is characterized by its karst topography.

The Twin Lagoons

Another intriguing destination on the island are the Twin Lagoons, two bodies of water separated by a wall of karst. Boats have to enter a narrow channel to get into the outer lagoon. The latter is surrounded by sheer cliffs of karst and it is easy to assume that the lagoon ends here. That’s until you discover a hole in one of those karst cliffs that leads on to a second, inner lagoon.

entrance to the Twin Lagoons

Approaching the narrow channel entrance to the Twin Lagoons

The hole that leads to the second lagoon is completely submerged at high tide. A wooden ladder has been placed above this hole to allow visitors to climb up the rocks and view the second lagoon. However, during low tide the hole becomes visible and one can swim through the narrow opening – just big enough to allow two or three swimmers at time – to get into the inner lagoon. This lagoon is not as large as the outer lagoon but its size is still considerable and is difficult to negotiate from end to end for average swimmers. Most of our boat mates and other guests had life vests on when exploring the area as the lagoon is quite deep. Like Kayangan Lake, the waters here are also brackish – a combination of salt and fresh water.

view of karst walls at the outer half of the Twin Lagoons

At the outer half of the Twin Lagoons

Despite visiting both Kayangan Lake and the Twin Lagoons twice we won’t hesitate to do so given another chance. And we have yet to visit Barracuda Lake – another interesting destination that is not usually offered on the Coron Island Loop tour package. And that’s not all. There are actually bigger and probably more pristine lakes inland plus a few more coves in other parts of Coron Island that have yet to receive regular tourist visits but have not because they are considered sacred places by the indigenous Tagbanua tribe.

For directions on how to get to Coron, Palawan, and for more information about the Coron Island Loop tour, visit this page.

5 thoughts on “Clean and Green Kayangan Lake

  1. Wow, this really is truly beautiful. The water was so clear and looked amazing to swim in. Karsts are always amazing to see, and these were no exception.

    1. The water here is so clear you can see small shrimps several meters below. There are two more larger and even more pristine lakes inland but very few have seen them because they are considered sacred by the local tribe and off-limits to visitors.

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