A few weeks back, we announced an open invitation for women who want to go on assignment with the Sole Sisters. We get invites for trips on a regular basis, so we need more women to travel and document their adventures for the blog.

This assignment was to document the Kasadyaan Festival of Coron. It was a place that we've been going to several times over. And we wanted to share the experience to other women travelers out there. This time, we chose Mary Rose of DIY Trippers to bring a friend and experience magic of Coron, Palawan at fiesta time. Here's her story:

In the Philippines, festivals have always been a part of the Filipino culture which is celebrated in every town all over the country.

The island of Coron is no exception.

Kasadyaan festival is Coron’s day of thanksgiving to their patron saint San Agustin which has brought 23 barangays together for the celebration. It was held on August 28 and I was privileged to witness it.

I arrived in Coron a day before the festival and from the streets alone, I can already feel the spirit of fiesta.

Colorful uniformly-cut banners hung on every corner. Loud music was playing somewhere. We didn't know where it came from but our instinct told us to follow the sound. So we did and we found ourselves in a park packed with people and stalls. And just like a time warp, I was brought back to the town where I grew up. The town I left 7 years ago. The simplicity of the life of the people and the simplicity of the things that brought them happiness reminded me of how it was back in my little home town in Bislig.

Kasadyaan Festival Coron Palawan15

We walked in a narrow street beside the stores that sell souvenirs, home decors, t-shirts, accessories and toys. Window shopping, as I may call it, enjoying the colors of the display. I also grabbed the opportunity to buy pasalubong for my friends back home. I added a few cute colorful bracelets to my collection which are my tokens to remember every trip. As I turn to another corner, I see enticing street foods like cotton candy, pancakes, shake and dirty ice cream. The simple food I used to enjoy when I was little.

I missed these simple things.

After the short walk in the park, we walked back home. The streets were so busy, maybe because everyone is preparing for tomorrow's big day .

We wanted to experience the town more so we did not consider riding a tricycle. We knew we’ll never get lost because it’s just a small town with intersections that are never hard to remember. I was probably overconfident about walking and finding our way back because we soon took a wrong turn and found ourselves pleasantly lost. Luckily, these sweet and playful kids helped us get back to our hotel and even just a simple “thank you” made them happy.

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The day of the festival was the busiest. It started with a street dance, followed by a dance competition in an open court. Looks like everyone else already secured their own spot to get a good view of the dance competition. So we had to find ours too.

Kasadyaan Festival Coron Palawan12

Kasadyaan Festival Coron Palawan13

It was a little bit challenging how we tried to slip through the crowd to get a good view of the presentations. But with a little “excuse me” here and “excuse me” there, they were kind enough to let us through.

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Kasadyaan Festival Coron Palawan5

The sun came up to celebrate with the people of Coron. It was a hot day but it never bothered the dancers who came in full costume which seemed to wrap their whole body. Some even had their entire bodies painted!

They danced barefoot but with grace on their feet and smiles on their faces.

The festival ended with the most anticipated coronation night of Mutya ng Coron. The crowd from the afternoon’s event got even bigger. Representatives from each barangay were there to show support. They clapped and cheered whenever their candidate was presented. All young lovely ladies represented each of their barangays with grace as they walked in their long gown, swimsuit and delivered their answers during the question and answer portion.

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Kasadyaan Festival Coron Palawan3

The festival wasn't that fancy but people’s smiles and laughter made it grand.

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To be able to visit Coron is a dream come true. I did not only swim in its turquoise lagoons and climbed its vast green mountains.

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Kasadyaan Festival Coron Palawan2

I also experienced celebrating its fiesta and met a lot of beautiful souls.

Kasadyaan Festival Coron Palawan1
Photo Credit: Noli Gabilo
How to Make This Trip Happen:

- PAL express has daily flights from Manila to Coron (Busuanga) for 4,600 PHP round trip while those living in the Visayas area can fly from Cebu to Coron at the same rate.

- Numerous accomodations are available in Coron. If you would like to be at the town proper and stay close to the sea, head up to Sea Dive Resort which has an affordable rate that starts off at 450 PHP-1,600 PHP/night. One can also dine at their Seafront Reastaurant and Bar which has a beautiful view of the ocean.

If you want to be in the mountains then Daven's Palace is the right fit for you. It's just right across the entrance of the famous Mt. Tapyas. Their overnight rates start at 1,900 PHP (good for 2)-3,400 PHP( good for 4). You can also indulge and stay at Asia Grand View Hotel, just a 2-3 minute ride from the town proper. It's a beautiful hotel situated in a perfect spot where you can walk on their mangrove trails while you try to identify all the birds that you can spot. Rates starts at 5,000 PHP-7,000 PHP. And the epitome of luxury in Coron will be at Two Seasons.

- From the airport, one can hop on a van and head to the town proper for 150 PHP and from there you can catch a tricycle that will take you anywhere with fares starting from 10 PHP.

- Be on the streets as early as 1:30 PM to catch the street parade and head on to the plaza where the performances would be held after. It's gonna be a long and sunny day so it would be wise to don on a hat and hydrate yourself during the showcase. Don't forget to enjoy and capture each smiles from the spectators and performers during the whole event.

A special thanks to Mr. Mike Marasigan and Mayor Fems Reyes who made our trip in Coron memorable.

Check out Mary Rose's blog for the blow by blow account of the trip: Dream Trip Coron.

Mary Rose is one of those normal people who have day jobs. She goes to the office 5 to 6 days a week. Traveling her escape from all of the stress. She can go from a well-planned trip to a spontaneous one. Most the time she travels with a group of 2 or more people. Her goal is to travel the world, one place at a time and she wants to start it here in Philippines. She writes about her adventures on www.diytrippers.com. She easily gets attached to places she's visited. And it leaves her heart broken every time she has to say goodbye. Writing helps her get over the trip and also makes her relive her experiences.

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