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The Giant Sleeps, While Wild Rumours Made Tourists Restless



By Edwin Mercurio
Coron-Palawan
April 25, 2017

 
 


Coron, Palawan – The “Sleeping Giant” of Palawan looms large over the islands of Coron. Atop the elevated Mt. Batyas an estimated 1,500 steps uphill climb and downhill descent  combined, the islands of Coron are visible.


Foreign and local tourists clogged the tiny streets of Coron, as usual, lining up to buy souvenirs and get their hands on various Philippine delicacies and food from restaurants and hotel menus. Most take the popular tourist destinations enjoying Palawan’s beautiful and wondrous islands and brackish water coves.

However, while the “The Sleeping Giant” looks very much at ease even from the elevated view of Mt. Batyas, the lack of restful sleep and anxiety have befallen some visitors and foreign tourists after the news broke out about the encounter between the Philippine Military and the Abu Sayyaf in Bohol, the site of last week’s 10th ASEAN and Hongkong Free Trade Agreement (AHKFTA) Trade Committee and related meetings at the Hennan Resort in Panglao. A dozen armed men believed to be Abu Sayyaf were reported by government sources to have landed in three small boats in Napo Village, Bohol.


A thousand residents of Bohol  fled their homes as heavy fighting were reported between the Abu Sayyaf and the Philippine Military. News spread that the remaining Abu Sayyaf members were reported to be in hiding or have escaped towards other islands of the Philippines.

Reports by resort owners revealed that tricycle drivers of Palawan added fire to the rumors that two sightings of armed men were seen around the islands of Coron. At the height of these rumors, visitors staying near the vicinity of Busuanga and Coron Islands put off all lights in their hotel rooms and stayed indoors at night. But the officials of local resorts in Coron who declined to be identified for fear of reprisals, after consulting with their contacts confirmed that the two sightings were erroneous. They confirmed that local authorities were able to secure a Philippine Coast Guard Cutter to scour the islands of Coron with a hundred  soldiers after the Bohol incident came out of the social media. The two sightings, they said,  were in fact security members of a local business and the other were security for scuba diving enthusiasts.
Coron, like Puerto Princesa and El Nido,  is surrounded by island coves and marshes unlike other parts of Palawan near the Sulu seas.

Palawan, is considered to be the country’s last frontier. Considered to be the country’s cleanest, it is known for its beautiful and scenic islands, and its natural beauty and ecological balance.

The province of Palawan is composed of 1,780 islands and islets with Puerto Princesa as the capital city. English and Pilipino are spoken by residents, as well as Cuyunon.

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