Kickin’ It at Kayangan

In hindsight, there’s a whole lot of irony in the title of this story. Because I wasn’t really “kickin’ it” in Kayangan Lake. In fact, I never even made it into the water.

After a couple long boat rides around the island of Coron and a handful of snorkeling adventures in the plethora of diving spots, I finally made it to Kayangan Lake, one of the most well-known destinations in Coron. The lake itself, surrounded by tall limestone cliffs, is considered a spiritual site and protected by the indigenous Tagbanua tribe.

Kayangan Lake

From the port, reaching the lake requires a steep and (to be frank) difficult hike, complete with rickety handrails and slippery steps. And every time you think oh this boulder must be a good stepping stone, it starts to wobble and suddenly all you can think is this is it; this is my end. But, oh my god, was it worth it. At the summit of the hill, overlooking the lake, is one of the most iconic and beautiful vantage points of Kayangan Lake. Everywhere you look, there are crystal clear waters, bright skies, and emerald trees lining the ancient limestone cliffs. But this is where things turned around for me.

I would have to blame simple bad timing for my misadventure. I visited Coron towards the beginning of the rainy season in the Philippines, which meant an upside of smaller crowds but bouts of light rain all throughout the day.

Of course I knew I was clumsy. Of course the fact that the rain had made the cliffs and docks slippery should have raised warning flags in my head. Of course I was easily distracted talking to other people. So it shouldn’t have surprised me that the next thing I know, my leg slips through the wooden planks of the dock bordering the lake.

Ok. Ouch. That hurt.

There are people swarming around me – my family, locals, random tourists – all to help this clumsy girl get back on her feet. But while they were all worrying about whether or not I broke my leg or if I’d need stitches or how long it would take to get to a doctor, I somehow managed to calmly pull myself up and assess the situation. Can I feel my toes? Check, so my leg isn’t broken. Is there a wound? Nope, won’t need stitches then. Can I walk? Yup, don’t need a doctor. And so I found a bench by the dock, sat down, and continued enjoying my day.

It still hurt, of course; I couldn’t swim in the lake. Not to mention, if I thought the hike to the lake was rough, hiking back with a hurt leg was a thousand times worse.

Kayangan Lake

But at the end of the day, nothing could get the smile off of my face. My mishap at the lake simply became a funny story I tell people to emphasize exactly how clumsy I am. I learned a whole lot from Kayangan Lake without even stepping into the water. There is beauty everywhere. Even a mishap like mine could never ruin the experience I had – spending time with my family, feeling connected to my roots, and seeing the most beautiful landscapes the world has to offer. I learned to appreciate the little things: the refreshing breeze under the summer sun, the million gorgeous shades of blue in the water, the history that must be carved into the limestone cliffs, the way that the trees danced in the wind.

Moral of the story? Life is now. Find joy in every moment. Visit Kayangan Lake for yourself, and embrace the beauty of it all. Just remember to watch your step.