Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Amigos' Coron Camino Part 4. Turning up the heat at Maquinit Hot Springs

Hot springs are my thing -- growing up, my folks often brought me to Los Baños, Laguna where
the hot springs of Pansol were said to be  medicinal and therapeutic.
Much much later on, as I travelled often to Japan, I fell in love with the Japanese tradition of
hot spring baths or onsen .   One of my most magical memories is sitting in deliciously hot water
in a rotenburo or outdoor bath,  in the middle of winter,  with snowflakes falling all around me --
an experience I shall not soon forget.
When I learned that one of Busuanga's top attractions is a natural saltwater hot spring resort,
I just had to take the Amigos to go and see it.
We visited Maquinit Hot Springs  right after our island tour -- "chartering" 3 tricycles to ferry us all.   The hot springs are a 20-minute ride from the centre of town, with the last kilometre or two
on rough and bumpy roads. 

Maquinit has one giant pool with smaller pools supposedly of varying temperatures around it.
The caretakers said that the "coolest" temperature is 40C.  This certainly qualifies it as a  "hot" spring.  Onsens in Japan start at a pleasant 34C and can go up to 42+C  for those who like scalding hot water. 

The water in the pool is shallow,  just reaching up to the thighs.  But you're not here to swim, you're here to sink into the spring waters and fall into a fuzzy, heat induced stupor.

The saltwater flows in from the sea to an underground spring before it bubbles back up to the surface.  Maquinit Hot Springs are naturally flowing from the source to the pools -- this means the water is never circulated but is always fresh. I think these waters are also rich in minerals as the stones in 
the pool have been discoloured  with an orangey-rusty tint.
Japanese often talk about the quality of water of an onsen -- how the water feels against the skin, 
is it soft, is it soothing, what minerals does it contain, etc etc.    
 Here's an onsen tip --  to get a real feel of the quality of water, scoop the spring water with your hands and softly rub onto your shoulders and arms.  Maquinit's waters felt  luxurious and silky against my skin. 

When bathing in hot springs, it's best to stay in the water for not more than ten minutes, specially 
if you're a "beginner".   Come up to cool yourself and wait awhile before you dip yourself in the 
pool again.  Do this  frequently while you are there.  
Never stay too long in the hot water as you may get dizzy.  Those with heart issues or high blood pressure should also be very careful as the heat may trigger problems. 

The pool is impressively large and seems to blend right into the mangroves which grow all around.  The bottom of the pool is completely natural  and has been left as is -- you walk on stones, sand 
and rocks -- which can be quite painful if you step on a sharp edged stone.  Otherwise, it also feels like a natural foot massage. 

The mangroves all around the pool have been preserved and remain relatively undisturbed.  
The pool's edges seem to extend out to sea -- it's all very organic and unaffected.   There is a 
bamboo walk that allows visitors to stroll through the mangroves and have an unobstructed view 
of the islands across the way. 
Maquinit Hot Springs is a completely captivating place and one of Busuanga's must see spots.

I think the hot spring waters eased out the Amigos' muscle kinks and knots from two days of island hopping.    I know mine washed away -- straight out into the sea.

One last group photo before we take our soft, spring-soaked selves out of Maquinit --  now we're all relaxed and ready for dinner!

Tip : The best time to visit Maquinit is just before sunset.  The light will be gorgeous.   Never go in the morning up to 
mid afternoon -- it will be unbearably hot.  The place is open up to 9 pm and I hear evenings are also popular with visitors who like a  nice soak before going straight to bed!


  1. Beautiful photos. Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. Thank you very much Linda for dropping by and for your kind words :-) Cheers!

  2. Beautiful photos. Thank you so much for sharing.