Team Building: Coron, Palawan
Article by Bernard Chen & John Yee
En route to our corporate teambuilding getaway, the Verz Design team had a tremendous four-day rendezvous within the beauty of Coron in Palawan, Philippines, from the 25th to the 30th of May. It was summer; and we thought of no other way of spending it than basking under the sun on one of the most beautiful islands in the world.
Kick-starting our itinerary was an exhausting 700-step hike at the famous Mt. Tapyas. The activity resulted in a refreshing view of Busuanga town under the golden rays of the late afternoon sun. The climb was well worth the breath-taking panorama of a verdant sea of trees and ocean that washed over the landscape. As we scanned the view from the summit, the clouds hung over us serenely, like the top of the world was within reach.
On the second day, the Verz Team was divided into four groups: Green, Blue, Yellow, and Red, kind of like the inter-house competitions we have in schools. We jumped on boats and hopped across islands, with Malcapuya Island being the first on the list. The weather was scorching and just perfect for either an incredibly toned suntan or a charred sunburn.
We participated in a couple of icebreakers which put our strategic thinking skills to the test, becoming a battle of intellect and physical strength. One of the challenges was building the tallest tower made of nothing but spaghetti strands and tape, on the sandy beach.
Leisure & Recreation
Of course, what we were looking forward to most of all was roaming the exotic isles, snorkelling in the cerulean waters and taking in the rustic shorelines of the gorgeous environment. Our next destination was Banana Island, where we snorkelled and kayaked along the restful coast.
During the nights, we went on to explore the town of Coron and enjoyed strolling through the town’s nightlife. It was also a great time to chill and relax from the days’ activities. And after knocking back a few drinks, one of us started appreciating the crispy coldness of the floor.
On our third day, the team journeyed to Siete Picados, a chain of 7 islands. The atmosphere was scenic and reminiscent of ancient valleys, and the shallow sea beds were lined with magnificent coral reefs, rainbow-coloured fish and speckled with schools of marine life. Seduced by the ocean’s charm and following the alluring sights, Nick and Bernard decided to snorkel further around a large rock which our boat was not anchored far from.
Lost: Verz Edition – Feat. Nick & Bernard
The thought of encircling the rock gave them reassurance that they would eventually reach the point they started. Clearly, the rock was a lot larger than they gave it credit for and they soon realised that they were late.
Snorkelling as fast as they could towards the anchoring point, they discovered that the boat had left them behind without conducting a proper headcount. Normal people would have been terrified, but they were both more amused than scared. It was brilliantly alarming how a team of more than 30 people, with our directors and guide, had forgotten that they existed.
Eventually, they heard cheers from afar. The boat ferrying the team had come back to fetch them. Nick swam towards them without hesitation, but as you can see, snorkelling was obviously more important to Bernard.
The Final Voyage
Interweaved with island hopping and teambuilding activities, we proceeded towards Kayangan Lake, Banol Beach and the Twin Lagoons. The lake and lagoons were something out of a nature calendar or something you’d see on the National Geographic.
The waters shimmered in their pristine, crystal clarity as we swam and stumbled across a submerged bank of treacherous rocks to enter the lagoons. We were greeted with unrelenting gushes of cold and warm currents as we snorkelled further into the majestic valley.
A few of us decided to take it a step higher and hauled ourselves up a suspended rope to a stairway that began in mid-air. It was also an archway that thrill-seekers had to swim under to enter the second part of the lagoons. The view on top was nothing short of atmospheric, with glamorous mountains surrounding us and the enchanting lagoons.
This excursion as a team made us realise how much we didn’t know about our colleagues and how much we appreciated each other. The whole crew built crazy, rich memories together, and the momentum gave us a wonderful gift of camaraderie.
For some of us, it’ll be a once-in-a-lifetime experience; for others, we’ll certainly revisit Palawan with loved ones another day. Sunburnt with fresh inspiration from tropical skies and open river valleys, here we are, back again, ready for a new journey.
It was such a nice treat from Verz to its employees! I have never done snorkeling before in my whole life. It was challenging for me. However, the trip helped me to overcome my fear of the ocean, and I was snorkeling and enjoying myself in the middle of the sea! Undoubtedly, a lifelong experience!
What I learned during the teambuilding trip: If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to enjoy the journey and go far, go together with the team.
Amazing and eye-opening! I realised how closely the team bonded together during the trip. It was a rare chance for us to get to know each other personally.
I’m thankful for this teambuilding trip as I was able to get closer with my colleagues! Although I was abandoned by some of them (anonymous N & B), I still enjoyed myself a lot! This team building trip definitely helped all of us to get bonded in many ways. Thank you Verz, for this opportunity!
The whole journey was an inspiration. Getting stranded at sea with Nick was definitely the highlight for us both. I felt the bonding of the team really showed in the small conversations we had out of work, the laughter and just simply the genuine feeling of enjoying ourselves with one another. To have gone on such a trip with a bunch of the best people you can have for colleagues, it just made it all the more worthwhile.