We were one of the last visitors that left Lake Kayangan and the sun was already heating the white sands of Banol to a crisp by the time we arrived there. It was almost lunchtime and our boatman still had to prepare our meal for the day, good thing we had breakfast before heading off to sea, else our stomachs would’ve been groaning and complaining by then.
Banol is a small cove that can be found on the northwest side of Coron Island. Very fine, creamy white sandy shore, sparkling turquoise waters and gigantic limestone cliffs dotted with shrubs and small trees; picture this against a backdrop of a cobalt blue sky with fluffy white clouds lazily floating by the horizon and you’ve got the epitome of The Coron Beach.
Bamboo huts are available along the coast and a makeshift cooking station for the boatmen can be found on a rock nook. This is usually where tourists circling the island have their lunch.
The water at Banol is pretty shallow unless you go further out, some exotic fishes nevertheless can already be seen swimming near the shore and seemed unafraid of people. There were reported sightings of jellyfishes and sea urchins in the area, but we didn’t see any.
There were quite a few people already at the beach by the time we arrived so we decided to check out the other side of the cove which can be reached by traversing a little rocky path or by crossing a boulder through water. There were hardly anyone there at all, lucky us.
I donned my hat and arm warmers and explored a bit while waiting for our lunch to be cooked. I saw a rough path leading up the karsts but I wasn’t sure if visitors were allowed to trek up there; the trail was too jagged and the sun too hot anyway, so I let it go. The beach was really not that large and can be fully explored in less than ten minutes.
Just as our stomach started growling, our lunch finally arrived; steamed white rice, grilled pork liempo and tuna, salted eggs garnished with tomatoes and onions and 1.5 liters of brainfreezingly cold Coca Cola. Shaded from the blistering heat by our nipa hut; we ate with gusto using our bare hands.
Anthony Bourdain once said that nothing really compares in eating good food outdoors on a beach with your bare feet dangling and touching the fine sand below, well, he cannot be more right.
It seemed everyone had already left after we’ve gone like a whirlwind through our lunch and we finally had the cove to ourselves. Time to swim!
Coron Island Hopping Tour
Boatman: Avel Arevalo | (0939) 815-0044
Tour Fee: Php1,500.00 whole day boat rental fee