My memories of our visit to the island paradise of Coron, Palawan in April 2011 was still as vivid as the clear blue sky. I can still remember every detail of that travel from the giant cross in Mt. Tapyas, the salty taste of the sea; brackish water of the Barracuda Lake and Twin Lagoon; the hidden white sand beach of Banol (which for me is way better than the white sand beach of Boracay); Maquinit Hot Spring, treacherous waves of Siete Pecados, timeless beauty of the Kayangan Lake; to the vague exploration of the Skeleton Wreck, a snorkeling destination where one can see the sunken ship of the Japanese soldiers during World War II, and a whole lot more.
I couldn’t help but regress and share at least a snippet of our travel in one of the most beautiful places in the Philippines.
It was a peaceful 12 o’ clock noon on April 7, 2011, our second day in Coron. Our boatman and tour guide brought us in Banol for a sumptuous seafood lunch after snorkeling and swimming at the Barracuda Lake and Twin Lagoon. Our stomach started to grumble from hunger. As soon as we unpacked our picnic basket at the bamboo table of the small nipa hut owned by the Tagbanua folks, who are guardians of Banol, we quietly ate our baon consisting of grilled fish which we dipped in toyo and calamansi, seaweeds that looks like pancit bihon, crab, steamed rice and banana for lunch, and gobbled up one bottle each of Sprite and mineral water. After filling up our stomach, we felt sleepy and almost took a nap especially when the cool breeze gently tickled our tanned skin like a lover summoned for a kiss.
Our tour guide, named Kat, switched on her MP3 player and played an Eraserheads’s song. It perked us up a bit and so, I asked my sister to stand up, do some camwhoring and capture the unbridled beauty of Banol Beach with our digital camera.
As my sister started posing in front of a huge coral mountain, about 20x bigger than the Taal Volcano, I held up my breath for several milliseconds and deeply admired the spectacular view. My eyes surveyed the entire coral mountain and touched its surface like a connoisseur buying an antique furniture. It seemed like a giant clay scraped with fork and adorned with shrubs, casting shadows against the glittery-powdery sand of Banol Beach. It’s magnificent! I could just imagine myself grabbing a charcoal pencil and immortalizing it on a sketchpad.
A few minutes later, we went for a swim. The sun was still shining furiously but we really don’t care. My sister and I excitedly submerged our feet in the sparkling sea water. It was ironically cold despite the heat of the sun and it was crystal clear that we were able to see colorful fishes swimming endlessly and occasionally hiding from the smooth coral reefs beneath our feet. I was so ecstatic and borrowed goggles from our tour guide then started snorkeling.
According to our boatman, they are not allowed to catch fish in Banol Beach. The Tagbanua people are vigilantly protecting the marine resources of Coron Island and there are designated places for the fishermen to catch fish for a living.
Speaking of protecting Coron… there was just this small but quite unfortunate incident that happened to us in Banol. I got irritated with the annoying couple who were also at the beach during that time because they carelessly threw their cigarette butts to the sea. I almost scoffed at them. Good thing that I was able to restrain my emotions and requested the Tagbanua teenager to speak to the couple. It would have been better if they were reprimanded but anyway, as long as they pick up their trash, I’ll spare them my temper.
I intensely looked at the couple until they disposed off their trash properly. Perhaps they have seen the irritation registered all over my face and probably overheard my conversations with the Tagbanua kid, they distanced themselves from us until the end of our stay in Banol. Well, that’s good since I’m pretty sure we both didn’t want to spoil each other’s vacation with a cat fight.
Anyway, as soon as our skin got almost wrinkled up from spending too much time swimming and snorkeling, we decided to leave Banol Beach and went home to our hotel at Darayonan Lodge with a happy face, fully satisfied with our day tour.
The rest of our stay in Coron was also fantastic. My sister and I went back to Manila with a promise to ourselves that we’ll visit this paradise again as soon as we save enough money to spend for a well-deserved vacation. I was really honored and grateful to have been able explore the picture-perfect beauty of Coron, Palawan.
That ends my recollection of our Coron trip . Again, I only shared a snippet of my experiences in Coron. For now, I’m parking my laptop and will finally fall asleep.
Sleep mode starts now. 😀