After the hiking, climbing and boating for 3-4 hours, I needed a serious dose of beach. A few minutes further along the coast of Coron Island, we spotted a small unoccupied cove at Banol Beach. Still belonging to the Tagbanua people, we had to pay a small fee to park our banca here and take a dip in the crystal clear sea, sink our totally flat feet into the powder sugar like sand and look up at the incredibly blue sky. This was a small beach by any standard, but a pristine and beautiful spot. The perfect place for a photo shoot a la James Bond…if only I had the looks… I could stay here for days and not move on (assuming it had a decent bathroom)â€¦ I didnâ€™t really come to Coron to vege on a beach but it was a nice diversion from our real purpose for being there. After an hour of having the beach to ourselves, which was a real luxury, a huge banca with about 18 french tourists arrived, and well, letâ€™s just say it cramped our style just a bit. They stayed at one end of the tiny beach but it was clearly time to move onâ€¦
At PHP200 for the â€œrightâ€ to visit (frankly, legally I have a problem with this as beaches are in general public domain, though I understand the Tagbanuans have water rights too), but never mind, as long as the Tagbanuans keep the place clean and in order, the money is irrelevant and an absolute bargain. Actually, compared to say two frappucinos at a Starbucks, the same amount buys a few hours on a spectacular setting for say six people, complete with small thatched roof hut with table for a picnic and two sunbathing chaise longues in bamboo that were so oddly proportioned that if I lay on one flat, my butt would barely be supportedâ€¦ There was this beautiful old kalachuchi tree whose branches stretched out over the water and if only for the stunning photos the setting yielded, this was a great place to spend a few hoursâ€¦ Itâ€™s approximately 30-40 minutes by banca from Coron town proper if you head straight to Banol beach. Remember, it is small, but beautiful. I wonder if you could make it pakyaw (what is the English word for that?) or â€œcorner it allâ€ to oneself for a morning or afternoon if you paid extra?!