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Banol Beach
Town/City:  Coron
Province:  Palawan
11° 56.995N   120° 11.598E
Listed in Gallery:   Beach

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Banol Beach is just one of the many white sand beaches you can find on the island of Coron, Palawan. It is a small, cozy beach with two small huts which you can rent from the local folk. There is an entrance fee, its a
token amount easily affordable. We were there the week after Holy Week. The water was blue and pristine. The place is quiet and relaxing. It is a good location for snorkelling and kayaking since the numerous limestone cliffs surrounding the large island of Coron are worth exploring from the sea. We stopped at Banol and had a sumptuous lunch there prepared by our hosts at Dive Link Resort.

Just by the shore, you can see many small fishes swimming by. There was a small school of fish with long snouts. The children would love to see those since they swim just along the surface. As we entered the small cove, we saw a huge school of fish jumping above the waters, silver, shimmering under the sun. Apparently the school was being preyed upon by larger fish. If you go around the island one will notice such a phenomena

Be careful when you decide to swim off Banol Beach. There are huge families of very large, healthy sea urchins. These are the types Japanese love to eat! I have been diving for many years now but I have never seen
them in such large numbers! We were thankful that the depth was enough to
keep our feet away. I wonder what happens during low tides. Nonetheless, it is interesting to watch them. As you move deeper and away from the shore, the more colorful tropical marine life start appearing.

Other Attractions:

Banol Beach is just one of the attractions in the island of Coron. The place is actually just one of the major islands in the Calamianes Island group. The town of Coron is actually situated on the island of Busuanga.
There are numerous trekking locations as well around these islands. Just a few kilometers way, there are other more interesting sights! For one, the Kayangan Lake which they say is the cleanest lake in the Philippines will
challenge one's climbing abilities. It literally takes your breath away when you climb the over 300 plus steps up the rocky cliff. It also offers you one of the most picturesque views of the place.

The Barracuda Lake is eerie as it is beautiful. This is where hot and cold, fresh and salty waters meet under the surface. The friendly shrimps that nibble on your fingers welcome you to the lake when you first step
in. Try diving in this lake and you will have a very unique experience. My first impression of this lake was that I was in the shooting location of Jurassic Park! The limestone cliffs rise sharply above you and dive deep into the lake. The lake is crystal clear and blue. There are catfish and other small fish around. We were told there was a barracuda, but we never
saw it.

Moving on to Sangad Island, we did three wreck dives there. Since I was with the children, we chose the wrecks that were relatively easy to explore. The Japanese ships were sunk during World War Two by Admiral
William Halsey's fleet. These vessels were the supply ships of the Japanese waiting just off Mindoro, hiding in the safe waters of Busuanga and Sangad. They were taken by surprise when over 150 planes from the US
fleet attacked them from 500 kilometers away. This was one of the farthest dive bombing raids staged during the war. These planes took off from aircraft carriers located in the northern part of Luzon. Diving the wrecks
brings you back into time. One can see the damage done by direct bomb and torpedo hits. The coral cover on these wrecks is a sight to enjoy. So much marine life abound on these sunken derelicts. There are lots of photo
opportunities for those with underwater camera equipment. Don't forget to bring your strong strobe lights to capture the colorful scenery.

The Coron, Busuanga and Sangad Island areas are fantastic for scuba diving, kayaking, snorkelling, trekking and just plain exploring. There are over 500 islands in the Calamianes chain and many of them are fantastic locations.

Waypoint narrative by: Fernando_Delos-Reyes 2007



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