Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Beaches of Banton

One thing that makes Banton a hidden paradise is its abundance in preserved and pristine natural beauty. Such richness is found not only deep in its mountains or it its attractive culture, it also lies along its various coastlines. Banton has a lot of beautiful beaches, comparable in beauty to those in Boracay and Palawan. A traveller's sojourn into wonderful Banton will not be complete without a visit to its beaches.

POBLACION BEACH. Banton town's waterfront is best characterized for its rocky and pebbled beach. Although not as clean as the other beaches due to its proximity to the port, on weekends and the Feast of San Juan, people still swim in its clear waters. On the day, it provides excellent views of Punta Matagar on the northern tip of the beach. At low tide by the end of the day, the receding waters reveal a treasure trove of marine life -- tayba, brittle stars, coral, kelp, etcetera. People thrive to the port beside the beach or at the seawall at night, enjoying stories and trying to capture the elusive cellular phone signal from Globe and Smart. The seawall area has since been lit by colorful lights erected by the municipal government that makes the area vibrant and attractive.

MACAT-ANG BEACH. Situated in Brgy. Mainit on the western shores of the island, Macat-ang offers a stunning beach panorama to visitors with its white sands complimenting the lush green scenery. It's almost as if you're in some kind of pirate bay or secret lagoon. The barangay government has done a great job developing the area for tourism with huts and picnic umbrellas that can be rented by bakasyonistas for Php100 to Php 500 depending on the size. The beach is very clean, which is an imperative since it is situated directly in front of the Banton Fish Sanctuary and Nature Reserve. Another wonder here is a water pump that is situated just a few yards out in the sea. Apparently, the clean, fresh water comes from under the sea bed. Users can take a bath in the pump which is accessible thru a concrete footbridge erected by the barangay government. Out in the distance is a wonderful view of Gakot or Bantoncillo island. Macat-ang can be reached by motorbike from Poblacion.
TABUNAN BEACH. Tabunan beach is perhaps one of the most preserved beaches in the island due to its inaccessibility. It lies in a part of the island yet to be accessible by concrete roads, and thus, travelers will have to hire a banca to get there. The beach is composed mainly of white grainy sand which looks pink at midday. Out in the water, just a few meters from the beach is Puyo, an uninhabited island. In the treeline meanwhile, are huts which people can use as shelter from the heat or rain; or if you are too shy to ask about them, you can simply sit under one of the many palm trees that dot the shoreline. At night, you can also do a bonfire and watch as the night sky sparkles with numerous stars you seldom see in the city.

TAMBAK BEACH. When it comes to seclusion, Tambak beach is the ultimate destination. Situated in a deep cove near Barangay Banice, Tambak beach offers a view only seen in Survivor or The Blue Lagoon. While accessible by motorcycle thru a newly-built concrete road which runs on the side of the cove, almost no one passes through it. When I went here in 2010, it felt as if being in a deserted island with almost no trace of humans passing nearby. The sand here is perhaps the whitest and purest in all of the island's beaches, comparable to Palau's mud pack white beaches. The sand has the texture of sugar and your feet would definitely sink once you step on it. However, due to its seclusion, water is hard to find in the area. If you want to wash up after a hour or two swimming, you'll have to do that in Poblacion. There are two small huts in the beach which visitors can rent from the barangay government. Just be sure to coordinate with them before using the huts.

BALOGO BEACH. The beach front in Barangay Balogo is not as sandy as Macat-ang or Tambak, being composed mostly of peebles and coral. But the fishing village atmosphere the beach offers sure is nice and comforting, ready soothe your cares away. The water is clean and clear, with no sudden surges in depth, suitable for swimmers and non-swimmers alike. On the right end of the beach is a cliff with concrete huts and tables where picnickers can eat and enjoy the view -- perfect for that family reunion or get-together. The hospitality of people here are unmatched. The first time I passed here, I immediately got offered food in a nearby family reunion. One piece of advice: never pass up on people's generosity here.

All photos were shot and copyrighted property of the owner.

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