Perhaps all Bantoanon could agree that aside from the people, Banton's irresistable charms lies in its natural beauty. And by natural beauty, we mean its beaches, crystal clear waters, enchanting caves, mystical coves and breath-taking views. Hence, we believe that our island has a lot of tourist potential if given the ample attention and resources for development.
One of the places in Banton which captivated me a lot is Tambak Beach in Barangay Banice. The first and only time I've been to this side of the island was in 2010. This quaint, solitary beach is located in a cove surrounded by tall rocky hills on three sides. It is accessible from Barangay Poblacion by motorcycle through the newly-built concrete road.
Upon reaching the cove, me and my companion had a difficult time going down the beach. We didn't immediately see the concrete steps leading to the beach front and instead went through some thick foliage a few meters from where the steps are located until we reached the sands. I saw that there are two huts in the area for picnickers, and a small, non-working toilet in a landing near the concrete steps.
We were at awe because the place was entirely deserted, except for the occasional motorcycles that pass by the road. The soft, powdery sand and its clear waters, whose colors shifted between turquoise and blue green (depending on the depth of the water) added to our amazement. We placed our things inside one of the hits and quickly hit the beach. As soon as my feet hit water, I could them sinking in the sand underneath. I reminded me of the mudpack beaches of Palau, featured in one of the Survivor series in the US. After an hour of wading in its cool waters, we headed back for shore for lunch. We wanted to take a rinse in toilet but were disappointed by the fact that its water tank contained no water.
After lunch, my companion and I made sand castles and drew figures with sticks. I noticed that there were some items which littered the beach, such as an old, torn life jacket, several packs of plastic junk food wrappers, a few shoes and rubber slippers missing its pair, and in some parts of the beach there were signs of a recent bonfire in two or three places. This saddened me and my companion a bit because if the beach had been cleaner, more people would've visited this place. While the isolation of this beach does make regular maintenance a challenge, it's no alibi for allowing such piece of paradise go to waste.
Tambak Beach is teeming with tourism potential as a beach resort which offers Scuba diving, snorkeling and other water activities. Given that our local government can attract local or foreign investors to the island, this may be a reality in a few years time. In fact, our neighboring Sibale Island is already ahead of us in terms of foreign investment. A Korean businessman has established the first dive resort in the municipality: the Maestro de Campo Dive Resort. If finding investors is given additional fervor, then we might have our own Amanpulo or Bellaroca in Banton Island in the near future, which will bring not only employment and revenue to the island, but also cement its new reputation as a tourist destination closer to the capital Manila.