After a nerve-wracking morning boat ride from Coron town in Palawan and an exhilarating stint at Bulog Dos Island, it was time to slow down and take our lunch. Just 10 minutes away by boat from Bulog Dos, Banana Island was our lunch stopover and second island destination for the day. Also known as Dicalabuan Island, Banana Island is part of a group of three islands south of Busuanga that that made up our island-hopping tour from the town of Coron.
Compared to its two companions on this island-hopping trip, Banana Island has more facilities for overnight stay. It also has huts and tables where we had our lunch for the day. Hammocks positioned under the coconut palms trees beckoned us to take a nap – something many in our boat group were soon doing right after a hearty lunch prepared by out boatmen as part of the island-hopping package.
We were more excited about touring the island than taking a siesta however and were soon exploring its northern beach where our boat had disgorged its passengers. This beach isn’t as long as Bulog Dos’ (and Malcapuya’s as we would soon discover) and much of it was a mixture of small pebbles, corals and sand. There is a curving stretch of fine, powdery and blindingly white sand on the island’s northwestern corner, however, where a volleyball net had been set up.
The water in front of the northern beach us just as clear but deeper than that of Bulog Dos. There’s a coral reef lying just off this beach. We didn’t have time to snorkel here but from what we’ve read in other blogs the marine life here is just as colorful and interesting as in Malcapuya and Bulog Dos Islands.
On our way to Banana Island from Bulog Dos, we noticed a sandbar jutting out from the former towards Malaroyroy Peninsula in Bulalacao Island (where the Two Seasons Resort is located). On our stroll along the northeastern side of the beach we hiked over to the base of this sandbar and realized that it might be possible to walk all the way to Malaroroy and Bulog Dos through this sandbar. Indeed some bloggers were saying one can walk through chest-deep water when low tide is at its maximum to reach Malaroyroy from Banana Island through this sandbar. We didn’t have the time and energy to find out, however, since we still had an island to go before going back to Coron.
But why the name banana? There are certainly no banana trees on the island and an explanation we read somewhere that the island’s shape led to the name proved to be unsatisfactory – a quick check on Google maps dispelled that notion. And so the puzzle continues.
Banana Island is part of a three-island tour package being offered by tour operators in Coron town (Bulog Dos and Malcapuya Island are the other destinations). During the time of our second Coron visit tour packages being offered included the Coron Island Loop Tour and the 3 Islands Tour featuring Bulog Dos, Banana and Malcapuya Islands. The package included entrance fees for all 3 islands and a hearty lunch that included vegetable salad, grilled fish, pork, chicken and crabs.
If you are traveling alone or in a group of five or less the tour operators will include you with others to fill out a boat, saving you and your group a significant amount in the process. Boats traveling to these distant places have to be large enough to withstand strong waves in the open seas and therefore will require a lot more fuel than smaller boats. Most of them can accommodate 15 passengers so the operators will pair you off with other groups to fill up the boats.