We were the only visitors during the first time we came to this white sand beach in the early 2000’s. Part of the Coron Island loop tour even back then, Banol Beach was our lunch stop for the day. It was practically deserted with no human-made structures in sight. Resting after our exhilarating snorkeling experience at nearby Skeleton Wreck, we got to enjoy lunch, packed for us by our resort, under the shade of the trees. The serene scenery all around us made for an ideal afternoon rest.
We’re not exactly sure how it got its name but if the origin of its label is a mystery, the reason why it got included on this tour wasn’t a question for us. The last stop of Tour A before heading back to El Nido town, the Seven Commandos Beach looks attractive even from afar. The wide expanse of creamy-white sand beach, crystal-clear turquoise waters, impressively tall karst cliffs and the dense tropical jungle behind the beach are reasons enough for including this in Tour A.
We didn’t think much about sunsets while preparing for our recent visit to El Nido. Anyway, there was already much to see here during the daylight hours. We were planning on just spending restful evenings at our resort after each day spent touring the islands at the Bacuit archipelago and other spots in El Nido. However, many memorable travel experiences are often unplanned ones. On this occasion we were surprised to see how stunning the sunsets in El Nido are and ended up spending each evening gazing at the fiery colors of the twilight sky.
Ever since we returned to the Philippines eight years ago, our preference has gravitated towards off-the-beaten-track, relatively undeveloped travel destinations. Not only are those places devoid of the usual huge tourist crowds, they also tended to be much more pristine. (It’s one reason why we never even considered revisiting Boracay.) Our recent trip to El Nido gave us a chance to visit a destination we’ve only read about in the last 2 or 3 years – the Twin Beaches of Nacpan and Calitang.
After our morning adventures at the Small Lagoon and Secret Lagoon in beautiful Miniloc Island, it was almost lunch time. Our boat hoisted anchor and headed for Shimizu Island, an islet with towering limestone rock walls and a gorgeous white sand beach that would soon double as our lunch picnic spot.
If you can only visit one place in El Nido, Palawan this will have to be the one. Miniloc Island, located in the center of the Bacuit archipelago off El Nido town, is a towering karst landscape filled with attractive white sand beaches and hidden lagoons and surrounded by crystal-clear waters teeming with diverse marine life. To see this island and its lagoons in particular, we got on a Tour A package boat along with 17 other passengers.
We arrived on the sandy beach after walking a moderate distance from our anchored boat. Some visitors were headed straight for the Catholic shrine immediately to our front but we detoured to the left and up a flight of steps chiseled from the precipitous limestone outcrops. The steps were quite narrow and there was a line of people waiting for their turn at the view deck. After waiting for a few minutes we finally got to reach the vantage point for a breathtaking view.