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Banana Island

by nate on March 23, 2010

It began as a single night camping trip to an uninhabited private island, but in the end was a 5-day/4-night stay on Banana Island, a small island populated by the Philippino family who owns it, with a couple of huts and a rustic pavillion for day trippers.

We paired up with Santiago and Paula, a couple from Argentina who, like us, have been traveling for months. We had approached them originally about joining us on the aforementioned camping trip when they came back with the suggestion to spend a little more time away from Coron Town on this island. We would share the cost of the boat, stay in “rustic accommodation” and would need to bring our own food and water. Our interest was piqued. Two days later, we took a 1.5 hour bangka ride out to the island where we spent the next five days just enjoying ourselves: kayaking to nearby islands, swimming in the bright aqua water, basking in the sun on the white sandy beach, eating our own homecooked meals, and snorkeling a protected reef in which fish are truly flourishing. The island was small (I walked the entire perimeter in about an hour), which made for an intimate and friendly few days. The family had a little kitchen in the middle we could use for cooking, which was also a great place to chat with the modest family about the rich lifestyle of owning an island.

The huts were simple but charming. There was no running water, but something about walking off the beach into your hut soaking wet from the ocean and rinsing off with a bucket of fresh water actually feels like a proper shower. With the windows open at night we fell asleep to the sound of the waves lapping on the sand and were kept cool by the salty air twisting through our room.

Our boatman showed up after dark, soaking wet on the evening we expected to leave and announced that we should stay the night because of the strong winds. The family let us sleep in our huts for free on the final night (such great, friendly service) and we headed back to Coron Town at 6:30am the following day. When we woke up bright and early the wind hadn’t exactly subsided, but at least it was light outside. Two to three meter swells thoroughly soaked us and rocked the little bangka hard. It took us twice as long to return as it had to arrive. We’ll call it an adventure.

If anyone reading this is interested in staying on Banana Island, contact the owner, Violeta at 09214741602. The huts are basic (no running water, electricity only at night) and cost P700 per person per night. For the boat, you can contact Jhong at 09084499523. It’s P4500 for the return trip.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy 03.24.10 at 4:44 am

Hey,

Your trip sounds amazing!! We are considering going to the Philippines at the end of the year, but everyone keeps trying to talk us out of going, because it apparently it’s too dangerous for tourists!

Have you found travelling there ok? Where would you suggest going?

Thanks!

becca 03.25.10 at 4:01 am

That’s absolute nonsense! Go to the Philippines. There are areas that tourists are suggested to avoid, mainly the island of Mindanao, but I’ve even talked to people who’ve been there with no problems. The Philippines is my favorite country, maybe in the world. You should definitely definitely visit and forget all those jealous naysayers! 😉

Annie Markovich 04.23.10 at 6:26 pm

AMAZING! I’ve written down the contact info and will definitely be visiting there once I’m in the Philippines next year. I love getting to read about all your adventures! As I tell the kids, copying is a high form of flattery!

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