Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Making the Most of Banate’s Natural Beauty

CANIAPASAN FALLS, photo by Mervin Escriba

Banate is in a unique position being a great jumping-off point to explore the 5th District, the resort destination of the province. The town can surprise those willing to spend a few days exploring it. It may not be as appealing as its adjacent municipalities, but its coastline is among the more popular in the area especially during the summer season and on holidays.

The town’s coastline is bordered by small settlements living on what they catch. Its municipal waters are rich in fish, shrimps and other crustaceans, which like in the rest of the coast, are cheap, especially if you buy them directly from the fishermen as they are taking in their catch. When walking on the beach early morning, you will usually encounter someone, dragging in their day catch, or someone offering to sell cheap "fresh" fish.

HIBOTKAN ROCK SANCTUARY, photo by Mervin Escriba

If you want to spend time just kicking-back, there is HIBOTKAN ROCK SANCTUARY, a good snorkelling and diving spot, a popular place for tourism. Just two kilometres away by motorized boat from Sulagan, it is found in between the municipal waters of town and Guimaras Strait, the sanctuary covers 25 hectares but only 1 hectare is exposed to the sun during low tide. As a precious resource for this town, the site has 16 families of corals with 34 species being observed. The sanctuary also provides shelter for a wide variety of marine life.

INTRUPAHAN BEACH, photo by Mervin Escriba

A few minutes away by motorized boat is INTRUPAHAN BEACH situated in Barangay San Salvador. Though not much had been said about this beautiful privately-owned beach, but it is every locals’ favourite beach and will surely be every backpacker’s favourite spot. Rocks isolate the area from the adjoining beaches of Solangan and Punta Magkil. Huge trees dot the beach, giving a wonderful canopy for hammock swingers. Either swinging in a hammock or sitting on makeshift benches, the beach is a perfect spot for watching the glorious sunset.The area has a significant history because it was used as a citadel during the Spanish era.

CANIAPASAN FALLS, photo by Mervin Escriba

The Caniapasan Falls nestles in an upland mini tropical forests punctured with towering boulders with mountains that seem to magnet rain, which drains into tributaries that carve lush landscape. Located in Barangay Managopaya, it involves an uphill hike. Though relatively small, it has series of smaller falls on rugged, upturned rocks.

ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH CHURCH, photo by JV Perez

If you want a little history of Banate, visit the St. John the Baptist Parish Church. Though not as popular as the other churches in the adjacent central district, the present structure was said to have been erected in 1870 but was left unfinished which is why there is no particular architectural style found in the edifice. It has withstood fires and bombings of the World War II. It was built in the shape of a Latin cross. It is the only old church still intact in the northern portion of the province. It is made of corals, limestone and rocks.

When in Banate, visitors can stay in romantic, family friendly and inexpensive beach resorts. CRCI Beach Front in Barangay Alacaygan; Villa Francisca in Barangay Talokgangan and Kite’s Place in Barangay Poblacion These resorts offer amenities such as restaurants, bars, function halls, picnic cottages and overnight lodges as well as swimming pool.

Banate stretches 11,886 hectares from Barotac Viejo and San Enrique in the northwest; Banate Bay in the southeast; and Dingle and Anilao in the west. It is about 50 kilometers north from Iloilo City. Its land area measures 11,886 hectares politically subdivided into 18 barangays.

To get to the town, one can take a Ceres Bus at the Northern Iloilo Public Transport Terminal in Barangay Tagbak, Jaro, Iloilo City. For more information, please contact Hon. Norlene Cabangal-SB Member on Tourism at 09085549021 or Mervin Escriba-Municipal Tourism Officer-OIC at 09102825609. Know more about Banate on the Tourism Month Celebration of Iloilo Province through the 10th TUMANDOK on September 18-20 at the fountain area of Robinsons Place Iloilo.

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