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“Balaibinda”: Coron’s pride no one should miss


LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… Jesus answered, `It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’…” (Matthew 4:4, the Holy Bible).

“BALAIBINDA”, MOST PATRONIZED HOTEL IN CORON: “Balaibinda” is the name of a mini-hotel that opened just last March 2012 in the heart of Coron, Palawan, and it is now one of the most-patronized and, therefore one of the busiest, lodging houses in the town, largely as a consequence of its cozy and homey ambiance and superb service.

Owned by a lovely couple---Ed and Belinda Cayetano---the three-storey and 19-room “Balaibinda” was fully-booked when my wife and I arrived there last Monday, July 9, 2012. We got a chance to be accommodated in one of its rooms only because one of our clients residing in Coron, Lei Habana, made a reservation for us 14 days in advance. And were we glad that that reservation was made!

While located in central Coron near the public market, the bay walk, a police station, a public plaza, and a terminal being used by vans which ferry tourists to and from the Francisco B. Reyes Airport inside the former Yulo King Ranch, “Balaibinda” was surprisingly and pleasantly quiet, very private, and peaceful, especially at night.

CORON’S PRIDE NO TOURIST SHOULD MISS: I was able to talk to Ed and Belinda when my wife and I were about to check out on July 10, 2012, and I was fortunate to have learned several things: “Balaibinda” is actually a phrase in the Cuyonon dialect (the “language” of native Coron residents) which means “House of Belinda”.

Putting up and running the “house” actually were lifelong dreams of Belinda, which later on became Ed’s lifelong dreams, too. Belinda, a native of Coron, wanted very much to put up the hotel not only for her and her family, but even more so for the tourists whose numbers continue to increase by the day. Ed, a former pilot from Metro Manila, supervised the construction with materials shipped from Manila.

In its website (, the hotel is described this way: “This modest hostel has 3 floors and a total of 19 rooms. It houses a bar and restaurant. It has modern architecture with hints of ethnic influence in its fixtures coupled with eclectic interior design which results in a distinct ambience of class…” Indeed, “Balaibinda” easily qualifies as one of Coron’s pride, which no tourist should miss!

TRIBAL DISPUTES HURTING CORON’S TOURISM POTENTIAL: Before leaving the subject of Coron, there is a need to talk likewise about what seems to be the town’s official policy on its many tourist attractions. I understand that administering these attractions had been delegated to several families comprising an indigenous Coron tribe.

As a consequence, these families have been allowed to collect and keep for themselves “entrance fees” from every visitor wanting to enjoy the attractions.  For a while, the families were at peace with one another, until disputes and disagreements soured their relationship principally on the issue of who gets the lion’s share in the “entrance fees”.

I was told the differences among the families have already triggered increases in the entrance fees, which are slowly but surely driving the tourists away, as well as animosities that could erupt into more violent confrontations that may hurt even visitors, if not prevented by the authorities. I wonder if Coron officials, and even national functionaries, can step in to resolve this problem.

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