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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Romblon: A Hidden Paradise of Southern Tagalog


Wazzup Pilipinas!

The province of Romblon is part of Region 4-B or MIMAROPA Region in Southern Tagalog. This province has three main islands namely Tablas, Romblon and Sibuyan; wherein the Town Capital is Romblon which is in the island of Romblon. It can be easily reached by a RORO or Ferry coming from Batangas Pier with 10-12 hours travel time depending on sea condition and on your destination whether Odiongan (Tablas) or Romblon (Romblon). Direct air flights are made possible by Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific who transport from Manila to Tugdan (Tablas) for more or less an hour travel time.

Romblon is rarely visited by Filipinos until the Carabao Island has become viral on Social Media, with the leaning coconut tree along the shore of fine white sand and clear turquoise water on photos. Upon seeing this, we became interested in visiting this humble province.

Then we learned that there are Foreign visitors who stayed more than a month enjoying the peacefulness and vibrant of the island.




WHAT TO DO IN ROMBLON?

Since Romblon is not a popular tourist destination in the Philippines, it has a lot of unspoiled beaches where you can lay down and relax. Hire a boat and do an Island Hopping to sea different beauty of each islets this province has to offer. One can also do Fish Feeding, Diving and Swimming in the clear waters. Chartering a habal-habal or motorcycle is advisable to get you around the corners because public transportation in the area is very few and has departure schedules. Chasing Waterfalls is also a recommended activity here.



Romblon, Romblon is known as the Marble Capital of the Philippines, and shopping souvenirs of marbles is should be on your list! Just make sure that you will have your baggage checked-in if you’re traveling via plane.



WHAT TO SEE IN ROMBLON?

1. Fish Sanctuary in Looc
From the Airport, take a van to Looc (₱150) which takes about 30-45 minutes. Then hire a habal-habal that will take you to Looc Port.

There you will have to pay a registration fee of ₱100 and roundtrip boat fare of ₱20 per head. The Fish Sanctuary is only 10 minutes away from the Port.

Make sure to buy plain breads before going
here. There are no snorkel gears for rent
but they have life vest for rent instead.



2. Bantigue Resort
Who would have thought that Romblon has a version of London’s Big Ben and Paris’ Eiffel Tower?

Bantigue Resort is located at Aglicay, Tablas few minutes form the Airport. It has a restaurant, pool and hotel rooms where guests can fully enjoy the amazing view of Eiffel Tower and Big Ben. It is more attractive at night when all the lights are on!



3. Aglicay Beach and View Deck
Thirty minutes away from Looc is the Aglicay Beach Resort which requires no entrance fee for the first 30 minutes of your stay. Aside from the beach, the main attraction here is the View Deck which takes about 10-20 minutes of hike up from the beach.



4. Carabao Island
The real name of Carabao Island is Hambil Island in San Jose, Romblon which is also part of Tablas. It has the finest white sand beach called Inobahan Beach, which people say, similar from Boracay’s (an hour away from Carabao Island) that why it is called the Twin of Boracay.

From Looc, take a Jeep going to Sta. Fe which leaves at 7:30 in the morning form the Plaza. Fare is ₱50 and it takes about an hour to reach Sta. Fe Port. Once at the port, you will see the boat bound for San Jose waiting for the passengers from Looc and Odiongan then leaves at 9am (Fare: ₱100).

Hire a habal-habal (₱500 whole day) to take you around the island and see the Kuding-Kuding Point, Tagaytay Viewpiont, Dingle Cave and other spots which your Habal Driver knows. Take note that they strictly follow 1 Motor = 1 Passenger Policy.




5. Calatrava Coves, Beaches and Islets
From Odiongan, the town of Calatrava can be reached in one hour to an hour and half by taking a jeep from the Odiongan Jeep Terminal. Fare is ₱70. Drop off at Calatrava Fish port then there you meet your boatman.

Take note that you have to contact your boatman prior your visit. Rate of boat depends on your destinations.

Based on our itinerary, we visited only Paski Cove (Turtle Cove), Lapuz-Lapuz Beach and Tinagong Dagat, and enjoyed the majestic limestone that surrounds these islets for ₱1,200.

After the island hopping in Calatrava, there are shower rooms near the port where you can wash up and change clothes.


6. Waterfalls of San Agustin
San Agustin, another town of Tablas, has a numerous waterfalls waited to be visited. Due to time concerns, we were able to see only one Waterfalls and this is Busay Falls.

From the centro, ride a tricycle that will take you to Busay Falls (nearest from the town proper) and will wait for you, fare is ₱150 rountrip for 2 pax. There is no difficult hikes, but merely few easy steps to get to the mother falls of Busay. This has four levels but only three are accessible. There is also no entrance fee required.



7. Bonbon Beach
One hour away by RORO from San Agustin is the Island of Romblon. ₱80 is the fare plus ₱10 of Terminal Fee must be paid prior your boarding. 6 in the morning is the earliest schedule of boat going to Romblon,
Romblon.

Upon arriving Romblon Port, take a tricycle to Bonbon Beach, ₱50 for 2 passengers. You will have to walk a few meters to reach the Bonbon beach from the drop off point. No need to worry because you will surely enjoy the scenery while walking towards the Bonbon Beach. During low tide, the sand appears extending to that little island (see photo on left) which looks like a long beautiful sandbar.

8. Tiamban Beach
If you walk a little bit more further from the Bonbon beach, you will reach the Tiamban Beach. Along the shore, you will pass by a beautiful rock formations of smooth black stones, just be careful not to step on the mossy parts. Walk is approximately 20-30 minutes away, but you may opt to walk back to where the tricycle driver dropped you off, then take another tricycle from there to take you to Tiamban Beach.

With ₱40 entrance fee, you may enjoy your stay in the beach until anytime you want and with use of Toilet and Shower. Sand in Tiamban is a lot more different form Bonbon’s. You will notice the sudden change of sand when you chose to walk along the shore. Snorkeling is a good activity as well but be careful of the Sea Urchins (which we saw not only one but plenty). You may ask the locals here to get one for you and try eating fresh Sea Urchins!


9. Fort San Andres
Fort San Andres is a historical site which the locals preserved and made is as a museum. With the entrance fee of ₱25, you will learn the discovery of Romblon and the old life of Romblon’s ancestors. This structure is not far from the design of Intramuros being a defence wall from war.

Getting here, you will have to take a tricycle to Fort San Andres or Fuerza San Andres (₱25). The driver will ask you whether to drop you off at the staircases or bring you at the top which is near the entrance. It is up to you, but for us, we just asked to be dropped off at the stairs so it is way cheaper. From the stairs, you will have to take more than a hundred steps to reach the Fort San Andres, but the hard work is really worth it! There are different designs each sections of staircases so will not feel bored nor tired. You will enjoy it! Entrace fee is only ₱20.



10. Cresta De Gallo
Cresta De Gallo is another beautiful Islet of the province which is part of Sibuyan Island. Its name comes from a Spanish word which means Cock’s comb because of its shape. Oh, and by the way this is a pristine white sandbar!

We had no enough time to visit Sibuyan Island, because of the schedules of transferring Ferry from Tablas to Romblon, then Romblon to Sibuyan and vice versa. Still, Cresta De Gallo is in our Bucket List!

Tourists will surely fall in love with this quiet and secluded place. This is the real island life here which will make you want to stay for more – happy and humble people, cheap goods, clear skies, clean beaches, uncrowded roads, simple lifestyle – truly a great escape from the busyness of our life.

We highly recommend that you add this province in your Bucket List not just to witness its beauty but to boost the tourism which would help the locals and their economic growth. As you visit this place, please be responsible travelers following the LEAVE NO TRACE POLICY, meaning do not leave your trashes anywhere. Respecting the people and the nature mean respecting your self-reputation.


For Itinerary, Budget Breakdown, Contact Details and more Photos, Visit www.facebook.com/wheresbamskiph or www.wheresbamskiph.weebly.com

Contributed By Where’s Bamski

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