It was already 6 am when I woke up, just in time to take a bath and have breakfast before we left the hotel for our third day of activities. Early morning in Romblon reminds me of my childhood in Quezon, where the alarm clock need not be battery-operated; a simple anticipatory predawn crowing from a rooster sufficed.
Local delicacies in Romblon
After having breakfast, we headed to Romblon Port – our jumping off point to Tablas Island. Before leaving Romblon Island, we visited Romblon Shopping Center, the main shopping and pasalubong hub where you can find marble products and other native handicrafts.
Buddha Heads made from various types of Marble
It took us more than an hour before we finally reached the town of San Agustin – the nearest port in Tablas from Romblon Island. San Agustin’s municipal port serves as the eastern gateway to the main island of Tablas, as well as to the neighboring islands of the province. Tablas is the largest of the islands that comprise the Province of Romblon. The island is administratively divided into nine municipalities.
Trangkalan Falls in San Agustin Romblon
From San Agustin Port, we proceeded to Trangkalan Falls for a courtesy call with Mayor Emmanuel Madrona, the Mayor of the Municipality of San Agustin. The road leading to the next town was all concrete and scenic. It reminded me of the coastal roads in Cagayan Valley and Batanes.
While enjoying the view beside the waterfalls, we sampled some local rice cakes and other local delicacies, graciously provided by the town Mayor.
Boat Ride to Looc Bay Marine Refuge and Sanctuary
Our short stop at Trankalan Falls was followed by a visit to the town of Looc, one of the coastal towns in Tablas Island. It was raining when we arrived at Looc Port, but this did not stop the local ati-atihan performers from showcasing their famous upbeat cultural presentation.
View from the Boat Window
Looc Bay Marine Refuge and Sanctuary is a 48 hectare-wide marine sanctuary which was opened to the public in 1999. A viewing deck is located at the center of the floating barge which serves as an area for those who want to experience fish feeding. A few meters from the pontoon, an old lighthouse is permanently stationed in the middle of the bay. I consider this an additional attraction for visiting tourists. While enjoying the view of the beautiful Looc Bay, we also enjoyed lunch, which was hosted by Mayor Leila Arboleda, the Municipal Mayor of Looc, Romblon.
Looc Bay Marine Refuge and Sanctuary
The local government of Looc, together with the community through their Barangay Fishermen Organization and Looc Baywatch Task Force, work together to ensure the safety of the Looc’s marine resources. The marine sanctuary was awarded two Trailblazing Galing Pook awards in 2000 and 2007 by the Galing Pook Foundation for being the best Coastal Resource Management program.
Fish Feeding at Looc Bay Marine Refuge and Sanctuary (Upper Left: Romblon Governor Eduardo C. Firmalo, Lower Left: Parañaque City Congressman Roilo Golez, Middle: DOT Region 4 Director Rebecca Labit, Right: Looc Romblon Mayor Leila Arboleda)
Looc Bay is home to four species of Giant Clams. These clams are mostly found within the Marine Sanctuary and live within easy swimming distance of the kiosk. A short swim from the floating barge will bring you face to face with these beautiful and endangered mollusks. Today, the marine sanctuary is not just a refuge for marine wildlife, but a tourist destination which generate revenues for the municipality.
Beautiful Mangrove at the Looc Port
From Looc, we headed to Binucot Sunset Cove in Ferrol Romblon to check-in and drop off our belongings. We then proceeded to Odiongan Bay Walk, where we had some refreshments courtesy of Honorable Baltazar Firmalo, the town Mayor of Odiongan, Romblon. Odiongan Town is located at the center of Tablas Island and considered as the center of trade and commerce where the major port is located.
Colorful Paraws at Odiongan Bay Walk
After our short stop in Odiongan, we headed back to Binucot Sunset Cove in the town of Ferrol for a press conference and dinner hosted by Honorable Jovencio Mayor, the Municipal Mayor of Ferrol, Romblon. The press conference was participated by DOT Director Rebecca Labit, Romblon Governor Eduardo C. Firmalo, Mayor Jovencio Mayor of Ferrol, Local Tourism Stakeholders, LGU’s, National Dailies, Travel Bloggers from Manila and Local media from Romblon and Boracay.
Sunset in Odiongan Bay Walk
After the press conference we headed back to Binucot Sunset Cove Resort to rest and prepare for our next day’s early departure.
Binucot Sunset Cove in Ferrol Romblon
On our fourth day, we gathered early at the resort lobby for a light breakfast before leaving. Leaving is really one of the hardest part for a traveler like me, especially when the places I’m leaving are as superb as this was. But leaving for me does not mean goodbye: it’s just one way of justifying a return visit 🙂
Inside our room at Binucot Sunset Cove Resort
From the resort, we proceeded to a private port in Looc for a speed boat ride to Caticlan Port in Aklan, where we caught our flight back to Manila.
In just an hour, we finally reached Manila…back to reality 🙁 I miss the fun, the early morning wake-ups, the local food, the beaches, the beautiful islands and the Romblomanon hospitality.
Located at the center of the Philippine Archipelago, Romblon was a huge surprise for a frequent traveler like me. I use to think it was just an island full of marble, but it was more than that, more than just the Philippines’ “Marble Capital”: the province is composed of 20 beautiful islands. All the islands we visited had beautiful beaches, marine sanctuaries, spectacular waterfalls, unexplored caves, majestic mountains, well-constructed roads and lush tropical forests.
I will see you again, Romblon!
How to get to Tablas Island
From Batangas and Manila
2Go Ferry and Montenegro Lines
From Romblon Island
to San Agustin via Montenegro Lines
to Odiongan via Montenegro Lines
Ferry Schedules and Booking details:
2Go Travel: Travel.2go.com.ph
Montenegro Lines: Montenegrolines.com.ph
By Public Pump Boat
From Caticlan Jetty Port (Boracay Aklan)
Leaves daily at 9am
From Manila Domestic Terminal 4
To Tugdan Airport in Tablas Island
For bookings and inquiries : Fil Asian Airways
Via Caticlan Boracay
All major airlines in the Philippines have daily flights to Caticlan Airport
Related Post: Visiting Romblon via 2Go Shipping Lines
This Romblon Familiarization Tour was made possible by Department of Tourism Region 4 headed by Director Rebecca Labit, 2Go Shipping Lines, Romblon Provincial Tourism Office and the Local Government units.