Happy to have been romBLOWN away by Romblon.
This is one of those destinations that I never thought I’d be visiting soon. That is, until I saw its breath taking pictures all over the net! I am glad that I visited the Marble Capital of the Country with my med school travel buddies Mowty, Marilyn, and Taro. Originally, only me and Mowty planned to visit Romblon before the start of the semester. Due to the unpredictable schedule though, we were only able to do so after the semester finished. And with so much hullabaloo going on in med school, I did not even have the time to study this trip (something that i NEVER do). Luckily I was with Mowty, and I am so thankful of her for arranging our Itinerary beforehand. It is also worth mentioning that this is my first time riding a ship again since I was 6 years old 🙂
Important things to consider:
-We maximized our limited travel dates to 1 island per day (Sunday – Transpo; Monday – Sibuyan; Tues – Romblon; Wed – Tablas; Thurs AM-Manila). We didn’t jampack our daily itineraries. After reaching a few of our destinations, we realized that the distance from one spot to another is rather remote (like on the minimum, 1 to 2 hrs travel time). It is also worth mentioning that there’s a uniform and limited schedule of public transportation within the three main islands, so if you did not make it on time to the pick-up point, you would have to wait for the next scheduled pick-up which may be a few hours to even a day later. You may also opt to rent your own private vehicle (pump boats for sea travels, and tricycles for land travels), but of course it comes with a higher fee. Romblon is best visited with a group, for this reason alone. So as a tip, allot time for transportation, and negotiate and haggle with the tricycle drivers.
Most of them speak in Bisaya. But, they also know Tagalog. Good thing “Kabalo ko gamay,kasulti ug gamay,so makasabot ko:)”
- Roll-on/Roll-off Ship (RoRo)
- Pump boat
- Small boat
The tricycle drivers in Romblon were very accommodating and kind. We did not haggle that much even if we were on a tight budget. I think I need to emphasize that in renting private tricycles, we should be considerate of some factors, like the driver’s trade-off income for the day, the extra income that they need to earn, and the price of Gasoline (which is quite expensive in the three islands). As mentioned, it is best if you bring more friends so you can share the fees of a private vehicle. A typical romblon tricycle can fit 6 to 7 passengers. But there’s a lot of traveling, and not all the roads are cemented so naturally I felt bad for the driver and his tricycle every time we passed these roads. Since it is an island, the gasoline is probably expensive.
DAY 1 – Sibuyan Island
-cresta de gallo
DAY 2-Romblon, romblon
-marble factory/shopping center
DAY 3-Tablas Island
-Looc fish sanctuary
- RoRo Ship Ride via Montenegro Shipping Lines
All four of us started the journey from Quezon City, so we first had to ride a Jam Liner bus in Kamias headed to Batangas Pier. We arrived at the pier at 4pm. The queues were disarrayed and we really had to be vigilante in order to get our tickets. It was humid and vastly crowded as well, and this may be attributed to the upcoming elections. We were able to write on the enlistment form for the 5pm RoRo. Unfortunately, we only managed the “chance on board” passenger type and we didn’t have a bed to rest on. We nested on the side of the ship, seated on the floor, facing the ocean. It doesn’t seem as bad as it sounds, because we were probably breathing the freshest air in the ship. (I think there is also Batangas to Sibuyan via Navios but that was at 4pm, we came later than that.)
2. We reached Odiongan Port at 2:30am.
When we arrived at Odiongan, we didn’t know the importance of “unahan basis”, so we just gradually walked out of the the RoRo and therefore missed the only 2 topload jeeps headed to San Agustin port. (Because we are heading to sibuyan)This resulted in us renting kuya _________’s tricycle for P1,000 (haggled from the original P1,200).
3. At San Agustin Port, porters immediate come to assist you, and it’s in your discretion if you will want a porter (they will ask for a small tip). The Starhorse RoRo going to Sibuyan isnt that far of a walk, but you will of course need to secure a ticket first before getting a chance to board it. In our case, we opted for the porters so that we would be secured seats in the RoRo (our bottoms were still numb from the nearly 10-hour boat travel, plus 1 hour tricycle travel) . The porters did deliver, and all four of us were given seats in the air-conditioned section of the RoRo.
It was really a nice vessel. I was shocked it really looked good inside, plus the AC was really cold. The comfort rooms have AC as well. This was their economy class, the one that has lowest price.
4. When we reached Sibuyan, we hired another tricycle (P1,500) going to Azagra Port. This is where you hire a boat going to the famous Cresta De Gallo. BTW, we chose to travel from the farthest then to the nearer islands, so it would be easier for us for the succeeding days to go back to Batangas.
I suggest you wear your swimming attire before you head on this place as there is no designated changing area. Mowty changed during our ship ride and I think, that’s the most favorable time to do it. As for us, we just used her malong to change in the island itself. (Mowty is so ready:D)The boat ride is a bit shaky, and you may get wet during the boat ride. Also, secure your things or gadgets in a waterbag for a worry-free sea travel to cresta de gallo that took almost 2 hours. It was visible from Azagra. We really thought it was near haha.
5. Cresta De Gallo
We really traveled a lot for this. Its white sand and crystal clear water did not fail us. It is really worth it. Tip: I think it is better if you bring more friends with you to share the price of the pump boat. (P2500).
Here is a mini clip of our boat ride: https://photos.app.goo.gl/4QmJTJXOvjmIGADR2
6. Benj’s Place and Sea Breeze in
This is where kuya Marvin, our contact boatman, suggested for us to eat.
In fairness, we loved their sisig and pansit. It is tasty and delicious. Their sisig is like dinakdakan with some carrots on it. We also ordered tuna sinigang. The cook even made chika to us.
The rooms we had were decent for their price. (OK NARIN FOR OVERNIGHT:P) We had fully air-conditioned rooms. Ours was really cold that we had to turn it off in the middle of the night. They also have common living rooms. We did not really have a chance to roam around the place because if you might have noticed, this was our first actual rest since leaving from Kamias. One thing I can say about Sea Breeze Inn though is that if you don’t feel like staying in a sawali-walled room, you may opt look for another place/room to stay. Also, they have common bathrooms. So you really have to wait for your turn. The bathroom on the second floor where we stayed is just for pee and poo. The water supply can’t go upstairs. (My rating for their bathroom is 5/10. If you are picky for bathrooms, then you may consider a different place for this reason). But the people were really accommodating, despite the fact that we did not have any reservations. I am glad there is a room available for the four of us.
Sibuyan Island Road trip (going to Magdiwang port)
We stopped at a random corners in the tricycle’s route. After a few land travels in the Romblon islands, you will start to realize that, apparently the only roads built on the Islands are in the peripheries. If you’re fond of seeing raw nature, then you’re in for a treat! Tricycle rides may span for hours, but all your eyes will gaze upon are blue seas, blue clouds, the greenest of grass and trees, and birds all over. Taro was mostly the backseat rider, and he didn’t complain one bit. He probably took more than 100 photos of the scenery alone! And I am willing to bet, this will surely be a pleasurable experience for you as well 🙂 Oh but do bring sun screen and a mask. It’s raw nature, and nature is sunny and dusty. haha (Yes,dusty that I had some breakouts:( My Skin care and SummerLove failed me. Please give me tips regarding this:((( What do you use when you go out?What are the best water-resistant sunscreen that are also eco-friendly?)
We reached Magdiwang Port earlier than expected.
Goodbye for now, Sibuyan! (See you when I go back for G2 in God’s time):)
Here is the video during the ship ride : https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZqK4iJ6x25XeWBrH2
We set foot here at around 1:30pm. Upon arriving, we looked for a trike driver and luckily we met kuya Jun. He also made suggestions on how we could maximize the rest of our day there. . He looked for a boatman who can tour us to the nearby islands. He was really nice and accompanied us.
2:00-Then, we checked in at Nonok’s beach resort (10-15mins from the port)
2:30pm -Island tours
We only docked at Cobrador island.
Our attention was caught by the kalachuchi flowers.
We had to walk a little to get to the other side. (It was really hot that time.)
We also stayed near Tagoso island to enjoy the view. We did not stay that much because we were trying to catch the sunset and the sandbar at bon bon beach, and we were running out of time. We might have overstayed a little at cobrador, and the tide was already low so we couldn’t dock or even go near the shores of another beach, Logbon.(sayang din!)
Good thing we were able to arrive on time before the sunset. The tide is still low and we were able to walk on this sandbar. It is not actually the kind of sandbar that you can walk bare foot (because there are rocks and dead corals).Wear aqua shoes,or outdoor sandals. also our boatman noted that we were fortunate because BonBon beach tends to be unreachable due to the tide.
It is actually fun to see the sunset spectrum of colors’ reflection to the water.
After this, we went back to the port. Eat dinner at a near local eatery. Then, we stayed at Nonok Beach resort to spend the night. The sky there is so clear that we were able to look at the stars so vividly, something that we do not usually see in the metro. It is so priceless. The wind was also gentle and mind.
It was a peaceful morning. It seemed as if we rented the whole place. We already settled our payment when we checked in so we did not have any hassle as we left the following day.
Our tent is above stilts. The veranda was sturdy enough. That is where we planned to sleep the previous night until it showered.
Our tricycle driver kuya Jun happened to know a boatman that manned the Pumpboat to Tablas. The fare P100 (P90/student) which is paid on board. But you have to pay for terminal fee 10). At 6:45am, we were once again fortunate to be included in the trip, as the last passengers even. As a tip, get enlisted ASAP because of course, there is a max capacity, and missing this trip might delay you for the afternoon RoRo at 1pm. If you’re not willing to wait, the only means you can travel to tablas is by renting a private vessel.
Here we are at the Marble shopping center. I was able to buy the a cellphone stand in a shape of a hand. The others stores were still closed.
I think it was already a good deal.
(I cannot emphasize this enough. Make sure you know the timetables of your transportation. This can make or break your itinerary, especially when you’re on a limited budget and are trying to maximize your day.)
9:30am Touch down San Agustin Port.
We had a hard time looking for a driver who would agree with our itinerary and our price offer. Good thing, there was one who agreed, kuya Noel. We were running out of sunblock, and apparently only 2 stores(pharmacy) sold them. Unfortunately they were both out of stock. So I just used the minute amount that was left.
After, we agreed on the price we immediately started our travel by land.The travel time took a lot of time even if we just stopped once on this part of the road. All through out the ride, we can see the waters. It was such a breather.
11:30am Aglicay beach
From the highway, you still have to drive for about 15-30mins(?) depending on your vehicle. Ours was a trike so it was really bumpy for us. It almost overheated that it needed to rest. Good thing, another trike driver came by and offered to drop us off on a flatter ground. We arrived 30mins before the lunch time. We just ordered our food from their restaurant. With their P70 entrance fee, who would not want to stay at Aglicay beach for a daytour. It also has a good deal for visitors who are BUDGETarian. I think their tent accomodation cost around P150 per night(?). They don’ have a corkage for any food and drinks that you would like to bring. The place is so cozy and wonderful. I would’ve wanted to stay more
We noticed that the waves were continuous and strong (but not so strong for surfing or so. haha)so we asked kuya if there was any news about people taken away by the waves, he said there was none. He also mentioned a “story from words of mouth” saying that some of the white sand here are from Boracay. I still had to use my aquashoes here.
We no longer rented a kiosk because we won’t stay that long.
But we managed to rent this table in front of the beach near the swing.
You can trek on that side…
This is the Looc bay marine sanctuary. You still have to ride a pumpboat so you can go here somewhere in the middle of the bay.
It was actually a good place to visit because of its accessibility and affordability(P100 fee;Snorkel P60).The place is until 4:30pm.
I remember the front lady there, she is the one who is in direct contact with the tourist. She just told us to read the rules and regulation outside.Then, someone on the adjacent table told her, “Explain it to them. Don’t tell them to just read it because they are first timers”.
I’m glad somebody just said it. Because “HUMANS” out of excitement or out of lack of concern would not care about reading these.) Locals of Looc, protect your marine sanctuaries.Please Educate your tourists!
There is a division there. That part is shallower than the other parts(about 4-5feet). That is where you can see the marine creatures and the coral reefs. On the left side were grasses. It ‘s waist-deep.
Swim free fishes.🐟🐠..i don’t have any food for you🐟🐠 🐠🐟
I hope Looc will be able to preserve this sanctuary.👮 🕵 they should be strict about educating people about their rules and regulation that are posted in front of their office…😟😔i have mixed feelings about this… I just went and observed. I remember myself telling people not to touch the starfish or take them out of the water as well for pics.🙅🙅🙅
This is actually the area of fishfeeding. (We did not give them any food.)You are not allowed to swim here.
This is where Kids can start to appreciate marine life.This is the best place where Older generations can teach them how to RESPECT MARINE LIFE and to care for the ENVIRONMENT.
Things is because of the accessibility and affordability, many tourist may flock on this place without being educated rightfully.#NoToFishFeeding #respectMarineLife
I cannot imagine how some people walk easily because they couldn’t see clearly what is under. Snorkel rents costs P60. And only a few rented when we went there. Do you think they are just stepping whatever is under?We are actually cautious not to touch anything down there even if we were just floating. This is actually a nice place, I am telling you. Your kids will love it. I am not against this but we should uphold “Responsible Tourism”. Most People just needs to be educated.
Last ITI before we bid goodbye. We needed to return to manila that night and they still have to continue their Romblon trip to Carabao Island.
The more we “go to places/ go out” , the more we appreciate the environment, the more we wanted to protect it.That is why you should “go out”(because “Travel” is such a big term. LOL)
This is our last itinerary for the day, capping off our whole Romblon trip.
Good thing kuya Noel was really knowledgeable of the island, and gave us many suggestion to our trip.
The other drivers suggested that the price was P2,000, but we haggled. Good thing, there is one who agreed.We were able to haggle but as we go on with our trip, we realized that the places to visit are far plus he is “mabait” so we just paid 2k. He said that the gas was really expensive. and the locals really have time for the things that they do(like going to the market).
It was actually challenging to change the iti if you do not rent a trike.(Just like us, if we go for a jeep to odiongan, we have to leave at 2pm. In that case, we won’t be able to maximize this day.) He just dropped us on the port.We boarded Starlight going to Calapan at 10. This one is also good and very orderly.
Our Recent Romblon trip include a lot of travel time by trike, or boat because we tried to travel its 3 islands. (There is one airport in Tablas Island.)We tried to lessen our expenses but this was what we have tried given the situation. It was such a breather especially after our final exams. I used to be very vigilant against treacherous sellers or drivers by the way they rate but people here are very honest and you can see their pure intentions. For me, it is still worth the experience. You should go here too.:)
Day0 to Day1
1:00pm-4:15pm Jam liner (P140)
5:00pm-2:30am Batangas port to Odiongan (Montenegro) (P734)
4:15am San Agustin Port (P300) Expenses:Trike 250; Porter 25
8:30am Magdiwang Port
10:30am Azagra port
11:30-430 ETA Cresta de Gallo
5:30pm Et back to azagra port
6:00pm dinner at Benj’s place
7:00pm-Sea Breeze inn
5am wake up call
630-9am travel to Magdiwang port via trike
1030am-1:30pm Romblon Island
2:00pm Check in at Nonoc beach, Lunch at Yum delights food station
2:30pm start of island hopping (Cobrador,tagoso, bonbon)
7pm end of trip
5am wake up call
630am check out nonoc
645am settle terminal fee for pump boat
730am leave romblon;travel to tablas
900 arrival at san agustin port
9:30 hire trike for inland beach tour
1130am Aglicay beach
330pm Looc bay
645pm odiongan port
930pm-1230am travel to mindoro via starlight
1230- 215am Mindoro to calapan via van
330-530am calapan to batangas via fast cat
6am- batangas to cubao via jamliner
————————————————————————————————————————-SUMMARY OF EXPENSES
P140 Fare to Batangas Port
P734 Fare to Montenegro
P30 Terminal fee
P300 Fare to Sibuyan via Starhorse
P650 Boatride fare (P 2500 for 4)
P250 trike to san agustin port
P250 trike to azagra port
P300 accommodation seabreeze inn
P300 Trike to Magdiwang Port()
P200 montenegro to romblon, romblon
P12 terminal fee
P350 nonoc beach accomodation
P350 island hopping(1400)
P100 special trike (400)
10 terminal fee
90 pumpboat to tablas student fare
500 trike hire around tablas(2000)
290 Starlight (2hrs) (tf-13)
250 van to calapan(2hrs)
230 fast cat to batangas(2hrs) (tf 20)
140 jamliner bus to cubao