Tablas: our first stop in our Awesome Romblon adventure! Romblon is composed of three major islands that one must visit–Romblon Town, Tablas Island, and Sibuyan Island.
Famed for being the Marble Capital of the Philippines, the province's marble is comparable to the world's best. Trade plays a big role in Romblon's economy by virtue of its location at the center of the archipelago.
The islands are blessed with natural beauty such as beaches, rivers, mountains, and diverse eco-systems, which offer tourists many opportunities for adventures like scuba, trekking, and snorkeling.
Here's Team OAP's guide to exploring Tablas Island…
- AWESOME ROMBLON: Awesome Guide to Tablas Island! (Itinerary)
- SIBUYAN, ROMBLON: Backpacking "The Galapagos of Asia"! (Itinerary)
- ROMBLON, ROMBLON: A Guide to Marbelous Romblon Town! (Itinerary)
- Romblon Food Trip: 8 Local Dishes You Should Try!
- ROMBLON: 8 Awesome Places You Should Visit!
How to Get There:
Philippine Airlines is the sole carrier that flies from Manila to Tablas (Romblon) every Wednesday and Sunday at 11:00 A.M. and returns on the same days at 12:00 P.M.
Tip: We suggest taking the 1 hour flight from Manila to Tablas, if you wan't to skip the hassle of taking a 10 hour trip by boat.
We enjoyed PAL's excellent customer service and free snacks on board, plus the free baggage allowance was perfect for our marble shopping finds!
Going by sea takes 10 hours from Manila Port and 8 hours from Batangas Port.
Getting around Romblon is usually via tricycle, jeepney, and pump boat.
Although there are many dialects spoken in the province, the locals are also well versed in Tagalog and English.
ATMs are available around Odiongan Town. But bring cash, especially when traveling to other islands as ATMs are not readily available.
Romblon: Tablas Island Itinerary
Day 1: Manila – Tablas (Aglicay Beach Resort, Looc Fish Sanctuary)
11:00 am Manila to Tablas Island (Via Philippine Airlines)
12:00 nn Arrival at Tablas Island (Van Rental)
12:30 pm Lunch at (Primo Cafe) near Aglicay Beach Resort
1:30 pm Aglicay Beach
3:00 pm Looc Fish Sanctuary
5:30pm ETD for Odiongan Town (Check-in at Warf Manor)
7:00 pm Dinner at Odiongan
Day 2: Tablas Island (Calatrava, Binucot Beach)
8:00 am ETD for Calatrava
9:30 am Calatrava Cove Island Hopping (Paksi Cove, Tinagong Dagat, Lapus-Lapus)
11:00 am Lunch at Paksi Cove
12:00 nn Back to Calatrava mainland
1:00 pm ETD to BInucot Beach
2:30 pm Binucot Beach
6:00pm Dinner at Odiongan
8:30pm Back to Hotel Harbor Chateau
Transport Fees and Entrance fees:
Looc Fish Sanctuary Entrance: P100/person
Looc Fish Sanctuary Gear Rental:
PAL Shuttle Aiport P200/person
Van Rental: P5000/day (TGBG Travel: 0917-809-8315, Warf Manor: 0917-733-2672, Island Travel & Tours: 0949 610 1450)
Aglicay Beach Entrance: P100/person
Calatrava Cove boat rental: P1500 good for 10 persons (Mr. Guzman Fetalcurin 0948-664-7209)
Where to Go:
The Looc Bay Marine Sanctuary is a protected marine sanctuary in the middle of Looc Bay. It is host to more than a hundred different marine species including different fishes, corals, clams, lobsters, and turtles.
It's one of my most recommended activities when in Tablas! Adults and kids alike will enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and feeding the fishes.
There is an office where you have to pay P100 per head for the boat fare going to the sanctuary. You can also rent snorkeling gear for only P50!
Take a 5-minute boat ride from Looc Town to the floating Looc Bay Marine Refuge. It has a wonderful view of a beautiful lighthouse standing near the protected area that's as old as World War II.
Tip: Guests are not allowed to climb the old lighthouse.
For those who don't enjoy swimming, the floating house features a clear open aquarium at the center where you can feed the fish.
Our biggest mistake was not bringing enough bread and cooked rice for the fishes. 🙁
Checkout this underwater view!
Looc Marine Sanctuary
Poblacion, Looc, Romblon, 5507 Looc, Romblon, Philippines
Mobile: +63935 590 2204
Mon-Sun: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Aglicay Beach is one of the first resorts in Romblon. It is closest to the airport with majority of it's clients being internationals.
The shoreline features almost a half-kilometer stretch of white sand. Aglicay's charm is different from Binucot, because in Binucot there are lots of resorts, but in Aglicay the owner owns the whole cove, so guests can experience a sense of privacy.
It is located just south of the town of Alcantara on the east coast of Tablas Island. It takes around 1.5 hours coming from Odiongan with an entrance fee of P100/person.
The sand in Aglicay is on the yellowish side but is much finer than Binucot. Besides swimming at the beach, there are coral reefs that are good for snorkeling and a small trek trail on its hillside for guests.
Don't forget to order fresh buko juice!
The only problem for Aglicay is that it is far from the main highway. Visitors need to rent a bike, jeep, or van to reach it.
Coming from Odiongan:
Motorbike rent P100/day from Odiongan
Small car rental P3500/day
P3500 for jeepneys good for 13 people/day
Room Rates in Aglicay: P1200-P1600
Aglicay Beach Resort
Barangay Comod-om, Alcantara
Tel. No: +632 5775386
Mobile: +639175314067 ; +639154256898
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Binucot Beach, located at Barangay Bunsoran, south of Ferrol town, is a 1-kilometer stretch of white sand-pebble beach with turquoise waters teeming with corals and fishes. It boasts of having one of the best sunsets, with snorkeling and diving as the primary activities, but it's the pawikan hatchery that's the real treat!
We drove from Odiongan for about 20 minutes before reaching Binucot Beach.
Too bad the weather wasn't cooperating, so we couldn't get a beautiful sunset photo.
Binucot Beach sand.
The beach isn't ideal for swimming; its really more suited for snorkeling and diving.
If you are lucky enough, you can catch the baby pawikan turtles being brought back to the ocean from the hatchery.
Calatrava Cove Island Hopping
Island hopping at Paksi Cove, Tinagong dagat and Lapus-Lapus.
Calatrava Cove boat rental: P1500 good for 10 persons (Mr. Guzman Fetalcurin 0948-664-7209)
Where to Eat:
Lynn's is the oldest running restaurant in Odiongan serving local turo-turo style dishes.
Taghilaw is pork meat and intestines cooked in vinegar sauce. A dish similar in preparation to "dinuguan" but minus the blood.
Gayabon is Romblon's version of Laing. But what makes it different is that they use fresh gabi cooked until the leaves are mashed into a pasty texture. It is very chunky and is not spicy like the Bikolano version.
Inaslum is a healthy vegetable soup that makes use of any available fresh vegetable in season. It is not sour like what the name suggests, but actually very bland. Good for those who are health conscious and for seniors.
Lyn's Restaurant and Snack Bar in Odiongan
Budiong, Odiongan, 5505, Romblon, Philippines
Phone: +63 42 927 4350
15 minutes away from Aglicay Beach is Primo Cafe, a fast casual cafe serving breakfast, lunch, and coffee. The menu consists of Filipino, Italian, and International dishes.
Old School Dried Pork Tapa (P75)
Your best choice for breakfast served with rice and egg. They used the old preservation method of preparing the pork, an old recipe from Chef Joy's dad.
Talangka and Hipon (P190)
For a Filipino touch, order the Talangka and Hipon Pasta, a mixture of crab fat and shrimp prepared in cream, cheese, and olive oil using special spice, served with homemade potato chips and bread.
Tuyo Pesto and Cheese (P170)
Tuyo is a term used to call small salted dried fish. Tuyo marinated in olive oil, then mix it with fresh pesto basil and rosemary. The tuyo flakes give it that additional salty flavor.
Mama Eve's Special Empanada, Chicken/Pork (P22.50)
Don't forget to order the empanada, an old recipe of the mom made from pure egg yolks, flour, a mix of either chicken or pork, raisin, and veggies like potatoes.
Besides the savory filling, the best part about the empanada is the quality of its crust.
Belgian Waffles (P65)
Two pieces of fresh crispy, fluffy, and perfect Belgian waffles with your choice of strawberry, caramel, or chocolate sauce. Not bad for only P65 pesos.
They also have good Arabica coffee selections. Order their refreshing tropical fresh fruit shakes like the kamias (bilimbi fruit) and calamansi shakes.
Don't forget to grab a bag of Crackling Monkey! Locally sourced pili nuts from the Bicol region are processed in Romblon. And pili nuts are healthier than almonds!
Grimares St, Looc, Romblon
For breakfast, we decided to order Romblon specialty dishes at Deli Hunter, a fast food restaurant below our inn Warf Manor.
Longganisa Breakfast Rice Meals (P155)
Odiongan is known for its preserved meats like the longganisa and tocino that can last outside the fridge up to 5 days.
Romblon's longganisa would probably be the sweetest one we've tasted so far. It's made using quality pork cuts with only sugar, garlic, asuete as its preserving agents.
French Toast with Peanut Butter (P105)
Romblon makes a good blend of peanut butter spread. We liked that the oil doesn't separate from the mixture.
Deli Hunter (Below Warf Manor)
Ligaya, Odiongan, Romblon
Orient's Cuisine located in Odiongan Town is the first Asian restaurant serving quality Singaporean style dishes. The locals are lucky enough to get reasonable prices for the quality of food they serve without going to Manila.
The menu is a selection of Singaporean, Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Korean dishes. They pride themselves on not using any MSG.
Spinach Soup (P115)
Order their spinach soup with seafood. We liked the generous serving of squid, shrimp, and fish fillet.
Seafood Hotpot (P150)
Our favorite and their bestseller is the savory seafood hotpot filled with fish fillet, shrimp, and clams made in their special sauce with coconut milk.
Chinese Style Sweet and Sour Pork (P145)
A delightful tangy dish made with crisp breaded pork cubes cooked in a sweet and sour sauce with bell peppers and pineapples. Best paired with their yang chow fried rice.
Brgy Liwanag, Odiongan Romblon
Monday-Saturday 10am till 9pm
Where to Stay:
Warf Manor is a budget-friendly inn located in the center of Odiongan. From here, guests can enjoy easy access to government and private offices, restaurants, schools, banks, and beaches.
We stayed in their Executive Room (P1500). The rooms are quite comfortable, complete with a queen sized bed, very cool air-conditioning, hot/cold shower, and cable on their LCD television.
If you happen to book the rooms on the third floor, you can use their shared common area, complete with a sala, kitchen, dining area, and open air terrace.
For breakfast, order their Romblon specialty dishes at Deli Hunter: Longganisa, Tocino, and French Toast with Peanut Butter.
Room Rates: P900-P1500
Ligaya, Odiongan, Romblon
Landline: (042) 5676225
Mobile: 0917 7332672
If calling from abroad
Harbour Château Beach Resort is located 5-minutes away from Odiongan town proper by trike. The CondoTel sits on the Odiongan Beach coastline capturing a scenic view of the ocean. Live music is performed on weekends by the seafront stage.
Our accommodation consisted of 2 separate bedrooms, a living room area, and a common bathroom.
There are no establishments outside the hotel, but the resort offers good seafood selections like their Seafood Harbor Chateau Soup and our favorite, their crispy drunken shrimp.
Room Rates: P1200
Poctoy, Odiongan, 5505 Romblon
Mobile: +63908 940 6771
We highly recommend you visit the Looc Fish Sanctuary and be amazed by the amount of fish swimming towards you just to grab a bite. The boat fee and snorkel gear are also quite cheap! If you're looking for a quick swim check out Aglicay Beach Resort, or Binucot if you're just down for strolling by the beach side and watching a beautiful sunset.
Next stop is Sibuyan Island for a swim in the cleanest river, trekking in the falls, and the breathtaking Cresta de Gallo Islet!
Thank you Doc Ging Cueto and Kim Federon from the Romblon Tourism Office for making our Romblon Trip Awesome!
Live an Awesome Life,
Team Our Awesome Planet
Disclosure: Our flights were sponsored by Philippine Airlines and our stay was courtesy of Warf Manor and Harbor Chateau. We paid for our own food and activities. We wrote this article with our biases, opinions, and insights.
P.S. The best time to go to Romblon for the beaches is from January to May and for the rivers and waterfalls from June to October!
Odiongan also has zero crime rate, so feel free to feel safe when traveling around town. 🙂