These are the standard places that tourists, whether foreign or local, usually want to visit, and while these islands certainly showcase the wonderful resources we have in the Philippines, we have 7,107 islands to offer.
For travelers looking to see more of the what this archipelago has to offer or even locals who just want a quiet get away from the hustle & bustle of the city, and are looking for something a little different and something a lot less commercialized – We highly suggest the hidden gem found in the heart of the Philippines – Romblon, Romblon.
Romblon consists of three islands namely Tablas, Romblon and Sibuyan. Many only know Romblon as the marble capital of the Philippines, but it has more to offer. It’s a small, quaint island with a variety of hidden beaches, sand bars you can chill out on, castle ruins from the colonial era, and diving spots that showcase our rich marine life.
Romblon, Romblon – Marble Rocks and Turquoise Water
Going to Romblon, Romblon is a bit of a mission since there are no regular flights going there. Philippine Airlines opened scheduled flights in 2014 to Tablas, Romblon but you will still need to take a ferry to reach Romblon, Romblon. The easiest way to get directly to Romblon, Romblon is to take a ferry from the port of Batangas.
We took the 2GO ferry that has trips every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Batangas to Romblon. Prices can be easily searched on their website. We took a night ferry. From Manila to Batangas it’s easy to take the JAM Liner bus from Taft Avenue/ Buendia. The bus will take you directly to the port of Batangas.
Keep in mind that traffic in Manila is hectic so make sure you give yourself ample time to get to the port. If there’s no traffic it’s usually only a two hour drive from the bus station to the port.
When you arrive at the Port of Batangas you will have to check in at their counter and pay a terminal fee of 25php. The night trip leaves at around 10pm and takes about eight hours. We spent most of the ride sleeping flat-backed on our bunk beds then waking up in the morning just as the ferry docked at Romblon at 6am.
Upon arrival you will already notice bits and pieces of marble stones mixed with their cemented roads.
It is easy to drive around Romblon especially if you know how to drive a scooter – you can rent out a scooter in the town area just a few blocks away from the port, they rent it out just across the Italian restaurant. We rented our bikes from Kuya Arnold. Here’s his number: ARNOLD SCOOTER RENTAL – 09284162999. He usually rents out his scooters for 500php per day depending on your terms. If you don’t know how to drive a scooter you can catch a tricycle from anywhere.
The next thing to do after organising your transportation is finding accommodation depending on your budget. There are a lot of places available.
We chose a nice and affordable place located at Marble Beach just 20 minutes away from the town area where the port is. The place is called SAN PEDRO BEACH, it has it’s own private beach and rooms are simple. The place is really quiet and beautiful. The internet connection or signal here may not be too strong but you can read the magazines and order a fruit shake at the reception area (they serve other food and drinks too) or play Sunka (a traditional Filipino board game) by the marble tables near the shore or relax and take a dip in the clear waters of their private beach.
View from Bungalows at San Pedro Beach Resort
Reception/restaurant at San Pedro Beach Resort
Going around Romblon, Romblon is easy as it is just a very small island! You just need google maps and you can mark the places that you want to go to.
One of the first places we went to was the Castle on the Hill near the port and the town proper. There are 300 steps to the castle ruins and at the top you will see the view of the ocean and the small town of Romblon. A tour guide will open the door for you and will explain a brief history of the place. There are no entrance fees, any donation you can give is fine.
Marble mosaics on the climb up to Castle on the Hill
View from Castle on the Hill
Historical Ruins, Castle on the Hill
The next place we went to was the sand bar called Bonbon Beach – it’s better to go there when it is low tide so you will be able to cross to the other island. The beach is really clean- no entrance fees and the water is turquoise blue.
When you are done with the tours don’t hesitate to head on to Totoy’s Bar in Marble Beach for dinner and a few drinks- they serve the best papaya salad and lumpiang gulay (vegetable spring rolls)! Hands down! The food there is the best value for money. It’s even cooked on a wood fire so it is extra delicious!
The papaya salad at Totoy’s Bar is a must! (Ph: from Totoy’s Bar official Fb page)
There are also a lot of marine sanctuaries in Romblon, Romblon. Another place you can visit is Agpanabat Beach, the corals here are really colorful and if you are lucky you can see a turtle.
There is also an Italian Restaurant in town where you can eat for dinner or brunch and there are a lot of carinderias around the area. You can also hire boats to explore neighboring islands like the magical and untouched Sibuyan Island, the unbelievable paradise Cresta de Gallo and the heavenly beach and marine sanctuary Cobrador Island.
Don’t forget to buy a marble souvenir before you leave – to serve as a reminder of the charming island of Romblon, Romblon!
2Go Website : www.travel.2go.com.ph
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