I would love to say that Romblon’s beautiful landscapes and waters are well worth the journey, but I can’t. Mainly because the islands star attraction the beautiful Bonbon beach is full of litter. Bloggers and travellers have profoundly reported the beach for its beautiful sandbar that links a small island to the mainland, that disappears during high tide.
But when I visited, I found my self swimming amongst plastic bottles and spoons. While the shoreline itself is full of rubbish, that lines the entire length of the beach, the problem might be because of a lack of a single bin on the beach. It’s astonishing to see how authorities have been poorly managing the islands star attraction.
Getting to Romblon
From Boracay and Caticlan
- From Boracay, you first have to catch one of the early Caticlan. Ferries, departing every hour from 5 am. I would recommend the 6 am service.
2. Onwards the 8 am 2go ferry service is needed to arrive into Odiongan on the Island of Tablas. Expect a journey time of 3 hours and a ticket price around the £9 mark if you pre-booked tickets on 12asiago site as I did. You have to make sure you have enough time to collect them from the 2go office in Caticlan. This process took about 40 minutes. Make sure you also factor in; check-in closes 30 minutes before departure.
3. Once in Odiongan port take a tricycle all a jeepney to the jeepney terminal in the city centre. There you will be able to get a Jeepney to San Agustin. The journey lasts 2-3 hours and costs 127 pesos.
4. At San Augustin these two ferry departures a day to Romblon. Unfortunately for us, we missed the last departure at 15.00. So we hired a private pump boat, costing 4500 pesos all 562 pesos, per person. We arrived at Romblon 16.00
From Manila and Batangas
From Manila you have to catch a bus to Batangas from Jam Liner Buendia bus terminal, it’s in between the districts of Makati and Pasay just north of the airport. The bus takes 4 hours to arrive into Batangas where you will be able to catch a ferry to Romblon.
2go ferries operate a 9 pm service that reaches the following morning at 6 am. Departures take place on Saturday’s, Thursdays and Tuesday’s. Please double-check this, on 2go travels website.
From Tablas Airport
Flights to Tablas airport only arrive twice/three times a week.
13.15 from Manila, to tables, arrive at 14.40, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday’s
15.00 from Tablas to Manila, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday’s.
From the airport, you have the option of taking a jeepney all a tricycle to San Agustin. The journey takes 90 minutes.
At San Augustin these two ferry departures a day to Romblon. Unfortunately for us, we missed the last departure at 15.00. And unfortunately, with the poor flight times, you will also miss the last ferry. So a private pump boat will be needed, costing 4500 pesos all 562 pesos, per person. We arrived at Romblon 16.00
From Roxas City
A ferry from Roxas city could provide the most convenient connection to the Island if visiting the illoli all Islas de Gigantes regions. Services depart at 14.00 on Wednesday Friday’s and Sundays and arrive at 19.00.
Where to Stay ?
Fun Divers Romblon
Fun Divers Romblon, is probably the best hotel I stayed in within my four week trip to the Philippines. It has a brilliant location, overlooking the harbour front in Romblon town. The hotel boasts of air conditioner rooms with Hot showers, something I haven’t had for three weeks. The wifi is a bit problematic, but I figured that’s down to the remoteness of the location rather than anything to do with the hotel.
Where to Eat
Jd & G Italian, a proper Italian restaurant operated by Italians, who moved to Romblon a couple of years ago. The food taste as good as the food you get from Italy with homemade pasta and wood burned pizzas on offer.
What to do?
San Pedro Fort
The San Pedro Fort was built to celebrate the arrival of Augustin San Pedro in the 17th century. The fort overlooks the main town and is a beautiful place to watch the sunset. These no official entrance fee, just give a small donation to the guard upon arrival. It’s a steep climb to the top but worth the effort. Gates close at 6 pm.
The Three Beaches
The three main beaches you will want to visit are all within a small distance to another. Tiamban, Talispek (San Pedro) and as mention before Bon Bon Beach. The least impressive but still beautiful is Tiambian, it’s the next beach along from Bon Bon.
The best beach you want to spend most of your time on is Talipasak beach, also known as San Pedro. The beach is small and quiet, my first 2 hours past without a soul in sight. The beaches main attraction is its shaded areas, that are encircled by palm tres, that bolster hammocks. While the views overlooking bonbon beach and then onwards to Tablas aren’t bad either, unlike bonbon, a café and toilet facilities can be found on the beach.
Don’t get fooled by other blogs who say you can swim with Turtles at the Sanctuary. I paid 350 pesos for a ride all the way to the Turtle Sanctuary only to find out that it’s forbidden to swim with the turtles.
Something, unfortunately, I didn’t find time to do, was take the island hopping tour. Bloggers and traveller’s have forever gone on about the islands immaculate blue waters. Something that’s going to be spoiled when you come across a piece of plastic. Besides these plenty of other islands in Philippines offering the clearest of blue waters, Siargao and Camiguin to name a few.
How to fit Romblon within a literary?
Boracay seems to be the most obvious starting point to start this leg of the trip. While the ferry from Roxas city could be for the more adventurous, who have been exploring illoli and the islands of Los gigantic. While travelling down south from Manila, making the Island your first stop could be the most efficient way to add the destination to your itinerary.
Returning from the Island try and fly out of Tugdan airport, to Manila where you can catch an onward service. Going back to boracay is a bit more awkward proposition. As these an early ferry 8 am and a later service at 2 pm (I think) Catch the first ferry you end up, spending all day waiting in Odiongan. Catch the later ferry you could run the risk of missing the Caticlan service and therefore, an extra day could be wasted if you do manage to catch the 18.00 service to Caticlan. You will arrive at the same time as the last ferry to Boracay departs at 21.00. Since no ferry departs on time in Philippine’s, you likely have to stay in the dull town of Caticlan.