If you want to travel to Romblon Island, you need a lot of patience and even more time to reach your destination which is also the case with other remote regions in the Philippines – Siargao and Dinagat are just two more examples. Even though you’ll soon find it hard to return home, do not fret for your trip to Romblon will be greeted with nothing but cordiality and the stunning colorful world which makes it very much worth it.
The province of Romblon consists of smaller sub-islands and larger main islands, including Tablas (pronounced Ta-blás, where the provincial airport is located), Romblon Island and Sibuyan Island. The Tablas Strait Atoll, numerous coral reefs, and marine reserves are inviting for snorkeling, diving, and freediving. The Mount Guiting Guiting on Sibuyan Island is another highlight besides many other natural highlights.
Situated in a national park, it occupies a third of the island’s surface area of 157 km². As the only airport is in Tablas, and flights go only a couple of times per week, you could expect that mass tourism is nowhere to be found. While the numerous ferry connections from Panay, Mindoro, and Luzon connect these small islands with larger cities on the mainland in a land-like manner.
Arriving at the harbor of the provincial capital of Romblon, you will notice the lively and very friendly atmosphere. The streets invite you to stroll, and the local market in the heart of the city also offers a wide range of fresh fish, local fruits, vegetables and all the necessary daily household goods until late hours. In the central market square, right on the harbor, you can find the country-style grills to restaurants with international cuisine.
These often have European roots and offer a distinct range from Frankfurter Rostbratwurst, original Italian pizza or Foccacia to Indian curry. Here on the islands, some emigrants of international origin have settled down, sometimes more than 30 years ago, joined the locals and enjoyed the peace and serenity of the islands.
A bit elevated, you will find the Fuerza de San Andres fortress dating back to the 17th century, 1644 to be precise. Situated on a hill with a fantastic view over the bay, it gives a glimpse of how the Spanish occupiers held their position against Dutch pirates and other intruders. It is now possible to visit the Fort, restored after several years of restoration. An Australian archaeologist has built up the old walls with the locals in Romblon together with the naturally occurring raw materials and materials, thus preserving the ancient charm.
From here you can look directly into the marble mountains in the north of the island. Marble is one of the most important sources of income in the island and is found everywhere in small craft and souvenir shops as well as in hotels and resorts in the form of facades, marble floors, and baths. Among other things, the island of Romblon is also known as “The Marble Capital of the Philippines” or “Marble Island“.
In the mining areas, workers are often found in open factories as well as artists right on the street. They form the marbles in the form of kites, lions, and frescoes, which are found in the Roman Catholic church, as well as slabs for flooring and facade decorations. Fine marble dust covers the curvy mountain road as well as flora and fauna on the way to the east side of the island, where the Sibuyan Sea can be found.
With 46-kilometers main road, it is said that you can easily circumnavigate the island. You can also easily find rest in the natural springs, waterfalls or beach resorts, which invite you to relax and linger. For those who venture into adventurous areas, you can go on cave exploring, visit the underwater paradise, or go with a local guide across the island in the tricycle and climb the lighthouse at the southern tip to get an overview of the island from above.
The Breathtaking Underwater World of Romblon Island
Off the beaten track on land, the region offers a stunning underwater world that makes both snorkelers and divers’ hearts beat faster. At the San Pedro Beach Resort you will find small nipa huts with regional marble, which exude a certain luxury. The coral reef is also home to a variety of coral and fish, and it is a wealth of the underwater world.
For example, 14 marine reserves were opened up in the last few years, turtle rearing stations were opened around Romblon Island, and a giant clam has been under protection for a number of years and can be viewed again in the wild. If all that is not enough, go on an island hopping tour. Here, one can be spoiled by secluded beaches such as Naguso Beach on Cobrador, small secluded original fishing villages and the sociable warmth of the locals at Bong-Bong Beach.
Even a short stopover in a secluded bay can be a unique experience with diving goggles and snorkel, and the colorful splendor of the black-neon yellow fan corals in contrast to the azure of the shoals, makes one forget the breathing.
Those who want to dive with equipment can explore the turtle grounds along the Romblon coast or take a day trip to the Tablas Strait Atoll, guided by experienced local diving schools. Similarly, the peace and quiet here can be used for freediving. With the local instructor, all levels can be completed from the free diving beginner to the free diving master.
After a fulfilling day, the evening ends with a Chinese wine. This has by far nothing to do with the vine juice known to us and exceeds the 15% alcohol content limit. But the herbal mixture warms the stomach and lets the muscles forget the tension of the day. And so we are accompanied by the rising sea lights, the dancing fireflies, and a breathtaking starry sky into the night.
How to Get to Romblon
The islands of the province of Romblon are not as easy to tour, and some flexibility in terms of time is more appropriate than in many other Philippine destinations. From Manila, Cebu Pacific Air flies to Tablas several times a week. From there, we continue to St. Augustin, where the transfer in a private van takes about 45 min.
Afterwards, you take a Philippine Bangka to Romblon (municipality), which takes another 60 min. We will be glad to help you if you want to make an individual trip to Romblon Island. We also have reliable partners here, who would like to help to make the stay as beautiful and adventurous as possible. You can send us an email to mabuhay[at]kapwatravel.com or just fill out our contact form for a non-binding inquiry.