1st-3rd February, 2015
Getting to Romblon Island was a bit more of an ordeal than I thought it would be. On the map it appeared to be only a short distance away, but when one is at the mercy of public transport you are often forced to take a route very different to how the crow would fly.
But, as far as transit days go, the journey from Boracay to Romblon was a fairly enjoyable one. It began – as it so often does in the Philippines – with a boat, sailing north, to an island called Tablas.
We were dropped off at a town called Odiongan, and a friendly local who was queuing with us when we were alighting pointed us in the right direction. Less than an hour later, we were aboard a rickety jeepney making its way along a wonderful coastal road and then through some of Tablas’s rugged, mountainous interior.
By the time we reached San Augustin – a little port town on the eastern coast – we had already missed the last public boat to Romblon Island so we thought we were going to have to stay the night. This would have been far from a disaster, as it seemed like a charming and quaint place, but by some stroke of fate there just happened to be a small cargo ship about to leave, which offered us passage. I took it as a sign and got on.
It was possibly one of the rockiest sea journeys that I have ever taken, but that just made it all that more exciting. Well, for me at least. James – who suffers from sea-sickness – wasn’t so impressed. He and Pedro took shelter down in the hull while Chloe and I went up onto the top deck, where we held on tightly to door frames, ropes, handles, whatever we could grab, and watched the captain navigate his way through the waves as water splashed over the bow.
Just over an hour later we arrived in Romblon. It was approaching evening by that point so we didn’t waste any time and chartered a tricycle to take us to San Pedro Beach Resort, which had a collection of lovely beach cottages perched over the rocks. We arrived there just in time to catch an amazing sight of the sun setting over the silhouette of Tablas Island.
The following day we hired out motorcycles so we could do a loop around Romblon.
It took us about five hours, in all, and that was including plenty of stops along the way to take photos of Romblon’s lovely coastline. A particular highlight for me was the the lighthouse on the eastern side – the lighthouse itself, was pretty naff, but it was surrounded by green hills, had a sandy beach, and there was a small island just offshore.
Lots of the villages dotted around Romblon are populated by miners and crafters of marble; a resource which is plentiful across the island, and for which it is famous for across the Philippines. Many of the workshops we passed had such impressive works-in-progress we felt compelled to stop and admire them for a while.
We finished the day off with a quick walk around Romblon Town. The first thing I saw when we drove in was an old church built from stone which looked nice but was unfortunately locked so I couldn’t get inside. We also walked up the hill to have a look at San Andres Fort, which wasn’t all too impressive in its structure but had a great panoramic view of the town – a few young couples were sat on benches, staring out at the bay, and there was a wonderful atmosphere there.
The next morning we took a quick trip to Bon Bon beach just before Pedro and I had to hand the bikes back in, but unfortunately we couldn’t cross the sandbar to reach the nearby Cobrador Island because the tide was too high. I went snorkelling around the reefs near San Pedro Beach Resort and saw a turtle, a massive school of millions of tiny fish, and a bright purple boxfish. I also got stung quite badly by a jellyfish, so I was forced to come back to shore and apply lots of vinegar to my arm. I spent the rest of the afternoon lounging in a hammock.
For more photos from Romblon Island, click here. One of the photos from this blog was kindly donated to me by Chloe.