The island of Tablas is the gateway into the Romblon province, itself offering a remote-island-getaway experience.
About Tablas and Romblon province
Philippine beaches have made it onto international lists of best island destinations but with 7,641 islands, the country is bound to have a few places that remain under the radar. Romblon, an archipelagic province in the Mimaropa Region, has remained largely undiscovered ￼ — which means that it might just be the remote island getaway you’re looking for.
Tablas is one of the three main islands in Romblon province, along with Sibuyan and Romblon Islands. Nine of Romblon’s 17 municipalities are in Tablas, including the provincial capital which bears the same name as the province.
While Romblon town is the capital and the seat of government, Tablas is the gateway to the province since it has the only domestic airport, Tugdan Airport, located in the municipality of Alcantara. The rest of the province is accessible via sea transportation.
The relatively isolated province has beautiful beaches, sandbars and other natural attractions. It’s also known as the marble capital of the Philippines, having abundant deposits of this rock. Each of Rombon’s islands has its own gems — white sand beaches, secluded coves, crystal clear rivers, mountains, waterfalls, caves and diverse ecosystems.
Highlights for the Traveler
Aglicay Beach Resort in the municipality of Alcantara is a secluded white-sand beach resort on the southeast coast of the island. Aside from swimming and snorkeling, visitors can hike along trails that offer scenic views of the ocean and the island. Binucot Beach in the municipality of Ferrol is a stretch of pebbled white sand on the western coast of Tablas. The beach is also near a pawikan (sea turtle) hatchery and if you’re lucky, you just might see a turtle or two. The Looc Bay Marine Sanctuary in the southern part of Tablas is a 48ha protected area that is home to various marine life such as fish, giant clams, lobsters and turtles. The marine sanctuary takes visitors to floating kiosks where they can swim and feed the fish.
Beyond the southern tip of Tablas island, about an hour away by boat from the municipality of Santa Fe, lies Carabao Island, called Hambil by the locals. It’s often compared to Boracay, which is less than an hour away by boat, because of its white-sand beaches, but Carabao Island is definitely a quieter, less crowded and less commercialized island paradise.
Around Romblon Province
Sibuyan is home to many endemic plant and animal species. The island is also famous for attractions like the Cantingas River in San Fernando; Cresta de Gallo, a remote 5ha island with powdery white sands and pristine waters; Dagubdub Falls, also in San Fernando, which consists of four levels of cascades; and Mount Guiting-Guiting, one of the most technically challenging mountains to climb in the country.
Romblon Island is also known as the marble capital of the Philippines because of its high-quality marble deposits and talented artisans. But apart from being the go-to place for all things marble, Romblon town has a few interesting historic sites, including Saint Joseph Cathedral, a structure of corals, bricks and marble that dates back to 1600s. Fort San Andres was built in 1645 with a “twin” fortress, Fort Santiago, but only San Andres remains; the ruins of Fort Santiago are now covered in soil and vegetation.
Romblon island also has its share of beautiful beaches, among them Bonbon, Tiamban and Cobrador — all with clear blue waters and white sand to rival that of nearby Boracay.
By Leah Angue, as of January 2020.