Thursday, June 19, 2014

All Aboard 2GO: The Ride From Odiongan To Batangas


After a butt-numbing one-hour ride in a motorcycle from Alcantara, I arrived in Odiongan port just before sundown. There are passenger jeepneys from Alcantara to Odiongan but the last trip was at 2 or 3pm. I wanted to kill my time in the wonderful Aglicay Beach Resort so I got a habal-habal reide instead (Php 300). It was still early when I arrived at the port at 6pm, the boat is set to depart at midnight. I asked another habal-habal to bring me to Star Palace for Php 20. This is the recommended place that I found online. I had a hearty dinner which I ate over the span of 3 hours.

A really good oven pizza. Half order.

And some fries. Hey, I had time to kill! Don't judge me. :P

My whole appetite costs Php 350 for the milk tea, pizza and fries. The pizza was really good. Reminds me a lot of Picobello in Davao. PIzza crust was really good! And the price is reasonable too!


I asked the same habal-habal driver to drive me back to the port at 9:30 pm (because the restaurant closes at 10pm). I still had time to kill. I paid Php 15 for the port fee then showed my e-ticket to the attendant.

The lounge has a TV. The events of the past few days were catching up with me, so I tried to take a nap.

Waiting area in Odiongan port

2go boat schedule

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Around Looc & Aglicay Beach Resort


The boat from Carabao Island/Hambil arrived in Sta. Fe port of Tablas island shortly past 7:00am. Tip: apply sunblock before you ride the boat. A row of motorcycles at the port await for possible passengers. I chose a relatively bigger motorcycle (I think it was bigger) and negotiated the fare going to Aglicay Beach Resort. We settled at Php 200. I’m not sure how much is the “standard local price” because Aglicay Beach Resort is not a standard drop-off point. I am not good in haggling anyway

Sta. Fe port


It was a smooth ride going to the resort. I knew that it was quite far but I didn’t think it would take us around 40 minutes. I was already feeling the numbness in my butt and my shoulders were aching from my backpack. I also packed my laptop in my handy shoulder bag so that contributed to the pain. Boooo.

The Resort Manager, Kristine, was all smiles as she greeted me. I chose a beachfront room which costs Php 900/night. She offered the room first, so I can rest. I probably looked so tired from that habal habal ride.

Rest vs. Food. I prioritized food. I ordered a Fried Daing from their Breakfast Menu which costs Php 140. Food preparation took a while but that was understandable. There’s not a lot of people in this resort. I had the time to take some photos of this peaceful beach.




Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Quiet Beauty Of Carabao Island (Hambil)



I live in Quezon City so an early morning flight means leaving at an ungodly time of 3:00-ish am for a 5:30am flight. The torture for the love of travel. The flight was on time, and we arrived in the new Boracay Airport around 6:30am.
 
The new Boracay airport!

Look at the tropically-designed bathroom.
 
Pebble stones for some tropical island effect
 
The marshals are directing all the passengers to fill-up some visitor-information-sheets as a standard procedure. Well, that’s not applicable to me, I told them. I’m not going to Boracay. I’m going to Romblon.

The tricycle station is right in front of the airport’s exit. However, there was already a line to buy the tickets going to Boracay (you have to pay the fee before riding the tricycle). A manong befriended me and asked me where I was going (I guess I looked lost). I told him I was going to Tabon Baybay, I wanted to batch a boat going to Hambil. Hambil is the local term for Carabao Island. He told me I had to step aside the line because that line are for passengers going to Boracay. I asked him what is the price. He told me to just negotiate with the driver.

Since all trike drivers seem to be bound to the port of the boats going to Boaracay, he asked someone to take me to Tabon Baybay. The driver charged me Php 100 for ride. I haggled down to Php 80. I know I should’ve haggled more but I don’t think I will be allowed to pay the rate of a local. After grudgingly paying for that hefty fare, I chilled out in Tabon Baybay. I talked to a couple of locals there and they said I should’ve been charged with Php 30. I wasn’t feeling brave enough to haggle. I was feeling jet-lagged.
 
 
Tabon Baybay port

It was not even 7:00am so I had to wait for 2 more hours. I texted a possible guide Edison (0918-330-3718) and inquired if he is available that afternoon to guide me around. I also asked him to book me a room in Ate Luzvie’s house. I got the details from this blog post of Matet.

So two more hours.  Good thing I brought a book. Bad thing is that I finished “For One More Day” by Mitch Albom in that span of time. By the time I got to the last chapter, we were asked to board the boat. I think I was the only tourist (or the only one tourist looking).
 



It was an hour-long ride and I was successful in getting some shut-eye during the ride. My feet dangled outside the boat. I woke up with the waves splashing onto my feet. Oh well. We were near. 

 

Romblon Adventure: Budget and Itinerary



Romblon is an unpopular, ignored and even neglected travel destination. It is not a traveler’s first choice, nor is it a second choice. The province is not as popular like the other developed provinces. It is quite inaccessible; Tugdan Airport is currently not operating.

Romblon is my 41st Philippine province.  

My family and a bunch of my cousins had their own Boracay-Romblon adventure way back in 2003. I was taking up summer classes. I took summer classes every year in college so that I would have a sideline (translation: so that I’d have allowance during summer). They took a boat (I think it was Negros Navigation back then) from Batangas, then proceeded to Aglicay Beach Resort in Alcantara, Romblon and then proceeded to Boracay. That was one long trip.

So after 11 years, it is my turn for my own Romblon adventure. 

This is the breathtaking view of Aglicay Beach Resort


I booked my Manila to Caticlan flight last December 31, 2013. What’s there to do while waiting for New Year’s Eve? I took advantage of CebuPacific’s 20.14 seat sale.

Alternatively, you can reach the province by riding 2go’s ferry from Batangas Pier and arrive in Odiongan in Tablas Island. 

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