Tuesday, June 17, 2014

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. 

First time travlling via ferry boat - a big ferry boat

I think I wasn’t able to haggle hard for the habal-habal prices. I also didn’t know the standard fares. When I asked the locals, almost everyone answered a number but they are unsure, and told me to just negotiate with the driver. I guess I also had to pay for two seats, because I was the only passenger. I am not sure how the habal-habal systems works. :/

For food, options are limited. In Carabao Island/ Hambil, I ate in the Republic of Inobahan then I cooked my own food. There was a place selling barbeque but I didn’t get to explore the town proper for other options. In Tablas, I had all my meals in Aglicay Beach Resort. The food was tasty and reasonably-priced. I loved that I had the beach was secluded; I didn’t want to get up and go around for food.
The fine sand of Carabao Island/Hambil

Budget Breakdown:


Booked MNL to Caticlan ticket - no check-in baggage
Early June
2go ferry ticket: Odiongan to Manila

Day 1
Travel to Hambil. Beachbumming. Overnight in Hambil

Taxi to Airport

Jollibee breakfast
Depart Manila

Arrive in Caticlan Airport

Trike to Tabon Baybay

Piatos snack from a sari-sari store

Boat to Hambil - 1 hour

Lunch in Republic of Inobahan

Shampoo and tuna from convenience store

Habal-habal Rides

Dinner - 2 eggs + rice (eaten with the canned tuna)

Accommodation: Ate Luzvie's place

Day 2
Boat ride from Hambil to Sta. Fe. Aglicay. Looc. Overnight in Aglicay

Past 6:00am
Boat ride from Hambil to Santa fe

Port fee

2 pcs.of egg

Habal-habal to Aglicay (30 minutes)


Lunch Pansit + Coke

Roundtrip Habal habal to Looc

Dinner Spaghetti + Water

Overnight in Aglicay

Day 3
Swimming and Trekking. Travel to Odiongan. Midnight ferry to Batangas


Around 5:00 pm
Habal-habal to Odiongan (one way)

Habal-habal to Star palace

Star Palace food

Habal-habal back to Odiongan port

Port Fee

Day 4
Arrive in Batangas pier. Travel to Manila.

Odiongan to Batangas by 2go ferry

Arrival in Batangas

Bus from Batangas Port to Cubao


Romblon Takeway Thoughts and Tips:

Bring cash. Bring smaller bills.

Brown-outs are frequent, and the schedules are erratic. Charge all your gadgets whenever there is electricity. Bring your powerbank. Charge this as well.

Bring your own junk food, instant coffee packs and noodles. This is not really a travel tip, this is an travel SOP.  

Bring the usual beach must-haves: sunglasses, sunblock, sarong, beach mats and even an umbrella. You won’t find a vendor peddling around for these products so better bring your own.

I was only able to explore Tablas, Romblon’s biggest island. I intend to come back someday and explore the other islands as well. Hopefully, Tugdan airport will be operational by then.

Me, 50 shades darker


  1. Nice pictures!! hoping to go there next year especially since we have relatives here makakalibre sa accoms. haha

  2. Been there several times and it is a beautiful place indeed! Untouched and a true Philippines gem. Take Mosquito repellent. I believe that the airport is re-opening this month?

  3. @Mariane: you'll save on accommodations then. And you'll be able to get the real local prices if you have relatives guiding you.
    @Kootwoot: MOSQUITO REPELLENT indeed. The mosquitoes loved my legs. Hahahaha. No confirmed news on the airport. According to the locals there, it may take time for Tugdan Airport to open because of some local politics (I don't know the specific details though).

  4. Hello... did you join a guided tour during your stay in tablas? which attractions would you recommend? thank you!

    1. Hello! I didn't join a guided tour. I jsut hired a habal habal that took me around. I basically just chilled at the resort.

  5. My friends and I are going to Tablas for 5 days in May. I'm trying to make an itinerary but is concerned about the transportation there. Is it easy going around the island? What are the modes of transportation available?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...