activities, adventure, travel

Iloilo to Tablas Island, Romblon Part 1: Nearly stranded in Roxas

Romblon is a beautiful province in the MIMAROPA region. It has 3 main islands: Tablas, Romblon and Sibuyan. Sibuyan was supposed to be our main destination with a side trip to Romblon, Romblon and a couple of days stay in Tablas Island where Erica’s cousin’s wedding is to be held.

Our supposed route to Romblon from Iloilo
Our supposed route to Romblon from Iloilo

There is no direct ferry or plane ride to any of Romblon’s islands from Iloilo so we had to pass by several towns/cities. My trip started in Iloilo but I had to meet Erica in Kalibo so I took the last trip to Kalibo. The first trip (via van) from Kalibo to Roxas is at 7:00am, the boat to Sibuyan is scheduled to leave, from what I’ve read, at 7:30 am, so going by van is a definite no-no. Our other option is to take earliest bus bound for Iloilo, drop off Sigma, Capiz and take a jeepney bound for Roxas. By 2:30 am we were off to Sigma. (On a side note, falling asleep in a bus terminal isn’t as easy as I thought.)

The entire trip to Roxas took us about more 3 hours since we had to wait for the jeepney to have more passengers. We stopped by to take some pictures in their town plaza.

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By 6:30 we were at Culasi port.

Culasi port
Lots of container vans here

The guards were very accommodating, tone of them took us to where the boats were “parked” (idk the right term) since it was a bit of a walk from the gate. We were informed that we are lucky to have arrived today since the boat to Sibuyan sails only TWO times a week, contrary to the schedule we’ve read online. And we did feel lucky at that point. “But”, the guard added, that we may not be very lucky for long since it was a rainy day and the coast guard might not give us clearance to sail.

Bot-ong, One of Roxas' Native Delicacies
Bot-ong, One of Roxas’ Native Delicacies. I lost this hat in Caticlan 🙁
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2 cups of Milo and a delicious Bot-ong

We boarded the boat but we were told that it may be a while before we can go on our way so we went to the nearby store to have a small breakfast.

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Still raining

Our luck must have run out since we weren’t able to sail in the end, the coast guard won’t allow us to.

The 2 bigger boats sail to Sibuyan
2 of these boats sail to Sibuyan

So we had to quickly change our game plan. So instead of being stranded in Roxas City, we planned a new itinerary as follows: Caticlan with a side trip to Boracay, Sta. Fe in the morning, Tablas island til the 22nd and Sibuyan for the remaining 2 days.

It was a bit late when we arrived in Caticlan. After finding a cheap hotel (lots of really big mosquitoes included) near Caticlan’s jetty port, we went on our way to Boracay.

Part 2: A few hours in Boracay