Friday, June 22, 2018


The Philippines is a tropical archipelago blessed with endless coastline, majestic landscape and pristine islands scattered like an emerald in warm bountiful waters. The richness of natural beauty and tropical charm is immeasurable. Our country is one of the most visited spot in whole Asia. Aside from Boracay, Cebu and Palawan, we still have undiscovered islands, hidden waterfalls and unconquered summit. There is always something wonderful to discover in every provinces and corners of our country. It’s a non-stop discovery. 

Cresta de Gallo island.

Rombon is another underrated province that can capture the soul of every adventurer. It comprises of three major islands namely Tablas, Sibuyan and the province capital of Romblon,Romblon. Each island offers unique but diverse destinations. The province stay relatively isolated due the fact that it can be really challenging to go from one island to another. If you are brave enough to face rough waves, if you are willing to travel for 2 hours on top of a jeepney and you are willing to chase every sunsets then you must pack your  bags ,buy a ticket a get ready to be Roblowwn away.

Here are the 5 major reasons why you should visit Romblon NOW!

1. Endless Tropical Vibe

As expected, Romblon is a beach paradise. It is surrounded with topical blue waters matched with sugary white sand. Every shore is a perfect summer atmosphere dotted with palm trees, laid back vibe and a relaxing breeze. Aside from the 3 major islands, the province is composed with 17 small islands that are surely mesmerizing. Since going there can be really challenging and tiring you can rest assured that you will truly enjoy the beach with you fewer tourist. In Tablas Island there are approximately 25 beaches to get tanned , to name a few;  Binucot beach, Agmanic Beach, Tugdan  beach ,Calagonsao beach,Carabao Island , Aglicay beach, Paksi Cove, Lapus-lapus , Tinagong Dagat and there’s plenty more. Also, you can visit Bon Bon beach and Tiamban beach in Rombln,Romblon and the astonishingly beautiful island of Cresta de Gallo in Sibuyan Island.

Tiamban Beach in Romblon,Romblon

The pristine shore of Carabao Island.


The sand bar that connects to another islet in Bon- Bon Beach.

2. The Impressive Mt. Guiting Guiting 

Situated in the heart of Sibuyan Island, Mt. Guiting Guiting is the most recognizable and the most bio-diverse mountain in Romblon. A wide variety of flora and fauna are endemic to this mountain. The ragged peaks are challenging but beautiful. This is one of the most difficult mountains to climb in the Philippines. You must be a technical and well experienced climber in order to reach its summit. The panoramic view above is just splendid and marvelous. Aside from the difficulties of climbing, there are numerous stories of ghost and enchanted tales about fairies and other worldly creatures that roam the mountain. Don’t let that stop you, these enthralled stories add lure and wonder to this majestic mountain.

The most iconic landmark in Sibuyan Island.


3. Chasing Waterfalls 

Romblon is not only a salt water paradise but it is also a fresh water haven. In Sibuyan island alone there are 9 waterfalls such as Kweba falls ,Cawa – cawa falls ,Dagubdub falls ,Cataja falls,Lambinagn falls, Busay falls, Bila-bila falls,Lagting falls and Pinamitinan waterfalls. Take note, these waterfalls are still in their natural state. The Fresh water came all the way up from the peaks of Mt.Guiting Guiting. The water is refreshingly cold, clean and crystal clear. Another iconic attraction in Sibuyan is the cleanest inland body of water in the country; The Cantingas River. The river resort has a 30ft high diving platform. On the other side of the province, the island of Tablas is gifted with picturesque waterfalls such as Trangkalan falls, Tuburan falls, Garing falls ,Busay falls, Bal-ong falls and Mablaran falls. Tumatabo River and Mainit Hot Spring is another must visit place in the Island.

Lambinagn Falls



The crystal clear water of Cantingas river.

4. Adrenaline Rush 

Cliff jumping is one of the must try water related activity in the province. From 5ft to 30ft diving platform, from oceans to waterfalls, you name it, they have it. There are 2 cliff diving sites in Carabao Island, the Cathedral Cave Cliff Diving site and the Kuding-kuding cliff diving site. Cathedral cave is the highest cliff diving site in the island; it measures at about 15ft above the surface of the ocean while Kuding-kuding is perfect for beginners.  In Sibuyan island cliff diving in its cascading waterfalls is a must. A 30ft cliff diving platform situated in Cantingas River is definitely an exciting go.

Kuding-kuding Cliff Diving Site

The 15ft high platform in Cathedral Cave Cliff diving site.

5. Jeepney Joy Ride

My topload experience is one of the most memorable in my Romblon adventure. Sitting on top of the roof of a passenger jeepney, while gazing on the most scenic view of the province is just remarkable. Wide rice fields, verdant surroundings, zig zag roads, calm coastline and the simple and quaint lifestyle are just superb. The locals waving their hands and offering their biggest and warmest smile is just magical. Romblon is not just blessed with natural attractiveness, it is also blessed with beautiful locals that are more than willing to offer help in every way they can. I guess, this the ultimate reason why most travelers quickly fell in love in this humble province. 

Topload all the way!



GETTING THERE: TABLAS ISLAND

BY AIR:
  • Book a flight from Manilla to Tablas (Tugdan Airport). From the Airport hire a tricycle going to your designated town. 
  • Cebu pacific and Philippine Airline offer direct trip to Tablas (Tugdan Airport), the only so far in the whole province of Romblon.
  • Tricycles and jeepneys are the most common transportation in the island. 
  • Make sure to wake up early to catch the first trip of jeepneys to avoid delays.
  • Fare for jeepneys and tricycles ranges from Php 50 to Php 200.
  • Travel time from one town to another will take up to 1 to 2 hours.

BY SEA:

Option 1: Batangas Port to Odiongan Port (Tablas Island)
  • Montenegro Shipping Lines, 2GO and OceanJet offers direct trip to Odiongan,Tablas Island. 
  • Travel time is around 8 to 10 hours.
  • Fare is around Php 800 to 2,000 depending on the shipping lines. 
  • Ensure your tickets to avoid hassle and delays.
Option 2: Roxas Port (Mindoro) to Odiongan (Tablas Island)
  • This is the route that I take since I need to my meet my travel buddies in Mindoro.
  • From Calapan Port, ride a passenger van going to Roxas port. From Roxas port take the ferry bound to Odiongan. The ferry departs at 5 in the afternoon. 

GETTING THERE: ROMBLON,ROMBLON


Option 1: Batangas Port to Romblon, Romblon

  • Shipping companies such as 2GO, Montenegro Shipping Lines and Navios Shipping Lines have direct trip to Romblon,Romblon.  It will take approximately 13 to 14 Hours to reach the Province. The fare is around Php 900 to 1200 including the terminal fee. Make sure to reserve your tickets as early as possible to avoid cutting trips and delays. 
  • From Romblon, Romblon Port, ride a tricycle to BonBon Beach or Tiamban Beach for just Php 15.
  • Tricycles are the best option to go around the town

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Option 2: San Agustin Port,Tablas to Romblon,Romblon

  • Book a flight going to Tugdan airport in Tablas Island. (This is by far the only airport in Romblon.)
  • From the airport, ride a jeep going to the town of Looc. Fare is Php 50.
  • From the town of Looc, catch the jeep bound for the town of San Agustin or the San Agustin Port. It will take two hours from Looc to San Agustin.  Fare is Php 120. 
  • From San Agustin Port take the passenger boat going to Romblon,Romblon. Fare is Php 100. Terminal Fee is Php 10.00

GETTING THERE: SIBUYAN ISLAND


Option 1: Batangas Port to Sibuyan Island

  • Take the bus from Buendia to Batangas port. Fare Php 177
  • From Batangas Port take the ferry bound for Magdiwang Port in Sibuyan Island. Navios Navigation Shipping lines and Montenegro shipping lines offer direct route to Sibuyan. Fare is Php 1,100. Terminal Fee is Php 30. It will take 14 to 15 hours from Batangas Port to Magdiwang port in Sibuyan Island. Make sure to book your tickets early to avoid hassles and delays.
  • Passenger jeepneys and tricycles are the common means of transportation in the island.

Option 2: Romblon,Romblon to Sibuyan Island.
  • From Romblon,Romblon Port take the Ro-Ro (roll on/roll off ) going to Magdiwang port (Sibuyan Island).
  • The first trip to Sibuyan Island is around 8 in the morning. 
  • Travel time is 2 hours
  • Fare is around Php 200.

WHERE TO STAY:

TABLAS ISLAND

Tablas Point
Barangay Agmanic, Santa Fe, Tablas Island, Romblon
0998 532 4149
www.tablaspoint.com
https://www.facebook.com/TablasPoint/

Escape Eco Resort
Binucot Ferrol, Tablas Island,Romblon
0939 549 3600
https://www.facebook.com/escapetotablas/

Aglicay Beach Resort
Alcantara , Tablas Island, Romblon
(02) 937 5064
http://www.aglicaybeachresort.com/
https://www.facebook.com/AglicayBeachResort

ROMBLON,ROMBLON

Reggae Vibes de Isla Romblon
Agpanabat, Romblon,Romblon
0929 856 6812
https://www.facebook.com/BeachfrontHomestay/

Tiamban Beach Resort
Barangay Lonos ,Romblon,Romblon
0908 554 4975
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tiamban-Beach-Romblon/263678103686230

SIBUYAN ISLAND

Sanctuary Garden Resort
Barangay Tampayan , Magdiwang,Sibuyan Island,Romblon
0920 217 4127
https://www.facebook.com/sgrmagdiwangromblon/

The Boathouse
Olango Bay,San Fernando,Sibuyan Island, Romblon
0917 936 6223
isledreams.com
https://www.facebook.com/sibuyanboathouse/



About the Author
Edss Tolentino is an aspiring travel writer,an adventure junkie and a seeker of the unknown. His goal is to explore the 7,641 islands of the Philippines and share its beauty to the world.

Sunday, June 17, 2018


In our own limitations, we dreamt of reaching the heavens by flying the skies, only to fall short of the endeavor due to the vastness of space. As unreachable as this place we can only view from afar is, there is one location in Bolivia which reflects the heavens, it almost feels like you are walking on the heaven itself—the Salar de Uyuni. [Read: Copacabana to Isla del Sol : Pilgrimage to the Ancient Inca Holy Site]


Salar de Uyuni is not necessarily a giant mirror meant to imitate the one place which we could not reach. Nothing in it is even remotely human manipulated as everything in it are as natural as they come. In a simple description, Salar de Uyuni is just a rather expansive salt flat, the largest even in all corners of the globe.


But as awesome as this place is, the salt flat as we know it today may actually have taken different form back in the years now long gone. Specifically, it was believed that this place was once a massive lake but has gotten dried out throughout time. Yet, dried in this context does not mean that the place is devoid of natural water.


At its dry state, this salt flat is a landscape of mostly white resulting from the large deposition of salt on the ground that itself easily gives focus on the surrounding expanse and the amazing sky. 


At its wet state, however, things make for a different turn as the ground shifts itself into a mirror which inevitably reflects the image of the sky and the domineering features of the surrounding land. Yet, while it mimics, the real breath-taking views about the place is not seeing one’s reflection on the mirroring ground but rather are the duplicating panorama formed by viewing a place being mirrored from afar.


Although we have the science and the knowledge why this phenomenon happens—albeit quite exclusively to this land—the experience is nonetheless surreal which evokes a child-like wonder and being mesmerized, all while basking in all its magnificence. For a heightened encounter, however, traversing the shiny ground mirror is a must as it gives the impression of you traversing the sky and its clouds.



But, while tourists indeed frequent this place for its jaw-dropping mirages, Salar de Uyuni is still a salt flat. Meaning, another good reason why this place is so significant is due to its rich deposits of salt. 



In fact, for the people of the nearby town of Colchani, the Salar de Uyuni is a treasure trove of salt which is responsible to the 20,000 tons of produced salt in the country annually. Although massive, a large portion of this produce is still relatively consumed.


On the other hand, it is not just the salt that are abundant in this place, part of Bolivia’s economy is fueled by this place’s rich concentration of lithium which is an element in-demand for developing electronic gadgets. Current estimate suggests that Salar de Uyuni’s stock of lithium is still good for extraction in the next 100 years.

How to Go to Salar de Uyuni?


From La Paz, you can take a 45-minute flight to Uyuni or you can also opt to take an overnight bus. A number of bus companies operate this route but it is highly recommended that you book online because seats might not be available when you buy a ticket on the same day of your departure.[Read: La Paz - Uyuni - La Paz Bus Schedule and Fare]

I also advise that you book a tour in advance so someone can pick you up when you arrive in Uyuni. This is ideal if you are taking a tour upon arrival in Uyuni. 


From La Paz, Bolivia, Cusco can be reached by bus passing through the Copacabana and Puno border. The travel time is around 10 hours but can be more if the bus has stopover. Some buses have stopover in Copacabana, Bolivia or Puno, Peru. Here's the schedule of bus trips from La Paz to Cusco and Cusco to La Paz.


Schedule of bus trips and fare from La Paz to Cusco. Book your ticket now.

Bus Company Departure from La Paz Arrival in Cusco Fare
Bolivia Hop 7am 6am (+1) USD39
Nueve Continente 7:30am 9:30pm USD29
Trans Salvador 4:30pm 5am USD34
Tour Peru 4:30pm 5:30am USD28

Schedule of bus trips and fare from Cusco to La Paz. Book your ticket now.

Bus Company Departure Cusco  Arrival in La Paz Fare
Trans Salvador 10pm 1pm (+1) USD34
Tour Peru 10pm 3pm (+1) USD29
Bolivia Hop 10pm 10:30pm(+1) USD59
Nuevo Continente 10:30pm 2:30pm (+1) USD37

Saturday, June 16, 2018


Uyuni, Bolivia is home to the world's largest salt flat. Is is about 9 hours by bus from La Paz, the capital of Bolivia. Here's the bus schedule, fare and travel time from La Paz to Uyuni and Uyuni to La Paz.


Bus schedule from La Paz to Uyuni, Bolivia. Book your ticket now.

Bus Company Departure from La Paz Arrival in Uyuni Fare
Trans Omar 8pm 6am USD15
Panasur 8pm 6am USD24
Cruz del Norte 8:30pm 6:30am USD22
Todo Turismo 9pm 7:30am USD36

Bus schedule from Uyuni to La Paz, Bolivia. Book your ticket now.

Bus Company Departure Uyuni  Arrival in La Paz Fare
Trans Omar 7:30pm 6am USD15
Panasur 8:30pm 6am USD24
Cruz del Norte 8:30pm 6:30am USD22
Todo Turismo 8pm 6:30am USD36

Copacabana is a coastal town in Bolivia and the jump-off point to Isla del Sol, the Island of the Sun. Here's the bus schedule from La Paz to Copacabana and Copacabana to La Paz from different bus companies. [Read: A Visit to Isla del Sol and Copacabana]


Bus schedule, travel time and fare from La Paz to Copacabana in Bolivia. Book your ticket now.

Bus Company Departure from La Paz Arrival in Copacabana Fare
Vicuna Travel 7:30am 11:30am USD5
Turisbus 7:30am 11:30am USD19
Trans Titicaca 8am 12pm USD5
Diana Tours 8am 12pm USD5
Trans Titicaca 1:30pm 5:30pm USD5

Bus schedule, travel time and fare from Copacabana to La Paz in Bolivia. Book your ticket now.

Bus Company Departure Copacabana  Arrival in La Paz Fare
Trans Titicaca 1:30pm 5:30pm USD6
Vicuna Travel  1:30pm 5:30pm USD5
Diana Tours 1:30pm 5:30pm USD5
Turisbus 1:30pm 6pm USD19
Trans Titicaca 6:30pm 10:30pm USD7