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September 07, 2016

SIBUYAN, ROMBLON: Backpacking "The Galapagos of Asia"! (Itinerary)





September 07, 2016

SIBUYAN, ROMBLON: Backpacking "The Galapagos of Asia"! (Itinerary)

By Abigail Javellana

Romblon: Sibuyan IslandBackpacking to Sibuyan, Romblon is one of the most long, challenging but rewarding adventures we've been to.

Sibuyan is famed as the "Galapagos of Asia". The island's origin has never been connected to any part of the Philippines archipelago, blessing it with a unique rich biodiverse ecosystem teeming with endemic flora and fauna.

Let's explore Sibuyan's natural playground as we swim in the cleanest river Catingas, basked on the white sands and turquoise waters of Cresta de Gallo Islet, hike the many waterfalls of Dagubdub, examine the rare pitcher plant and witness one of the most technical climbs in the Philippines Mt. Guiting Guiting.

Here's our complete guide to exploring Sibuyan...

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 Romblon: TablasHow to Get There:

Philippine Airlines is the sole carrier that flies from Manila to Tablas (Romblon) every Wednesday and Sunday at 11:00 A.M. and returns on the same days at 12:00 P.M.

Tip: We suggest taking the 1 hour flight from Manila to Tablas, if you wan't to skip the hassle of taking a 10 hour trip by boat.

We enjoyed PAL's excellent customer service and  free snacks on board, plus the free baggage allowance was perfect for our marble shopping finds!

Going by sea via Manila port take 10 hours and 8 hours via Batangas port.

Then take a 5 hour ship ride from San Agustin port (Tablas) via Montenegro lines to Magdiwang Port (Sibuyan).

 

Romblon: Sibuyan IslandGoing around:

Getting around Romblon is usually done via tricycle, jeepneys, and pump boats.

Important Reminders:

Although there are many dialects spoken in the province, the locals are also well versed in Tagalog and English.
There are no ATM's available bring cash on hand.

 

(Note: Our Day 1 Itinerary to Sibuyan starts with our trip coming from the neighboring island Tablas.)

Day 1 (Odiongan-Sibuyan)
4:00 am Odiongan to Port of San Agustin
6:00 am Port of San Agustin to Sibuyan
10:00 am  Arrival at Magdiwang Port (Proceed to San Fernando Town) (Take the Jeep going to San Fernando Town, there is only 1 jeep do not miss it.)
12:00 nn Lunch at San Fernando Town
1:00 pm Catingas River
3:00 pm Dagubdub Falls
6:00 pm Dinner at San Fernando
7:00 pm Rest

Day 2 (Sibuyan-Cresta de Galo Islet)
8:00 am ETD to Cresta de Gallo Islet
9:30 am Cresta De Gallo Islet
12:00nn Lunch at Cresta De Gallo Islet
1:30 ETD to San Fernando (optional) or go back 3:00pm to avoid low tide

Day 3 (Sibuyan-Romblon, Romblon)
6:00 am Catch the Jeep going to Magdiwang Port (There is only 1 jeep, Do not miss it!)
9:00am ETD to Magdiwang Port
10:30 am Magdiwang Port to Romblon Port
12:00 nn Arrival at Romblon, Romblon

  

Entrance and Transportation Fees:
(San Agustin Port is the only port that serves connection to Sibuyan Island from Tablas via Montenegro Lines, MV Querubin. The port is approximately 2 hours’ drive from the town of Odiongan. It is advised to leave at 4:00 AM in Odiongan as the ferry do not accept early bookings.)

Via Montenegro Lines
PHP 324.00 per head (direct to Sibuyan Island). There would be a 2–3 stopovers at the port of Romblon.)

Via Montenegro Lines
PHP 228.00 (Sibuyan to Romblon)

P150 Jeep (Jarold Jeep) from Sibuyan Port to San Fernando town (2 hours) Look for kuya Leoner +639151923163

P3500 Bayay Sibuyan Van Rental (+639059410418)
Whole day van rental with gas (expect a lot of off-road traveling)

P2000 Boat Rental San Fernando to Cresta De Gallo (Kagawad Pasik +639264560588)

P30 Tricycle from San Fernando town to Catingas River

P150 Tricycle from San Fernando town to Dagubdub Falls (1 hr)

 

 

Where To Go:

Romblon: Sibuyan Island
Cresta De Gallo Islet
When asked what's the most beautiful attraction to see in Romblon, locals would point to Crest De Gallo. A five-hectare kidney-shaped islet located east of Sibuyan Island. Known for its picturesque views, powder white sands and turquoise waters. The island is almost secluded except for one fisher family living there.

 

Romblon: Sibuyan IslandWe departed our trip at 8:00 am from the dock of Mayor Tansignco's beach house at San Fernando town.

The boat rental fees and the time it takes to reach Cresta depends on which point of Sibuyan you depart. For us, we paid P2000 pesos for a 1.5-hour boat ride coming from San Fernando town. (Good for a day trip.)

 

Romblon: Sibuyan IslandWe made it! I just love how we got the whole island all to ourselves.

 

Romblon: Sibuyan IslandYou can leave your things at the cottage and set up your own breakfast and lunch.

Tip: All the small cottages are free to use. 

 

Romblon: Sibuyan IslandIf you are lucky your boatman will even catch fresh seafood and cook it for you for a fee.

 

Romblon: Sibuyan IslandWe had a baby barracuda for only P80!

Tip: No fresh water and electricity on the island make sure to charge all your phones and power banks.

 

Romblon: Sibuyan IslandThere are also no hotels, resorts, restaurants or convenience stores to buy drinks or food. Make sure to bring a heavy pack lunch, snacks, and drinks.

Our favorite part was walking around the sandy long shores.

 

Romblon: Sibuyan Islandand swimming in its clear blue turquoise waters!

 

Romblon: Sibuyan IslandThe shallow part of the beach are pure sand with only a few starfish and baby fishes to be seen.

Tip: Bring sunblock, hats, sunglasses and even snorkel gears!

On your way home we were lucky enough to be accompanied by flying fishes and dolphins!

 

 

 

Catingas River

Romblon: Sibuyan IslandJust 3km away from San Fernando Town is Catingas River considered as one of the cleanest rivers in the country. We loved swimming in it's cold and clear waters plus there are jump boards for those adventurous enough to try river cliff jumping.

 

Romblon: Sibuyan IslandP30 Trike from San Fernando town to Catingas River

 

Romblon: Sibuyan IslandThe water comes all the way from Mt. Guiting Guiting. There's a natural mini pool where guests can enjoy a worry-free swim.

 

Romblon: Sibuyan IslandFamilies come here to swim, grill their own food and even have a picnic.

 

Romblon: Sibuyan IslandYou can swim and can even lie down on the bulges of rocks and enjoy the water naturally massaging on your back.

 

Romblon: Sibuyan IslandLocals say your visit wouldn't be complete if you don't jump. There are three levels the lowest is an estimate of 15 feet, 25 feet, and the highest 45 feet.

 

Dagubdub Falls

Romblon: Sibuyan Island
One of the most visited falls in Sibuyan Island. It consists of 4 beautiful falls with crystal clear natural pools perfect  for soaking and cliff diving. It is also famous for the presence of the “pitcher plants” – a plant endemic to the island and very rare to find in the country.

P150 Tricycle from San Fernando town to Dagubdub Falls (1 hr)

 

Romblon: Sibuyan IslandYou'll even pass by Mt. Guiting Guiting on your way.

Before starting our trek to Dagubdub falls we first paid the P20 peso conservation fee by the office. It is to your advantage to get a guide who can show you around and even point out where are the best areas for cliff diving are. (Don't forget to tip)

 

Romblon: Sibuyan IslandTrekking to the falls only takes around a 15-minute hike while going back is only 5-minutes.

Our first mini challenge was crossing the clear waters of a slow flowing river.

 

SibuyanThen hike our way thru a muddy forest terrain.

 

Romblon: Sibuyan IslandAnd a lot of stairs and bridges.

 

Sibuyan
There are a lot of unique and endangered plants found only in Sibuyan. One of them is the pitcher plants, a carnivorous plant that feeds on insects that have a pitcher shape feature. I heard you can take some back and plant it in your home.

 

Romblon: Sibuyan IslandThe first level is a mini fall with a pool area where guest can swim...

 

Romblon: Sibuyan Islandand even sit on the falls.

 

Romblon: Sibuyan IslandThe 2nd level and 4th level a free for cliff diving!

Make sure to ask the guide if it's a safe and deep spot.

 SibuyanThe third waterfall was our favorite, where we took our time swimming in its clear waters.

 

Romblon: Sibuyan IslandLook at how clear it is down here!

 

Romblon: Sibuyan IslandDid you know they use the river water as their mineral water?

 

Where to Eat:
There aren't many restaurants around San Fernando, but we basically had to prepare our food most of the time. We highly suggest you pack can goods, snacks or buy in their local market for this trip.

Romblon: Sibuyan IslandThere is only one restaurant Benj's Place that open's 24-hours near Sea Breeze Resort. (2-minutes away by tricycle from the market.)

Tip: All shops close early, better to go to the market early for supplies.

 

Overall, we loved it! Cresta de Gallo Islet was definitely the highlight of our trip, but hiking in their dense forest, seeing unique plants and swimming at Philippine's second cleanest river is an experience you wouldn't want to miss. Recommended for backpackers out there who would love to take the road less travelled.

Thank you Kim Federon from the Romblon Tourism Office, Ms. Samira Tansingco and Vice Mayor Arben Rosas from the Sibuyan mayor's office for making our Sibuyan Adventure Awesome!

 

Live an Awesome Life,

Team Our Awesome Planet

Disclosure: Our flights were sponsored by Philippine Airlines. We paid for our own food and activities. We wrote this article with our biases, opinions, and insights

 

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P.S. The stars look so beautiful at night!Romblon: Sibuyan Island

 

Where to Stay:


(Magdiwang Establishments)
Sanctuary Garden Resort (DOT Accredited)
Tampayan, Magdiwang, Romblon
Mobile: +639202174127 +639399171635 +639228611059
E-mail: info@sanctuarygardenresort.com


Nature's View Lodge
Bagumbayan Beach House
Poblacion, Magdiwang, Romblon
Mobile: +63919 976 5596

Rancher's Bed & Breakfast
Magdiwang, Romblon
Mobile: +63908 786 4006
E-mail: nonoyradan@yahoo.com


Corran's Guest House (Vicky's Place)
Magdiwang, Romblon
Mobile:+63921 694 4370


La Prima Beach House
Magdiwang, Romblon
Mobile: +63939 917 1635


(San Fernando Establishments)
Cantingas River Resort
San Fernando, 5513 Romblon
Mobile: +63918 202 8084


Sea Breeze Resort
Old National Rd, San Fernando, Romblon
Mobile: +63916 698 6135


Isle Dreams
San Fernando, Romblon
Mobile: +63917 936 6223


(Cajidiocan Establishments)
Marble House
Cajidiocan, Romblon
Mobile: +63917 530 7350 +63918 965 2981

 

 

 

 




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