Exploring the less popular town of Calatrava in Romblon is a reward in itself. Perched on the northern-most tip of Romblon’s Tablas Island, things are picking up in this town which has become an interesting destination.
This unassuming town invites travelers to stop at its often overlooked and secluded spots which don’t take long to find.
From Metro Manila, Tablas can be reached via a Cebu Pacific flight to Tablas (Tugdan) Domestic Airport.
Travelers can also board a bus to Batangas port and from there, get onto a 2Go ship bound for Odiongan or a roll-on roll-off shipping vessel bound for Odiongan or Magdiwang.
There are only one or two daily scheduled trips from one island to the next.
Popular during the summer are the many beaches and attractions in the province. A boat tour is a must for beachgoers to see the beauty of the entire area.
Guindawahan, a drumstick-shaped island where dawa – a small-seeded cereal plant that is delicious when cooked in coconut milk – has been planted by the first settler named Bendoy, is home to various fishes and many corals.
Guindawahan has no electricity, water and cottages yet. While working on these, the municipality also plans to build a tourism outpost for travelers’ concerns and protection.
Tinagong Dagat Wet Land, on the other hand, has electricity and water as there are residents in the area. It is said that when one is noisy, one won’t be able to catch sight of seashells here. Amenities such as comfort rooms, cottages, paddle boats, etc., will be provided in the future for travelers’ use.
Lapus-Lapus Beach, hidden behind limestone cliffs, is picturesque with its rocks looking like solitary islands during high tide.
Dau Beach is a private property equipped with accommodations, cottages and entertainment, among others.
In the northeastern coast of Tablas is San Agustin, known as the only hole dive site in the country. Referred to as Blue Hole, this dive site is rich in rare marine life and wonderful coral formations.
The tranquil fishing town has other attractions besides the beaches, said Calatrava Vice Mayor Dasxian Servañez in an interview.
One of its top attractions is the Calatrava Municipal Park and Museum which displays the town’s history – photos and dioramas of its past. The town also has great nature scenes and flavorsome local foods.
Servañez said other places of interest should be developed including facilities for travelers. “Vehicle drivers should also be fair in terms of collecting transportation fees from their passengers,” he said.
Tourists must get to know some facts before their trip to have a safe and enjoyable time while in the province, he added.
Dream Favor Travel and Tours can assist travelers with their itinerary so they can get to discover not just Calatrava but other destinations in the province.
Servañez said while local tourism in Calatrava is thriving, more needs to be done in terms of features and comforts as well as funding. The municipality has yet to establish and standardize the fees and rates from tourism developments and other amenities. “A number of boats going to the islands are deployed depending on the influx of tourists,” Servañez said. At least two boats are on standby when needed.
The municipality also intends to attract investments while it builds on its tourism and embarks on sustainable development.
Travelers can go to VisitRomblonIslands.com, the official tourism website of the province of Romblon, powered by Explora.ph and the people of Romblon Islands.