Tablas Island, Romblon: Buenavista Marine Sanctuary
A local villager at Buenavista Marine Sanctuary in Tablas Island, Romblon shows off a horse’s hoof clam.
From Carabao Island, I got another free bangka (outrigger) ride to Tablas, a much larger island that also belongs to Romblon province. Near the pier area was a marine sanctuary I was interested to visit. I was looking forward to visiting the Looc Bay Marine Refuge and Sanctuary, but was extremely disappointed to find out that they do not permit tourists to take photographs underwater on the grounds that the sanctuary is a “protected area”! I did not want to support a tourist attraction with such senseless restrictions, so I demanded a refund of the entrance and boat fees, and headed to another marine sanctuary in the municipality.
Located 7 km north of Looc town in Tablas Island, Romblon, Buenavista Marine Sanctuary is a refuge for endangered species of giant clams, lobsters and juvenile sharks. Unlike the Looc sanctuary, the caretakers here were hospitable and accommodating. Some village children toured me around the two-hectare reserve. The marine protected area surrounds a rocky islet, which can reached by a small bangka over some shallow waters in a matter of minutes. Donning my mask, snorkel and fins I slowly clambered down the sharp rocks into the warm water.
Marvel at the multi-colored lips of the fluted giant clam or Tridacna maxima.
Horse’s hoof clam (Hippopus hippopus) at Buenavista Marine Sanctuary in Tablas Island, Romblon
According to the local children, shy juvenile sharks are known to patrol the area, but all I saw were mostly neon damsels and scissortail sergeants. A more interesting sights were the different varieties of endangered giant clams with their brightly colored lips. There were small giant clams (Tridacna maxima), fluted giant clams (Tridacna squamosa) and horse’s hoof clams (Hippopus hippopus).
Buenavista Marine Sanctuary in Looc municipality on Tablas Island, Romblon
HOW TO GET HERE: Jeepneys (PHP 40) and motorbikes (PHP 150) ply the route between Odiongan – which can reached by ro-ro (PHP 991) from Batangas City port – and Looc. From Looc town, hire a motorbike to take you to Brgy. Buenavista (PHP 75).
Welcome to my website! I’m travel writer, photographer and online influencer Edgar Alan Zeta-Yap from the Philippines. Join me as I hike, dive, fly, eat and do pretty much anything in between across 7,641 islands and beyond. Need to reach me? Please write me an email.