Unexplored diving on Tablas Island, Philippines!
Would you like to dive away from the crowds on an undiscovered island paradise? Let us help you with some information about Tablas Island and how to get here. We are more than happy to answer any other questions you may have.
Tablas Island is the largest island in the province of Romblon, Philippines. At 60 km long and 15 km wide it has a similar land mass to Phuket but a population of only approximately 250000. The main city on Tablas is Odiongan. This is where the main port is located and is the centre of trade for the island. Here you can find everything you could need or want, including ATMs.
Tablas is an undiscovered haven where you can enjoy the beauty of white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and beautiful rainforests. The local Philippino’s are a very friendly and hospitable people and they are always willing to help you and make you feel welcome. There are two official languages in the Philippines, Filipino and English, and the locals are fluent in both so communication is not a problem for English speakers.
Binucot Sunset Cove Resort is located approximately 30 minutes’ drive from Odiongan and about 40 minutes’ drive from Tudgan airport. The resort is on the beach and has accommodation from dormitory style to modern king rooms with European bathrooms. There is also a bar and restaurant at the resort and a second restaurant right next door.
Getting to Tablas
The most common way to come to Tablas is via the capital Manila and from there you have two options. For those with small luggage (less than 20 kg per person) you can fly with Philippine Airlines to Tablas. The flight takes about one hour and departs every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Go to Philippines Airlines for prices and details.
For those carrying more luggage taking the overnight ferry from Batangas is the best option. There is almost no limit on the luggage you can take and the ferries have comfortable sleeping areas for the 8 hour trip. The ferries travel six days a week from Batangas which is around about 1.5 hours by comfortable bus from Manila. For up to date schedules and prices visit 2GO or Montenegro Lines web sites.
Tablas Island is only a short two hour ferry ride away from the popular tourist destination of Borocay. This makes Tablas Island the perfect destination for those looking to escape the crowds of Borocay and relax in a quiet island paradise for a few days.
Banka ferries depart from Caticlan on a daily basis at 8 am and 9.30 am. It is best to get to the ferry terminal at least an hour before departure. These ferries arrive in Looc Bay which is just a short drive from Binucot Bay.
The other option is to take the 2Go ferry that also departs from Caticlan 5 days a week (Mon, Tue, Thurs, Fri & Sun) and arrives in Odiongan. You can pre-book tickets on their web site.
Once you arrive on the island, either by plane or ferry, Binucot Sunset Cove Resort will pick you up and transfer you to the resort.
Do not be afraid to try the local cuisine peculiarities as you will be pleasantly surprised. Rice and noodles are an important part of the Filipino cuisine. The local dishes are not spicy and use a lot of garlic and vegetables, green beans and potatoes. A typical accompaniment is kalamansi, a small local citrus which goes well with any dish. A great local recommendation is Sizzling Sisig, made with either chicken or pork marinated in spices and served on a hot platter with an egg on top.
The two restaurants on Binucot Beach offer top quality Filipino dishes as well as a good selection of German and other Western foods and beverages.
In Manila the traffic is very hectic and can feel like chaos, but somehow it works. The local bus is called a Jeepney, which picks up and drops off passengers anywhere they need to go. The local moped taxis are also an exciting way to see the city. Metered taxis are also plentiful for those who wish to have a more comfortable commute.
On Tablas Island the traffic is very limited and you will often be the only person on the road. Transport can be organised through the resort or you can hire a car or motorbike if you want to explore the island by yourself.
Philippine Peso is the local currency and the US dollar is also an accepted currency. ATMs can be found in the center of Odiogan as well as banks that offer currency exchange. The cost of living on Tablas Island is very cheap, even cheaper than Thailand.
Visitors from most Western countries may arrive without a visa and stay for 30 days, this can also be extended for a further 29 days once in country. The only requirement of entry is that you can show proof of onward travel from the Philippines.
Longer visas can also be obtained by prior application at the Philippines Consulate in your country. For up to date visa requirements and eligibility go to www.immigration.gov.ph
The climate on Tablas Island is that of a tropical rainforest with warm and humid weather year round. There are two main seasons, wet and dry. The dry season occurs from November to May and is the best time to visit the island. During this time the winds come from the North-East, this creates sheltered diving along the west coast, where First Buddy is located.
The wet season is from June to October and is characterized by higher temperatures and rainfall. The rains during this season typically last only for a small portion of the day. It is still possible to dive during this season but the wind direction changes, making the East side of the island sheltered, so it is necessary to travel to the other side of the island to dive.
Internet & Electricity
Tablas Island is serviced by a single phone tower and it is possible to connect to a 3G network however the connection speed can vary from good to almost non-existent depending on the time of day. This is not a bad thing as it is a perfect excuse to turn off your electronics and enjoy the almost untouched natural beauty of the island.
Electricity on the island can suffer from occasional black-outs but Binucot Sunset Cove Resort utilises solar power and has generator for back up so guests are never left in the dark. International power points are located in all accommodation.