Nov 4-8, 2012
Hanging-out in Odiongan, Romblon
Diving the Vertical Hole
A marine biologist once told me a story in Dumaguete that he went scuba diving down a vertical hole as wide as a room in Romblon. He went down 30m until it opened up to the open sea. I was fascinated by the story. Now that I was in Roxas, Mindoro, I was only 4 hours by boat to Romblon. It was my chance to experience that eerie dive for myself. The gateway to Romblon was Odiongan, Tablas - my first stop.
The province is a cluster of islands with three main islands - Tablas, Romblon (same name as the province) and Sibuyan. Tablas is the biggest island with its main center in Odiongan (where the port is). The capital of the province is in Romblon Island. This is where the marble comes from. Further east is the remote island of Sibuyan - home of the fabled Mt. Guiting-Guiting. This mountain is a tough climb and a scary one. There is a knife-edge section where even veteran climbers feel apprehensive. Generally, Romblon is a neglected destination. Much of the shipping lines plying the Luzon - Visayas route pass through the waters of Romblon, but don't stop. This is probably why the place remains unspoiled. Diving, from what I have heard is one of the best in the country.
Centro delas Islas Filipinas
Since I always make it a point to explore a new area before moving on, I stayed a few days in Odiongan at the Centro delas Islas Filipinas. By far, they have the best value for a fan room if you're just one traveler - P180/night/head. It's clean, it's spacious with a 12-ft ceiling and two single beds. I used my time here to catch up on work, largely the Ayurveda site.
Dinner at Pearl's Beach Cafe
I met with Ms. Pearl Harder, head of the town's tourism office. She explained to me her vision of eco-tourism in Romblon which closely resembles my own vision to what tourism should be. I'm glad we're on the same page. Maybe something comes out of this. Later, we were joined by an ABS-CBN crew's Bantay Kalikasan, doing an appraisal of Romblon as an eco-tourism destination. The topic on the dinner table was the just-concluded presidential election where Obama was re-elected. Everybody had their own opinion about the zeitgeist of politics. We had an interesting talk over good eats. Ms. Pearl was a gracious hostess - thank you!
Travel Mode vs Domestic Mode
There's one thing about travelling while being homeless by choice. I thought it would be world of excitement being on travel-mode 24/7. It's not turning out that way. Because I have no home to go back to, every destination I find myself into, defaults to being a home. So I'm not on travel mode but domestic mode, trying to meet deadlines and picking-up work slack. I realized this in Coron where I stayed over a week and didn't even bother to do a wreck dive or do some island tours, despite my tour credits. Im beginning to suspect my priorities are also evolving. Im still fascinated by the adrenaline opportunities, but I feel a sense of 'been there done that'. When I ask myself what excites me, my answer revolves around the work I do and meeting interesting people along the way. The work is not even about money but the exhilaration of pursuing perfection, leaving no stone unturned in my quest. For now, I'll suspend all doubt and just go with the Flow. That has been the guiding light for me and I see no reason to change direction.
- Go to the pier (a short ride from town) and take the boat (M/V Ging Ging Grace and others) for Romblon - P350, 4 hours (vs mild Amihan wind), departs daily (unless some boats go on dry dock) 11 a.m. but may leave earlier if passenger capacity is already met, P15 terminal fee.
|CENTRO DE LAS ISLAS FILIPINAS HOTEL
|Contact:||Anthony Miguel Gadon
|Location:||near Odiongan Port, Odiongan, Tablas, Romblon
|Feature:||souvenir shop, convenience story, grill/resto, near port
|Rates:||air-con rooms (P600-900), fan rooms (P180-360), suite rooms (P2500), function hall (P2500)
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