While Boracay stands as the most famous tourist attraction in the Philippines, it is by no means the only place worth visiting in this country of 7,100 or so islands. There are still a lot of attractions in the country that are not as famous but equally beautiful and yet undiscovered by tourists from the rest of the world and even to most Filipinos. A wealth of beautiful beaches and undiscovered attractions are found in the little known province of Romblon, the Marble country of the Philippines. Composed of three major islands, Romblon, Tablas and Sibuyan, the province can boast of white sand beaches and caves, more than 20 dive sites and Mt. Guiting-guiting which is a challenge for mountaineers with its steep slopes and unspoiled forests. The province also has various man-made attractions of historical and religious significance. There is something for everyone in Romblon. But first, let us talk about the dive sites of Romblon province.
Romblon has good virgin reef systems with an unusual abundance of fish. The bottomless walls of the area contain ample amounts of pelagic and characterized by pristine coral gardens and exotic marine life. An interesting dive site is one wherein you enter a blue hole on top of the reef at six meters and exit around the middle of a wall at 40 meters. The best dive sites in the province include Times Square, Sunken Island, Sasaigang Point, the Logbon Sanctuary and Naguso’s Wall.
The Dive Sites of Romblon Island
In Romblon Island alone, there are 13 known dive sites and one dive center, the Three P Holiday and Dive Resort. Turtles’ Feeding Place is a site known for beautiful coral formations at a depth of five to 25 meters. Turtles are spotted in the dive site thus its name and you will find many shoals of fusiliers around the area as well. Another place where turtles abound is the San Pedro Sanctuary where large amounts of turtles actually live. The site also boasts of some of the best coral formations and marine life to be seen in Romblon Island. Whale sharks have been spotted in the area as well.
Also known as the Three P’s house reef, Salvar Beach is a shallow shore dive with excellent visibility and very interesting underwater landscapes. The abundant marine life in the site includes different moray eels, among other sea creatures. Steep vertical walls and boulders characterize the San Pedro Cliff dive site. The presence of currents makes it ideal for drift dives. It presents a host of large field garden eels which is a good opportunity for macro photographers.
Two dive sites can be found along the shores of Bonbon Beach. The first is the Bonbon Sea Grass Valley dive site where are series of large rock formations are set in a sea of plain grass. Smaller animals abound in the area. The Bonbon Beach dive site, on the other hand, is a spectacular and colorful dive site which starts from a shallow three meters to a depth of 25 meters. Hard and soft coral displays and the teeming marine life are some of the attractions of the site. It is also ideal for snorkeling.
Likewise, there are two dive sites in Agpanabat. The Agpanabat Sanctuary consists of various rock formations and small marine life such as clownfish, scorpion fish, boxfish and many more. The Agpanabat Caves and Canyons also reach a depth of 25 meters where you can swim through caves and canyons that teem with interesting marine life. Telsie’s Garden is a muck site situated right in front of the village of Agpanabat with its rich sandy slope and scattered corals. A host of cephalopods, nudibranchs and different fish species abound in the area.
Other dive sites in Romblon Island include the Agnay Sanctuary, the Giant Clam Sanctuary, Phil’s Fan Coral Collection and Sammar Sanctuary. Eagle rays and frogfish abound in Agnay Sanctuary with beautiful coral-decorated reefs and abundant marine life that is situated in a protected bay area. The Giant Clam Sanctuary is also situated in a protected bay area next to Tiamban Beach. Its sandy bottom is home to giant clams in abundance. Phil’s Fan Coral Collection is a much deeper dive with a depth of up to 35 meters. Big Gorgonias, spectacular rock formations, abundant marine and coral life are just some of the attractions of the site which is better left to intermediate and advanced level divers only.
The Dive Sites of Tablas Island
There are five major dive sites in the island of Sibuyan. Most popular is the Blue Hole where the dive consists of a chimney within the reef that leads to a cave that is 27 meters deep. Sharks are often found resting in the nooks and crevices of the cave. Interesting fish species such as stonefish and the humpback scorpion fish can be found taking refuge in the amazing coral features of the dive site.
Origon Rocks is described as a divers’ paradise where the spectacular reef is covered in table, tube and soft coral. Hidden among the tableau of corals are exotic marine life which provide photo opportunities for the divers. It begins at a depth of 10 meters and reaches 25 meters. The clean sandy bottom is a beautiful sight to behold!
Peter’s Pinnacles consist of three amazing pinnacles which begin at 15 meters up to a depth of 39 meters. Eagle rays, mantas, sharks and whale sharks have been known to show up in the dive site. Guindauahan Island is a large reef which displays interesting rock formations and corals plus marine life that include turtles, rays, scorpion fish and so much more. The many photo opportunities it provides the enthusiast is quite extensive. Carmen’s Cliff is unique in that it is a site situated next to a huge rock in the middle of the ocean. A wide variety of marine life and diverse coral communities attached to a large vertical wall characterizes this dive site. You can swim among swarms of fish, sharks, mantas and eagle rays in the site.
Dive Sites in the Other Islands of Romblon
In the island of Sibuyan, one of the three major islands of Romblon, you will find a unique dive site, the Cresta de Gallo which is actually an islet. Located in San Fernando town, this kidney-shaped islet has a terrain that slopes downward to the powdery white sand beaches. The large reef situated in the waters of Cresta de Gallo Island contains interesting outcrops and shelves. Beginning at around five meters, the reef slopes down to very interesting coral features hidden among which you will see lobsters, sweetlips, turtles and so much more. Sharks, mantas and eagle rays are among the larger sea creatures you will likely encounter in the dive.
Times Square, also called Patrick’s Times Square is a rather remote dive site situated in Banton Island. It is one of the most beautiful dive sites in Romblon, despite its location, where there is lots of snorkeling opportunities in its pristine and undisturbed reefs. There is abundant marine life in the area which provides a lot of photo opportunities to the enthusiast. It is one dive spot that is truly rich in swarm fish like fusiliers and surgeon fish. There are lots of great coral formations, nudibranchs, moray eels and so much more.
The Sunken Island is better known to the natives as Takot Reef. As its name suggests, it is a beautiful island that is submerged in water and covered in thick coral formations. Starting at 10 meters, the reef slopes to a depth of up to 30 meters. Different species of fish can be found swimming among the corals as well as nudibranchs and cuttlefish.
At the tip of Logbon Island, the rocky island just off the coast of Romblon is Sasaigang Point, a popular dive site which starts at a depth of three meters and drops off to a depth of 15 meters. The reef is prolific with corals and an ideal dive site for beginners to explore. Again, the opportunities for the photo enthusiast are plenty and varied. The Logbon Sanctuary is another dive site situated around Logbon Island. Several reef sections in the site teem with colorful marine life including big lobsters and cuttlefish. A third dive site in the waters of Logbon Island is the Logbon Coral Canyon. The site shows off an outstanding display of corals and a variety of marine life presented in the valleys and colorful slopes of the reef. It is an amazingly scenic dive site with plenty of photo opportunities for the enthusiast. Snorkeling around the site is well worth the effort.
In Cobrador Island, the largest island in the region, are several dive sites, most popular of which is Naguso’s Wall. It is a spectacular wall covered with an amazing array of colorful sponge and coral displays. A large school of fusilier fish inhabits the area, along with frogfish and stonefish. After diving around the wall, you get to turn a corner where you will come to an amazing coral field that is breathtakingly beautiful to behold. Coral Garden West is another dive site found in the waters of Cobrador Island where beautiful anemones and coral formations outline the amazing reef system. It reaches up to a depth of 30 meters in calm waters and is great for all levels of divers. The Cobrador Sanctuary is a third dive site that consists of a sandy bottom, interesting coral formations and a variety of sea life. Coral Garden East is a fourth site that also abounds in beautiful coral formations. Smaller marine creatures such as ghost pipefish, a variety of shrimps, nudibranchs and scorpion fish abound in the area. If you are lucky, you may also encounter sea snakes, turtles and frogfish.
The Alad Islet has several stretches of beach and its waters are home to several dive sites. The Channel of Alad is one dive site with a sandy bottom and coral formations. Strong currents are known to pass in the area making it a perfect site for drift dives. Lobsters and moray eels abound in the area. Alad South is a dive site that is sandy and contains interesting sea life and colorful corals as well as a variety of reef fishes. It also plays home to a large field of garden eels. The Alad Sanctuary Slope is covered in soft corals making it perfect for scuba diving. The amazing marine life in the area includes puffers, groupers, lobsters, and cuttlefish and ribbon eels to name a few. The Alad Sanctuary Garden is a fish sanctuary known for endless coral fields, barrel sponges and a large variety of marine animals. The slope reaches a depth of 35 meters and is a popular divers’ paradise. The underwater landscape teems with dense coral formations that are simply breathtaking to behold. The site also provides perfect opportunities for snorkeling.
Next time, we will take a visit to the other attractions of this beautiful province of Romblon.
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