With over 7,000 islands in this South East Asian archipelago, the Philippines holds treasures untold for travelers looking to veer off the beaten path. In February of 2019, I headed a few hours north from my hometown to explore some of those islands. The highlight was definitely Tablas, the largest island in the Romblon Province. Through a collaboration with the owners of Hilltop B&B and Grotto de Banloc, I was able to work on a project that allowed me to stay on the island for five days with a driver to take us to explore everything this island had to offer, while simultaneously living as locally as possible. Well, let’s face it. The only way to experience Tablas is as locally as possible. Unlike Boracay or Palawan, it has not yet been touched by the overpowering hand of international tourism.
From ziplining from island to island to lazing the days away under a beach cabana, the days were filled with only the best of secluded island life. The varying landscapes of Tablas were rivaled only by the equally vibrant underwater scenes. Twice we went to Looc Marine Sanctuary, a floating shelter out in the ocean where one could spend the day diving and snorkeling with swarms of marine life. We would go from beach to beach and waterfall to waterfall, each time being the only travelers there. Tablas proved to be an island that is criminally overlooked and globally underrrated.