Viaje Sur: Tablas Strait

My arrival at 2:00pm in Roxas Port on the shores of southeast Mindoro Island was just timely. Montenegro Shipping Lines’s scheduled trip to Caticlan is at 3pm and I was able to choose the best seats in the deck to have a rest or sleep. In this part of the journey, I will traverse the Tablas Strait, another busy sealane with ships traversing the southernmost geopolitical outskirts of Southern Tagalog-MIMAROPA to the northernmost coast of Panay Island in Western Visayas. I will finally be crossing over to the Visayas but the trip takes at least 5 hours depending on weather conditions and port arrangements over at Caticlan. What I liked about Montenegro’s ship is that they have relaxing interiors and reclining chairs for me to sleep.

The choice of movie for the apparently bored ship folk is “Armageddon” but I was too tired to actually keep my eyes on the television. Apparently, theft cases on ships are quite common so one has to be careful and vigilant too. If you want to sleep in comfort, I suggest bringing a small pillow but having a backpack at hand will work just fine. With a cool interior, I was able to sleep for a two solid hours while tightly clutching my bad. Not your very comfortable seat but was able to do me good. Waking at 6pm, I did not see the sun set but there was enough light for me to actually see what is out at sea. I spotted the ship bound for Roxas Port that is scheduled to ferry passengers to Caticlan at 10pm. Just on the horizon, I spotted the southern tip of Tablas Island belonging to Romblon Province from which this body of water was named after.

Just the rightmost part of the horizon, I spotted Carabao Island. Carabao Island has pleasant memories with me since we visited the island as a segway from the nearby Boracay. The island is still part of Romblon Province but was actually considered as an alternative nature destination to the crowded Boracay Island. Carabao Island once had a chance at gaining from Boracay developments with the now virtually dead proposal to build an international airport in this island. The redevelopment into an international airport of Caticlan-Godofredo P. Ramos Airport by TransAire of San Miguel Corporation laid this plans to rest. Nevertheless, Carabao Island is worth a visit if you have much time in your stay in Boracay.

Boracay Island is just a few kilometers away from Carabao Island but the contrast between the two is stark. The laid back Carabao has only a few bulb of lights and some torches lighting the seaside while Boracay Island is well-lit. Boracay Island has transformed itself from a secret hideaway of Negrénse hacienderos and some foreign adventurers to a cosmopolitan city-like island feel of the Philippines’ premiere tourist attraction. It was almost three years since I last visited the island and the Viaje Sur adventure will culminate in Nabas, Aklan and in Boracay Island. The sight of Boracay Island reminded me that Caticlan is just near but it took the ship another hour to dock at Caticlan Port with the congestion of ships wishing to dock there. I was finally able to set foot in Caticlan Port at about 7:45pm with a quick dinner at Andok’s before settling in a resort in Nabas, Aklan.


More photos available for the curious eyes at the Photo Blog.


About Mark Mayo - Magallanes

MARK MAYO - MAGALLANES – blogger by passion, cook by hobby, student by life, theater actor by fate, writer by work, and Christian by grace. Part Filipino, Chinese and Spanish by blood, he is proudly 100% Negrénse. His love for his home Island of Negros, heritage and lifestyle has led him to write much about it and full-time, all-time. View all posts by Mark Mayo - Magallanes

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