Within the ambit of my sight, Abra de Ilog is just a stone’s away from Puerto Galera (place where I grew up). This journey to the neighboring seas of the western half of Mindoro was somehow filled with remorse and shame and I asked my self, “Why just now?”
With the awakened passion for salty air, my love for the sea and the vivid blues of Sablayan was indeed a great match. There is more to see and experience in Mindoro other than the snorkeling sites and white sand beaches of Puerto Galera. Together, let us explore the other side of the island and be mesmerized by the sweeping horizons of the deep. This is the Ultimate Travel Guide to Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.
How to get there
This trip was arranged by our good friends in Go PH Travel and Tours. Our journey to Sablayan was smooth and easy since they hired private vehicles (van) for our own convenience, arranged our tickets in the ports and dealt with the ecotourism officers for our boats to Apo Reef and the neighboring islands.
In case you plan for your own DIY trip, you may refer to the following:
via bus – Take a bus ride either from Cubao / Buendia terminal station en route to Batangas Port. Upon arrival, few walk and you’ll reach the ticketing booths en route to Abra de Ilog (Montenegro Lines / Besta Shipping Lines). From Abra de Ilog, options en route to Sablayan is another bus ride or take a van. Drop by to the Sablayan Ecotourism office to arrange boat ride going to Apo Reef.
via plane – Book a flight via Cebu Pacific en route to San Jose, Occidental Mindoro (55 min duration) and take another bus ride going to Sablayan.
via boat (Puerto Galera route) – There are limited scheduled trips in Balatero Port (Puerto Galera) en route to Abra de Ilog. If coming from White Beach, take a tricycle ride going to Balatero Port, and upon arrival, you can directly purchase the boat ticket and sail straight to Abra de Ilog (schedule is limited – morning and noon trips only).
- Tent: No accommodation is available in the island (Apo Reef) so you must bring your own tent. In our case, Go PH provided our tents 🙂
- Flash light and Powerbank: There is no power supply in the island so you might want to add this on your list.
- Fan / Iphone Fan: Sea breeze was sweet and okay but the heat is quite unpredictable as the night gets darker. Bring a fan to get through the hot summer night (or maybe take few shots of brandy before bed – guaranteed to send you to Snoozeville.)
- Light clothes: It’s a humid tropical climate so just wear light, thin fabric.
- Toiletries and Medicines: Pack smart and bring a travel health kit (Paracetamol, Mefenamic Acid, Antihistamine, Anti-motion sickness medicine, antibacterial hand wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, band aid, antiseptic and your own prescribed medications). Ready yourselves to bath in salty water. Better bring liquid soap instead of bar soap.
- Sunblock / Rash guard: As an ultimate beach bum / mermaid wannabe, it’s highly recommended to protect your skin with these essentials.
- Camera: Take underwater selfies with Pandan Island’s sea turtle or capture quintessential moments in the island with your DSLR or action cam!
- Reusable Drinking Bottle: Stay hydrated and keep a bottle of water with you (thanks GO PH for the unlimited supply of drinking water!)
- Ziplock/Dry Bag: Best way to secure your gadgets is to bring either of these two essentials.
- Snorkeling gears and Flippers: Explore the deep with these essentials! Thanks to the tourism office for providing our snorkeling gears!
Things to Do
Guided Snorkeling in Aladin
Our first activity in the island required not much effort since we were just holding unto the ropes as we travel along the vibrant coloured reefs in Aladin. We even spotted a sea turtle along the way, a sweet shocker that left us with mirth!
A quick stop before we headed to the lighthouse, with the setting sun’s reflection unto the calm water. It’s a good spot for silhouette photography, serene and very dramatic. Play a mellow background music and you’ll definitely get into that emotional mood.
Sunset at the Lighthouse
Ended day one at Apo Reef’s lighthouse, displaying island’s panorama, of unbounded forest greenery and seascape. It’s probably the best spot to watch the fading daylight, with a bonus 360 degree view of the entire island.
Free snorkeling in Binangaan
Not far from the shoreline of the marine nature park lies an extensive garden of corals with fascinating living creatures in the deep. It’s an endless display of vivid coloured marine creations, an underwater paradise of colour and surprise!
Pong Pagong Hunting in Pandan Island
The search for Pong Pagong (the turtle character in the Filipino kid’s TV show, Batibot) is on!! Following the turtle/s in the island was completely tiring but who cares, it’s fun! If you aim for that selfie with Pong Pagong, you need an action cam and a good working pole, great lung capacity to hold enough breath underwater and the courage to pose beside this humongous gentle creature.
Scream your lungs out at Sablayan Zipline Adventure
If an island to island zipline sounds good to your ears, then try the Sablayan Zipline Adventure! It’s the world’s longest island to island zipline run by a battery operated machine which enables you to go to and fro between islands. Two way ride is worth 1,000 pesos but you can also take the single ride, worth 500 pesos, and just take a small boat worth 30 pesos which will bring you back to the other island.
DAY 0: 29 Apr 2016
19:30 Assembly at Robinsons Forum
20:00 En route to Batangas Port
DAY 1: 30 APR 2016
00:30 Arrived at Batangas Port
03:00 En route to Abra de Ilog
05:00 Arrived at Abra de Ilog Port
05:10 En route to Sablayan
Sablayan Eco Tourism Office
Town proper for Lunch
12:00 En route to Apo Reef
14:00 Arrived at Apo Reef
15:00 Guided Snorkeling in Aladin
Sunset at the Lighthouse
DAY 2: 01 May 2016
08:00 onwards Free snorkeling at Bingaan Island and Pandan Island
12:00 En route to Sablayan town proper (Freshen up)
En route to Sablayan Zip Line Adventure
17:00 En route to Abra de Ilog Port
23:00 ETD from Abra de Ilog
En route to Manila
We would like to thank our friends in Go PH Travel and Tours for inviting us again to take part in this fun journey to Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. Hope to see you all again soon on the next travel adventure! Cheers!
Planning your trip to Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro? Contact Go PH Travel and Tours thru:
AE : 0932 412 6016 (Sun / Viber)
AE : 0906 529 8654 (Globe / Viber / Whatsapp)
Jepoy : 0906 413 8275 (Globe)
Jepoy : 0998 851 4730 (Smart / Viber)
Ramed :0919 511 3105 (Smart / Viber)
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