Fun and awareness: Looc Fish Sanctuary, Tablas
Marine sanctuaries are indeed interesting. As I started to become an “island girl” (oh, missing the mountains already! Praying to gain back my strength, stamina, courage and whatever I need to go back hiking!), I learned (and learning) a lot about marine life. One favorite are coral reefs.
I understand how hard it is to maintain these kinds of rehabs and sanctuaries, but I guess the government or private owners should stop their operations first if they see challenges in their facilities already. I mean, what is a million profits if that can provide only a couple of years of food for the family because the marine life you were protecting is already dying?
Looc Sanctuary, I think, is still far from dying. Correct me, please, if I’m wrong. I see the waters here are still rich and marine life is still healthy. I missed the chance to see it first hand, but corals from pictures taken by people are not that colorful anymore. Maybe because of the reflections of the water? Not sure, but I can only hope they continue nourishing and developing and taking care of the marine life in Looc.
Covering 48 hectares, this sanctuary actually actively acts as source of fish to the local market. It was claimed that it has been protected and well-maintained since 1989, and that local volunteers are scattered around the area to guard the waters as well as the visitors.
On the floating dock, you may feed the fish on the dedicated area but you can’t swim there or you’ll drive the fishes away. Aside from fishes, you an also see the coral reefs and star fishes but DO NOT touch them!
Looc Fish Sanctuary is open for visitors between 8am to 4pm.
|How to get there?
Romblon at large is very much underrated. Sadly, when people hear Romblon they just see marbles and loooots of them. It’s nice that during the weeks I and my friends posted our photos, we got comments and questions like “where was this? it’s so nice!”, “where have you been? the beaches there looks great!”. I mean, these are just pictures. If you are into beaches and exploring islands, I’d recommend Romblon over and over again!
get there via planeWhen I first posted on IG and Facebook, many of my friends were asking, how to get there? That’s via roro, right? Most of them were not aware there is more than an hour direct flight from Manila to Tablas via Tugdan Airport. Such airport is 20 kilometers away from Looc.
get there via ferryIf you have more time, less budget, and brave enough to sail the seas at night (hehe the thought of being a pirate in my past life hits me sometimes) you can take the ferry like we did. 2Go Travels offers daily trip from Batangas Port to Odiongan Port. Better check their site for the updated schedules and rates, and book online. The trip is 6-7 hours long.
|Where to stay for accommodation?
We stayed in as super nice and super Instagrammable place called Escape Eco Resort, located in Ferrol, 20-30 minutes away from Odiongan port.
Entrance/environmental fee was 100php per adult head and 50php for children. Registration is a must (of course!) and please, do not fake your names! The office also provides life jackets for safety, and you are required to bring one even if you are staying at the floating dock. You can also rent snorkeling masks for 50php, but if snorkeling is already a part of the plan, it is always better to bring your own gears. Boat ride from the port to the floating dock is included in the fee.
You can of course feed the fishes with small bits of plain biscuits (not chichirya!), but always remember to put your trash in the trash bin. I mean, please. When we arrived there, there was this plastic wrapper of some chichirya floating in the feeding area. Can we just stop being baboy?
Another disturbing observation. I just thought awareness on taking good care of our oceans, as well as coral reefs, has already spread among travelers and even among everyone. Our visit in Looc Santuary made me realize there still are people who are not aware that they are actually harming their environment.
|Protect our Earth!
Just to share what I know about snorkelling and diving etiquette: there are three main rules when you are in the waters,
1) DO NOT in any way touch the corals and marine life,
2) DO NOT wear/apply sunblocks unless they’re organic/eco-friendly, and
3) DO NOT litter.
Check 1 Million Women on how they spread awareness regarding the matter, and here’s another helpful page from Wicked Diving, for more detailed code of conduct. Learn more about our coral reefs here: Coral Reefs 101 by National Geographic.
Generally, our Looc Sanctuary experience was super fun. We arrived to the registration area at 2pm already so we had just around 2 hours to enjoy the spot. I haven’t had the chance to snorkel, but I feel the fun from my friends’ dives and poses. Yeah, I was the camera girl.
I know I have few negative comments here, but please understand that this post is not against Looc Sanctuary. I am against those people who are not sensitive enough not to step on the reefs, pick up star fish, and throw garbage wherever they want.
Looc Fish Sanctuary was one of my favorite stops in this trip. Not just because witnessing marine life first-hand is really life changing, but also because I remembered a lot of things here such as the importance of bringing environmental awareness to people. If you are reading this, please, please be a responsible traveler. Be a responsible citizen of the Earth. </3
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