This was supposedly my last day in Banton. I’m bound for Bicol to catch up with my cousins for another round of beach hopping. The problem was, transportation from Banton to Marinduque is not a regular thing. It depends if there are passengers leaving Banton or if a boat from Marinduque drops commuters into the island (then you can hitch a ride back to Marinduque).
Still uncertain if there was a boat heading to Marinduque, I nevertheless packed my things and headed off to Poblacion for the ride back to Lucena via Marinduque. D accompanied me and we again plied the mountainous roads of Banton. We originally planned on riding a habal-habal (motorcycle) but every roaring bike that passed us was already full. No choice but to walk. Again.
The first part of the trek was the hardest since it was a steep uphill climb and I’m now carrying everything with me (unlike on the way to Malabiga where it was delivered to us via habal-habal). A heavy tripod, snorkeling gear and a backpack full of cameras and clothes is serious business if you’re gonna hike for two doggone hours on steep roads. Good thing D’s around, I let him have the snorkels.
Two hours on winding roads later and we’re back at Poblacion. We immediately asked around if there was a boat heading to Buenavista in Marinduque.
And you guessed it, there was no boat leaving that afternoon for Marinduque or any other place for that matter. I was stuck at Romblon and have to wait ‘til the next day to get my ride.
D’s gone to play some hoops with his cousin for a while, and I don’t play basketball. So with nothing to do, I just dropped my bag at D’s aunt and went out to shoot at the port. I checked a marble souvenir shop and bought some really cool marble souvenirs (very cheap too at only PHP15.00) and had them customized with etched names before heading to the port.
I’m always amazed whenever I see clean ports. Piers in my mind are always busy, messy, noisy and totally dirty. Banton’s quay is the total opposite of those things.
It’s very quiet and serene, a place where local kids hang out to play and where mothers bring their babies for fresh air. The water is sparklingly clean and almost perfect for swimming if not for the profusion of black sea urchins on its rocky bed.
I also noticed that a lot of folks, including kids seem to be harvesting something off the shore. I asked a lady and she said that they’re getting sarinlab, a type of shellfish similar to tahong (saltwater mussels) but with only a single shell.
I was thinking of getting a close up shot of this sarinlab when a boat full of passengers suddenly appeared from the distant horizon. I hurriedly went off to the pier and waited ‘til they docked. I asked the boat crew where they’d be heading to after, to Buenavista, he says.
Yay! I asked them if they can wait for me while I fetch my things and I’d be coming back with them.
A few minutes later and I was thanking and saying my goodbye to D’s aunt and went out looking for D with gear in tow.
We arrived at the port again with a few other passengers heading for Marinduque. Fare was at PHP300.00, PHP500.00 cheaper than the small boat we rented on the way here.
Banton has been a surprise. I never expected it to be as good as it was. It was an excellently satisfying trip and I would never hesitate to go back. But for now, Bicol’s beaches are beckoning me. We undocked at around six in the evening and pushed into the twilight. Until next time Romblon.
PORT OF BANTON
Address: Barangay Poblacion, Banton Island, Romblon
Romblon Provincial Tourism Office: (042) 567-5145 | (0920) 629-5838