Finally, after making the compulsory rounds at Banton’s Tabunan Beach, I laid my cameras down and put on my snorkel. Time to hit the water! The descent from the shore was modestly gradual. From the sandy beach, the bottom turned stony before finally exploding into colorful corals.
Banton’s Fish Sanctuary, a project by a certain Manong Ish, has been in operation since 2007. Four years, I suppose, is not enough time for a full recovery from Romblon’s heavy fishing of the previous years.
Upon diving, I expected something akin to the swarming multitudes of Coron, the fishes here however were not as many as those found in the waters of Palawan. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s still plentiful enough for ones eyes to feast upon and these are no garden variety aquarium types too, most are meaty ones you’d expect to see in exotic marketplaces.
One other difference I saw was that these fishes are still afraid of humans. They swim away whenever people approach, no doubt thinking they’d be hauled in as catch.
The marine life got more varied as we got deeper and farther away from shore. We passed some luminescent creatures, but I’m not sure what those were. They’re surely not jellyfishes as I inspected them closely through my camera (shot was blurred tho, so I won’t be posting it here, hehe). I’m also unsure if these stings like jellyfishes, though I felt no sting throughout my swim (but I always got out of their way whenever I see one so I’m not sure if one has touched me or not).
I think we were a fourth of the way to Puyo Island when we heard our names being shouted from the shore. It was time to go back.
I felt it was too soon, but I think we’ve been in the water quite long enough and the sun was already at its peak. So we grudgingly made our way back to shore. I would not mind visiting this place again, hopefully next time the fishes have already adjusted to humans and flourished even more.