The Island of Tablas is subdivided into nine municipalities: Odiongan, Alcantara, Calatrava, Ferrol, Looc, San Agustin, San Andres, Santa Fe, and Santa Maria. Each municipality is subdivided into Barangays. Odiongan is the largest municipality in Tablas. The town includes a university along with government and private hospital (Tablas Doctors Hospital and Medical Center). Furthermore, there are many small shops, a commercial center, some restaurants and a large market. Fresh groceries and articles of daily use can be bought here. A local branch of Allied bank with an ATM is located in the center of Odiongan. The maximum cash withdrawal is limited to 10,000 PHP per transaction. Foreign credit cards are accepted. Small hotels and pensions offer a limited selection on accommodation. Internet cafes and WiFi-access are available in Odiongan. But there is no remarkable nightlife on the entire island. Tablas inspires those looking for original nature and simplicity.
Tropical Tablas has retained its original character. Farmers use the side of public roads to dry their rice seeds and coconut husks. The Wildlife and landscape appears untouched as deep-green vegetation is crossed by rivers and streams. Tablas Island provides a wide variety of outdoor activities. Visitors can explore wonderful waterfalls and caves surrounded by tropical nature. Sig-Kop Cave, Mablaran Falls, Garing Falls, Mainit Falls, or turquoise colored Linao D Victo are natural attractions in Tablas. In the middle of the island scenery becomes hilly and mountainous. The highest mountain is Mt. Payaopao with 665 meters (2182 feet) located in the municipal of San Augustin. But it is not necessary to climb mountains to get stunning views. Through partial winding roads arise magnificent outlooks on surrounding nature. Roads are mostly paved with asphalt some are covered with gravel. Tablas is not nearly as frequented by tourists compared to Boracay. Therefore, the beaches are deserted. Beautiful and picturesque beaches in Tablas are: Aglicay Beach in Alcantara, beaches west of Looc, the bay in Barangay Libertad, the coast in Adpudlos north of San Andres. Odiongan beach has a natural character with darker sand and driftwood from the nearby river.
About 153.000 people live on Tablas Island. Most of them are Catholic Christians. The main spoken languages (dialects) are Romblomanon, Tagalog and Bisaya. English is understood and spoken by almost everyone. Tourism as a source of income and employment has no great significance in Tablas. A large part of inhabitants live on agriculture, such as rice cultivation, fruit and vegetable farming. Fishery and small animal breeding are important revenue streams of local Tablas residents.
Getting to Tablas Island
Domestic flights from Manila to Tablas are being offered by Philippine Airlines. From March 2015 Philippine Airlines will fly three times a week, Wednesday/Friday/Sunday, to Tablas (TBH) and returns to Manila on the same day. Aircraft is a Dash 8-Q300. The flight time to Tugdan Airport is 60 minutes.
Meanwhile Interisland Airlines plans regular and charter flights between Tablas Island (Tugdan Airport), Caticlan, Kalibo, Romblon and Sibuyan (interislandairlines.com).
Tugdan Airport (TBH) is located in the southwest of Tablas in the municipality of Alcantara. From the airport all municipalities can be reached with public transportation. Jeepneys, tricycles and motorbikes are available to continue the journey.
Caticlan (Boracay Island) - Odiongan/Looc (Tablas Island)
Ferry company "2GO" connects Caticlan and Odiongan on Tablas Island 5 times a week. Schedule is on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday always at 8:00am. A Trip with the Ro-Ro vessel cost 460 PHP. Buy tickets online (travel.2go.com.ph/) or at the 2GO office in Caticlan Jetty Port.
Second option: Motorized outrigger boats (bangkas). They operate daily from Caticlan Jetty Port to Looc in Tablas. Usually, the first ferry crossing starts at 8:30am. Sometimes there will be even two trips per day to Tablas Island. If a second trip taking place, the boat will leave Caticlan around 9:30am. The passage from Caticlan to Looc takes about three hours depending on weather conditions. Boat tickets can be bought at the port of Caticlan and costs 300 PHP one way. Public transportation is available in Looc (e.g. jeepney, tricycle), so that all municipalities of Tablas Island can be achieved.
Batangas (Manila) - Odiongan (Tablas Island)
Shipping company "Montenegro Lines" runs daily (except on Tuesdays) the route Batangas - Odiongan to Tablas Island. Departure time in Batangas is 5:00pm. The journey takes about nine hours. Arrival time in Odiongan (Poctoy Pier) will be around 2:00am. Time of travel from Poctoy Pier to the town center in Odiongan is appr. ten minutes by tricycle or motorbike. All kinds of ferry tickets can be purchased at the respective port. The full fare for a single ticket to Tablas amounts between 800 and 1200 PHP based on cabin category. Discounted fares apply for pensioners, students and children. For more information about the ferry service to and from Tablas Island as well as schedules and rates, see the website of Montenegro Lines: http://montenegrolines.com.ph
Another option getting to Tablas Island from Batangas is with 2GO. Their vessels leave every Tuesday, Thursdy and Friday to Odiongan. Buy E-Tickets online at: http://travel.2go.com.ph or at the 2GO Travel Ticketing Office in Batangas Port.
San Jose (Carabao Island) - Santa Fe (Tablas Island)
A motorized outrigger boat operates daily from Port of Said in San Jose/Carabao Island to Santa Fe in Tablas. Carabao Island is also known as Hambil. The ferry crossing takes about 45 minutes and costs 100 PHP per person. The daily departure time from Carabao is at 6:00am. The daily crossing from Santa Fe to San Jose starts at 9:30am.