Looc's Giant Clams
Trip Start Dec 03, 2012
38Trip End Jan 09, 2013
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Moved out to Looc 1.5 hours south of Odiongan on a jeepney this morning. Tablas Island, Romblon, being such a underdeveloped province, meant alot of rural villages and communities are still pretty much intact. Tall shady trees led the way through farmlands and greenery greeting many islanders along the way. I could imagine the same unspoiled rural settings in the other islands of Romblon. Ironically, Romblon is so close to Boracay but yet worlds apart. I have yet to spot any other foreigners since I sailed on the wretched bangka. I did however saw a rather huge european man with his filipino wife and kid at the market this morning. I considered them local anyway.
Looc town proper has got to be the most pleasing town in this trip so far. To begin with, Looc town is small
I had the afternoon of good sunny weather, so I made my way out to the pier for my boat ride to Looc Bay Marine Refuge & Sanctuary - for snorkelling! This 48 hectare protected coral reef's main attraction? (Drums roll...) Giant Clams! 10 minutes on a spider bangka (can sit a total of 6 passengers) with two captains, we got to the sanctuary's moored bamboo raft where I watched schools of brightly coloured fishes fought for leftover rice. Time to snorkel!
Taste of Seawater
I must confess - this is my first time snorkeling and I suffers from asthma. For the first five minutes in the water, I struggled to learn how to breath with my mouth. The difficulty was exemplified by my shallow breathing. At this point, all I could see is murky water. I was so disappointed. "Where are the clams?" And the captains pointed east. Making my way around the bamboo hut float and the seabed got shallower and visibility was getting better. I saw alot of corals, bright purple and blue starfishes, strange looking/brain looking rock formations - still no giant clams! Not even small ones. Barely 20 minutes in the water, after swallowing gulps of seawater, I made my way up the moored raft for a break.
Feeling disappointed, I was about to tell the captains to return us to shore when I asked once again about the good spots for giant clams. They pointed east again. Okay, that was twice they pointed east. I must be blind. Go again. I jumped back in and swam to the eastern side. Then I saw it - I actually went "Holy Shit!" in my breathing mouthpiece followed by hearing myself laughing underwater. One giant clam followed by another, slowly the clear visibility revealed a huge ecosystem of giant clams dotted on the seabed. They were so big, you can fit a basketball into each clam. My 300 php was worth it. From this point, I didn't even want to get out and remained in the water for the next 1.5 hours, exploring the coral reefs and swimming with the friendly fishes.
Returning to town at about 4 pm, the basketball tournament was already in full swing with crowds cheering their teams. I quickly showered and returned to the game to capture the excitement on photo. Any visitor to Looc should note the lack of internet access in town. Angelique Inn which I stayed in had no wifi, neither in town as well. Which may not be a bad thing.