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Looc Marine Sanctuary On Tablas Island: Complete Guide


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Glad Northcutt



Welcome to Looc Marine Sanctuary, located on the picturesque Tablas Island in the Philippines. This pristine sanctuary offers a breathtaking underwater world teeming with vibrant coral reefs, diverse marine life, and crystal-clear waters. If you’re a nature enthusiast, a diving or snorkeling enthusiast, or simply someone seeking a peaceful retreat surrounded by nature’s wonders, Looc Marine Sanctuary is the perfect destination for you.


With its idyllic location in the Sibuyan Sea, Looc Marine Sanctuary has become a haven for marine biodiversity and conservation efforts. The sanctuary is a protected area that spans over 30 hectares and is managed by the local government and various environmental organizations. Its primary objective is to preserve and restore the fragile marine ecosystems, ensuring sustainable tourism and the continued survival of the diverse marine species that call the sanctuary home.


As you explore the sanctuary’s pristine waters, you’ll encounter an incredible variety of marine species, including colorful coral formations, tropical fish, sea turtles, and even majestic whales and dolphins if you’re lucky. The sanctuary not only provides a unique opportunity to witness the beauty of marine life but also offers a chance to contribute to its preservation through responsible and eco-friendly tourism practices.


Whether you’re an experienced diver or a novice snorkeler, Looc Marine Sanctuary has something to offer for everyone. The calm and clear waters make it an excellent location for beginners, while the deeper areas provide more challenging dives for those seeking adventure. With its rich marine life and stunning underwater landscapes, every exploration of Looc Marine Sanctuary is sure to leave you in awe.


Aside from its natural beauty, the sanctuary has also been a catalyst for the local economy, providing livelihood opportunities for the surrounding communities through sustainable tourism initiatives. The sanctuary is not only a place of ecological significance but also a source of cultural heritage and pride for the people of Tablas Island.


So, pack your dive gear or grab your snorkel and get ready to immerse yourself in the wonders of Looc Marine Sanctuary. Let the vibrant coral reefs and the enchanting marine life enchant and captivate you as you create memories that will last a lifetime.



Looc Marine Sanctuary is situated on the eastern coast of Tablas Island, which is part of the Romblon province in the Philippines. Tablas Island is the largest of the Romblon group of islands and is known for its unspoiled natural beauty. Looc Marine Sanctuary is specifically located in the municipality of Looc, which is around 4 kilometers away from the town proper.


Tablas Island itself is a hidden gem in the Philippines, often overshadowed by its more popular neighboring islands. It boasts stunning beaches, lush mountains, and a serene countryside that provides a tranquil and untouched atmosphere. The island is accessible via a 45-minute domestic flight from Manila to Tugdan Airport, or you can also opt for a ferry ride from Batangas City.


The marine sanctuary sits along the coastline of Looc, a charming fishing village where you can get a glimpse into the local way of life. Here, you’ll find friendly locals who are passionate about preserving their natural heritage and are eager to share their knowledge and love for the sanctuary with visitors.


What makes the location of Looc Marine Sanctuary truly remarkable is its proximity to other stunning natural attractions. Tablas Island is home to beautiful waterfalls, hidden caves, and breathtaking hiking trails that are waiting to be explored. The island also boasts lush rice terraces, picturesque landscapes, and quaint traditional villages that offer an authentic slice of rural Philippine life.


With its strategic location, Looc Marine Sanctuary becomes an excellent starting point for island hopping adventures. From here, you can easily access nearby islands and islets, like Carabao Island and Romblon Island, which are known for their pristine beaches and captivating dive sites. Whether you want to relax on powdery white sand beaches or explore underwater wonders, Looc Marine Sanctuary serves as a gateway to an unforgettable island-hopping experience.


So, if you’re looking for a destination that combines a stunning marine sanctuary with the charm of a local fishing village and easy access to other natural wonders, Looc Marine Sanctuary on Tablas Island is the perfect place for you. Get ready to be captivated by the beauty of its marine life and indulge in a tranquil escape surrounded by nature’s finest offerings.


Brief History

The history of Looc Marine Sanctuary dates back several years, rooted in the deep connection between the local community and the surrounding marine environment. As with many coastal communities in the Philippines, the livelihoods of the people of Looc have long relied on the abundance of the sea.


The establishment of the marine sanctuary can be traced back to the late 1990s when the importance of marine conservation began to gain recognition. With the aim of preserving the fragile marine ecosystem and protecting this valuable resource for future generations, the local government and environmental organizations joined forces to establish the sanctuary.


Through a collaborative effort, the marine sanctuary was officially designated in the early 2000s, with strict regulations put in place to ensure the protection and sustainable use of the area. The local community played a pivotal role in its establishment, with fishermen shifting their practices to more sustainable methods and actively participating in conservation initiatives.


Over the years, the sanctuary has evolved into a model for successful community-based marine conservation. It has become a source of pride for the locals, who have seen the positive impact of their efforts on both the environment and their own well-being.


Today, the sanctuary continues to thrive, attracting visitors from all over the world who come to witness the remarkable biodiversity and contribute to the conservation efforts. The success of the marine sanctuary serves as a testament to the power of community engagement and the importance of sustainable tourism in protecting and preserving our natural resources.


As the years go by, the marine sanctuary remains a beacon of hope and inspiration, demonstrating the transformative impact that passionate individuals and communities can have on the environment. It stands as a living testament to the commitment of the people of Looc to preserve their marine heritage and pass it on to future generations.


So, when you visit Looc Marine Sanctuary, you are not just stepping into a beautiful underwater world; you are also experiencing the rich history and collective efforts of a community dedicated to protecting and conserving one of their most valuable assets.


Importance of Looc Marine Sanctuary

Looc Marine Sanctuary holds immense ecological, economic, and cultural importance, making it a vital asset not only for the local community but also for the entire region. Here are some key reasons why the sanctuary is of significant importance:


1. Biodiversity Conservation: The sanctuary serves as a haven for a wide array of marine species, including diverse coral reefs, fish, sea turtles, and other marine organisms. It plays a crucial role in protecting and preserving their habitats, contributing to the overall biodiversity of the region. By maintaining a healthy and balanced ecosystem, the sanctuary supports the resilience and survival of these species.


2. Sustainable Fisheries: Looc Marine Sanctuary practices sustainable fishing methods, allowing fish populations to replenish. This helps ensure a steady supply of fish for the local community’s livelihoods and reduces the pressure on surrounding fishing grounds. By promoting sustainable fisheries, the sanctuary aids in the long-term viability of the fisheries industry while supporting the economic well-being of the local fishing community.


3. Climate Change Resilience: Coral reefs play a crucial role in mitigating the impacts of climate change. The presence of vibrant coral formations in Looc Marine Sanctuary helps protect the coastline from storm surges and erosion. These ecosystems also act as carbon sinks, helping to mitigate climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.


4. Education and Research: The sanctuary serves as a living lab for researchers and scientists, providing valuable information on marine ecosystems, species behavior, and the impact of human activities. It also offers an educational platform for local schools and visitors to learn about the importance of marine conservation and the need for sustainable practices. Through educational programs and outreach initiatives, the sanctuary helps foster environmental awareness and stewardship.


5. Eco-Tourism and Economic Growth: The sanctuary attracts travelers who are drawn to its natural beauty and diverse marine life. This tourism brings economic opportunities to the local community, generating revenue for businesses, promoting job creation, and supporting the growth of sustainable tourism. By encouraging responsible tourism practices, the sanctuary ensures that economic benefits are balanced with the preservation of its fragile ecosystems.


6. Cultural Heritage: Looc Marine Sanctuary is not just a place of ecological significance; it also holds cultural heritage and pride for the people of Tablas Island. It reflects the deep connection between the local community and the sea, as well as their traditional fishing practices and customs. Preserving the sanctuary helps maintain and celebrate this cultural heritage for future generations.


Overall, Looc Marine Sanctuary is a jewel in the region, serving as a model for sustainable marine conservation efforts. It highlights the importance of protecting our marine resources, fostering community involvement, and promoting responsible tourism. By recognizing the significance of this sanctuary, we can ensure its continued preservation and the long-term well-being of both the marine ecosystems and the communities that depend on them.


Marine Life and Biodiversity

Looc Marine Sanctuary is a thriving ecosystem that is home to an incredible variety of marine life and boasts an impressive biodiversity. With its healthy coral reefs and clear waters, the sanctuary supports a diverse range of species, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts and underwater explorers. Here are some of the remarkable marine creatures you can encounter in the sanctuary:


Coral Reefs: The sanctuary is famous for its vibrant coral reefs, which form a colorful underwater landscape. These reefs provide a habitat for numerous marine organisms and serve as nurseries for many fish species. As you explore the sanctuary, you’ll be mesmerized by the intricate formations of hard and soft corals that create a bustling underwater city.


Fish Species: Looc Marine Sanctuary is teeming with a rich variety of fish species, ranging from small tropical fish to larger pelagic species. Schools of surgeonfish, angelfish, butterflyfish, and damselfish gracefully swim among the corals, while groupers, snappers, and jacks can be seen patrolling the deeper areas. Keep your eyes open for the colorful and elusive clownfish, who call the sanctuary’s anemones their home.


Sea Turtles: One of the most iconic residents of the sanctuary is the majestic sea turtle. These gentle creatures can often be spotted gracefully gliding through the waters or resting on the sandy seabed. The sanctuary serves as an important nesting site for sea turtles, and seeing them in their natural habitat is an unforgettable experience.


Dolphins and Whales: If you’re lucky, you may have the chance to witness the awe-inspiring sight of dolphins or whales frolicking in the sanctuary’s waters. These marine mammals are known to frequent the area and are a testament to the richness of the marine ecosystem.


Invertebrates: Looc Marine Sanctuary is also home to a diverse array of invertebrates. Keep an eye out for colorful nudibranchs, decorative squat lobsters, and camouflaged octopuses. The sanctuary is also a haven for intricate and unusual critters such as seahorses, pipefish, and various species of crabs and shrimps.


Marine Plants: Besides the remarkable marine creatures, Looc Marine Sanctuary also features various types of marine vegetation. Seagrasses form important habitats for numerous marine species, while macroalgae and seaweeds provide food and shelter for many organisms.


The biodiversity found in Looc Marine Sanctuary is not only visually stunning but also crucial for the health and balance of the entire marine ecosystem. The sanctuary’s conservation efforts ensure the preservation of this fragile biodiversity and provide a safe haven for marine species to thrive.


As you explore the sanctuary’s underwater world, make sure to adopt responsible diving and snorkeling practices to minimize your impact on the ecosystem. By doing so, you can enjoy the beauty of the marine life while contributing to its long-term preservation.


Activities and Attractions

Looc Marine Sanctuary offers a wide range of activities and attractions that cater to both nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Whether you prefer exploring the underwater wonders, relaxing on pristine beaches, or immersing yourself in the local culture, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Here are some of the top activities and attractions in and around Looc Marine Sanctuary:


Diving and Snorkeling: The crystal-clear waters of Looc Marine Sanctuary are perfect for diving and snorkeling. Dive enthusiasts can explore the vibrant coral reefs teeming with colorful fish and other marine life. For beginners or those who prefer to stay at the surface, snorkeling allows you to observe the rich marine biodiversity from a more relaxed perspective.


Island Hopping: Experience the beauty of Tablas Island by embarking on an island-hopping adventure. Hop on a boat and visit nearby islands and islets such as Carabao Island and Romblon Island. These islands boast gorgeous beaches, hidden coves, and marvelous dive sites, allowing you to discover even more natural wonders.


Beach Relaxation: Looc Marine Sanctuary is surrounded by pristine beaches where you can simply unwind and soak up the sun. Gently swaying palm trees, powdery white sand, and crystal-clear waters create a picture-perfect setting for relaxation and rejuvenation.


Hiking and Nature Walks: If you’re up for some land-based exploration, Tablas Island offers scenic hiking trails and nature walks. Immerse yourself in the lush greenery, discover hidden waterfalls, and revel in the captivating vistas that the island has to offer. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the beautiful scenery.


Cultural Immersion: Get a taste of the local culture and traditions by visiting the fishing village of Looc. Engage with the friendly locals, learn about their traditional fishing practices, and savor local delicacies. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness a vibrant and colorful fiesta if your visit coincides with one of the town’s festive celebrations.


Marine Conservation Activities: Looc Marine Sanctuary actively promotes community involvement in conservation efforts. Join organized activities such as beach clean-ups, coral reef monitoring, or mangrove tree planting to contribute to the preservation of the sanctuary’s natural resources. These activities provide a hands-on experience and a deeper understanding of the importance of marine conservation.


Boat Tours and Sunset Cruises: Take a leisurely boat tour or sunset cruise along the coastline to admire the panoramic views of the sanctuary. Witness the sun setting over the horizon, casting a golden glow on the crystal-clear waters, and creating a picturesque scene to end your day on a magical note.


These activities and attractions are just a glimpse of what you can experience at Looc Marine Sanctuary. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a deeper connection with nature, this sanctuary offers a multitude of opportunities to create lasting memories and discover the incredible beauty of the underwater world.


Visiting Guidelines

When visiting Looc Marine Sanctuary, it’s important to adhere to certain guidelines to ensure the preservation of the ecosystem and the sustainability of the area. These guidelines aim to minimize human impact on the marine life and maintain the sanctuary’s natural beauty. Here are some visiting guidelines to follow:


1. Respect Marine Life: When diving or snorkeling, avoid touching or stepping on coral reefs and other marine organisms. Respect the natural habitat of the marine life and observe them from a safe distance. Do not feed or harass the marine creatures and refrain from collecting or removing anything from the sanctuary.


2. Practice Responsible Diving and Snorkeling: Be mindful of your buoyancy and avoid kicking up sediment or damaging the coral reefs. If snorkeling, use reef-safe sunscreen to prevent harmful chemicals from entering the water. Take care not to disturb the seabed or stir up sand that can smother marine life.


3. Follow Local Regulations: Familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations set by the sanctuary management. Observe designated swimming and snorkeling areas, and respect any seasonal closures or restrictions that aim to protect breeding or nesting areas of marine species.


4. Dispose of Waste Properly: Be sure to bring a reusable water bottle and avoid single-use plastics. Take all your rubbish with you and dispose of it properly in designated trash bins onshore. Recycling and waste management facilities may be limited, so it’s crucial to minimize your environmental footprint.


5. Support Local Initiatives: Consider supporting local eco-friendly businesses and tour operators that operate in alignment with sustainable practices. By choosing responsible tourism providers, you contribute to the local economy while promoting environmentally friendly practices.


6. Be Mindful of Wildlife: If you encounter sea turtles, dolphins, or whales, maintain a safe and respectful distance. Do not attempt to touch or chase them, as this can cause stress and disrupt their natural behavior. Admire their beauty from a distance and let them enjoy their natural habitat.


7. Educate Yourself: Take the time to learn about the marine ecosystem and the importance of conservation efforts. Understand the fragility of the coral reefs and the marine life, and promote awareness among fellow travelers by sharing your knowledge.


8. Follow Safety Guidelines: Prioritize your safety by following the instructions of trained dive guides or boat operators. Ensure that you have the necessary certifications and experience for the activities you plan to undertake. Stay within your comfort zone and be aware of your surroundings at all times.


By following these visiting guidelines, you can enjoy your experience at Looc Marine Sanctuary while contributing to its long-term preservation and sustainability. Together, we can protect this precious ecosystem and ensure its beauty and biodiversity for generations to come.


How to Get There

Getting to Looc Marine Sanctuary on Tablas Island is relatively straightforward. Here are several ways to reach this stunning destination:


By Air: The most convenient way to reach Tablas Island is by taking a domestic flight from Manila to Tugdan Airport. Several local airlines operate regular flights, which typically take around 45 minutes. From the airport, you can hire a tricycle or a van to take you to Looc, where the marine sanctuary is located.


By Sea: If you prefer a more scenic option, you can also opt for a ferry ride from Batangas City to Tablas Island. Several ferry companies offer daily trips, and the journey takes approximately three to four hours, depending on the weather and sea conditions. Once you arrive at Tablas Island’s main port, you can hire a tricycle or van to Looc, where the marine sanctuary is situated.


By Land and Sea: Another alternative is to travel by land and sea. From Manila, you can take a bus or drive to Batangas City, which usually takes about two to three hours. From Batangas City, you can then board a ferry to Tablas Island. Once you reach Tablas Island’s port, you can hire transportation to Looc, where the marine sanctuary is located.


It’s worth noting that transportation options on Tablas Island may be limited, so it’s recommended to arrange for a transfer or hire a local guide in advance. Tricycles, vans, and motorcycles (habal-habal) are common modes of transportation on the island, providing convenient and affordable means of getting around.


While traveling to Looc Marine Sanctuary, it’s essential to plan your journey ahead of time, check the schedules of flights or ferries, and make any necessary reservations. Additionally, it’s ideal to have a local map or GPS navigation system to navigate the island’s roads comfortably.


Ensure that you have all the necessary travel documents, including valid identification cards, and allow for some flexibility in your schedule, as weather or sea conditions may affect travel times.


By following these tips and making the necessary arrangements, you can enjoy a smooth and enjoyable journey to Looc Marine Sanctuary and embark on an unforgettable adventure in this pristine corner of the Philippines.


Accommodation Options

When visiting Looc Marine Sanctuary on Tablas Island, you’ll find a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. From budget-friendly guesthouses to luxurious beach resorts, there is something for every type of traveler. Here are some of the accommodation options available near Looc Marine Sanctuary:


1. Beach Resorts: Tablas Island offers several beach resorts that provide a tranquil and scenic atmosphere. These resorts often have comfortable rooms, stunning ocean views, and amenities such as swimming pools, spa services, and on-site restaurants. They are ideal for those seeking a relaxing getaway and proximity to the marine sanctuary.


2. Guesthouses and Inns: For budget-conscious travelers, there are guesthouses and inns available in Looc and other nearby towns. These options offer affordable accommodation with basic amenities and a chance to experience local hospitality. They are a great choice for those who prioritize budget and simplicity.


3. Eco-Lodges and Cottages: For those looking to immerse themselves in nature, there are eco-lodges and cottages available either within or close to the marine sanctuary. These accommodations provide a rustic and eco-friendly experience, with opportunities for hiking, bird watching, and other outdoor activities.


4. Homestays: To truly experience the local culture and way of life, consider staying in a homestay. Local families open their homes to guests, providing a unique opportunity to interact with the community and learn about their customs and traditions. Homestays offer a genuine and authentic cultural immersion experience.


5. Camping and Glamping: For adventure enthusiasts, camping or glamping (glamorous camping) is an option near the marine sanctuary. There are designated campgrounds and glamping sites offering tents or furnished camping setups. Camping is an excellent way to connect with nature and enjoy the outdoors under the starry night sky.


It’s important to note that accommodation options on Tablas Island may be limited compared to more popular tourist destinations. It’s advisable to make reservations in advance, especially during peak seasons, to ensure availability.


When choosing accommodation, consider factors such as proximity to Looc Marine Sanctuary, amenities offered, budget, and your preferred level of comfort. The friendly locals and staff at these establishments can also provide recommendations and information on nearby attractions and activities.


Whichever accommodation option you choose, you are sure to find a comfortable place to relax and rejuvenate after a day of exploring the marine sanctuary and the wonders of Tablas Island.


Nearby Tourist Destinations

While visiting Looc Marine Sanctuary on Tablas Island, you’ll find that there are several nearby tourist destinations worth exploring. From beautiful beaches to natural wonders, these attractions offer additional opportunities to immerse yourself in the beauty of Tablas Island. Here are some notable destinations to consider:


1. Carabao Island: Located just a short boat ride away from Tablas Island, Carabao Island is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. It boasts stunning white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and dramatic limestone cliffs. The island is perfect for snorkeling, diving, and beach-hopping, offering a more secluded and tranquil experience compared to other popular destinations.


2. Romblon Island: Known as the “Marble Capital of the Philippines,” Romblon Island is renowned for its high-quality marble quarries. Explore the marble workshops and witness the intricate artistry that goes into crafting marble products. The island also offers beautiful beaches, hidden caves, and a charming town with colonial-era architecture.


3. Looc White Beach: Just a short distance from the marine sanctuary, Looc White Beach is a pristine stretch of white sand coastline. It offers the perfect spot for sunbathing, swimming, and beach picnics. The tranquil atmosphere and beautiful sunset views make it a popular spot for relaxation.


4. Bunsod Mangrove Forest: If you’re interested in exploring unique ecosystems, don’t miss the Bunsod Mangrove Forest. Located in Odiongan, this sprawling mangrove forest is home to various bird species and serves as a natural nursery for many marine creatures. Take a guided tour to learn about the importance of mangroves and their role in coastal protection.


5. Aglicay Beach: Situated in the town of San Andres, Aglicay Beach is a serene and secluded beach destination. The beach is known for its clear waters, powdery white sand, and picturesque surroundings. It offers a tranquil escape where you can relax, swim, and bask in the natural beauty.


6. Mount Payaopao: For outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers, a visit to Mount Payaopao is a must. Located in San Agustin, this mountain offers a challenging and rewarding hiking experience. The summit rewards hikers with panoramic views of the surrounding islands and lush landscapes.


These nearby tourist destinations add diversity to your itinerary, allowing you to explore different landscapes and experience a different side of Tablas Island. Whether you choose to dive into the underwater wonders, discover the cultural heritage, or relax on stunning beaches, these attractions enhance your journey and make for a memorable trip.



Looc Marine Sanctuary on Tablas Island offers a captivating and enriching experience for nature enthusiasts, divers, and beach lovers alike. From its stunning coral reefs to its diverse marine life, the sanctuary showcases the beauty and importance of preserving our marine ecosystems. As you explore the sanctuary’s crystal-clear waters, you’ll be immersed in a world of vibrant colors, teeming with life.


Beyond its ecological significance, Looc Marine Sanctuary also contributes to the local economy and cultural heritage. The sanctuary provides livelihood opportunities for the surrounding communities through sustainable tourism initiatives while fostering a deep connection between the locals and their marine environment. It is a testimony to the power of community engagement in conservation efforts, demonstrating how collective efforts can protect and preserve our natural resources.


Tablas Island itself offers more than just the marine sanctuary. With its hidden waterfalls, lush mountains, and picturesque landscapes, the island provides endless opportunities for adventure and exploration. From island hopping to hiking scenic trails, you’ll discover the beauty of the island’s diverse ecology and the warmth of the local community.


By following the visiting guidelines, respecting the marine life, and choosing eco-friendly options, you can play a role in preserving and protecting the sanctuary for generations to come. Your visit to Looc Marine Sanctuary is not only an opportunity to witness the wonders of nature but also a chance to make a positive impact and contribute to the sustainability of this precious ecosystem.


So, pack your bags, grab your diving gear or snorkel, and get ready to embark on a remarkable journey to Looc Marine Sanctuary. Immerse yourself in the incredible biodiversity, explore nearby attractions, and leave with memories that will last a lifetime. Let the beauty of this marine sanctuary remind us of the importance of conservation and inspire us to protect and cherish our natural world.