Just a short introduction, Tabuk island (Tabuk Marine Park and Wildlife Sanctuary), was declared marine park and bird sanctuary through a municipal ordinance in 1995 thus protecting the island from man’s wanton abuse. Fishing was banned within the vicinity of the island, and then the depleted mangroves in the island miraculously recovered, after it was declared “no man’s land”.
Tabuk Island (Tabuk Marine Park and Wildlife Sanctuary) is located adjacent to the town of Palompon, Leyte so the port where we will ride a motorized boat to the island was just minutes walk away. Tabuk Marine Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is among the newest favorite destination among tourists and environmentalists in Eastern Visayas region.
The itinerary was set for the day. First would be to check out the Bat Kingdom, then go snorkeling, then check out the Bird Sanctuary and lastly, spend the whole afternoon in the big cottages just a couple of meters away from the marine sanctuary. I did not know what to expect but from the information I got, I would sure see marine wildlife in action.
Upon checking out Bat Kingdom, I was expecting to see a couple of bats here and there, but I was awed to what I saw! On the mangroves were not just bats, they we BAAAAAAAAAATTTTS! BIG BATS! And I am not exaggerating it (maybe I am). The pictures I took does not justify the size of those bats but to give you a small idea, it would probably be as big as an eagle! Call me ignorant but those are the biggest bats I have ever seen in my whole life not named Batman (he is not a bat, he is a man). I had goosebumps and in awe that I have forgotten to take a lot of shots of those bats.
After the hair-raising encounter with the bats, we rode the boat again for a short trip to a floating raft to check out life down under. Actually we were not on the right timing since we visited the place when the tide was about to go low. Anyway, we still put on those goggles and checked out the abundance of marine life and it did not disappoint. I did get to see fishes of different sizes, shapes and colors. The fun did not last thought as I had a minor accident when I accidentally kicked a sharp rock when Sheena grabbed on me and I freaked out. Small bits of rock bore down my feet and it stung like hell. The bits were so small I was not able to pull out all of it but that accident will not spoil the fun that was yet beginning.
We then rode the boat for a short ride to the three-story watch tower which is the entrance to a boardwalk through its mangrove forest. The 3-storey watch-tower of is a perfect place to see the sunset and the migratory birds coming in. I did a 180-degree panoramic shot of the view from the top of the tower. The tour guide has mentioned that large number of fishes can be seen freely swimming by around the mangroves. Wild ducks and other migratory birds make this place as their home and stopover point. Unfortunately, the best time to get to see these birds and ducks is early morning and we were at the place almost noon time. So we just walked through the bamboo boardwalk to the center of the mangrove area and went back to the watch tower. I was limping while walking through the boardwalk but I did not mind it I was having fun looking at the mangroves around, listening to the current of the sea flow and birds chirping.
Just near the marine sanctuary are two cottages on the sea where one can go for picnics and swimming. We spent the whole afternoon in one of the cottages and raft eating our hearts out while enjoying the view of Palompon’s town proper and Tabuk Island. If you want to go swimming, you must be careful as there are a number of sea urchins there. If ever you see one, just tell the tour guide and they will kill it for you (sacrificing a sea urchin for the enjoyment of many visitors, just worth it).