LONG-KNOWN as the “Marble Capital of the Philippines,” the island-province of Romblon is now one of the country’s emerging tourist destinations.
The island province is one of the best-kept secrets of Region IV-B or Mimaropa region, comprised of Mindoro (Oriental and Occidental), Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan.
These attractions will come to the fore when it hosts the annual Mimaropa Festival in November.
The province is home to pristine seawater, unspoiled beaches, wild rivers, and waterfalls.
Just as attractive as the popular sights at nearby Palawan are the crystal-clear seawaters and white-sand beaches in Tablas, Bon-Bon, Nonok-Nonok, and Cobrador; the waterfalls in Trangkalan, Dagubdob, and Busay, and the Cresta del Gallo Island’s stunning sandbar and the Cantingas River in Sibuyan.
These sites are ideal for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and other water activities like scuba diving and macro-diving photography, as the province’s more than 30 dive sites boast of diverse marine life including sharks, rays, tunas, and snappers surrounded by immense coral walls and gardens.
For mountaineers, the 2,058-meter high Mount Guiting-Guiting poses an enjoyable challenge.
There are also centuries-old churches, Spanish forts, and well-preserved ancestral homes.
Romblon’s old plaza has retained its historical character, featuring the marble statues of Dr. Jose Rizal, a large roaring lion, and a grotto with the life-size image of Our Lady of Lourdes. Many heritage edifices are intact, like the Cathedral of San Jose with its antique tableau altar, stained-glass windows, and its vintage convent.
Romblon’s old municipal hall, built during the Spanish colonial period, remains perched on a hill overlooking the ruins of Fuerza de San Andres and Fuerza de Santiago, both declared as National Cultural Treasures.
Visitors will be met with authentic Filipino cuisine and exotic fruits served with the genuine hospitality of Rombloñanons.
“Rombloñanos are not only exceptionally skilled in crafting marbles. They are indeed one of the friendliest people in the world,” said Romblon Governor Eduardo Firmalo, an obstetrician of the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City.
Rombloñanons’ hospitality is shown in the preparation of their dishes for visitors, including sarsa (tiny shrimps wrapped in dried coconut leaves), liswi (colorful edible shells), and gamus (raw unripe langka or jackfruit thinly sliced), along with mainstays tinola with malunggay leaves (chicken stew with morringa leaves), nilaga and sinigang (beef soup and sour soup), adobo (pork and/or chicken stewed in vinegar), and inihaw na pusit, isda, and baboy (barbecued squid, fish and pork).
All those dishes and locally grown fruits like banana, pineapple, and avocado are served with Rombloñanons’ infectious smiles.