Romblon, a cluster of 20 islands in southern Luzon, is known as the marble capital of the Philippines. The quality of its marble is said to be among the best in the world and is comparable to that of Italy's Carraca. However, Romblon has a lot of offer other than its high-quality metamorphic rocks.
Located some 346 kilometers south of Manila, Romblon covers a land area of 1,533.5 square kilometers. It is divided into 17 municipalities which are blessed with abundant natural resources, making the province one of the primary ecotourism destinations in the archipelago of 7,107 islands. Romblon has also its own share of white sand beaches that are perfect for swimming and other water recreations.
Romblon is now placed in most Philippine travel guides, thanks to the improving public transport infrastructure. Gone are the days of boring and tiresome sea travel. The province, which offers a host of must-see attractions for discerning travelers, is now less-than-an-hour plane ride from Manila. This development has tourists talking about Romblon again.
Here are some of the top attractions in Romblon.
Bonbon Beach is a haven for beach bummers. Located in Brgy. Suwa, Bonbon Beach is known for its fine white sand. Right across the beach is an islet that has a secluded swimming area. It is accessible by foot during low tide. What makes Bonbon Beach more appealing to the public is that it has a gradually sloping ocean floor, making it safe for children to swim and play.
Situated in the heart of Sibuyan Island, Mt. Guiting-Guiting is regarded as one of the most difficult and challenging climbs in the Philippines. Daredevils trekking this majestic mountain must first hurdle a steep, jagged ridge called "Knife Edge." The weather in this 2,058-meter tall wonder is often volatile, prompting mountaineers to use cut-off times to reach the summit. Some 54 endemic plant species can be found in Mt. Guiting-Guiting.
Despite not generating much hype compared to other Philippine festivals, an annual event in the municipality of Odiongan is making big noise in the local tourism sector. Kanidugan Festival, which is held on the first week of April, celebrates the coconut industry. A highlight of the event is a street dancing wherein participants are dressed in vibrantly colored costumes made from indigenous materials.
San Andres and Santiago Forts
The twin forts of San Andres and Santiago are another interesting attraction in Romblon. These historical fortresses, which are made from coral blocks and ricks, were constructed between 1644 and 1573. The forts were used by local officials to protect the town from invading Moro raiders and Dutch pirates. Today, Fort San Andres is being used as a weather station.
Other points of interest in Iloilo are the St. Joseph Cathedral and Belfry, Guyangan Caves, Lambingan Falls, and Cotta Tower. Visitors who are interested in how marble is processed can visit hundreds of quarries and factories around the province. Meanwhile, a common travel tip experts give to first-time tourists is not to expect lavish accommodations in Romblon. However, there are resorts and hotels offering bed and breakfast services and other affordable vacation packages.
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Allan Leandro Merin has been writing for a living since 2008. After leaving a career at a daily electronic newspaper, he joined a web development outsourcing company and linked up with Local Philippines, the most comprehensive online directory of Philippine destinations, events, and attractions.