MANILA: The island-province of Romblon is set to prove that it is more than just the “Marble Capital of the Philippines” as it plays host to the biggest festival in the region this November.
Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Teo urged tourists to visit the province to celebrate the upcoming Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan) Festival.
Teo said the festival would allow Romblon to unveil its world-class attractions, including pristine sea waters, unspoiled beaches and wild rivers as well as its centuries-old churches, Spanish forts and well-preserved ancestral homes.
“While Romblon has been known as the largest marble producer in the Philippines and exporter of best-quality marble products, the province also possesses the qualities of its neighboring Palawan province,” Teo said in a statement.
The Toursim Secretary said Romblon’s “relative isolation” had made it one of the best-kept secrets in the region.
She cited the crystal-clear sea waters and white-sand beaches in Tablas, Bon-Bon, Nonok-Nonok and Cobrador; the waterfalls in Trangkalan, Dagubdob, and Busay, Cresta del Gallo Island’s stunning sandbar and the Cantingas River in Sibuyan.
The province boasts of 30 dive sites and diverse marine life including sharks, rays, tunas, snappers surrounded by coral walls and gardens.
History buffs will also appreciate Romblon’s old plaza, which features 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 ancestral edifices also remain intact such as the Cathedral of San Jose with its antique tableau altar, stained-glass windows, and its vintage convent.
Built during the Spanish colonial period, Romblon’s old municipal hall also remains perched on a hill overlooking the ruins of Fuerza de San Andres and Fuerza de Santiago, which are both declared as National Cultural Treasures.
Romblon Governor Eduardo Firmalo took pride in the province having “one of the friendliest people in the world.”
“Rombloñanons are not only exceptionally skilled in crafting marbles. They are indeed one of the friendliest people in the world,” Firmalo said.