Romblon Island Travel Guide: The Marble Capital of the Philippines

BonBon Beach in Romblon Island
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Romblon Island Travel Guide

The dreamy archipelagic province of Romblon is known for its natural attractions, heritage sites, and festivals. It consists of three main islands: Sibuyan, Tablas, and another one with the same name as the province. Romblon Island is the seat of the provincial government and is a charming, quaint town that is small enough to explore but large enough to surely make a difference in your travels. Rustic, peaceful, and cool, are not enough to describe the beauty of Romblon Island.

BonBon Beach in Romblon Island
BonBon Beach in Romblon Island
Ferry to Romblon photo via Romblon Islands FB
Ferry to Romblon photo via Romblon Islands FB

How to get here

Presently, Romblon Island is only reachable via sea, as no major airlines pass by the island directly. There are 2 major RORO ship lines in Batangas Port that regularly travel to the archipelagic province.

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To get to Batangas Port from Manila, ride a bus bound to Batangas Port. The Jac Liner and Jam Liner in Cubao and Buendia Pasay are two examples of bus lines that directly stop at the port.

From the port, you can schedule a ship ride, which takes 8 to 12 hours.

Where to go

1. Cathedral of San Jose

Cathedral of San Jose by Jan Levent and Romblon Islands FB
Cathedral of San Jose by Jan Levent and Romblon Islands FB

The oldest Roman Catholic church in the province is the Cathedral of San Jose. It is one of the top 26 selected churches in the country that were declared a National Cultural Treasure in 2001. Originally built in the 15th century, the Cathedral of San Jose has had a long history.

2. Fuerza de San Andres and Fuerza de Santiago

FUERZA DE SAN ANDRES by Jan Levent and Romblon Islands FB
FUERZA DE SAN ANDRES by Jan Levent and Romblon Islands FB

As part of the Philippines, Romblon was no exemption to the influence of Spanish colonizers. The local culture and churches are some of the evidences of the past that has long gone. Fuerza de San Andres (Fort San Andres) and Fuerza de Santiago (Fort Santiago) are two structures are also examples of these evidences. These forts were constructed specifically for Spanish officers to watch over the sea, and although time for pirates has long passed, the forts continue to stand intact.

3. Bon Bon sandbar

BonBon Beach by Jan Levent and Romblon Islands FB
BonBon Beach by Jan Levent and Romblon Islands FB

The Philippines is known for all of its beautiful, white sandbars, but what makes Bon Bon Sandbar in Romblon different is that it is a paradise without the crowds. The sandbar is most visible during the early morning. The water level rises by 11 AM onwards, making the sandbar less visible, despite the water being clearer than day.

4. Bird and Mangrove Sanctuary

Silently admire birds in flight or watch the locals demonstrate how mangrove seedlings are transplanted and raised. In the Bird and Mangrove Sanctuary, you will see how locals treasure the nature that the island has been endowed with.

What to do

1. Go underwater

The humble Romblon Island boasts of beauty not just above ground, but also underwater. There are presently five diving and snorkeling spots in the island: Cabanbanan Divers, Sonofareef Scuba Diving, Three P Holiday & Dive Resort, Dumagat Freedive, and Romblon Pirates Dive Shop. The Naguso Cave in Lonos, Romblon Town, has an amazing display of corals and sponges, and is one of the least known diving spots.

2. Trek the Tinuhog Cave and Tinuhog Underground River

Romblon has its very own underground river, and although it is not as long or as known as Palawan’s famed, the Tinuhog Cave and Underground River is a must-see tourist attraction on its own. Tinuhog Cave is historically significant, too, as this is where the last batch of Romblon-stationed Japanese soldiers hid before being captured by the returning American troops.

3. Visit the Agpanabat Fish and Turtle Sanctuary

Romblon Island takes good care of its surrounding waters and wonderful marine life with the Agpanabat Fish and Turtle Sanctuary in Sitio Agpanabat, a town located in the southernmost edge of the island.

What to bring home for Pasalubong

Marble products and native handicrafts

Marble Shopping Center
Marble Shopping Center

Romblon is dubbed the “Marble Capital of the Philippines”, with products comparable to world-class Italian marble. You will “marbel” at how the locals craft so many intricate figurines out of marble, like horses, dolphins, nameplates, and even certain parts of the body! Locals are also very skilled in making other handicrafts, which are found abundantly in the island. The best crochet, lace, decorative plates, and bedspreads are found in the markets of Romblon.

Atis

You will be amazed at how so much atis trees there are in Romblon Island. The fruit itself is a bit tricky to eat as it contains lots of seeds, but once you get the hang of it, you will want to buy an entire kilo of this sweet and healthy fruit.

Other travel tips

  • Romblon Shopping Center has the cheapest prices of souvenirs. Make sure to not miss that opportunity, but…
  • Remember that marble products are heavy. Make sure not to buy too much that will make your luggage overweight!
  • Bring water and food if you plan to go to Bon Bon sandbar. There are very few nearby stores where you can buy meals.

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