Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Romblon, Romblon is a heritage town

All I knew about Romblon was that it was literally sitting on marble and that its cathedral is a National Cultural Treasure. But little did I know that the town's historical fabric was very much intact and if you compared the center of town to postcards from the prewar years, nothing much has changed. Walking around the streets of Romblon, Romblon was indeed a blast from the past! You could already see Fort San Andres as you enter Romblon Port.

From the port, I walked towards the Romblon Shopping Center in from of Freedom Park where all the marble souvenir stores are clustered. There are a lot of really nice souvenirs but they should improve the ones with engravings which usually say "ROMBLON SOUVENIR." The way they engrave and paint the words in most of the souvenirs, in my opinion, cheapens the marble. Anyway, I decided to purchase souvenirs after I dropped off my stuff at the hotel.

I was looking forward to seeing the Romblon Cathedral which is a National Cultural Treasure. But I did not expect the entire town to be a heritage treasure! Around the plaza are most of the elements of our old towns, including the church and convento, the municipio, a Gabaldon schoolhouse, old houses, several colonial bridges and a charming Rizal monument in the center of the plaza.

The Cathedral of St. Joseph was one the 26 colonial churches declared as National Cultural Treasures in 2001. The church, dating back to the 15th Century, was constructed by the Augustinian Recollects, and its interior features several Baroque-style retablos. Behind the church is Fort Santiago, one of the two forts in Romblon, Romblon. But I didn't climb up since the locals said there's nothing much left.

But Fort San Andres on the opposite hill is a lot more intact. Built at about the same time the church was constructed, its main purpose was to alert the town about the arrival of Moro pirates. A 210-step stone stairway will bring you up to the fort where a PAG-ASA station is located.

Where to stay
There are a lot of standard accommodations in Romblon which offer both electric fan and air-conditioned rooms.

Blue Ridge Hotel
Gov. Fetalvero Street
We stayed in this inn and got a really good deal. Non-aircon rooms have TVs and start at PHP700. While air-conditioned rooms with TV start at PHP800.
+63 919 3819393
+63 921 3748717
+63 920 8712643

Romblon Plaza Hotel
Pres. Roxas corner Fetalvero Street
This seems to be the best hotel in town. Ordinary fan rooms start at PHP550; while air-conditioned rooms start at PHP1000.
+63 42 5072269
+63 42 5072277

Parc Bay Mansion
This inn seems relatively new and is conveniently located in front of the ferry terminal and offers air-conditioned rooms for as low as PHP650.
+63 9215757760

Part 1: Romblon is more than marble
Part 3: Romblon's food surprises
Part 4: Aglicay Beach and Trangkalan Falls in Tablas
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