Romblon Island, Romblon
Romblon, located close the very heart of the Philippines, is one of the prettiest Philippine cruising destinations, offering safe moorings and anchorages. Romblon harbor is considered a typhoon shelter and, although it can get pretty breezy during a passing storm, the nearby islands prevent any significant wave action in the harbor area itself. Romblon is also known as the "marble capitol of the Philippines" and the marble craftsmen and products are some of the reasons why you may wish to drop by and spend some time here.
Romblon Island gives its name to the province of Romblon that comprises a group of diverse and beautiful islands, from Banton in the North, Tablas and Sibale to the West, and Sibuyan (the Galapagos of Asia) to the southeast.
Moorings In Romblon
Romblon Yacht Club
The Romblon Yacht Club is located on the East coast of the large bay immediately North of Romblon town. There are seven moorings there for resident and visiting yachts, some of the moorings are swing moorings and some are Mediterranean-style, stern-to moorings immediately outside the yacht club; daily mooring fee US$3, approx. If the moorings are all full when you arrive then you can drop anchor off the yacht club (25+ metres depth) or, you can shallow-anchor on the South side of Bonbon Beach or in the small bay immediately to the West of the red/port harbor entrance light (see Anchoring In Romblon, below).
The Romblon Yacht Club is relatively new and still in stages of construction so there are limited facilities although they do have a restaurant and bar, open (14:00-22:00hrs) for frequent events and gatherings - good food, cold beer. A short distance away, in Romblon town, you can find almost everything you may need (except a supermarket and a mall). When there is not a gathering at the yacht club, most visiting yacht crew will meet up before sundown at or near the Romblon Deli, close to the ferry terminal, to enjoy a few cold beverages.
Visit the Romblon Yacht Club website at: www.romblonyachtclub.com
San Pedro Point
There is a day-mooring within the Marine Sanctuary immediately to the North of San Pedro Point, about four miles South-southwest of Romblon Yacht Club. A "day-mooring" because the blocks and tackle that support the black mooring buoy would by unlikely to hold a yacht of any size if there was any significant wind or wave action.
Being a Marine Sanctuary, the large bay to the North of San Pedro Point is an anchor-prohibited zone.
Anchoring In Romblon
Anchoring in and around Romblon is forbidden in Marine Sanctuaries and Marine Protected Areas. Specific information about the location of such areas can be obtained from the Tourism Department in the municipal hall in Romblon town. Otherwise, you are free to anchor anywhere. However, the areas around Romblon are mostly abundant with coral and as such it is highly recommended that you find a sandy spot to drop your anchor so that your chain or warp does not get hooked around a coral head and so that you do not damage a vital source of tourism income for the local community – there is some marine life found in Romblon that is found nowhere else around the Planet.
If you do not follow the environmentally-friendly anchoring code then you may end up like the Spanish-era ship, whose anchor became wedged in the coral off the Anchor Bay Watersports Resort and where the ship still rests very peacefully on the seabed, its anchor still wedged in the coral.
Perhaps the prettiest anchorage can be found off Bonbon Beach, about two miles West-southwest of the Romblon Yacht Club, South of the sandbar that links Bonbon Beach to Bangud Island at low tide. Sheltered from waves and with generally gentle breezes during a northeast monsoon, this anchorage offers good holding on sand at any depth you like, from 5 metres up.
The closest anchorage to the town will be found close to the official port entrance - in the small cove immediately West of the red/port beacon. Depending on the direction of the breeze you may find it a challenge to gain good holding here as the seabed slopes quite quickly from 1m to 30m.
Romblon Tourist Attractions
Romblon is known for its fine, Italian-quality marble. Marble has been quarried here since before most people can remember their parents talking about it. The marble quarries produce Italian-quality marble and will be seen, from most approaches to the island, as white scars on the hillsides. What makes Romblon marble so unique is the craftsmen who toil daily to produce some of the most spectacular pieces of art, that are exported to all corners of the globe. Whether you are looking for the perfectly seductive mermaid to adorn your garden pond or a rampant, fire-breathing dragon to ward off evil, Romblon craftsmen have already sculpted something similar a hundred times. All you have to do is to offer a sketch or a photograph of what you seek and a day or a week later it will be ready for shipment. Size is not an barrier as marble blocks can be hewn from the mountainside to suit any project. If Michelangelo had traveled to Romblon he would probably have never left again - there being so much marble to sculpt.
Scuba diving and snorkeling are significant tourist draws in Romblon because of the abundant coral and the marine life it supports. There are a few wrecks to explore but the real attraction is the many unique species of marine life that exist only around Romblon.
Freediving is a growing activity for which Romblon is becoming famous. The deep water trench that separates it from the adjacent Tablas Island offers freedivers the opportunity of experiencing their inner selves with almost no travel time to the deepest locations.
Kayaking to the nearby islands and river trekking are alternative sports that engage some visitors.
Recreational sailing in the almost wave-less water with good breeze to the West of Romblon town is becoming a significant tourist attraction, and every year the 3-Island Challenge provides a three day event where participants have to slalom around the three islands to the northwest of the town. Variable wind and tide between the islands make the event a challenge where local knowledge is frequently hired by visitors to help with competing for the coveted 3-Island Challenge trophy.
There are two Spanish-era forts above Romblon town, built to protect the port from marauding Moro raiders from West Mindanao. Only one is actually existing to any extent today, but this provides an impressive view of the port, the town and the surrounding islands.
Romblon town has banks with ATMs that are connected to international networks and are usually working.
You can explore Romblon Island by motorcycle - visit resorts, the lighthouse, marble quarries, factories, and more; motorcycle tours can be arranged by the Romblon Deli or other tourist-focused restaurants or hotels.
Every year (usually in March) Romblon is the venue for the International Stone Skimming competition. This event is the only organized stone skimming competition in the Philippines and attracts both local and international participants. Contact the Romblon Deli for information.
The only land transport around Romblon Island is provided by tricycle and jeep – not required in the town as nowhere is beyond walking distance. Inexpensive and frequent, if a little cramped at times, these motorized transports enable easy access to everywhere you may wish to go on Romblon Island. Or, you can rent a motorcycle.
There is a daily ferry service, sometimes to Batangas, sometimes to Sibuyan and sometimes to Roxas (Capiz, on the Panay Island) . . . but not to all destinations every day. The ferries are large and offer a choice of air-conditioned or naturally ventilated seating and sleeping areas. The voyage by ferry to/from Romblon/Batangas takes approximately 12 hours.
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