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One of the typical hispanic period house in San Andres Romblon. Photo: Milex Fabula. All rights reserved 2003
Provincial government building with an accompanying US flag is a Spanish period structure made of stone, bamboo, and palm leaves. (Report of the US Philippine Commission to the Secretary of War 1901 Ayala Museum Collection
In the 19th century, under the Spanish colonial government, the province underwent various political and jurisdictional reorganizations. In 1818, it was incorporated into the province of Capiz, and later in 1853, the islands were reorganized into a politicomilitary commandancia with its center in Capiz.
In 1898 Romblon was administered by army captain with Romblon town as its capital. Other municipalities were named Azagra, Badajoz (now San Agustin), Banton, Cajidiocan, Corcuera, Looc, Magallanes (now Magdiwang), Odiongan, Despujol (now San Andres), and Santa Fe. During the latter part of the Philippine Revolution, Romblon, as part of Capiz was administered by General Mariano Riego de Dios who headed the Filipino revolutionary forces in the Visayas during the Philippine-American War.
Pre-war provincial flag of Romblon
On 16 Mar 1901 a civil government was established by the Americans. Romblon was During WWII, the Japanese Imperial Forces established a garrison in Romblon in 1942, which lasted until the Naval Battle of
Sibuyan on 25 Oct 1945.
In 1947 Romblon regained its provincial status which had been abolished in October 1946 by a Commonwealth Act. The municipalities of the province constituted in 1940 were also restored.
At the start of the second millenium A.D., indigenous communities were firmly established. An investigation shows that a community was thriving on Banton Island in the 14th century A.D. that was involved in inter-island commerce, trading materials like local and Chinese procelain wares, and
A typical nipa hut in Brgy. Jhun Carlo
San Andres Romblon. Photo: Milex Fabula. All rights reserved 2003
Legend has it that when the Spanish conquistador Loarca's expedition touched sand in the island his men wandered along the beaches searching for food and water. One of his men saw a low built hut and, feeling thirsty, he sought the owner of the hut only to find in his surprise a hen's nest settled somewhere on top of a post near a window.
A handful of chicken enjoys an early morning 'bahog' (feeding) of palay in Brgy. Mari Sur, San Andres Romblon.
Photo by: Milex Fabula
All rights reserved 2003
The Castilian, upon noticing the house occupant sitting nearby, asked if he could get the chicken for free. A young woman, not understanding a single word he was saying as he pointed to the hen, answered in the vernacular "Nagalomlom", which meant that the hen was brooding some eggs. Perplexed, the Spaniard left the house muttering in disgust the word "Nagalomlom." Asked upon his return to the ship from whence he came, he mockingly answered "Nagalomlom!"
When the Iberians left they named the island "Nagalomlom", which later on was corrupted to Domblon, until it finally rested on its present name of Romblon. The name also came to identify the group of islands scattered in the surrounding waters. Loarca made mention of the islands of "Lomlon" or "Doblon", Simara, Banton and Osingan (Tablas) on his accounts of his visit to the Philippines in 1582.
ornaments such as bracelets and beads formed perhaps into necklaces. They were also using tools and objects made of turtle shell, coconut and bamboo, and practiced artificial deformation of their heads either for aesthetics or other purposes. These people appear to be closely related to the Tagalog ethnic group in terms of head and facial dimensions. In their funerals, they placed their dead in coffins made of hardwood embellished with zoomorphic patterns, and interred them in inaccessible caves situated in the face of cliffs.
On Sibuyan Island, a dwelling place also stood on what is now part of the municipality of San Fernando about five to six centuries ago. People here also used (and possibly traded) local earthenware pots, Chinese porcelain wares, and iron tools. Caves have also been used as possible burial sites on the islands of Romblon and in Tablas during these times. Those residing in northeastern Tablas, possibly in the vicinity of San Agustin, have also found a place for their departed loved ones similar to those of Banton in the high caves formed in cliffs overlooking the sea. People who have once lived near what is now Odiongan used (and could possibly have manufactured) earthenware pottery with incised designs; they buried their dead together with porcelain and copper or bronze objects, the latter of which could have been ornamentations or amulets.
There is still a lot to be learned, and a lot to be done. Protecting the archaeological sites of Romblon province is the best guarantee for us to know more about the story of the Romblomanons and their home. Wanton destruction of these sites (whether on the islands or the shipwreck sites around them) especially by treasure hunters should stop. And I hope in the future, attention would be given to develop the study of "Romblomanon Archaeology."
Contributed by: Jack G. L. Medrana, M.D.
Prehistoric Archaeology of Romblon
It is unfortunate that very few systemic archaeological excavations have been carried out in the islands that comprise the province of Romblon. From the available data obtained, only a tentative reconstruction of the prehistory of the Romblomanon islands could be made.
The islands could have been inhabited well since the Paleolithic (Old stone) age (around 10000 years ago) when the sea level was low. Many of these islands formed a larger landmass, and this was probably connected to the northwestern part of Panay by dry land in what are now the islets of Carabao and Boracay. This was the time when Romblomanons were still fashioning crude stone tools. Several thousands of years later in the Neolithic (New Stone) age, the sea had risen to separate the islands. Stone tools became more polished in their production. Our evidence for a Neolithic (New Stone) age culture is derived from a sole artifact of a supposed black stone adze, which was reported to have been discovered in Odiongan. Because of its uncertain provenance, a measure of caution should be taken regarding its interpretation.
Copyright © Milex Fabula 2001
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Welcome to the
"Marble Country of the Philippines"
The Negritoes were the aborigines of the islands comprising the province of Romblon and Mangyans were the first settlers. Today, these groups of inhabitants are almost extinct with only a few scattered remnants of their
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