(From top, left to right) Romblon Bay with the capital town of Romblon in the foreground, Fort San Andres, the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Worker Parish, marble wares in Romblon town, Mainit Falls in Odiongan, Macat-ang Beach in Banton, and Binucot Beach in Odiongan.
|Nickname(s): Marble Capital of the Philippines, Centro de las Islas Filipinas|
Location in the Philippines
|Region||Mimaropa (Region IV-B)|
|Founded||March 16, 1901|
|• Type||Province of the Philippines|
|• Governor||Eduardo C. Firmalo (Liberal)|
|• Vice Governor||Jose Riano (Liberal)|
|• Representative||Eleandro Jesus F. Madrona (Nacionalista)
|• Total||1,533.45 km2 (592.07 sq mi)|
|Area rank||68th out of 81|
|Highest elevation (Mount Guiting-Guiting)||2,058 m (6,752 ft)|
|Population (2010 census)|
|• Rank||66th out of 81|
|• Density||190/km2 (480/sq mi)|
|• Density rank||46th out of 81|
|• Independent cities||0|
|• Component cities||0|
|• Districts||Lone district of Romblon|
|Time zone||PHT (UTC+8)|
|ZIP Code||5500 to 5515|
|Dialing code||+63 (0)42|
|ISO 3166 code||PH-ROM|
|Spoken languages||Romblomanon, Onhan, Asi, Tagalog, English|
Romblon (// rom-BLOHN) is an archipelago province of the Philippines located in the MIMAROPA region. Its main islands include the largest, Tablas which covers nine municipalities, Sibuyan with its three towns, as well as the smaller island municipalities of Corcuera, Banton, Concepcion, San Jose, and Romblon, the provincial capital. The province lies south of Marinduque and Quezon, east of Mindoro, north of Aklan and Capiz, and west of Masbate. According to the May 2010 Philippine census, it has a total population of 283,930 people.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Economy
- 6 Government
- 7 Infrastructure
- 8 Media
- 9 Notable people
- 10 References
- 11 External links
According to legend, the name Romblon was derived from the Romblomanon word "Nagalumyom", which pertains to a chicken in the act of sitting on its eggs on a nest. This eventually evolved to Lomlom, and later on to Donblon, the name reported by chronicler Miguel de Loarca in his book Relacion de las Islas Filipinas in 1582, before finally evolving to Romblon.
Meanwhile, local historians Roland Madeja and Evelyn Reyes relates the origin of the name Romblon to the shape of Romblon Island. Madeja claims that the name was derived from the Spanish word ronblon, another term for tornillo, meaning "screw." According to him, the Spanish claimed to have observed the screw-like shape of Romblon Island. Meanwhile, Reyes claims Romblon originated from "doubloon", which refers to the Spanish coin used by Moro pirates in paying dowries for their brides-to-be. The Spanish might have named the island after the shape of the coin.
Romblon's aboriginal inhabitants were the Negritos from Panay and Mangyans from Mindoro who have settled in the islands during the precolonial period. Ancient wooden coffins discovered in the Guyangan Cave System of Banton Island in 1936 signify a rich ancient civilization and culture in the province before the arrival of the Spaniards. These artifacts are currently in display at the National Museum in Manila. Remnants of these aborigines now live in the mountains of Tablas and Sibuyan after they were displaced by the influx of Hiligaynon, Bicolano, and Tagalog migrants as early as 1870.
According to Blair and Robertson, the Spanish arrived in Romblon in 1569 led by conquistador Martin de Goiti who was dispatched by Miguel López de Legazpi to explore the western and northern portion of the Visayas region including Romblon and Mindoro. The islands were later organized into three encomiendas and were administered from Arevalo. Spanish chronicler Miguel de Loarca visited Romblon in 1582 and conducted the first census of the islands.
In 1635, Recollect missionaries arrived in Romblon to establish Catholic missions and settlements. They helped the Spanish authorities establish peace and order in the islands. In 1637, they sestablished seven missionary centers at Romblon, Badajoz (San Agustin), Cajidiocan, Banton, Looc, Odiongan and Magallanes (Magdiwang). They also built massive forts, churches and watchtowers in the province, such as Fort San Jose in Banton and Fort San Andres in Romblon, following a Dutch attack in 1646 which destroyed the capital town and to repulse recurring Moro raids.
Romblon was separated from the jurisdiction of Arevalo and annexed to Capiz, when the province was created in 1716. More than a century later in 1850, the inhabitants of the province began using Spanish family names after governor-general Narciso Clavería decreed on 21 November 1849 the use of surnames from the Catálogo alfabético de apellidos. Asi-speaking natives were assigned the letter F, Romblomanon speakers were assigned the letter M, speakers of the Sibuyanon style of Romblomanon were assigned the letter R, while Onhan-speaking natives were assigned the letter G.
In 1853, the islands were organized into a politico-military commandancia or sub-province administered from Capiz and continued to be so until the end of the Spanish rule in 1898. As a sub-province, Romblon was under an army officer with the rank of captain. The town of Romblon was its capital and the other municipalities were Azagra, Badajos (now San Agustin), Banton, Cajidiocan, Corcuera, Looc, Magallanes (now Magdiwang), Odiongan, Despujols (now San Andres) and Santa Fe.
In 1898, in the midst of Philippine Revolution, Emilio Aguinaldo sent his generals to several provinces in the Visayas to expand the recognition of his revolutionary government in the central and southern Philippines. The Caviteño Mariano Riego de Dios and his forces liberated Romblon, while Ananias Diocno and Leandro Fullon proceeded to Panay. On July 25 of the same year, Riego de Dios took the Romblon capital and captured Spanish officials. Four days later, the Spanish politico-military governor Don Carlos Mendoza formally signed the surrender of Romblon’s district government, ending more than three hundred years of Spanish rule in the archipelagic province.
Later, Don Wenceslao Molo, a local from Romblon town, was appointed governor and became responsible for the collection of a total amount of P22,765.21, Romblon’s share to the war expenditures of the Revolutionary Government from 31 May 1898 to 28 February 1899. A local election was also held in Romblon town for its ministers of justice and barrio officials. However, Molo’s term was a brief transition to another era as the Americans arrived in the province a few months later.
Upon the restoration of peace and order in the province following the Philippine-American War, the Americans established civilian government in the islands on 16 March 1901. Romblon was created as a regular province in the same year but due to insufficient income, it became a sub-province of Capiz again in 1907 until 7 December 1917 when Act No. 2724 reestablished the province. Under Commonwealth Act No. 581, enacted without executive approval on June 8, 1940, the province was reorganized with four towns or municipalities, namely: Tablas (embracing Odiongan as the seat and center of the special municipality during which the municipalities of Ferrol and San Andres (Despujol) were still part of; Looc during which Santa Fe, San Jose and Alcantara were still part of; and Badajos during which Calatrava and Santa Maria were still part of), Romblon (comprising Logbon, Cobrador and Alad), Banton (involving Banton, Simara, and Maestre de Campo also known as Sibale), and Sibuyan (with the towns of Cajidiocan, Magdiwang and San Fernando).
During World War II, the Japanese Imperial Forces established a garrison in Romblon on 21 March 1942 which they maintained until the end of the war. The islands became one of the centers of resistance movement of the Free Panay Guerilla Forces composed of members from the 6th Military District under the direction of Col. Macario Peralta, Jr. One of the major naval engagements during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the Battle of Sibuyan Sea, happened off the waters of Romblon on 23–24 October 1944 between Japanese Admiral Kurita’s fleet from Singapore and Admiral Halsey's carrier planes from the US Third Fleet then stationed east of the Philippines. Units from Company C of the 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division landed on Sawang, Romblon on the night 11 March 1945. By 18 March, the province was liberated from Japanase forces.
On 1 October 1946, Romblon regained her provincial status through the passage of Republic Act No. 38, sponsored by Cong. Modesto Formilleza. In the decades that followed, the province saw new municipalities created, such as Alcantara (1961) from Looc, Calatrava (1969) from San Agustin, Ferrol (1978) from Odiongan, and Santa Maria (1984) from San Agustin.
Romblon is strategically situated at the center of the Philippine archipelago. It is composed of three major islands (Tablas, Sibuyan and Romblon) and 17 minor and small islands. It is surrounded by deep waters, and is bounded by Masbate in the east, Mindoro in the west, Marinduque in the north and Panay in the south. It is approximately 187 nautical miles (346 km) and 169 miles (272 km) south of Manila. The islands are dispersed and accessible only via sea transportation except for Tablas Island where a domestic airport is located in the municipality of Alcantara.
The province has a total land area of approximately 1,533.45 square kilometres (153,345 ha) representing about 5.30% of the total land area of Region IV-B (MIMAROPA). It is generally mountainous with about 40% of its land area having slopes greater than 50%. Only 4% of the total area has 3 to 8% slopes while a sparse 10% has 0-3% inclination. Narrow strips of coastal lowlands, low hills and plains typify the topography of some of the islands.
Romblon Island is hilly with a maximum elevation of about 400 meters (1,312 feet) above sea level. Tablas Island shows varied relief characteristics. The western coastal areas are level to undulating while the eastern coastal areas are rough to rugged. The southern section covering Santa Fe and the mid-western portion maybe described as having rolling to rough terrain. Extremely rugged areas can be found in the central section of the island. The highest elevation is almost 500 meters (1,640) feet) above sea level. Sibuyan Island is a thickly forested mountain mass. The western portion of the island maybe characterized as extensively rugged, having ascents of 60% or more while the eastern section is relatively undulating to rolling. The highest elevation, the peak of Mt. Guiting-Guiting, reaches about 2,058 meters (6,750 feet) above sea level.
The major locations of areas that are highly productive and buildable are basically in Tablas and Sibuyan. These maybe found in Odiongan, San Andres, Looc and Santa Fe in Tablas Island. All three municipalities in Sibuyan Island, on the other hand, have substantial level to gently sloping lands. Overall, good developable lands represent about 13% of the province’s total area.
Romblon is subdivided into 17 municipalities. Of these, nine are located in Tablas Island (San Agustin, Calatrava, San Andres, Odiongan, Ferrol, Santa Fe, Looc, Alcantara and Santa Maria), three in Sibuyan Island (Magdiwang, Cajidiocan and San Fernando) and five (Romblon, San Jose, Banton, Concepcion and Corcuera) are island municipalities.
Romblon falls under Type III of the Corona’s climatic classification system. It is characterized by no pronounced wet and dry seasons. Generally, the wet season is from June to November and sometimes extends up to December when the southwest monsoon is predominant. The dry season is from January to May but is sometimes interrupted by erratic rainfall. The annual mean temperature is 27 °C (81 °F), with February as the coldest month with temperatures dropping to 20 °C (68 °F), and May as the warmest month with temperatures reaching up to 35 °C (95 °F). Habagat monsoon winds pass through the province from June to October while northeasterly winds or Amihan blows through the islands from December to February.
|Climate data for Romblon, Romblon|
|Average high °C (°F)||28.5
|Average low °C (°F)||23.6
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||95
|Average relative humidity (%)||79||77||73||72||75||80||83||83||84||83||82||81||79.3|
|Population census of
|Source: National Statistics Office|
Based on the 2010 Census of Population and Housing, Romblon has a total population of 283,930 persons. It ranks 4th among the five provinces of MIMAROPA region in terms of population and represents 10.34 percent of the region’s population.
The province has a population density of 209.4. On the average, there are almost 210 persons living per square kilometer of the province’s land area. Corcuera and San Jose are the two most-densely populated municipalities in the province at 424.6 and 356.2, respectively. Calatrava and San Fernando are the two least densely populated municipalities at 112.8 and 118.2, respectively.
Males outnumber females in the province with a sex ratio of 102:100 according to the 2010 census. Of the province’s 283,482 household population, males accounted for 144,091 or 50.8 percent while females comprised 139,391 or 49.2 percent. The voting-age population (18 years old and over) accounted for 56.6 percent of the household population of the province in 2010, up from 52.7 percent in 2000. There were more females (50.2 percent) than males (49.8 percent) among the voting age population.
The people of the province are predominantly Roman Catholic. In 2013, 75% of the population adhere to Roman Catholicism. The remaining 25% belong to other Christian denominations such as the Assemblies of God, Jehovah's Witnesses, Philippine Independent Church (Iglesia Filipina Independiente), Iglesia ni Cristo, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Baptist churches, and Church of the Foursquare Gospel in the Philippines.
Agriculture is the main industry in the province. Coconut is the number one crop with a total planted area of 58,270.44 hectares. San Agustin has the most extensive area with coconut plants followed by Romblon and Cajidiocan. Rice is the next crop being produced particularly in Odiongan, Looc, Cajidiocan and Santa Fe. Other crops grown include root crops, vegetables and fruits. Odiongan, Banton and Magdiwang have the greatest areas planted with root crops and correspondingly, with the highest volume of production. Vegetable production is mostly for home consumption and grown in small scale.
Livestock development and poultry production is a viable small scale enterprise for farmers in the province. The provincial government maintains breeding facilities in strategic locations province-wide to encourage farmers to engage in livestock and poultry production to augment their income. Livestock and poultry management training and seminars is provided to interested clients.
Due to the geographical condition of the province, crops and livestock production is generally deficient as compared to the food requirements of Romblon population. To meet the rice requirements, Romblon relies on imports from the neighboring provinces while vegetables, poultry meat, vegetables and fruits are supplied mostly by Luzon.
Fishing industry is a major enterprise as Romblon is surrounded by bodies of water. The fishing grounds of Romblon are a migratory path of fish from Sulu and Visayan Seas passing Tablas Strait, Sibuyan Sea and Romblon Pass. The waters also abound with demersal fish due to the coral reefs surrounding the islands.
Because the province has a great potential for aqua-marine development, the province implemented a coastal and resource management program. Each municipality established a fish sanctuary and passed laws on fishery. The use of air compressors in the municipal waters was regulated and banned altogether in some municipalities.
Marble is the most significant mineral deposit of Romblon and is the most renowned product of the province. Based on statistics, Romblon is the second biggest provincial marble producer of the country next to Bulacan. Romblon marble is of very high quality and comes in shades of white, green, pink, red and black. The Mines and Geosciences Bureau has estimated that Romblon is endowed with about 150 million metric tons of marble. At current rates of extraction, the supply may last for three more centuries. Tablas Island is also believed to have vast reserves of marble.
Marble quarrying and processing are major activities in Romblon. Among the most common marble products are categorized into the following: novelty items (gifts, ashtray, table bars), furniture (dining tables, baptismal fonts) and construction materials (tiles, balusters, marble chips). Other mineral resources with considerable quantity include nickel ore and gold mostly to be found in Sibuyan Island. Gold panning and small-scale mining is a lucrative undertaking in Magdiwang.
|Provincial Government of Romblon
|Leandro Jesus Madrona
|Provincial Board Members|
|First District||Second District|
|Samuel Romero||Felix Ylagan|
|Anthony Rugas||Juliet Fiel|
|Abner Perez||Venizar Maravilla|
|Nelson Lim||Andres Fondevilla|
Just like any other province in the Philippines, Romblon’s chief executive and head is the provincial governor. Elected to a term of three years and limited to three consecutive terms, he or she appoints the directors of each provincial department, which include the office of administration, engineering office, information office, legal office, and treasury office. The incumbent governor of Romblon is Eduardo C. Firmalo, from the Liberal Party. He first assumed office on 30 June 2010, following his victory in the May 2010 gubernatorial elections. He was reelected in 2013 for a second term which will expire in 2016.
The provincial vice governor performs duties as acting governor in the absence of the provincial governor. He or she also automatically succeeds as governor upon the death of the provincial governor. The provincial vice governor also convenes the Provincial Board or Sangguniang Panlalawigan, the provincial legislative body. The incumbent provincial vice governor of Romblon is Jose Riano from the Liberal Party. He first assumed office on 30 June 2013 after defeating former vice governor Manuel Madrid.
The province, which is a lone congressional district, is represented in the Philippine House of Representatives by longtime congressman Eleandro Jesus "Budoy" Madrona from the Nacionalista Party. He first assumed office from 1992 to 2001, serving three terms. Following two terms wherein Perpetuo Ylagan and Eduardo Firmalo respectively represented the district in Congress, Madrona ran and won again in 2007. His third and last term will expire in 2016.
Within the province, the Provincial Board or Sangguniang Panlalawigan crafts all provincial ordinances, performs appropriation of provincial funds, issues franchises and permits, impose fees on provincial services, and exercise other duties and powers as stipulated by the Local Government Code of 1991. Romblon, being a third-class province in terms of income, is entitled to a Provincial Board composed of eight members, four each from the province’s two board districts. As of 2013, the incumbent board members from the province’s two districts are: (First District) Samuel Romero, Anthony Rugas, Abner Perez, Nelson Lim ; (Second District) Felix Ylagan, Juliet Fiel, Venizar Maravilla, and Andres Fondevilla.
Romblon province is connected by a network of national and provincial roads. National roads form much of this network, with a total length of 311.046 kilometers. Provincial roads, meanwhile, total 239.005 kilomters in length. Municipal and barangay roads in far-flung villages and island municipalities are not part of these figures. The primary modes of land transportation in the province are jeepneys, passenger motorcycles, minibuses and tricycles that serve inter-municipal movements and linkages.
Sea transportation is the primary mode of transportation linking Romblon with Luzon and islands in the Visayas. Inter-island ferries, RORO, and cargo ships from Manila, the southern Luzon ports of Batangas City, Lucena City in Quezon province, Roxas, Oriental Mindoro, and Roxas City in Capiz province are the primary modes of transportation linking the province to the rest of the country. Montenegro Lines, 2GO, and Romblon Shipping Lines all have ferry service from Manila to the main ports of entry of Odiongan and the capital town of Romblon and vice versa. From Romblon, Montenegro also serves Magdiwang in Sibuyan, while Romblon Shipping Lines also serves Cajidiocan. Pump boats and wooden launches also link the province to the towns of Buenavista, Marinduque and Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro. These pump boats are also used in going around island where there are no existing road networks or between municipalities in the province that do not have existing ferry service.
Tugdan Airport in Alcantara, Tablas Island, is the only airport in the province and is less than an hour away from Metro Manila via flights thrice a week (Sunday, Wednesday and Friday as of December 2015[update] on PR2077/2078) by PAL Express. There is also a small airstrip in Barangay Azagra, San Fernando, Sibuyan Island that caters to tourism and general aviation.
Power supply in Romblon is generated by the National Power Corporation (NPC) and serviced by two electric cooperatives. Tablas Island Electric Cooperatives (TIELCO) serves the power needs of Tablas Island including San Jose. It operates a 5.070 MW diesel power plant in Odiongan and 1.740 MW power barge in San Agustin. The electric cooperative serves a total of 21,097 house connections. Romblon Electric Cooperative (ROMELCO) supplies the capital town of Romblon through a 1.720 MW diesel power plant and a 1.30 MW power barge. It also serves Sibuyan Island using a 3.006 MW diesel power plant in San Fernando. ROMELCO has 5,288 house connections in Romblon and 5,150 house connections in the three municipalities located in Sibuyan Island or a total of 10,438 house connections in their franchise area. Additionally, ROMELCO installed in 2010 a mini hydro power plant in Cantigas, San Fernando, producing 900 kW of power. Meanwhile, Banton, Concepcion and Corcuera are attended to by the National Power Corporation (NPC) thru their municipal governments.
Out of 17 municipalities, 14 have Level III water supply systems serving 18,590 households or about 32.57% of the total provincial households. Level III has a reservoir with house-to-house connections. 5,252 households were serviced by Level II water systems and 24,700 households by Level I water system. Level I category is a common facility where the community members get their water supply from deep wells and shallow wells, while Level II has a reservoir with communal faucet. Based on the report from the Provincial Health Office in 2007, a total of 48,542 households out of the 57,079 or 85.04% have access to safe drinking water.
The province has several operating telecommunication exchanges, namely Kayumanggi, Romblontel, Odiongan Telephone Corporation (OTELCO), the Telecommunication Office (TELOF), telegram system, Liberty Telecom, public calling stations under the DOTC and the Provincial Communication System (PCS) radio transceivers and receivers. Smart Communications, Sun Cellular and Globe Telecom already have relay stations in Romblon, Odiongan and Cajidiocan, enabling most areas province-wide connected through cellphones, except on some area where the signal is weak or non-existent because of mountains that block the signal. The Triple Peak in Santa Maria has a relay station for PLDT and Liberty Telecom.
There are three radio stations in the province, two of which are operated by the Radyo Natin Network and the other, Charm FM 100.5 MHz, by the Polytechnic Foundation of Cotabato and Asia. Radyo Natin Network operates the call sign DZRH at 91.3 MHz on AM radio from Looc, as well as the call sign DZVG 101.3 MHz on FM radio from Odiongan. As for print media, Romblon Text and Romblon Sun are the two major newspapers circulating in the province, aside from broadsheet and tabloid newspapers from Manila. Romblon News, meanwhile, provides provincial and national news and information via the web and social media.
A relay station for GMA Network in Santa Maria allows the province to access television shows broadcast by the network from Manila. There are also existing cable providers and local cable stations operating in several municipalities in the province, namely Romblon Cable Corporation (Romblon), Accutronics System Inc. (Odiongan), San Agustin Cable Antenna Corp. (San Agustin), Countryside Satellite Television System Inc. (Looc), Gateway Cable TV Network (Calatrava), San Andres CATV Service Coop. (San Andres), Josefa J. Martinez CATV Services (Alcantara), Magdiwang Cable Television (Magdiwang), and Sibuyan Cable TV (San Fernando and Cajidiocan). Aside from these cable stations, there are also distributors of direct-to-home (DTH) satellite TV such as Cignal Digital TV, Dream Satellite TV, and G Sat who provide television services for its subscribers.
- Florante Condes, Filipino professional boxer and a former IBF Minimumweight World Champion.
- Jose Dalisay, Jr., writer, poet, playwright and screenwriter who won 16 Palanca Awards
- Gabriel Fabella, co-founder and first president of the Philippine Historical Association; Father of June 12 Independence Day; and sole representative of Romblon in the First National Assembly (1935-1938).
- Ephraim Fajutagana, current Obispo Máximo or Supreme Bishop of the Philippine Independent Church.
- Nicon Fameronag, current undersecretary of the Department of Labor and Employment.
- Julius Fortuna, student leader and political prisoner in '70s during the Marcos regime; journalist for the Philippine Daily Globe, The Manila Chronicle, The Philippine Post, People's Journal and The Manila Times.
- Roilo Golez, member of the Philippine House of Representatives representing the Second District of Parañaque City.
- N. V. M. Gonzalez, writer, Palanca Award winner, and National Artist for Literature.
- Elma Muros-Posadas, former track and field athlete who specialized in long jump and won a total of 15 gold medals in several Southeast Asian Games.
- Nene Tamayo, grand winner of ABS-CBN's Pinoy Big Brother (season 1).
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- Local historian Francis Ray Prado details the legend, saying that when the Spanish, led by conquistador Martin de Goiti, arrived in Romblon Island in 1569, they wandered along the island's beaches searching for food and water. One of the men encountered a hut with a hen's nest on top of a post near its window. The man asked the house's occupant, a young woman, if he could have the hen for free, but the woman, unable to understand Spanish, answered, "Nagalumyom!" which in the local language means "the hen was brooding eggs." Prado, Francis Ray (2005). The History of Carmen Including Historical and Cultural Background of North-eastern Barangays of the Municipality of San Agustin, Romblon. Private publication. p. 15.
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- "Republic Act No. 38". An Act repealing Commonwealth Act numbered Five Hundred And Eighty-One, entitled, "An Act abolishing the existing Municipal Governments and the Provincial Government of Romblon, and creating instead four Special Municipalities," restoring the regular Provincial Government and Municipalities of the Province of Romblon, and creating the Municipality of Santa Fe. Chan Robles Virtual Law Library. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
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- "Hydro Power Injects Diversity Into Sibuyan Island's Economy". World Bank. 18 March 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
- "List of Existing Radio and TV Stations". National Telecommunications Commission - Region IV-B. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
- "List of Radyo Natin FM Stations". Radyo Nation Network. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
- "About Us". Romblon News. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Romblon (province).|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Romblon.|
- Geographic data related to Romblon at OpenStreetMap
- Philippine Standard Geographic Code
- Local Governance Performance Management System
|Oriental Mindoro / Tablas Strait||Sibuyan Sea / Masbate|