Romblon and its Place in Philippine History

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Romblon Map

In Romblon, the remote Mount Guiting-Guiting Natural Park is a living testament to the ice age. Its geology and geography stand as evidence of the big freeze, with ancient teak trees and unique species of birds and monkeys. It is biodiversity at its best here.

Romblon’s strategic position made it an important way station on the sailing lanes between Manila and the Visayas. The Spaniards visited Romblon as early as 1582. Recollect missionaries came in 1635. The ruins of Spanish watchtowers and forts testify to the islands’ former vulnerability to the raids of slave-seeking Moro pirates. Dutch warships also attacked the islands during the early Spanish era. In 1853, Romblon was made a politico-military comandancia. It was linked to Capiz prior to becoming a separate province.

The mountainous province is fragmented into about 20 islands, with Romblon, Tablas and Sibuyan as the main islands. Romblon, the provincial capital has…

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Marble in the Philippines

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Marble by Pineapple Supply Co. Marble – Photo Credit: Pineapple Supply Co

The Philippines is the only country in Southeast Asia with commercially viable marble deposits, and most of these are in Romblon, hence its description as “Marble Island” or “Marble Country”. Marble can also be found on Alad and Cobrador Islands, and at the north end of Tablas. The quarries have been worked since the 18th century, and the marble industry is a major source of employment.

Romblon topography is rich in marble and other rock types, supplying materials for sculpture. Marble is the most significant mineral deposit of Romblon and is the most renowned product of the province. Based on statistics, 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…

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The Battle of Lepanto – Part 4

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Battle_of_Lepanto_1595-1605_Andrea_VicentinoThe Battle of Lepanto by Andrea Vicentino (c. 1600, Doge’s Palace, Venice)

To complete the series on “The Battle of Lepanto”, I have to include this beautiful poem by G.K. Chesterton which provides a series of poetic visions of the major characters in the battle, particularly the leader of the Christian forces, Don Juan of Austria. It closes with verses linking Miguel de Cervantes, who fought in the battle, with the “lean and foolish knight” who he would later immortalize in Don Quixote. Miguel de Cervantes, a soldier for Habsburg Spain, was so severely wounded in the hand at Lepanto that he became a writer. He lost the use of an arm in this battle and henceforth he is known as el mano de Lepanto (the one-armed man of Lepanto) in the Hispanic world.

White founts falling in the Courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling…

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The Battle of Lepanto – Part 3

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Juan Luna and The Battle of Lepanto painting

Luna Battle of Lepanto
The Battle of Lepanto painting by Juan Luna at the Palacio del Senado, Centro Madrid
Photo Credit – Wikipedia

The Battle of Lepanto (Spanish: La Batalla de Lepanto) is a painting by a renowned Filipino painter, Juan Luna, who was one of the first Filipinos to excel and earn recognition in the international field of arts and culture. Another one was Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo. Painted by Luna in 1887, the masterpiece is about the Battle of Lepanto of October 7, 1571.

Luna’s “The Battle of Lepanto” features Don Juan of Austria in battle while at the bow of a ship. It provides significance to the Spanish victory against the Turks. It was also a Catholic victory over the invading forces of Islam. At Lepanto, a coalition of Catholics defeated the forces of Islam who were attempting to conquer and subdue the…

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The Battle of Lepanto – Part 2

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Copper Mining in Mankayan and the Battle of Lepanto

Lepanto Mining Company by lepantominingdotcom

Photo Credit – lepantomining.com

Mining has been practiced in many lands for centuries and copper was the first metal mastered by man. Copper is interwoven closely with the history of every advanced nation of modern times. The Egyptians were the first miners and used copper 5000 years before Christ and the copper mines of Sinai were the most ancient mines in history.

Copper is first of all the electrician’s metal. Without it the amazing progress in electrical science would have been impossible. Most places in the world run a network of copper wires transmitting electricity to carry cable, telephone and telegraph messages, to furnish light and power, to run streetcars and trains. In addition, copper has many other important uses, in peace and war, on land and sea.

Men early on learned to work copper, for like gold and silver it…

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The Battle of Lepanto – Part 1

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The largest naval battle in Western History

This is the Battle of Lepanto whose name was adopted by the Spaniards when hostile natives in Mankayan, Benguet kept their district blockaded for many years.

Lepanto Galleasses

One of the Venetian Galleasses at Lepanto (1851 drawing, after a 1570s painting).

Battle of Lepanto was a naval engagement between allied Christian forces (the Holy League) and the Ottoman Turks during an Ottoman campaign to acquire the Venetian island of Cyprus that took place on Oct. 7, 1571. Seeking to drive Venice from the eastern Mediterranean, the forces of Sultan Selim II invaded Cyprus in 1570. The Venetians formed an alliance with Pope Pius V and King Philip II of Spain (May 25, 1571). Philip sent his half-brother, Don John of Austria, (a bastard son of Habsburg emperor Charles V) to command the allied forces. By the time the allies assembled at Messina, Sicily (Aug. 24…

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Baguio – The Summer Capital of the Philippines

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Wright Park by Pinterest Wright Park across The Mansion in Baguio – Photo Credit: Pinterest

Baguio is a lovely town nestled aloft a high plateau with old Spanish houses and parks with profusion of flowers on a pine-clad mountain. Baguio is located in the southern part of the Province of Benguet, approximately 180 miles from Manila with an elevation of almost 5,000 feet above sea level. The province of Benguet was the gateway to the Cordilleras, the most spectacularly scenic area of the Philippines and had the well-preserved culture of the mountain people. Baguio is the home of the Igorots, the world renowned woodcarvers. Baguio is also home to the Philippine Military Academy, the elite military academy, affectionately known as the West Point of the Philippines.

Baguio became a town in 1900 with Mateo Cariño as the presidente (mayor) and a chartered city on Sept. 1, 1909 and nicknamed the “Summer Capital of the…

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