Thursday, March 1, 2012

Romblon Triangle

Romblon is an island province of the Philippines located in the MIMAROPA region. It lies in the Sibuyan Sea, south of Marinduque and Quezon, east of Mindoro, north of Panay Island (particularly of provinces of Aklan and Capiz) and west of Masbate.[1]

The island is nicknamed as the Marble Capital of the Philippines because of its abundance of marble in the island. It also has beautiful beaches and scenery. Romblon is subdivided into 17 municipalities.

Sibuyan Sea is a small sea lying in between Southern region of Luzon and Northern part of Visayas.

Unfortunely, the province became a dangerous hot spot for mariners. Some passenger ships and/or vessels met their final destination in the waters of Romblon - in Sibuyan Sea. The alleged dangerous hot spot is called Romblon Triangle named after the province.

Bermuda and Romblon Triangles

Let's discuss first the western counterpart of the Romblon Triangle - the Bermuda Triangle, to better differentiate the two.

The Bermuda Triangle, also known as the Devil's Triangle, is an undefined region in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean, where a number of aircraft and ships are said to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances.[2] Both marine vehicles and air vehicles met their accidents in the said place. Some of them sunk in the sea, but just them vanished for unknown reason. Other people believe that there is an extraterrestrial intervention in the said place. Though some accidents were explainable, however the other incidents have no known explication. Thus, people accepted the rumor about alien interruption as fact.

The Bermuda Triangle (its three vertices) lies in Miami, Florida peninsula; in San Juan, Puerto Rico; and in the mid-Atlantic island of Bermuda. Large part of it lies in Bermuda Island, where the name of the triangle came.

The region is one of the most heavily traveled shipping lanes in the world with ships crossing there daily for ports in the Americas, Europe, and the Caribbean Islands. The Sibuyan Sea is one of the busy region for traveling ships but only in the Philippines.

The Romblon Triangle is a region in the central seas of the Philippines which lies near the province of Romblon, where a number of surface vessels are alleged to be a theater of disaster under unexplainable circumstances. Philippine Coast Guard believes that such disasters are due to natural phenomenon like high tides, heavy typhoons among others; outcome of its navigational potentials and topographic features.[3] The Romblon Triangle covers the whole province of Romblon, and its endpoint lies in Concepcion municipality, in-between of the Dos Hermanas islands (Isabel and Carlota islands) and Sibuyan Island.

Legend of Lolo Amang

There was this famous legend about a ghost ship roaming in the Sibuyan Sea. They said the ghost ship is owned by a person named Lolo Amang. The ship was made up of gold, sailing every night in the waters of the region. Despite the darkness of the night, the ship shimmers beautifully that even miles away mariners see them. Witnesses saw a kind of party aboard the ship with white people on it, as if it was a Pacific Cruise.

Before the M/V Don Juan collided with M/V Tacloban, some passengers saw Lolo Amang's ship. It was said that the captain of the former passenger ship avoided the golden ghost ship which resulted it to crash with the latter one.

The island where Mt. Cayatong stands was said to be the place where Lolo Amang dwell. Shamans there warn people not to got there unless if they give a sacrifice and Lolo Amang accepted it. The Horror TV Show of GMA News TV Channel 11 entitled Misteryo tried to record a video of Lolo Amang's Golden ship. They set their camp in the beach near Mt. Cayatong. In the end, their camera didn't caught any glimpse of the ship.

The golden ship of Lolo Amang reminded me about the Biringan City in Samar. Samar is also part of Visayan Region like Romblon and Sibuyan Sea. The Biringan City harbors white people, and those white people I'm talking about are the engkantos. Take a look of your Philippine Map, Sibuyan Sea is almost near the Samar Island.

Historical Events and Accidents

The Battle of Sibuyan Sea
The World War II started by Japanese bombing the Pearl Harbor of US. And because the Philippines is an allied force of US, we are not exempted in the world war.
On October 24, 1944, around 8:00am, the Japanese Center Force of Admiral Kurita was spotted entering in the Sibuyan sea. At that time, there's only three groups available to strike the Center Force, and the ones in best position is Gerald F. Bogan's Task Group (which was the weakest of the groups, containing only one large carrier - the USS Intrepid, and two much smaller carriers). At about 10:30am, planes from Intrepid and Cabot started to attack the Nagato, Yamato and Musashi, and they severely destroyed the Myoko. Then another wave of attack from Intrepid, Essex, and Lexington hit the Musashi. As the ship withdrew, another wave came again from Enterprise and Franklin with 11 additional bombs and eight torpedoes. In the end, the Japanese battleship Musashi sunk in the Sea on 7:30pm. The Battle of Sibuyan Sea didn't just end on it, the Japanese force fought back as well.
[The Japanese Center Force consisted of five battleships (Yamato, Musashi, Nagato, Kongo, and Haruna), ten heavy cruisers (Atago, Maya, Takao, Chokai, Myoko, Haguro, Kumano, Suzuya, Tone and Chikuma), two light cruisers (Noshiro and Yahagi) and 15 destroyers.[4]]

The Adeter Tragedy (1950s)
In the 1950s, the Maghali group of islands in Romblon (Banton, Concepcion and Simara) were made accessible to the provincial capitol and to Luzon thru the construction of wooden launches which ply the routes Lucena City-Romblon and Manila-Romblon. One of the companies that became the forefront in wooden vessel shipping was the Asuncion Shipping (now known as San Nicholas Shipping) which was based on the island of Banton. It had a fleet of 7 to 10 ships divided into three classes: the Asuncion class, the Catalyn class and the Adeter class. During the 1950, one of the ships in the Adeter class, the Adeter V was caught in a storm as it travelled between Banton and Simara and sank.[5]

The M/S Don Juan Tragedy
Around 1 pm of April 22, 1980, a jam-packed M/S Don Juan of Negros Navigation (NN) carrying at least 1,000 passengers, left Pier 2 at the Manila North Harbor. It was bound for Bacolod City.[6] It was famous for being one of the fastest passenger ship travelling only 18 to 19 hours from Manila to Bacolod, which for some other ships, they take 1 whole day to travel the same.
At 10:30pm, an oil tanker M/T Tacloban crashed on Don Juan which resulted to a large hole in the lower deck. Not too long, the ship sunk.

The M/V Doña Paz and M/T Vector Tragedy
On December 20, 1987, M/V Doña Paz (owner: Sulpicio Lines) collided with M/T Vector (owner: Vector Shipping) in Tablas Strait near Marinduque. It has an estimated death toll of more than 4,000 people making it the deadliest peacetime maritime disaster in 20th century. It even got the name Asia's Titanic.
The M/V Doña Paz came from Tacloban, heading to Manila, while M/T Vector came from Bataan going to Masbate. It was said that M/V Doña Paz had no radio that time.
The M/T Vector caught fire after the collision and it sunk in the same place. The ship is an oil tanker carrying 8,800 US barrels of gasoline and other petroleum products.

The M/V Princess of the Stars Tragedy
The M/V Princess of the Stars is a Filipino ferry owned by Sulpicio Lines. It capsized in the coastline of San Fernardo, Romblon on June 21, 2008. It travels in the midst of Typhoon Frank (international name Typhoon FengShen). The ship travels from Manila heading to Cebu. It was permitted to sail because they thought, the ship was too large to stay afloat even there's a typhoon. Unexpectedly, the typhoon changed its course putting the ship in danger.


Philippine Coast Guard believes that such disasters are due to natural phenomena like high tides, heavy typhoons among others; outcome of its navigational potentials and topographic features. It can also be a Human Error or Pilot disorientation, just like the theory about what's actually happening in Bermuda Triangle.

For me, the Romblon Triangle is NOT true. It is just a work of imagination. I would prefer not to have a local Bermuda Triangle in my country. No one should be proud of having such a dangerous place in the world. People should find a way to explain it that it is NOT true rather than explaining it in a way like . . . scary.



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