Friday, October 25, 2013
Chapter 2: My Memories of Romblon Islands-1945
In late 1945, just after the end of American-Japanese War in the Philippines, my father who was a captain and dental officer for the Philippine-US army took me and my Mom for a month to Romblon Province. He was in-charged of all the dental needs of army personnel in the whole island of Panay as well as in Romblon. I remember we took a PT boat owned by the US navy from Iloilo to Romblon. I was only about 11 years old that time, but very knowledgeable of US history. One of my hobbies was to read US history. I have memorized all the 48 capitals of US states( yes,at that time there are only 48 states in US). My father's dental assistant was a white sergeant from Oklahoma City. He used to quiz me of my knowledge of the capital city of all the US states. If I get it right he gave me chocolates and cookies as a prize. There came a time when he ran out of chocolates, since I have never made a mistake. One capital I almost made a mistake was the capital of California. Most people think at that time the capital city is either LA or San Francisco. Even today, there are still a lot of Filipinos that do not know that Sacramento is the capital of California. The same thing with the capital of Illinois. Most Filipinos at that time believe it is Chicago( the biggest and most populated city in Illinois).
Back to my memories of Romblon. As we enter the harbor, the picturesque view of the mountain so close( all white with marble) almost took my breathe away. It was so beautiful that until today, it is still vivid in my memory. I have not been to Romblon since then, so I do not know if the view is still the same. Anyway we stayed in Romblom Island for 2 weeks. Every day my father took me to his dental office. All of his patients talked to me about their lives and towns/cities in US. That was the beginning of my life-long dream to visit and live in US someday. I did accomplished that dream, having studied, lived, worked and raised a family here in US since 1960.
After two weeks in Romblon Island, my father's assignment was one week each at the two other big islands of the province, Tablas and Sibuyan Islands. The trip to Tablas Island from Romblon took only about 30 minutes by PT boat. I remember, it was so fast, that we arrived about one hour early at the port of Badajoz ( now known as the town of San Agustin). The PT boat went back to Romblon and we waited by the side of the sea under a coconut tree for a jeep from Odiongan, capital town of Tablas Island.
We were hungry and thirsty, but there was no store (tiange) or restaurant in the area. We saw a several residents in the several nearby houses, staring at us, but no one said hello or even offer us a glass of water. As I remember these memories, I felt that if this incident happened in Marinduque, at least one person will probably offer us a glass of water and perhaps even invite us to wait in their house instead of outside under the sun ( luckily there were a few coconut trees providing us with shade). My father explained later why the town was called Badajoz. He said it means "bad hosts". I am glad the town is now called San Agustin.
Our week stay in Odiongan, Tablas and later in Cajidiocan, Sibuyan went pretty fast. Before I realized,it was time for me to go home to Iloilo and back to school.
Sibuyan Island and Mt Guiting-Guiting in the background
My memories of Odiongan and Cajidiocan - it was the most rural place on earth and the roads were bad. It felt like driving in the craters of the moon. Does any one knows what the road conditions now in the Tablas and Sibuyan Islands?
If any one is from Romblon reading this blog, I will appreciate if you let me know what is going on in Romblon today. Someday, I will visit the province again, to see if that harbor view of the marble mountain is still the same.