During the Spanish colonization of the Philippines, the Spaniards built the twin fortresses of San Andres and Santiago on the two adjacent hills in the town of Romblon. For centuries, the twin forts made of coral blocks and bricks guarded the town against the Moro raiders and Dutch pirates.
Almost four centuries past, what were left are remnants of the twin forts – neglected and forgotten. Not even a historical commemorative marker or marble epitaph are there to remind Romblomanon of its existence and the role it played in history.
The San Andres Fort now houses Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services (PAGASA) Romblon observatory. The trail from ground zero to the fort is still evident, with stone steps that are still in good condition up to midway. The steps on the upper half of the trail are already broken. The walls of the fort are still standing but its grandeur is already lost and overpowered by the structures and equipments of PAGASA.
If the Fort San Andres suffered a sad fate, the Fort Santiago was worst. The trail to the fort is completely covered by soil, grass and bushes. We took sometime to find it just to see it almost empty. A barely noticeable wall covered by trees and grass is what’s left. Rumor has it, that there used to be a tunnel from this fort to the ground zero.
Sad to say, the twin forts of Romblon will just live in the history books, online chronicles, memories and word of mouths, unless the local or national government do something to restore and revive their lost grandeur. But until then, a part of Romblon’s past will remain buried on its own soil.