FORTS SAN ANDRES AND SANTIAGO – These Twin Spanish forts were constructed out of coral blocks and bricks between 1644 and 1573 on the two adjacent hills in the town of Romblon, which overlook the whole town and harbor at 156 ft. above sea level. These served as a bastion to protect the people against 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. People 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.
It has been centuries since these twin forts were built, but their remains will not have to be forgotten for these two sites will highlight the history of our country. These should not live only in the history books, online chronicles, memories and word of mouths. A part of Romblon’s past will not remain buried on its own soil unless the local or national government do something to restore and revive their lost grandeur.
Images from: travelblog.org