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 extraction, the supply may last for three more centuries.
Marble quarrying and processing are major activities in Romblon. Among the most common marble products are categorized into the following: novelty items (gifts, ashtray, table bars), furniture (dining tables, baptismal fonts) and construction materials (tiles, balusters, marble chips).
Handicraft stalls selling marble items (marble eggs and chess sets made agreeable gifts) are found near the wharf, while cutters and sculptors are also seen in the town streets and villages. Even the roads are paved with marble chunks in places. Romblon marble is also shipped to other islands for use in gravestones, monuments, and construction.
Source: Philippines Handbook by Carl Parkes