I was on a tour of the Islands in Romblon Province and only planned to stay for one night in Romblon Town before moving on to Sibuyan. I thought it best to find a hotel which is central and close to the port. It was 8am in the morning when the ferry arrived from St.Agustin so i had a long day ahead of me in which i could explore the town and its environs.
Flipping through my LP Philippines I saw that the Romblon Plaza was recommended as central and close to the port, which was exactly what i needed. As i walked out of the port gates up the road to the Yellow building in the distance there was an early morning buzz in the air of people starting their daily routine. Arriving at the Romblon Plaza entrance i noticed lots of activity around the adjacent Community Plaza. They were erecting a stage, loudspeakers and lots of decorations.
Arriving at reception i asked if there was going to be an event happening tonight at the Community Plaza. The receptionist told me that there was going to be a Christmas Party but it would all be over by 10pm. OK I thought, and then asked if they had a room for one night. Yes they had several rooms and i could choose which one i wanted. Eventually i took one that had a good view of the Port area.
After having a shower and unpacking my backpack i set out to explore the local vicinity. As i usually do i just set out to get lost and see where the day took me. First of all though i needed some breakfast so wandered into town. I passed by a couple of Expat places with their western menus and high prices and eventually found a small cafe that served local food with a view of the town square.
As the day grew older the noise level from the Community Plaza became louder and could be heard from all over town. I ventured up the hill, past a school and started to follow a path that lead uphill. It was fun being high above the town out in the adjoining neighbourhoods. Here the noise from the Plaza couldn’t be heard. Just the sound of children playing and birds in the trees.
Coming back down a couple of hours later the Plaza had really become the focal point of activity and the dress rehearsals had begun in ernest. The decibal level had been ramped up as high as it could be in true filipino style and the ground shook from the vibrations of the speakers. To get away from this i walked out of town the other way following the road around the coast until the Plaza noise became a faint whisper.
With dusk approaching i turned round and headed back to the centre. Christmas trees and decorations were everywhere. I arrived back at the Plaza and stopped for a while to watch some of the activities on stage. Just up the road what seemed like a 20 man drum band began to strike up and march around the streets. The festivities were really warming up. Outside i enjoyed the atmosphere and as 10 pm approached i began to wonder how and when all the noise would begin to subside as there was no sign of it happening and if anything the noise levels were being ramped up.
So allowing for some “Filipino time ” I added an hour onto the 10pm finish the receptionist had told me in the morning. I was feeling sleepy so decided to return to my room at the Romblon Plaza Hotel where i thought I could get some sleep and would be insulated from the noise. Unfortunately there was to be no respite As i climbed into bed I felt the whole room shaking and the bed was vibrating madly. No matter what I did it was impossible to get any sleep. It felt as though the whole earth was shaking and moving violently.
At Midnight i went down to reception to find a member of staff and ask again about the time the festivities would wind down but this time i was told that it was an all night affair and would probably continue until 5 am. Feeling aggrieved and very annoyed I went back up to my room, packed my backpack and checked out. I asked why in the morning they had told me about a 10 pm finish but only received a smile as a reply.
Luckily earlier in the day I had got talking to a very nice lady who owned the Muravian Hotel a few streets away from the Plaza and had invited me to stay there but having already booked into the Romblon Plaza i had to decline. She insisted on showing me where her hotel was situated in case I needed it. Did she already know that my Romblon Plaza night would end in a sleepless night I wonder !!!!!! When i turned up there just after Midnight begging for a quiet place to rest my head there was a “I told you so ” smile on her face.
Maybe the Romblon Plaza is a good quiet, comfortable place to stay most days of the year but if there are any festivities, especially around Christmas, being held in the Community Plaza then be prepared to look elsewhere in town, or even better out of town, for a room or face a Night from Hell.