June 27, 2005
By Gil Francis Arevalo
Inquirer News Service
“Editor’s Note: Published on Page A1 of the June 27, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
LEGAZPI CITY-Museum officials here found out too late that fishermen on Rapu-Rapu Island had discovered late last year a sunken Spanish galleon that contained gold and silver coins, jars and other valuable treasures.
More than a thousand 17th- and 18th-century Spanish coins were recovered from the wreckage but only fewer than 20 pieces could be left because the fishermen had quietly sold the items to treasure hunters and collectors, Legazpi Museum curator Erlinda Belleza said, citing a report by two residents of Barangay Viga in Rapu-Rapu.
…Historians and anthropologists, both here and abroad, have considered Rapu-Rapu Island a sanctuary for galleons, based on historical documents provided by the Legazpi Museum.
Due to strong waves from the Pacific Ocean, many Spanish galleons coming from Sorsogon found Rapu-Rapu a safe haven for their voyage to other parts of Albay. But some of them reportedly sank off the coast of Rapu-Rapu.
“So, most likely, there are still many treasures left. That’s why we are asking for the expertise of the National Museum on this matter before it’s too late,” Belleza said.”