Marinduque: The Heart of the Philippines

“You have a good heart. Sometimes that’s enough to see you safe wherever you go. But mostly, it’s not.” – ― Neil GaimanNeverwhere

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Have you been to the Heart of the Philippines? This, at one point, was asked by a friend who also loves to travel. I blankly stared at her for a moment before she finally said – “Have you been to Marinduque?”

For several years, I have always wanted to see this small island province situated at the heart of the Philippine archipelago. It’s moniker “Heart of the Philippines” is not only associated with its geographical location but surprisingly, the island’s contour looks like a human heart.

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The metaphor of the heart does not end with the island’s geo-physical traits. There are far more reasons that go beyond the physical inkling.  Yes, there are many spectacular places to see in the heart of the Philippines, but to me, my Marinduque trip’s main heart and soul are its naturally good-hearted people.

Where is Marinduque: This heart-shaped island-province of eminent volcanic peaks , clear aquamarine waters and laidback vibe lies between Tayabas Bay to its north and Sibuyan Sea to its south. FYI: It was ranked number 1 by the Philippine National Police and Philippine Security Forces as the 2013 Most Peaceful Province of the country (due to its low crime rate statistics) conversely ranking with the province of Batanes yearly.

Marinduque is also known to be the hub of the ever famous (and one of the oldest religious festivals of the country) – the Moriones Festival — celebrated during the Holy Week.

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WHAT to SEE: Marinduque is divided into 6 municipalities: Here are the 6 municipalities and some of their major attraction-drawers:

BOAC. The capital town is known for the oldest existing structure of Marinduque built in 1580 – The Boac Cathedral, an earthquake-Baroque architecture originally called Monserrat de Marinduque. Moreover, Boac is also famed for its old Houses that reflect Spanish influenced architecture diversed with customarily Filipino ingenuity.

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STA CRUZ. This town boasts off paradisiacal beaches. Notable beaches are in the islands of Mongpong and Maniwaya. Mongpong is an island with distinctive land bridge rock formation on its eastern periphery adds beauty to its off-white sand beaches and nonchalant island ambiance. Maniwaya Island , on the other hand, also boasts off its crystal clear waters and white sand beaches. A sandbar called “Palad Sandbar” is located northeast of the islet, and would disappear during high tide. The towns church is also worth a visit, together with other attractions like Kawa-Kawa Falls.

GASAN. There are 3 islets on the mid-western coast of mainland Marinduque named after the biblical Three Kings. Although I didn’t have the opportunity to try it out, it is said that the area is a haven for scuba divers. The 3 islets are: Melchor Island, also called Polo Island; Baltazar Island, also called Pangikog Island; and Gaspar Island, also called Manya Island – all three has steep cliffs and underwater caves.

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TORRIJOS. This is the home of Poctoy Beach – a stretch of fine, white sand almost a kilometer long. This is a great spot for sunset viewing with the majestic Mt. Malindig as a backdrop. Also in this town is Pulang Lupa Historical Park – a marker that reminds us of the site of a battle fought in the island between the Philippine Revolutionary Forces and the Americans.

BUENAVISTA. If you have some extra (extra, extra) cash to spend, then Bellaroca might just suit your taste for a staycation. This Santorini-inspired architecture on an undulating topography contrasted with the cerulean sky and water, presents a relaxing and memorable experience. However, if you are a mountain enthusiast, then climbing Mt. Malindig (Marinduque’s highest peak at 1, 157 meters) would delight you. Then there’s Malbog Sulfur Spring. The only sulfur springs found at this part of Luzon. You can also try the Marinduque Hotspring Resort, a privately-owned resort located about 300 meters away from Malbog Sulfur Springs.

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MOGPOG. Visit the Luzon Datum National Landmark, located on the highest hill at the northwest point of Marinduque, is a geodetic datum origin traced to the surveying and mapping activities in the Philippines of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey. Trek your way to Paadjao Fall, a series of gently cascading that settles into a 15-foot fall with a jacuzzi-like catch-basin. The port of Balanacan (the most frequented entry point in Marinduque), is a good vantage point to view the sunset.

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HOW to GET THERE:

By Air: There are daily flights from Manila to Gasan, Marinduque.

ByLand: From Pasay or Cubao, ride a bus bound for Lucena or drive there through the South Luzon Expressway.

By Sea: You can  ride a fast craft or ferry from Lucena City to Marinduque. There are several seaports located at Boac (Cawit Port), Mogpog (Balanacan Port), and Sta. Cruz (Buyabod Port)

***There are public utility buses from Metro Manila that will take you to the Grand Terminal, Lucena City where public utility jeepneys bound for Talao-Talao?Dalahican Pier are available. Buses with direct route to Talao-Talao Port specifically those with signboards “Lucena-Talao-Talao Pier” are also available.

From Manila, you may take off at Buendia Terminal in Pasay City corner Taft Avenue. From Quezon City, get to Kamias Road Terminal corner EDSA or Ali Mall Terminal at Cubao. Available buses at said terminals are Jac Liner, Jam Transit , Lucena Lines and Dela Rosa Lines. Jac Liner, Inc. also offers direct route to Marinduque. For more details or reservations, you may contact Tel. # 02-404-2073 (Buendia Terminal) or Tel. # 02-927-6139 (Kamias Terminal).

Once in  Dalahican/Talao-Talao Port, ro-ro of Montenegro Shipping Lines, Inc., Star Horse Shipping Company, Boac Ferries and fastcraft of Sta. Cruz Shipping Lines bound for Marinduque Ports (Balanacan Port in Mogpog or Cawit Port in Boac or Buyabod Port in Sta. Cruz) are available. Travel time ranges from 3 to 3.5 hours for Roro and 2 to 2.5 hours for fastcraft. Upon reaching the target port in Marinduque, there are public utility jeepneys and airconditioned vans waiting to take you to your destinations with signboards – Boac, Mogpog, Gasan, Buenavista, Sta. Cruz or Torrijos.

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Schedule of BOATS

FASTCRAFT

Lucena – Balanacan
2:00 am
10:00 am

Balanacan – Lucena
6:00 am
2:00 pm

RORO (Montenegro)
Lucena – Balanacan
4:00 am
12 Noon
12 midnight
4:00 pm

Balanacan – Lucena
8:00  am
4:00 pm
12 Noon
8:00 pm

RORO (Starhorse)
Balanacan – Lucena
6:30 am
2;30 pm
11:30 pm
7:30 pm

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WHERE to STAY:

Boac Hotel – Telephone +63(042) 332-1121; Fax +63(042) 3322-2065; Mobile no. 0928-409-4329 / 0916-517-3861; email: theboachotel@yahoo.com

Abby’s Place –  Contact no. (042) – 332-2643 / email: apostolhotelsandresorts@yahoo.com.ph / Mobile nos: 0918-945-5560 / 0922-845-2833 / 0917-522-5560

A & A Beach Resort – Contact No. (042) – 332-2817 / email: apostolhotelsandresorts@yahoo.com.ph ; Mobile nos: 0918-945-5560 / 0922-845-2833 / 0917-522-5560

Lucky Seven Pension House – Address: Gov. D. Reyes St. Murallon, Boac, Marinduque;  Contact #(042) -332 – 2777;  (042) – 332-1742; 0910-822-2973 (Remy); e-mail: lucky7corp@yahoo.com

CRB Pension House – Brgy. Poblacion, Torrijos | 15 minutes tricycle/jeepney ride from Poctoy White Beach (west)

Mixt Apartelle – Brgy. Poblacion, Torrijos | Mobile:  +63.919.3668090

Briones Apartelle – Brgy. Poblacion, Torrijos | Mobile:  +63.919.5230697

Rendevouz Beach Resort – Brgy. Poctoy, Torrijos | fronting the beach area | Mobile:+63.919.5150560

Village Sunrise Inn – Brgy. Poblacion, Torrijos |Mobile:  09209093674 |E-mail:  ferman@villagesunriseinn.com | Website: http://www.villagesunriseinn.com

Beach Club Cagpo (Private Homestay Resort) – Brgy. Cagpo, Torrijos | 10 to 15 minutes tricycle/jeepney ride from Poctoy (east) | Mobile:  +63.921.9932537 (Harry) | Website:  vww.clubcagpo.tk

Jovita’s Paradise – Brgy. Cagpo, Torrijos | 10 to 15 minutes tricycle/jeepney ride from Poctoy (east) | Mobile:  +63.920.6293515

Duds Place Beach Resort – Brgy. Poctoy, Torrijos | walking distance/tricycle ride | Mobile:+63.920.7106603

Cloma’s Residence – Brgy. Poctoy, Torrijos | walking distance/ tricycle ride | Mobile:+63.920.7106603

Marilou & Hanspeter Homestay – Brgy. Poctoy, Torrijos | walking  distance/tricycle | Mobile:+63.921.7516930

Residencia De Palo Maria – Maniwaya Island, Sta.Cruz;  Contact Numbers: (+63) 919.237.5633 | (+63) 922.867.0312

For more information, you may contact Marinduque’s  Tourism Office: Tel. no. (042) 754-0136; E-Mail:tourism.marinduque@gmail.com

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