Monday, February 8, 2016

Magnificent MARINDUQUE

About Marinduque 



The Island Province of Marinduque is geographically located at the heart of the Philippines, 170 kilometers southeast of Manila between the Bondoc Peninsula at the southeastern portion of Luzon and Mindoro Island.

Marinduque extends about 137 nautical miles from Manila and about 29 nautical miles from Balanacan Port to Lucena City with 3-hour travel time by RORO ferries or 2-hour by fast craft vessel and a 45-minute travel time by airplane from Manila.

At first glance, Marinduque may seem insignificant  perhaps because of its small land area.  But giving it a second look, however, this small island, the heart-shaped island offers a lot of exciting characteristics that will swallow your interest.

Its six municipalities are all situated seaward, hugging portions of the coastlines to themselves, and leaving much of the interior untrammeled, a prospective site for adventure lovers.  Boac, the capital, is the seat of government, business and commerce.  Mogpog and Gasan are the cultural centers.  Sta. Cruz for its famous caves and copper mine sites.  Torrijos fine white beach and victorious battle sites. Buenavista for Mt. Malindig, the highest peak of the province and its hotsprings.

Marinduque is regarded as the country’s Lenten Capital.  In the early 1960’s, the “Moriones Festival” was discovered to be the indigenous folk culture of this island province.  It is a unique and animated Lenten tradition featuring masked men called “morions”, dressed in colorful costumes to the likeness of Roman soldiers and parading down the streets under the heat of the sun.  This week-long observance starts on Holy Monday and culminates on Easter Sunday when the story of Longinus is re-enacted in pantomine.

The province has many natural attractions.  The approach from the sea towards the port of Balanacan within the receiving town of Mogpog, bears the striking resemblance to a Norwegian fjord, with the unique juxtaposition of the islet, breakwater and cove.  All around, there are numerous unexplored caves, hot springs and waterfalls.  Rare underwater flora and fauna inhabit these territories making the provincial coastal areas some of the country’s premiere dive spots.


Marinduque Tourist Attractions


BOAC

Boac Cathedral -  One of the oldest built heritage of the province. Started construction around 1590. Built with an earthquake baroque architecture located at the top of a hill surrounded by high stone walls and bulwarks, inside the enclosed compound is the original site of  the “ Ina ng Biglang –awa” shrine.



Marinduque Museum - National Museum –Marinduque branch displays the cultural past and arts exhibits of the province, located at the town center, housed in an old Spanish built building that used to be a children’s school, prison, courthouse, library until it was converted into a museum.

Casa Real - Newly built replica of the old Spanish “Casa Real” that served as the administrative center of the province built on its original location. Today is it used by the Municipal Government of Boac as a multi-purpose building.

Boac Ancestral Houses - A collection of more than a dozen Spanish and turn of the century ancestral houses scattered around the town center and was built by well- to- do families of  Boac. The original architecture were preserved though today, it serves as mixed used facilities.








Moriones - The world famous Lenten tradition of Marinduque, the oldest masked ritual that is held with   week long activities  combined with religious processions, cenaculos, “Way of the Cross,” Marinduque products expositions, unique parades of biblically-inspired costumes and “Pugutan”  the highlight of the Moriones.


Bila-Bila Festival –local term for butterflies, this street dancing competition and parade is held annualy during the town fiesta of Boac on December 8th. From five districts of the municipality, everyone will compete for the best choreography, most number of particiapants, and best dressed.

Kabugsakan Falls - Located at the interior part of Brgy. Tugos, accessible from the end of the barangay road with 30 minutes trek and river fording towards a forested area where the falls of around 40 feet is located. There are natural pools for swimming at its foot.

Battle of Paye Site - Located in Sitio Paye, Brgy. Balimbing where the first successful battle of the local Marinduque revolutionaries led by Capt. Teofilo Roque over the American volunteers on July 31, 1900. A National Historical Institute marker was placed near a portion of riverbed where the skirmish happened.


BUENAVISTA

Mount Malindig - Straddling on the municipalities of Buenavista and Torrijos, Mt. Malindig is the highest peak of the province towering at 1,157 MASL. This dormant type of volcano located on the extreme southern portion of the heart shaped island of Marinduque, is a home of endemic flora and fauna and a favorite mountaineering destination. Rated as easy to moderate for climbing enthusiasts, it has three peaks, the north, which is the highest, the central, where the former caldera is located, and south rockies peak. The north peak is a mossy forest while the slopes grades from coconut groves, grassy to secondary forest.

Malbog Sulfur Springs - This natural sulfur springs is located on the edge of the Malindig volcano, a famous picnic attractions of the locals and its sulfuric waters is said to be an effective treatment for skin maladies. During the early 1900, a local Marinduque pharmacist concocted and bottled small amounts of its water and sold in Manila as medicine for stomach problems.

Marinduque Hot Springs Resort - A privately owned mineral hot spring resort that offers five different swimming pools and modest accommodations, parking area, camping area and cabanas just 400 meters upstream of the Malbog Sulfur Springs.

Bellarocca Island Resort - Located at Elephant Island on the extreme southernmost side of Marinduque. This high end resort and spa offers a nine hole golf course, all major water sports activities, a sweeping panorama of Mt. Malindig southern slopes plus the whole of Tablas Strait and Sibuyan Sea. Famous locations of honeymoons and special wedding venues.

Tuba Festival – a celebration that started in Brgy. Bagacay and was adapted by the town where local folks parade each group donning home-made costumes out of coconuts.


GASAN

Tres Reyes Islands - In between the first island and the mainland, shipwrecks of Chinese merchant vessels dating back to the Sung and Ching dynasty were salvaged in the 80’s . Recovered from the wrecks were hundreds of porcelain jars, plates, skillets, etc some are now housed at the National Museum.

Gaspar island is the nearest from the mainland, it offers crushed coral white sand beaches and secluded coves. Location of archeologically important caves on its eastern rock formations. An ideal snorkeling and scuba diving area. The only island that is inhabited.

Melchor  is the middle island with several areas for wall scuba diving.

Baltazar is the farthermost island where an American- built Lighthouse Guardhouse still stands. On its northeast part underwater, is a cave for advanced scuba diving that enters into a 60 feet depth entrance and exits 90 feet depth. Mantas and sharks occasionally appears on this island.

Butterfly Farms - Located near and on the town proper are butterfly farms that offers a glimpse of the butterfly life cycle though the live samples of butterfly larvae, pupae and full grown butterfly of several species inside big cages where live species freely flutter. Available are stuffed butterfly- based souvenir items.

Gasan Nature and Butterfly Park - Located on a rolling hill at the eastern edge of town, this nature park offers flower gardens, winding walkways, artificial waterfalls, picnic grove with butterfly cages maintained and managed municipal government adjacent to another municipal park.

Gasang-Gasang Festival - A joyous celebration faith and thanksgiving for the “newly Risen Christ” featuring street dancing competitions between 21 barangays of the municipality held annually during Easter Sunday highlighted by a final performance in front of thousand audiences for judging in one of the town’s open park.

Talao Cave - A maze of caverns, sinkholes, and multi-level chambers located in the interior forested part of Brgy. Tiguion. Can be accessed by travelling the barangay road and trekking uphill to the cave’s location. The Provincial Cave Assessment Team have recommended this cave as Class II or can be used for ecotourism thru trained cave guides. This cave is included in the recently held 14th PSS National Caving Congress.


MOGPOG

Luzon Datum of 1911 National Landmark - This rock marker was established on 1911 by the US Coast and Geodetic Survey as the Geodetic Center of the country. A hole drilled inside an etched triangle in cubic meter of diorite rock outcrop at the top of the highest hill (272.42 MASL) in Brgy. Hinanggayon. The provincial government of Marinduque, DENR, NAMRIA developed the area and was inaugurated on its centennial year in 2011. It is located with an almost 360 wide ranging view of Tayabas Bay, Mompong Pass and Tablas Strait. Managed and maintained by the local folks as a Community-Based Eco Tourism Program.

Moryonan Lenten Rites - The town of Mogpog started this century old masked tradition introduced by Fr. Dionsio Santiago around 1870 in order to encourage more town folks into the Christian faith. Men and some women don wooden masks and colorful costumes resembling the Roman soldiers during the time of Christ. This tradition is highlighted by the “Pugutan” of Longino on Easter Sunday. Today Mogpog Moryons still practices the age old tradition of its ancient and original forms of sacrifice.

Balanacan Cove - This is one of the most ideal and secluded cove of the province that witnessed the long history of Marinduque. This location was chosen by the Spanish Admiralty as construction and repair facility of the Spanish navy. The galleon “San Juan de Bautista” and almirante “San Marcos”were made in this cove.

During the closing of WWII, on November 25, 1944, two of the four Imperial Japanese Navy warships camouflaging in the cove were sunk by the American dive bombers form the USS Intrepid and killing thousands of Japanese. Two Jap shipwrecks still lays done under 140 feet of water for advanced wreck divers to explore.

Today, Balanacan serves as the main gateway of the province both for commuter traffic and commerce. Small islets that dots the surrounding area are ideal snorkeling, scuba diving and picnic sites.



Bintakay (Camarines) Cave - This cave is located in the oldest limestone formation of the province, located in Brgy. Bintakay near the historic battle site of Camarines, a rocky proturberance where Filipino revolutionaries during the Spanish-Filipino war used as their last stand. This  cave features wide chambers, tight squeeze passages, profusion of insect bats, and beautiful speleothems. Can be accessed by a 25 minutes uphill trek from the Barangay Hall. This cave was assessed by the PCAT as Class II and is included in the recently held 14th National Caving Congress cave destination.

Paadjao Falls - Located in Brgy. Bocboc, Paadjao Falls is a 100 plus feet cascading falls into a 6 feet deep natural swimming pool at its foot surrounded by tall forest trees and coco groves.. A favorite picnic area both by foreign and local tourists, it is the most accessible falls in the province.

Tarug Caves - Located inside the municipal forest park, Tarug Cave can be accessed via the barangay road,  the caves are small and don’t have deep chambers, but it offers a 300 feet tall limestone walls going to the top excellent for rock climbers and rappelling.

Kangga Festival - celebrated annually in honor of the town’s patron St. Isidore de Labrador, patron of farmers where barrio folks converge at the town and parade with its own “kanga” or wooden sled pulled by a carabao and bedeck with different products from each locality. The celebration is capped by the contest of the most beautiful “kangga”, on cooking of local delicacies and the unhusking of coconuts.


STA.CRUZ


Sta. Cruz Church - One of the two oldest churches in the province. Like Boac Cathedral, it is surrounded by high protected walls. The church main attraction is its well preserved retablo altar, its pulpit and the original ceilings.




Bitik Baluarte - The original structure still remains but was now converted as a barangay office. This was used as an early warning look-out point during the height of the Moro raids in Marinduque during the Spanish period.

Bagumbungan Underground River Cave - This cave is located at Brgys. San Isidro and Punong, with around 2km underground river of mapped and assessed areas by the PCAT (Provincial Cave Assessment Team) and is classified as Class II. The regular entrance is located at San Isidro and a through and through explorations/trekking/ fording will go out at Brgy. Punong. The Cave Guides through the Municipality of Sta. Cruz constructed a visitor center at San Isidro for briefing and setting up personal safety equipments for visitors. A profusion of fruit bats and occasional reptiles can be found inside. It features an array of large chambers, flowstones, rim dams, variety of pristine speleothems and a cascading waterfalls which is the turning point of newbie cavers. More adventurous visitors can opt to get out in Brgy. Punong. Can be accessed via the 16 km mixed combination of National road and barangay road from the town center. This is the main featured cave that was included in the 14th National Caving Congress and is now pushed as the best caving destination by the Prov. Tourism Office due to the well-organized Community-Based Tourism Program of the locals and its cave guides.

Bathala Caves - Located at Brgy. Ipil, Bathala cave have been a more popular cave destination in Sta. Cruz before, it features large church like interiors, archeological cave, and python cave. Though the cave is located in a titled private property, there is no organized community that caters to the basic needs of the visitors. The promotions of this cave as a current destination has been discouraged by the PCAT due none existence of a viable and working management plan. The private owners of the land are uncooperative.

Kawa-kawa Falls - This multi-pool water falls is located in Brgy. Bancuangan, named after some large kettle-like pools that are excellent for family picnics and refreshing dips. The falls can be accessed via less than 2 km of barangay road from the crossing of national road at Landy.

Polo, Maniwaya and  Mompong Islands -Set on the northeastern fringes of the Municipality of Sta. Cruz lies these three major islands. Formed underwater during the late Pliestocene era were quiet marine conditions made favorable the development of massive coral beds, these terraced coral deposits lays the major composition of the three islands that now explains the long stretches of powdery white sand beaches it now possess.

Polo island is the nearest of the three islands that can be reached in less than 25 minutes by motorized outrigger from Buyabod Port. It has the largest wetland forest that is half of the island size. Due to its character, it harbors many different species of local and transient birds, a good number of macaque monkeys, fruit bats plus diverse selection of marshland and marine flora and fauna. The island was the site of former island prison for captured Filipino revolutionaries used by the American forces during the Fil-American War of 1900-1901.

Maniwaya Island-The middle of the three islands and is the most popular, offer stretches of fine white sand beaches, a 1.3 km along the southwest and 1.2 km on its northeast side. The southwest portion today is slowly being developed by locals with modest and comfortable accommodations and other watersports amenities. On the islands northeast side, is an offshore sand bar called Palad, an exciting place of unique splendor where the tidal fluctuations commands the availability to visitors. An immaculate stretch of crushed coral sands in the middle of the sea that appears only during low tides. A must-see attraction for Maniwaya visitors.

Mompong Island- the farthest among the three with less than an hour of boat ride from Buyabod port, offers the distinctive geological formation locally known as “Ungab”a natural land bridge curved by incessant sea wave actions on a sedimentary rock formation (Early Pliestocene dominantly marine tuffaceous clastics) on the island extreme eastern portion, while a 2.5 km white sand beach on its original state is on the north.






Botilao Landscapes and Seacapes - Located on the northern part of the province, the area is composed of small and medium sized islands and islets with stretches of white sand beaches and a cove surrounded by islets. Different rock formations can be observed and is one of the best area for aquasilvi culture.

Carmen Eco-Adventure Park - The former agriculture training center located at Tamayo is now converted in an eco-adventure park that offers two conference rooms, 100-bed capacity living quarters, dining room and kitchen plus a four air-conditioned rooms with twin beds and baths. Stands for Center for Agricultural Research Management & Enterprise Network, a 12 minutes ride from town center, one can enjoy kayaking at Isla Del Carmen inside a navigable marshland waterways for around 25 minutes, for more adventurous type, a 7.5 kilometer kayak route will bring you to Buyabod bay. A 270 hectares of protected wetlands harbors diverse flora and fauna on its northern side, bird watching and fire fly watching is one of the offered activity. Board walk inside the wetland forest gives an insight of an agglomeration of known 20 species of mangroves. Catch and weigh fishing is offered on the fresh and brackish fishponds. A coffee shop, convenience store and a butterfly museum is housed inside the Tambayan hall. A 450-meter zipline can be availed to add high adventure in the park. A monkey trail inside the Cabatuan karst forest (74 hectares) can be availed to witness occasional appearances of macaque monkeys. A new addition for a more laid back vacation are individual “bahay kubo” accomodations spread under coconut groves.


TORRIJOS

Pulang Lupa Historical Park - Located in high in the mountains of Pulang Lupa, this park offers a sweeping panoramic view of the eastern seaboard of Marinduque. The bloody running gun battle between the Filipino revolutionaries led by Col Maximo Abad and the American Volunteers led by Capt. Deveraux Shields resulted in one of the very few victories won by the Filipinos over the Americans, wherein they officially admitted their loss as recorded in the American War Archives. Today an obelisk, a NHI marker and a concrete retablo marks the place.

Poctoy White Beach - The most accessible and the only white beach area in mainland Marinduque offers a stretch of more than a kilometer of fine white to sugar brown beach for regular local and foreign visitors. The place is complimented by available modest accommodations for overnight travelers and more than a dozen  native huts for rent. A good view of Mt. Malindig on the south from the beach area.



Ka Amon Cave - The cave is located in Brgy. Bonliw which is less than 200 meters from the national road, a Community Based Rural Tourism program maintains and handles the daily operatins of the caves. There are identified seven chambers in the cave, remnants of human skeletal remains of pre-Hispanic Filipinos can be seen near the caves entrance., immaculate flowstones abound the next chamber, fruit bats thrives in the inner most chambers. This is a cave ideal for beginners and the oldies. This cave is included in the upcoming 14th National Cave Congress.



Accommodations



Torrijos

Beach Club Cagpo, Boutique Resort and Restaurant, Brgy. Cagpo, Torrijos
Tel. No. (0921) 9932537
Aircon and fan rooms with hot shower, backpacker rooms







Sta.Cruz

Vacation With A Cause Resort, Maniwaya, Sta. Cruz
Tel. No. (0939) 9046265 or (0906)4236290



With Ms. Lynlie Malaylay, Resort Owner



Boac

The Boac Hotel, Brgy. San Miguel, Boac
Tel. No. (042) 332-1121 or 332-2065
No. of Rooms: 19 rooms -  10 aircon, 9 ventilated with toilet and bath
Other amenities: coffee shop, function hall, catering service



Tahanan Sa Isok (Inn Isok), Brgy. Isok, Boac
Tel. No. (042) 332-1231
No. of Rooms: 12 rooms (all aircon with toilet and bath, hot/cold shower)
Other amenities: coffee shop, restaurant, function hall, garden huts and bar

Villa Aplaya’s Resort and Restaurant, Brgy. Ihatub, Boac
Tel. No. (042) 332-1881 or 332-1882
No. of Rooms: 10 rooms (all aircon family rooms with toilet and bath, hall, badminton court)
Other amenities: restaurant, function room, beach huts

3 E’s Love Bay Resort, Brgy. Amoingon, Boac
Tel. No. (042) 332-1440 or 332-1296
No. of Rooms: 11 rooms (7 aircon, 4 ventilated, some with toilet and bath, some communal)
Other amenities: coffee shop, function hall, tennis court

Blue Sea Beach Resort, Brgy. Amoingon, Boac
Tel. No. (042) 332-1334
No. of Rooms: 14 rooms (5 aircon, 9 ventilated with toilet and bath)
Other amenities: coffee shop, function hall

Seaview Hotel, Brgy. Cawit, Boac
Tel. No. (042) 332-2840
No. of Rooms: 10 rooms (5 aircon, 5 ventilated all with toilet and bath)
Other amenities: indoor and outdoor coffee shop, function hall

Cely’s Kitchenette and lodging House, Brgy. San Miguel, Poblacion, Boac
Tel. No. (042) 332- 1519
No. of Rooms: 5 ventilated rooms



How To Get There

Manila to Marinduque and vice-versa

From Manila, you must take a bus ride from any of the bus stations of Dela Rosa Lines, Lucena Lines, JAM Transit and JAC Liner in Buendia corner Taft Avenue in Pasay City or Cubao EDSA corner Kamias Road to Talao-talao Pier in Lucena City, Quezon Province and vise-versa.

From Lucena City proper, tricycle and jeeps plies the Dalahican / Talao-talao pier.

From Talao-talao Pier in Lucena City to Balanacan Port in Mogpog, Cawit Port in Boac and Buyabod Port in Sta. Cruz in Marinduque, one must ride a fastcraft or a RORO vessel serviced by the following shipping companies. Call them for the schedule of trips. 

1. Montenegro Shipping Lines (Roll On-Roll-Off Vessel, Fastcraft Passenger, cargo and vehicles) 042-373-7084 
2. Sta. Cruz Shipping Lines (  Fastcraft Passenger, Cargo ) 042-824-5340
3. Starhorse Shipping Lines (Roll On – Roll Off passenger, cargo.

Inside Starhorse Shipping Line


JAC Liner has direct Marinduque trips that leaves 7:00 in the evening daily from their Kamias and Buendia Bus Terminal, for booking, schedule and reservation, call (02) 404-2073. Coordinate with their conductor for Marinduque – Manila trips.

Land Transportation in Marinduque

From Balanacan and Cawit Ports

Passenger jeepneys and FX and other van servicing the different towns of the province are stationed at the ports for commuting passengers, also for hire according to your needs. Hiring Rates depend on duration, itinerary and number of persons. Hiring a jeepney would cost from P 1,500.00 – P 2,500.00. While hiring FX and other vans wold cost P2,500.00 – P3,500.00. Tricycles are available for short trips in the different poblacions.

Sea Transportation in Marinduque

All sea transfers in the province can be arrange through the local fishing folks and barangay authorities in the area. Negotiated rates depend upon the duration, itinerary and number of persons.


Acknowledgement : Special thanks to Mr. Joven Lilles, Provincial Tourism Officer of Marinduque, for assisting and providing me with adequate information and whereabouts for my solo travel around Marinduque.
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