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Marinduque is the fifth smallest province in the Philippines located 11 miles from the main island of Luzon. The province tourism industry plays an important role in its economy. Moriones Festival, the oldest religious festival in the country, is its most-famed trademark. You can see references of Moriones icons all throughout the area.
It is dubbed as the “Heart of the Philippines” because of the island’s human heart shape. Although considered as an offbeat destination, Marinduque is blessed with unassuming yet lovely natural attractions, rustic historical landmarks, colorful traditions, and calm environment.
Aside from the rawest of its environment, Marinduqueños are friendly and humble people. No wonder, the province was recognized as one of the “Most Peaceful Province of the Philippines“ alternately ranking with the province of Batanes yearly.
There are direct flights from Manila to Marinduque and vice-versa via Air Juan. It departs in Air Juan Jetty Port at 7 am while it leaves in Marinduque Airport at 8 am every Monday and Thursday.
From Manila, you can ride a JAC Liner bus going to Dalahican Port in Lucena. Hourly trips leave at main terminals in Cubao and Buendia. Travel time may take from 3 to 5 hours so better to leave at midnight or early morning.
After alighting the bus from Manila, take a 20-minute tricycle ride to the port, board the RoRo to Balanacan Port in Marinduque. There are daily ferry trips via Montenegro and Starhouse Shipping Lines which take about 2.5 to 3 hours travel time. Ferry and bus schedules aren’t strict. Keep in mind that the commute may take longer depending on the weather conditions, waves, and season.
Marinduque is mainly accessible by jeepneys, in between towns, and tricycles, within towns. For destinations between the mainland and the outlying islands, pump boats or bangka are the main means of transport.
Heavy traffic is not the new normal in Marinduque so you can opt to get around with your car. Just a reminder that gasoline is pricier in the province as compared in the neighboring areas. There are no rental vehicles on the island.
Although Marinduque has a pretty laid back vibe, it still draws flocks of tourists every year with its interesting attractions. Top of the list is the Moriones Festival, the most colorful festival in the country. Held every Holy Week, the Moriones men and women wear full brightly colored masks, helmets, and tunics worn by Roman soldiers and people during Biblical times. This annual festival reenacts the story of the search for Longinus, the centurion who pierced a crucified Christ with his lance.
With its numerous natural wonders and historical landmarks, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover its whole new side. From Poctoy White Beach, Palad Sandbar and Ungab Rock Formation to Boac Cathedral and Sta. Cruz Church, there are options to choose from for each tourist.
Go island hopping and explore the majestic Tres Reyes Islands (or Three Kings) of Gaspar, Melchor, and Baltazar Islands. Relax and laze on the sand if you just want to while the time away. Or commune with the clear warm waters whether swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving.
Drop your stress away by visiting Maniwaya Island. This is one of the famous getaways in Marinduque with white sand beach resorts, restaurants, and electricity. If you’re after for some therapeutic session, head on to Malbog Sulfur Spring. Located at the foot of Mt Malindig, it is the source of the sulfur stream which believed to have healing properties.
More than its abundant waters, discover some subterranean wonders such as Bathala Cave and Bagumbungan Cave.
Kusina sa Plaza is a popular hangout cafe in Boac. They serve both buffet style Filipino specialties and fast food dishes. For a carinderia style bar, Good Chow offers snacks such as steamed bun or siopao for P25.
In Gasan, the German-owned Barbarossa Pub is popular for its German sausages, Filipino cuisines, pizza and pasta, and draught beer. More than a restaurant, Rico’s Inn Restaurant also has a mini-grocery and coffee shop and restobar at night.
Night comes early in Marinduque. If you’re after for an awesome nightlife, you might want to reconsider going here. There are no clubs, bars, and discos on the island. Some establishments close as early as 7 pm. Moreso, on its rural parts, there are sari-sari stores and karaoke bars but only for some short-time drinks.
There are several accommodations to choose from in Marinduque. If you’ve got an extra budget to splurge, choose Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa located at Elephant Island in Buenavista town. The resort brings you to the Greek island of Santorini with its Mediterranean-inspired architecture. For more economical options, check Eastpoint Hotel by the Sea and the Boac Hotel.