Marinduque is a heart-shaped island between Tayabas Bay in the north and Sibuyan Sea to the south. Its capital is Boac. It is located south and west of Quezon, east of Mindoro, and north of Romblon.Some of the smaller islands to the northeast are Polo Island, Maniwaya Island, and Mompong Island.
Marinduqueños are said to be very hospitable in nature and are very welcoming. One such custom reflecting this is putong or tubong, which is a custom of welcoming and honoring friends and visitors. The honoree (or honorees) are seated and crowned with flowers while local women dance and sing for them. Other well-wishers throw coins and flower petals for long life. Marinduqueños are of Tagalog origin and speak Tagalog.
Best time to visit
For most tourists who want to see the Moriones Festival, the best time to go to Marinduque is during the Lenten Season which usually starts in the Philippines at the last week of March or the first week of April. The height of the festival usually occurs around this time wherein all the six municipalities showcase their own version of the festival. After Lent, the months of April and May are also witness to other festivals such as the Kangga, the Gasang-Gasang and the May Flower Festival.
What to see?
White Beach - White Beach is located in Barangay Poctoy within the municipality of Torrijos. Poctoy's white beach is one of the finest beach's on the Marinduque Mainland, Their your surrounded by clean clear, deep water and warm happy locals. The area is also a hangout for the local community, where you can spend the night singing karaoke or talking and meeting the locals. Not only is it a Social area, it also doubles as a small market area in the day. You can purchase the latest Catch of Fish from the Fishermen, you can buy products from the Sari-Sari store or sit back and drink a beer at the adjacent resort.
Tres Reyes Islands - The Tres Reyes Islands (Also Known as the "Three Kings") is a chain of 3 Islands off the coast of Gasan. The main island is known as "Gaspar Island", It is famous for it's always empty beach's, perfectly white sand and amazing diving and clear azure warm water. The beautiful islands can be accessed via boat only, you must organise a boat trip with one of the Resorts along the coastline or with a local fisherman. Don't be scared to haggle with either of the two, as long as you're realistic.
The Bathala Caves - The Bathala Caves are one of the famed sites of Marinduque, this Massive cave system is located in the mountains of Santa Cruz on private Property. You must ask the owners of the property to access the Caves, they usually charge a small fee. It is wise to have a guided tour if it's your first time, as you have to climb and hike some fairly rugged landscapes. There would be an additional fee for a guided tour. The Caves offer an amazing view, especially during sunset and sunrise when the Cave (named - The Cathedral) lights up entirely, showing off its amazing lines. The Python cave is also a must see, although if you have a fear of snakes you better skip it. It is a large system of caves with Rock Pythons living in the walls and areas, but do not fear as they are relatively harmless as long as you don't do anything to upset them (don't worry, the Guides keep you fairly far from the action anyway).
Red Mountain - Red Mountain is the site of the Battle of Pulang Lupa in the Filipino-American War. After a long hike to the top, you will be rewarded with a full 360 degree view of the surrounding Marinduque Area and valleys. The name "Red Mountain" was attributed to the amount of blood that was shed in the fierce battle involving Filipino and American forces during the Filipino-American war. The Filipino forces won that battle and a memorial was built to commemorate the historical event. Hiking to the memorial may prove to be a challenge particularly on hot days. However, visitors can access half the track up to the Main Memorial with a vehicle, but the hike is still difficult to those not in the best of shape.
Go diving - Marinduque has a lot of places to explore underwater, generally the Drop-off into the reefs and marine life in Marinduque is a few hundred meters off shore (depending where you are). The Tres Reyes Islands are great to start you off in diving or snorkeling, the islands are surrounded by abundant marine life and warm tropical waters.
Watch cockfighting - Generally every weekend (Saturday especially) the local cockfight begins around noon. If you do not agree with cockfighting or prefer not to know anything of it, i urge you to avoid the Cockfight Arena's during the Weekend. If you wish to take part in the activity you can, by simply paying a fee at the door you can enter the arena and place bet's. It's is an amazing sight to see, the arena's are typically packed and very noisy and social.
Take part in the Moriones - The Moriones is an amazing festival that takes part all over Marinduque during Holy Week. During the Lenten season, Marinduque comes alive with people from all over the countryside visting to witness the very popular and famous Moriones Festival, a colorful religous celebration that links to the story of Longinus with Christ’s Passion and Death. This festival is known as the most colorful in all of the Philippines, if you plan on visiting during the festival you should prepare in advance, as a lot of people travel during the holy season (peak travel season).
Relax and explore - You have many options of what to do on Marinduque, typically a lot of coastal resorts will have a boat on offer (Also known as a "Bangka"), you can take the boat out and explore your own way or go for a relaxing snorkel offshore. If you wish to visit more inland, their's a number of things to do. Exploring and bargaining at the local markets is always a good way to socialize and take in the sights. There are also a number of traditional places to visit, you can purchase traditional crafts made by local artisans or you can even purchase your own "Moriones Festival" Mask.
Marinduque Airport (IATA: MRQ | ICAO: RPUW) is in Barangay Masiga, Gasan, near the border with Boac. Zest Airways is the only airline which serves Marinduque, flying daily.
It is highly recommended that you arrange with the hotel/resort or person you are staying with for transfers to and from the airport as the island does not have any taxis available for hire. Jeepneys however can drop passengers off in front of the airport.
There are three ports of call for Marinduque: Balanacan Port in Mogpog, Cawit Port in Boac and Buyabod Port in Santa Cruz. Most visitors headed for Mogpog, Boac, Gasan or Buenavista by sea will enter Marinduque via Balanacan or Cawit, while those headed to Santa Cruz or Torrijos will enter via Buyabod.
Lucena City in Quezon is the main hub for passenger and roll-on/roll-off (RO-RO) ferries headed for Marinduque. Montenegro Shipping Lines (MSLI) has daily service to the island from Lucena, alternating between all three ports. Cawit is also served by Starhorse Shipping, connecting it to Subuquin Port in San Juan, Batangas.
Visitors who intend to go to Marinduque by land will have to do so via Lucena or San Juan, transferring to a ferry along the way. Two bus lines have service to Marinduque: JAC Liner has bus service to Marinduque via Lucena, while RRCG Liner has bus service to Marinduque via San Juan.
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