Marinduque Travel: The Center of the Philippines
Marinduque is truly the heart of the Philippines – not only it is heart-shaped, but this is also the province where you can visit the center of the Philippines. I think the heart of Mariduque is its people – Marinduquenos are very warm, happy and friendly people. I love that the province has many things to offer its tourists with different travel styles.
In this blog I will share Places to Go, Where to Stay, What to Eat, and Pasalubong Guide for your travel to Marinduque.
I traveled with no expectations, but I flew in prepared for adventures.
Quick facts: Marinduque is known for the Moriones Festival, arrowrote or araro cookies and Maniuaya Island. I will describe Marinduque as calm, warm yet chill. When you visit the province, you will experience a comfortable province life – there is no McDonald’s or Jollibee in Marinduque, but there are good local eateries. If you are planning to go shopping for some local goods, I will advise that you bring cash with you as ATMs are limited.
Manila to Marinduque is now less than an hour flight via Cebu Pacific. You can check out the first part of my #CEBfliesMarinduque on this blog post.
Going Around Marinduque
There are jeepney and tricycle in the province, but going around Marinduque is easier via van or through a tour package. Availing of tour package is a lot more comfortable and faster to get to different destination. Some of the tourist destinations that we visited take an hour drive (you can use this time to sleep and re-charge).
You can check out Dream Favor Travel and Tours for different packages.
(Sir Nelson and Ms Susan are really fun tour guides!)
If you are the adventurous type, you can also rent a motorbike to go around the city.
Places to Visit in Marinduque
1. Luzon Datum
The number one thing that you should do and visit in Marinduque is Luzon Datum. It is located in the place called Mataas na Bundok. A 500-step hike up the hill, will welcome you to a spot where the Philippine Flag is planted that marks the geographical center of the Philippines.
with JP, Mich, Celine, Louie, Char, Angelo, Chino,, Erika, and Nicole
Luzon Datum is a popular spot to witness the sunset.
2. Poctoy Beach
Poctoy White Beach is a beautiful beach destination in Marinduque that you can visit without taking a boat ride.
It has a long stretch of white sand and a good view of Mt. Malindig. During our trip, we had lunch at one of the cottages. You can buy food in Poctoy White Beach, “paluto” – style and labor is free depending on the food that you will order.
Environmental Fee – P50/pax
Cottage – P300/day, P600/overnight
4. Butterfly Farm in Kawit Gasan
Marinduque is known to be the Butterfly Capital of the Philippines and is the leading producer and exporter of live and preserved butterflies.
I am always fascinated with butterflies. They are beautiful creatures that undergo one of the most amazing growth and you can see these different stages of metamorphosis in Marl Inset and Butterfly Garden.
5. Malbog Sulfur Spring
A popular destination at the edge of Mt. Malindig is the Mabog Sulfur Spring. When we arrived, we saw families and kids bathing in the sulfur spring. It is said that sulfur spring can help sooth skin irritations and diseases like Psoriasis. The place has an odd rotten-egg smell but the natural spring has a lot of healthy benefits. I actually wanted to take a dip but I didn’t have my towels and clothes, I had to pass. Care for a dip?
Marinduque has such a rich religious history. It seems that in each town, there is a main church or cathedral which are beautifully situated on top of a hill. We got to visit some of the churches and even if I am not a Catholic, I am impressed with the churches’ beautiful architecture and design.
6. Gasan Catholic Church
Gasan Catholic Church is the biggest church in Marinduque and is built atop a hill on the eastern edge of town wherein an old Spanish colonial church once stood.
Inside the church, you will see sculptures featuring Ladies in Pupua and Pataraka Boys.
7. Boac Cathedral
Built in 1792, Boac Cathedral is not just a historical destination but a sanctuary to the locals. It is interesting to know that the church protected the island from pirate attacks in the 18th century. The National Museum declared it as an Important Cultural Property.
8. Sta Cruz Church
Sta Cruz Church in Marinduque is one of the beautiful churches I got to visit in the Philippines. It reminds me of the monasteries in Meteora with its interesting interior, ceiling with paintings and traditional altar.
Aside from old churches, there are also Heritage Houses in Marinduque that you can visit.
Related Read: Meteora: Monasteries Suspended in the Air
9. Heritage House
The town of Boac in Marinduque has small alleys and streets with heritage houses. We got to visit one of these houses and it so much reminds me of my grandmother’s home – wooden flooring, old style windows, and antique furniture.
10. Bagumbungan Cave
I heard that Marinduque is beautiful even down under. My friends took the spelunking challenge and explored Bagumbungan Cave. I had to pass for this adventure because I already had enough caving adventure in Lobo Cave (in Samar).
But I made sure that we sent them off and wished them good luck as they explored the cave for 3 hours (they were quite fast). We, on the other hand, explored the nearby secret island.
favorite : @angelotheexplorer
Locals and foreign tourists go for this extreme adventure. I am grabbing a photo from my friend @angelotheexplorer to show you the beautiful rock formation.
Where to Stay in Marinduque?
Balar Hotel and Spa Marinduque
During our 3-day trip, we stayed at Balar Hotel and Spa Marinduque. It is a modern boutique hotel with interesting interior and minimalist design.
On our first night, we were given a huge family room that can host up to 8 guests!
I actually had a very low expectation on lodging during our trip, but Balar Hotel and Spa is a really decent hotel. The room comes with the usual amenities like TV, aircon, hot & cold shower, mini bar, toiletries and complimentary bottled water.
The pillows are really comfortable and towels are fresh and soft.
Our room came with free breakfast, and the staff is really nice and accommodating.
The Boac Hotel is the oldest hotel in the province of Marinduque. It was founded in 1967.
It has rooms good for single occupancy to 4 pax. It is located right beside Mamita Cafe and Rejano Bakery (where you can buy pasalubong made with arrowroot).
The hotel is well-kept and has a fresh scent in the corridors.
Where to Eat and What to Eat in Marinduque?
One of the best places to eat in Marinduque is the Mamita Cafe (located at the ground floor of Boac Hotel)). True to its history, the restaurant is decorated with vintage displays and framed photographs of local celebrities.
Specialties include Bulalo (bone marrow soup that has a spicy-sour flavor), Sizzling Blue Marlin, and Mamakla (crustacean crossed prawn and lobster). Mamita Cafe also serves fruits shakes like Guyabano and Melon.
We had a very delightful lunch during our visit.
Casa de Don Emilio
Just across the Marinduque Museum is Casa de Don Emilio, a beautiful ancestral home of Don Emilio Lardizabal.
The two-storey Spanish style house has wide windows and wooden structure, and the interior is designed with antique musical instruments and pretty chandeliers.
During our visit, we were joined by the city mayor who hosted the dinner, Mayor Roberto Madla. We feasted on local food like Lumpiang Sariwa, Adobo, Fish Fillet and Marinduque Lechon (our tour guide had been raving about it and she is right, it is really good and a must-eat in Marinuduque!).
It was such an honor to meet and dine with the city mayor of Boac Marinduque.
(literally, nagpakain si Mayor!)
Palms by the Beach, Balacanan Mogpog
The Palms by the Beach in Mogpog, Marinduque is another beautiful destination for lodging and eating. We had a scrumptious welcome dinner spread which includes fish and seafood.
Don’t forget to check out the cove during sunset. It is a beautiful sight.
What Pasalubong to Buy from Marinduque?
Marinduque is not only known for its Moriones Festival and nice beaches, but also arrowroat cookies. Arrowroat cookies are made from araro or arrowroat, a highly cultivated crop.
Rejanos Bakery is the place to shop for pasalubong and arrowroat baked goodies. It is established in 1946 by Crisostomo and Belen Rejano who started the traditional Uraro or arrowroat cookies helping farmers and locals create a unique product from Marinduque.
Arrowroot cookies are like merengue, and reminds me of puto-seko.
I got to bring home lovely gifts and fun memories during our Marinduque trip.
I hope you find this blog helpful.
On my next post, I will share stories about the beaches and islands in Marinduque that we visited.
This is part 2 of #CEBfliesMarinduque travel blog series. Thank you to Cebu Pacific Air, Department of Tourism MIMAROPA, and Dream Favor Travel and Tours for taking care of us.
Thank you @angelotheexplorer for some of the photos in this blog.