Travel Guide: Marinduque Lenten Tourist Itinerary
Marinduque is a small heart-shaped island which is also in the center of the Philippines. Rich in culture with a wide range of unspoiled beaches, caves and forests, this tiny island in Southern Tagalog offers interesting areas still waiting to be explored and discovered. For this coming Lent, WikiPilipinas provides you with a special Holy Week Itinerary to the “Lent Capital of the Philippines,” Marinduque.
- Jam Transit - (2)541-4409/(2)925-1758
- JAC Liner - (2)682-5750
Direct bus or car travel: If you don't feel like getting on and off a bus and ferry, you have the option of riding a bus or a door-to-door van that will take you all the way from Manila to Marinduque. The bus or van will ride the Roll-On, Roll-Off (RO-RO) and will take you to provincial capital or right directly to your doorstep if you choose destination to door. (This also goes if you have a car and wants to bring it with you on your trip.) Below are the numbers to be contacted for inquiries and reservation.
By Air: Flights from Manila domestic airport to Marinduque Airport, located in Barangay Masiga, roughly in between Gasan and Boac, are currently served regularly by Zest Airways. Bold textAirport is in Barangay Masiga, town of Gasan.
Things you need to know
Accommodation: There are no posh hotels or big resorts in Marinduque, unlike major provinces like Cebu, Davao and Palawan. Below is a list of inns, hotels, and resorts you might want to try, though it’s highly suggested to check in at the capital town Boac or near it, to make it easier to watch the Senakulo and go to Boac Cathedral.
- Club Marinduque
- 3E's Love Bay Beach - (42) 3321440
- A and A Beach Resort - (42) 3322817
- East Point Hotel
- Blue Sea Beach Resort - (42) 3321334
- Boac Hotel - (42) 3321121/3111096
- Beach Club Cagpo
- Pyramid Beach Resort - (42) 3321328
- Seaview Hotel - (42) 3322840
- Tahanan Sa Isok - (42) 3321231
- Casa de Azul Hotel and Resort - (42) 3337173
- Villa Carlos - (42) 3321882
- El Mannuel Beach Resort - (42) 3321305
- Cely's Lodging House - (42) 3321519
- Katala Becah Resort
- (http://www.chateaudumer.com) Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort (42) 3321338
- Poctoy Beach-Hans Peter Private homestay
- Luxor Private Beach Resort 
Meals: There’s no fast food chain in any town of Marinduque, even in its capital city Boac. However, one has various choices among the restaurants and eateries in the town proper of Boac, Sta. Cruz or Gasan.
Touring: You don’t need a pre-arranged tour to visit the different places in Marinduque. As long as you know how to ask for directions from the locals, you will be fine. However, sites like Mt. Malindig and Bathala Caves would definitely require a tour guide, so better ask hotel and resort administration if they know a person who can tour you. If you want a tried and tested guide, you can also inquire at the Marinduque Provincial Capital Tourism Department to ask for their recommended tour guides.
There are several ATM machines in the province of Marinduque so withdrawing cash is not a problem. Below is a rough estimated budget, good for one person over four days:
- Fare: Php 1,500
- Accommodation: Php 3,000
- Food: Php 1,500
- Tour: Php 1,000
- Pasalubong: Php 500
You need to have: Php 7,000/person is the safest budget one can have to travel the towns of Marinduque. If you want to save, you can opt not to visit Mt. Malindig and Bathala Caves, or better yet, travel in a group.
Holy Week itinerary
Secure your tickets right away and wait for the ferry or the RO-RO. Both crafts usually let the passengers in by 6:00-7:00 a.m. It is highly recommended to be at the port very early during peak seasons like Holy Week so you won’t be stranded and forced to celebrate the Lenten season at the port. While waiting to board, you can take your breakfast at a nearby canteen or restaurant that’s already open during that wee hours of the morning.
You will arrive in the island of Marinduque at around 10:00-10:30 am. Take an FX taxi or jeepney to your destination. There are lots of barkers who can help you find a jeepney that will bring you to Boac. During Holy Week, tourists are welcomed at the port by the Morions or the masked Roman soldiers, to give an instant feel of the province's Moriones Festival.
Upon arrival at your resort or hotel, unpack your things, take your lunch and have a long rest because the night of Holy Thursday is going to be a busy one.
Night of Holy Thursday
Leave your hotel or resort at around 6:00 p.m. to go to the town of Boac via jeepney or tricycle. While waiting for the second day of the Senakulo (Holy Wednesday is the first day), have dinner at a small canteen or restaurant around the area. Take a walk in the park and visit some bazaars in the town plaza. Holy Thursday is one of the most awaited parts of the Senakulo presentation, since this is the night when Judas Iscariot hangs himself. This usually starts at 8:00 p.m.
Wake up early on Good Friday to take your breakfast and rev yourself up for a rather long walk around the town of Boac. This time, you will observe the “Via Crucis” (Way of the Cross). You have the choice of going along with the procession of Christs and other penitents and Morions or just watching them pass; though it is highly suggested that you go along so you can also internalize Christ's suffering, and just consider it another form of penitence. The activity usually starts at 7:00-8:00 in the morning and ends before lunch.
After viewing the crucifixion, head to the bazaar, usually near the place where the Senakulo and crucifixion is being held. If there is one, you may opt to join the “Paint a Morion Mask” activity that’s usually being held in the town plaza.
In the afternoon, after taking a rest in your hotel or resort, prepare your feet again for a long walk in the Good Friday procession at 5:00 p.m. This time, you will be able to visit Boac Cathedral and actually attend the mass there. Boac Cathedral was built in the late 18th century in honor of the province's patroness, the Blessed Virgin of Biglang-Awa. This church also served as a fortress and refuge from pirate attacks during the Spanish colonial years. To catch the mass, be at the church as early as 3:00 p.m. There’s no Senakulo during Good Fridays so you can buy more pasalubongs and head home early for a rest.
There’s nothing happening in the town plaza during Black Saturday so it’s the perfect time to explore the other towns of the province. Start as early as 8:00 a.m. to be able to visit more places.
1st stop: Jumpstart the tour by visiting the Bathala Caves in Sta. Cruz, Marinduque, 1.5 to 2 hours away from the town of Boac. Bathala Caves is a complex network of seven caves, only four of which have so far been explored. One of the biggest is called "Simbahan." "Kay Coke" cave, on the other hand, is occasionally guarded by pythons. The third cave has an underground river and the fourth one houses human bones believed to be the remains of World War II soldiers.
2nd stop: Before trekking, you should have eaten your lunch and rested. Your hired tour guide for the day can also take you up to the summit of Buenavista’s Mt. Malindig. From Boac, traveling to the town of Buenavista will take up approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour of travel time. Make sure your tour guide has made advance arrangements and secured a permit to climb the mountain. The trek usually takes only 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on your pace and the weather.
At the summit, you can actually see the nearby provinces and islands of Tres Reyes Island (named after Melchor, Gaspar and Balthazar), Elephant Island, Mindoro, Verde Island, Southern Luzon all the way to Bicol, Romblon, Batangas, Laguna, Quezon and Burias Island. It is said that on a clear day, Mt. Mayon is also visible from Mt. Malindig’s summit although this claim is yet to be verified.
3rd stop: After the trek, you can pass by the therapeutic Malbog Sulfuric Springs whose water is believed to cure skin diseases like acne. The relaxing effect of the spring is a good reason to visit the old town of Buenavista.
4th stop: Head to Gasan, the “Butterfly Capital of the Philippines.” The town contributes 85% of the country’s butterfly and pupa exports. Aside from preserved butterfly souvenirs, shirts and live butterflies for sale, WHS Butterfly Farm also also offers a tour where you can learn more about butterflies and their habitat. If you want to experience releasing butterflies into the wild, you can fulfill that fantasy at the Butterfly Farm while contributing to their preservation at the same time.
5th and last stop: Head back to Boac and take your early dinner. You wouldn't want to miss the last day of the Senakulo, would you? The last day is the highlight of the reenactment since it’s the night when the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Christ and beheading of Longinus will be staged.
Easter Sunday is the day when almost all the townsfolk and tourists of Marinduque flee to the beach for a swim, as a way of celebrating Christ's resurrection. Also, the repeat reenactment of the beheading of Longinus or the pugutan is held early Sunday morning. Several Morions will be seen roaming around looking for the centurion Longinus. Longinus, on the other hand, is seen running around, as if he’s hiding from someone. The chase will be held in the town proper of Boac.
You can opt to watch the pugutan or just buy some food at the town market instead for your swimming trip. Before going to Torrijos town for a swim, stop by the town's Battle of Pulang Lupa Shrine first. The Battle of Pulang Lupa Shrine is the place where Filipino forces scored a major victory against the well-armed Americans in 1901. The memorial marker stands on top of a hill.
After visiting the shrine, head to the 1-km long White Beach of Poctoy, probably one of the best and most frequented beaches in Marinduque. It has a magnificent view of Mt. Malindig and the coral reefs and clear water makes it an ideal spot for snorkeling. Bask under the sun all day and wait for the sunset which is definitely a sight to behold.
Wake up early, take your breakfast and ride the jeepney or tricycle to the terminal of the jeepneys going to the Balanacan port. Tickets can be secured at the port itself so it’s better to leave Boac as early as 6:30-7:00 a.m. so you will be at the port by around 8:00 a.m.
It is expected that you will arrive at the City of Manila at around lunch, depending on the traffic situation. Before heading home, you might want to eat first and reminisce again over your spiritual, cultural and historical tour of "The Heart."
- Official Website of Marinduque
- Unofficial site of Marinduque
- Itinerary for Mount Malindig
- Things to do and see in Marinduque
- Blog about Bathala Caves by Ederic
- Born to Be Wild features Bathala Caves
- Butterflies of Marinduque in Mogpog
- Marinduque Yahoo Group
- WHS Buttefrly Farm in Gasan
- Some Senakulo scenes
- Samahan ng mga Kabataang Marinduqueno
- Ulong Beach. http://www.ulongbeach.com/ (accessed on March 6, 2008).
- Obligacion, E. "Buenavista, Marinduque" Balangaw, 26 October 2006. http://balangaw.blogspot.com/ (accessed on March 6, 2006).
- Henares, I. "Hiking up Mt. Malindig inMarinduque" Ivan About Town, 28 July 2007 http://www.ivanhenares.com/2007/07/hiking-up-mt-malindig-in-marinduque.html (accessed on March 6, 2006).
- Lactaoen, V.A. "Gasan, Butterfly Town" Click The City, 4 September 2006 http://guides.clickthecity.com/travel/?p=1273 (accessed on March 6, 2006).
- "Our Struggle for Independence" Ang Aking Pugad. http://marinduque.net/battle.htm (accessed on March 6, 2006).
- "Gasan Beach Resorts, Marinduque,Philippines" 27 January 2008 http://philippinebeach.blogspot.com/search/label/Marinduque (accessed on March 6, 2006).
Marinuque Travel Guide