Top 19 Tourist Spots and Best Things to do in Marinduque Province, Philippines
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With the Philippines’ abiding beauty and world-class destination, there’s no need to go out of the country to unwind and relax. And when it comes to beauty, I would probably say Marinduque is one of my favorite destinations in Luzon, say with all the beaches, adventure spots, and thrilling diving activities.
There’s also no need to worry about traveling solo in the province, as it was hailed as the Most Peaceful Province of the country in 2013.
Did you also know that the island is resembling a human heart when seen from above? Interesting isn’t it? But there’s more to Marinduque than meets the eye. Read the full article to make the most out of your visit in the province!
Eat Kari-Kari at Casa de Don Emilio
Who would ever resist a savory and mouthwatering Kari-Kari, most importantly that it’s made at Casa de Don Emilio! Situated on the 2nd floor of a heritage house right across the Boac town plaza, this dining place serves local cuisine which is an absolute must-try; including adobo sa gata and the famous Kari-Kari.
Surrounding its interiors are old musical instruments hanging on the wall bringing a more authentic vibe to the whole place.
Buy Uraro Cookies for Pasalubong
Uraro or “Arrowroot” cookie is one of the staple eats in Marinduque. These bite-sized cookies look like a meringue, and made with uraro flour, margarine, sugar, and eggs. It melts in the mouth. Try it. It is also said to have medical benefits. How awesome is that! Drop by at Rejano’s Bakery for pasalubong.
Discover the Best Beaches of Marinduque
For the beach-bums, there’s no other way than to appreciate the province than exploring the serene and best beaches in Marinduque. This coastal province has one of the best Instagram-worthy beaches to visit, so make sure you don’t miss it on your itinerary.
Such beaches you should see include the white-sand Poctoy Beach, the Palad Sandbar, Mongpong Island, Aroma Beach, and the Maniwaya Island to name a few. Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen!
Visit Kawa-kawa Falls
If you’re wondering where one of most peaceful parts of Marinduque is, then visit the Kawa-Kawa falls at Barangay Bangcuangan in Santa Cruz. It’s a very tranquil surrounding and you can even rent a cottage to rest at. It got its name from the literal kawa because it resembles the butt-rounded pan. Definitely a sight to behold.
Exploring the Bathala Cave
For those who want to visit the popular cave surrounded with natural rock formation and a church-like interior, then you can see it here at Bathala Cave, situated at Barangay Ipil in Sta. Cruz. The cave is also said to be mysterious, playground of the gods, and out of its seven caves, there are only four caves allowed to be visited. Just a tip, don’t forget to keep your mouths closed, because hundreds of giant bats hang in the ceiling.
Visiting Gaspar, Melchor, and Baltazar Islands
More water activities await at Marinduque, which includes visiting the Gaspar, Melchor, and Baltazar Islands. Named after the three kings of the nativity, these three islands off the coast of Gasan is also considered to be a popular destination in the province. These islands can be reached for more or less half an hour by boat. It’s an ideal place for snorkeling, swimming, and even for picnics.
Visit the Boac Cathedral
Make your Marinduque visit even more memorable when you visit the Boac Cathedral, situated at Barangay Mataas. Built in 1792, this church is said to be a fortress and has been home to locals during a Moro attack in the 1800s. You can still see the high-bricked walls surrounding the churchyard when you visit. What’s struck me most about this church is its beautifully carved doors, the sun-like design on the ceilings, and the gothic architecture.
See the interiors of the Sta. Cruz Church
If you want to see old churches that was built in the Spanish era, then you should go check out the Sta. Cruz Church. Built in 1714, the church is more likely a literal work of art. You’ll be able to see how they creatively painted the ceilings with the portrayal of the station of the cross and intricately-made altar.
Visit the Catholic Church of Gasan
Just like other churches in the province of Marinduque, the Catholic Church of Gasan is located on top of a hill overlooking the town and the vast blue ocean. Also known as the St. Joseph Parish Church of Gasan, this massive church is located in an elevated area at the center of the poblacion. The design of the ceiling is patterned after a Buri fan which is a popular handicraft in the town of Gasan. Apart from its beautiful white retablo, the beams were covered with polished “bao” or coconut shells. The church also has a garden where the old church bells are placed. The church also has a view deck that offers a panoramic view of the town.
Explore the Bagumbungan Cave
Those who seek adventure and wilderness should head at the Bagumbungan Cave which spans 1.9 km. It is located at Sitio Puti Barangay in San Isidro, which was just discovered less than a decade ago. This cave is said to be the next biggest cave in the province next to the Bathala Cave. Before you enter, there will be an orientation on what and whatnot, and what to expect inside. Also, the Bagumbungan Cave is now placed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) under its list of protected caves.
Experience Moriones Festival
If you want to discover the rich history of the coastal province, then witnessing their Moriones Festival should be on your bucket list! Held annually on Holy Week, the Moriones basically a week-long celebration of the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is where local folks wear costumes and masks to resemble the biblical Roman soldiers. Here’s my previous Moriones Festival experience in 2016. Read it here.
Visit the Butterfly Garden
Another fun thing to experience with the whole family in Marinduque is visiting the Barangay Uno in Gasan, which by the way the butterfly capital of the Philippines. Entering the garden is like walking into well-kept Japanese gardens. Local folks say that if you whisper your wishes to the butterfly before setting it free, it will come true. Why not give it a try, right?
Hike Luzon Datum of 1911
Here’s a fun fact: Did you know that when you hike the top of Luzon Datum, you’re now standing at the center of the Philippines? It’s just a 1.8km hike from the jump-off so beginners need not to worry. So, mountaineers, you know where to go next!
Malbog Sulfuric Hot Spring Resort
Take the time off and unwind at the Malbog Sulfuric Hot Spring Resort situated at Brgy. Malbog in Buenavista. The hot spring is said to have a sulfur content, perfect for skin treatment and internal problems such as menopausal symptoms and digestive disorders. There’s also a cottage available for rent of you are visiting in huge groups.
See the beauty of Mount Malindig
The sulfuric waters from the hot spring is said to come from the Mount Malindig, highest point of the province. Both locals and tourist are showing interest in climbing the large active stratovolcano on the island of Marinduque. It is also home to wild orchids and rich flora which makes this a must-hike destination.
Join the Putong Ritual and discover the local culture
We were amazed at how the locals of Marinduque welcomes their guests, just like what we experienced upon our arrival at our hotel during the Cebu Pacific event. The local women performed the putong ceremony which is said to be song of thanksgiving, hope, and prayer for long life, after which, we were showered with flowers as a sign of affection, and a crown was placed above our heads as part of the ritual. The Putungan originated from the Municipality of Gasan.
Dive with the Morions in Poctoy Underwater Museum
One of the newest attractions in Marinduque is the underwater museum at Poctoy white beach in the town of Torrijos. The underwater museum is one of the projects of Congressman Lord Allan Velasco in partnership with Marinduque Divers.
Eat local cuisine at Café Mamita
Foodies shouldn’t miss pigging out at Mamita’s Café located beside the Boac Cathedral. This place exudes a very homey vibe and is known to serve sumptuous local dishes from sisig, nilagang baka, laing, sizzling blue marlin and tanigue, grilled squid and Bulalo to name few. Don’t forget to sample their Ginataang Manakla, a local variety of crayfish abundant in Barangay Malinao, Bonliw, and Suha in Torrijos, Marinduque. Most locals drop by during lunch after visiting the church. Don’t miss out on their halo-halo!
Visit Maniwaya Island
Located in the Municipality of Sta. Cruz is the emerging beach destination, Maniwaya Island. It is famous for its kilometer-long stretch of fine white sand shoreline where Mabuhay accommodation facilities with native cottages, watersports equipment are available along beachfront.
How to get there
Cebu Pacific with its brand-new ATR aircraft now offers flights from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 4 to Marinduque every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. The thrice-weekly flights will cut travel time between Manila and Marinduque to one hour from eight hours via land and Roro travel.
For travel and tour requirements in Marinduque, you may contact Dream Favor Travel and Tours (official website) – the only DOT-accredited tour operator in the province of Marinduque. You may reach them at telephone (63918-933-1605) (632-542-5229).
Also see: Marinduque Travel Guide