Marinduque: The HEART of the Philippines

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This year my birthday falls on a National Holiday! I should be glad right? But Ooops… that holiday is Holy Thursday! Oh no!!! The season where Christians celebrate the passion of Christ. The only time of the year in the Philippines where traffic is sleeping and bearable, malls are closed and the people, either stays at home or praying in churches (visita iglesia as they call it). Some usually goes out of town or country “Beaching!” … hahaha… damn… those sons of the Beach!

A week and a half before my coveted special day. I still don’t have plans… i have 6 days to spare and believe me, i don’t like bumming around doing nothing. Most especially when i have that rare opportunity to take a breather. I had plans in my mind, first i thought of going to Mt. Pinatubo for a day, spend a night in a fancy hotel in Subic then make my way to Anawangin Cove. Sounds fun right? (i actually forgot that its Holy Week… forgive me Lord…sigh) I immediately told this to my travel buddy boyfriend. And as i relay my plans, i can see that there’s some sort of hesitation in his eyes. So i asked him if he didn’t dig the idea, and he replied “my parents would not allow me to do fun activities during holy week”. Then i was… ermmm Whatttt??? Just imagine a 30+++++ dude telling me that. Hahaha… i told him, “ok, let us do Mt. Pinatubo instead, besides its my birthday and in the spirit of the lenten week, let’s proceed to the place in Pampanga where people reenacts the crucifixion of Jesus.” He said, yeah probably that’s ok.

At that time, i dont know where that place is. So i googled and found out that its in Cutud, Pampanga. As i browsed for more information, there’s one link that i saw and it says “Moriones Festival”. I followed the link, and voila! I was redirected to a blog about Marinduque and its famous Moriones Festival.

From there i knew, its destiny. My God wants me to have a colorful but meaningful birthday. 🙂

Marinduque is a heart-shaped island located in Luzon, near Quezon and Romblon. Famous for its grand celebration of the lenten season through Moriones Festival, a week long activity.

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How To Get Here?

Get a bus bound to Dalahican Port in Lucena, Quezon. Notable bus companies serving this trip is JAM liner and JAC liner. – P227.50

Alternatively, you can get a bus bound to Lucena Grand Station, then ride a tricycle to Dalahican Port.

After arrival at the port, there are 2 ferry companies serving the island. Starhorse Ferry and Montenegro Shipping Lines, bound to either Cawit in Boac or Balanacan in Mogpog. – P260

For a faster route, you may opt to book a direct ride to Marinduque via JAC liner

Note: Moriones Festival is the Peak season of this province. So please make necessary adjustments.

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My Story

One week and half before my birthday, we decided to go to Marinduque instead, to experience the Moriones Festival.

I immediately planned our trip. Our 1st dilemma is where to sleep? Its the peak season and i’m so worried that every accommodation there are fully booked. So i hurriedly search on the best accommodation in Boac, the capital of the province.

Two places kept on popping on blogs, The Boac Hotel and Tahanan sa Isok. So we contacted both and to our surprised, both have their last room to share. Yeah! We decided to go on with The Boac Hotel since its centrally located for the events of Moriones. Since its peak season, deluxe room cost us P2000 with 1 complimentary breakfast.

So everything seems good, no swept hotel reservation. Now, for the 2nd dilemma, i’ve read several blogs and almost everyone is complaining on the dreadful way of going to the province during holy week. So i conditioned my mind to it, by hook or by crooked i NEED to be there. I have no choice but to deal with it.

So everything is set, i prepared our itinerary which includes the activities of the festival plus one day beach bumming. A day before, one dreaded news breaks in, there will be a storm that wiĺl land in the Philippines come Saturday. CRAP!!!

Come holy wednesday, my boyfriend went earlier at the bus station than me, since i need to go to work first. And we needed to get the 5:30 PM trip. I got out of work at 4 PM and arrived at Jac liner terminal in Kamuning (other one is in Buendia, Pasay) at 5:20 PM. The bus isn’t there yet. Upon aŕrival, i can see the building of people lining in. Luckily, my boyfriend was the first in line! Yes! Hahaha

The bus came and we leaved at 5:40 PM. Arrived at the port 6 hrs later. It should have been 4 hrs only but because of the traffic and dropping off / getting in of people, it lasted for 6 hrs.

Around 11:30 PM, we arrived at Dalahican Port. The port is as crazy as the ones told in the blogs. There’s no personnels to assist people. You have to determine where’s the last person on the line. *sigh* which is quite hard to do.

We lined up on the 1st queque we saw, its for the Starhorse ferry and the line is literally long! My bf went on to buy terminal tickets and roam around first. It appears that there are 2 lines for the ferry ticket counter. The other one is located at the other corner, its for the Montenegro Shipping Lines and is shorter than the Star horse. So we immediately go with the other line.

Schedule is as follows:

We arrived at 11:30 PM trying to get a spot on the 12:30 AM ride to Cawit. After 5 people, the counter closes and announces that the ferry is already full. Next trip is at 2:30 AM. We waited again and when the counter reopens at 12:45 AM, we still didn’t get the next trip *sigh* and the lady in the counter said that the next trip is at 4:30 AM! Around 1 AM they started to sell tickets again. Luckily we got the 4:30 AM trip. We got inside the ferry waiting area.

After 10 mins. of sitting, Montenegro personnel suddenly announced if there are 5 people who hold a montenegro tickets cause the fastcraft bound for Balanacan is still in need of 5 persons. My ever so alert bf immediately went to the gate and voila! We’re now inside a fastcraft ferry for its 2:30 AM sailing! Yehey! The ferry didn’t followed the time, we sailed at 1:30 AM.

Around 4 AM, we’re already in Balanacan Port in Mogpog. Walk a little and hop-in to the jeepney bound for Boac for P50. (it should have been P30 if you walk towards the highway, but since its wee hour in the morning, its advisable to just go with the jeepney at the port).

Don’t worry about your transfer as there are a lot of jeepney and vans waiting at the terminal towards the main areas of the province.

45 mins later, we arrived in Boac, luckily the jeepney passed by The Boac Hotel. After getting out, we immediately proceeded at the hotel lobby. Tho’ we arrived too early, we were given the chance to have an early check-in. YES!

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The Boac Hotel

Verdict:

Location: :):):):):)

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I think this is the catch of this hotel. It’s centrally located, very near to the oldest church in Marinduque. Walking distance to all the restaurants and eateries. Very near to the Boac Arena where the main festivities happen. And the bonus part is, you dont have to get out of your room just to watch the street parades, get out and stay in your veranda and Voila! Luxurious watching! Hahaha

Cleanliness: :):):)

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Its an old botique hotel, so the decors is somewhat nice and kinda’ old. Boac hotel has this homey feel. Tho. small for its price, the room is spotlessly clean.

Breakfast: ☺☺

The room comes with complimentary breakfast but for 1 person per day. Kinda’ weird cause i’am used in having 2 breakfast as complimentary for a double room. Anyway, they are offering the basic Filipino breakfast. Kinda’ so so but it will get you through the rest of the morning.

Over-all: :):):):)

Spending Holy week in Marinduque is well-organized. The municipality has made an effort to have a day to day itinerary so we dont have a hard time figuring out what to do next.

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Day 1: Our holy thursday and my bday was spent chasing the colorful and world-famous Morions, spending time on the beautiful Boac Church, Walking around the old ancient houses within the area. And in the night, we see to it to be in the arena in time for the Senakulo or Holy Week play where actors reenact bible stories up to the crucifixion of Christ.

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This Senakulo is probably one of the best Senakulo i’ve ever seen, the Marinduquenos see to it that they provide a well crafted show.

Day 2: Our Good Friday was spent watching the Via Crusis or the Way of the Cross. This is a reenactment of the sufferings of Jesus. From the time he was sentenced, walk with torn crown, carry a heavy cross with the morions pulling him vigorously up to his crucifixion. The parade started at 9 am, go around the municipality of Boac and ended at the Morion Arena.

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The advantage of staying at Boac Hotel is that, you have your own veranda and you can have an aeriel view of thè Via Crusis.

In the afternoon they will have the church parade of Saints joined by almost everyone in town, making it the longest church parade i’ve ever seen. Just amazing!

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Day 3: We decided to beach bum on a black Saturday and we decided to spent it in Maniwaya Island.

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How To Get To Maniwaya Island?

Get yourself a Jeepney bound to Sta. Cruz, Marinduque. If staying in Boac Hotel, the terminal is located near the Morion Plaza or Arena. – P15

Alight at Sta. Cruz Plaza, and get a Tricycle to Buyabod Port. Make sure to be at the port before 10 am as there is only 1 boat going to Maniwaya Island per day. – P70

Luckily, while waiting for the boat to depart, the speed boat of Residencia Palo Maria arrived at the port cause they were fetching some private passengers. So instead of waiting, the owner got us since we’re also heading to their resort with the same fare as the passenger boat. After 40 mins, we arrived at the resort.

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Residencia De Palo Maria Resort

Verdict:

Location: ☺☺☺☺☺

Right at the heart of the Island. One of a bit upscale Beach front resort of Maniwaya.

Cleanliness and Facilities: ☺☺☺

The facade of the resort is so nice, it has a mini bar, a small but colorful swimming pool, huts and a nice veranda overlooking the entire beach.

The room is so so, adequate size, thin bed. Bathroom needs improvement, 1 free soap and shampoo for 2 persons. A bit of a disappointment since the front area is nice and beautiful.

Over-All: ☺☺☺☺

Residencia is still a good place to go if you need to unwind and be away from the craziness of the city.

We enjoyed the colorful swimming pool, its deep-well temperature water is so relaxing that even when its raining, everything is just comfortable.

Maniwaya is a laid back island situated in the middle of Quezon province and Marinduque. The beach is unspoiled tho’ there are many weeds by the bay. It has white sand tho’ a bit rough compared to the beaches in the Visayas Region. (You will became a beach critic once you’ve visited El Nido, Palawan. 😂).

I believe, its still a promising island once those resorts started their own drive in cleaning the beach.

There are also some activities in the island, such as island hopping and jet ski.

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Day 4:

There is only 1 schedule from Maniwaya Island to Buyabod Port and its at 7 AM. Due to the storm, we were told by the resort owner that if we’re going to the usual route, which is Maniwaya To Buyabod, then Balanacan port to Dalahican in Quezon. We will experience some difficulties due to the flocks of people who were stranded the day before due to the suspended operation of the boats. We were devastated by this news. Luckily, as if some angels were transported down from heaven. The owner asked us if we want to join his son’s family since they were about to go to Manila aswell. So for 500 bucks who are we to decline this offer? So instead of going to the usual route, we joined their speed boat to Quezon. The waves are too strong while we’re about to dock so a smaller boat came in to the rescue and that 5 mins ride fighting the waves is one of the most dangerous rides I’ve been to. From the port we were then fetch by their van, heading straight to Manila. Easy breezy right? From that experienced i found out that this trip is an alternative route if you want to enjoy Moriones festival but doesn’t want to squeeze into the chaòs of Dalahican Port. So how do you get here:

From Manila:
One can ride a bus bound to Aurora, get off at Gen. Luna Port. Then ride the only boat going to either Buyabod Port or Maniwaya Island. Be there as early as 7 am.

Or ride a bus bound to Lucena Grand Central Terminal. Then ride a van going to Quezon. From there, you can either walk down to the port or ride a tricycle.

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Over-all, i had an amazing, memorable and meaningful birthday. Moriones Festival is one celebration that everyone needs to experience. The colorful way of interpreting the passion of Jesus is one way to relieved as well as enjoy the sacred time for Christians.

At that moment i also realized that God really wants me to have an easy and relaxing birthday week. He really made the impossible possible! 😙➕

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