Marinduque is practically unchartered territory. After all, it’s a province that is relatively difficult to visit given its limited (and grueling!) commute options – you have to endure long bus rides and various boat and van/trike transfers before you can even arrive at this virgin paradise. Thankfully, direct flights to Marinduque are now available via Cebu Pacific Air every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday!
This new route trims down the usual 8-hour transit time to an hour or even less, giving you more time to explore the beautiful island and enjoy everything that it has to offer, ranging from a breathtaking, sightseeing adventure to an extraordinary culture immersion unlike any other.
Why Go to Marinduque?
Underneath the façade of its pristine beaches and magnificent sceneries, the true highlight of Marinduque is their rich history evident in their grandiose churches and deeply-embedded traditions. This asset perfectly mirrors the name given to Marinduque, which is the “Heart of the Philippines”. It’s literally the geophysical center of the Philippines. However, it also figuratively embodies a warm and pure experience at the same time.
Marinduque consists of six towns – Boac, Buenavista, Gasan, Mogpog, Santa Cruz, and Torrijos — all of which you can cover in just a matter of days. However, don’t be fooled. Despite its small geographic dimension, you won’t run out of things to do, and each trip will still surely leave you longing for a return.
Must-Visits in Marinduque
We tried the direct flight to Marinduque via Cebu Pacific Air and stayed there for 3 days and 2 nights. Our tour consisted of a good balance of adventure and culture appreciation. To sum it all up, here’s a list of must-visits at the Heart of the Philippines.
Marl Butterfly Garden
Science is truly fascinating. This natural occurrence allows you to witness the stages and phases of life unfold right before your very eyes. Marl Butter Garden is a farm that breeds different types of butterflies—both common and rare—so you’ll get to interact with these graceful creatures in all sizes and colors.
There are even breeding zones where you can see the caterpillars being fed and the cocoons being carefully nested.
Malbog Sulfur Springs
Don’t let the sight nor the strong pungent smell prevent you from taking a dip in the Malbog Sulfur Springs. This natural sulfuric bath streams straight from Mt. Malindig and is famous for its healing properties known to cure various skin diseases. Don’t believe it? Try it yourself!
There are three famous churches that you need to visit in the Heart of the Philippines: Gasan Church, Sta. Cruz Cathedral, and Boac Cathedral.
If you want to get a scenic view of the azure ocean whilst enjoying the cool sea breeze, Gasan Church standing on top of a hill is the perfect place to be.
If you prefer simply admiring architectural structures, both the Sta. Cruz Cathedral and Boac Cathedral has intricate ceiling carvings and Gothic foundations of its tiles and walls. The additional attraction of Boac Cathedral, though, is its museum. You’ll see various collections of antique items and statues here.
There are several more churches that can be found around Marinduque. No matter which one you visit, though, you’re sure to learn more about the impressive devotion of its people as seen in their traditions and festivals.
Fun Fact: Did you know that the famous Moriones Festival is held at Marinduque?
Luzon Datum of 1911
After hundreds of steps up a hill, an indescribable 360-degree view will greet you and will make you say that the hike is worth it. I recommend climbing up before the sun sets to get a glimpse of the golden sky turning into a pinkish hue.
Apart from the panoramic sunset watching, what makes Luzon Datum of 1911 special is that the erected flag there marks the very center of the Philippines. If you look closely, the ring around the flag represents a compass pointing North, South, East, and West. It’s not everyday you get to say you stood at the center of the Philippines!
Spelunking is not an easy feat. It requires lower and upper body strength to maneuver yourself in the labyrinth. If you’re up for the challenge, go to Bagumbungan Cave. It’s filled with wonder and intricacy that will leave you in awe from start to finish.
Staying in Marinduque involves a lot of island hopping. One island you definitely shouldn’t miss out on is Maniwaya Island.
This islet is a paradise on its own. It has an immaculate beach, pretty resorts, and fresh seafood diners—the perfect recipe for an unforgettable tropical getaway.
For your accommodations, you should give Villa Atilana a try. It’s a cruise-themed resort that is three stories high.
It’s perfect for barkadas as it has a roof deck where you can enjoy some karaoke, plus a jacuzzi bath on the ground floor to let you relax your aching muscles.
Another island that you should visit is Hakupan Beach. There aren’t any accommodations there, but you can go on a day trip. In fact, that’s the beauty in it. The place is so serene and quiet that you’ll feel like you have the island all to yourselves; you’ll enjoy the exclusivity that this hidden gem has to offer.
Boac Hotel – Mamita’s Café
If I could only recommend one restaurant to try in Marinduque, it would definitely be Mamita’s Café.
Located at Boac Hotel, this quaint nook serves fresh Filipino food that will make you feel right at home.
You can also opt to stay here if you’re looking for cheap accommodations. Their rooms are of considerable quality despite the low rates.
Pasalubong is available here, too! Make sure to buy some Arrowroot cookies (better known as Uraro – just 10x better than what you’ve tasted!).
My number one hotel recommendation in Marinduque would definitely have to be Balar Hotel. This establishment makes use of natural elements with a modern twist.
The interiors are truly aesthetically-pleasing and all of the amenities are of high quality. The bed, the shower, the lobby— literally everything about Balar Hotel is commendable.
Palms by the Beach
Palms by the Beach is also a hotel, but you can just go here to admire the island cove surrounding the establishment. After a tiring day, feel free to unwind at the area; the view will leave you breathless.
Heritage Houses Tours
There are several heritages houses in Marinduque that reveal stories and facts about the province’s rich history. The one we visited is already 100 years old and is still standing strong. The furniture, interiors, and the whole vibe give off an eerie yet captivating vibe.
There are several more items that you can try that are not on this list. If you haven’t been to the Heart of the Philippines yet, #MakeFirstMomentsHappen with Cebu Pacific Air and explore the majestic Marinduque at its finest.
Cebu Pacific Air