Marinduque Tourist Attraction
Blessed with the bounty of landscape and seascape — overwhelming the sense in every turn – an island of endless fascination and pure enhancement.
One of the oldest built heritage of the province. Started construction around 1590. Built with an earthquake baroque architecture located at the top of a hill surrounded by high stone walls and bulwarks, inside the enclosed compound is the original site of the “ Ina ng Biglang –awa” shrine.
National Museum –Marinduque branch displays the cultural past and arts exhibits of the province, located at the town center, housed in an old Spanish built building that used to be a children’s school, prison, courthouse, library until it was converted into a museum.
Newly built replica of the old Spanish “Casa Real” that served as the administrative center of the province built on its original location. Today is it used by the Municipal Government of Boac as a multi-purpose building.
Boac Ancestral Houses
A collection of more than a dozen Spanish and turn of the century ancestral houses scattered around the town center and was built by well- to- do families of Boac. The original architecture were preserved though today, it serves as mixed used facilities.
The world famous Lenten tradition of Marinduque, the oldest masked ritual that is held with week long activities combined with religious processions, cenaculos, “Way of the Cross,” Marinduque products expositions, unique parades of biblically-inspired costumes and “Pugutan” the highlight of the Moriones.
local term for butterflies, this street dancing competition and parade is held annualy during the town fiesta of Boac on December 8th. From five districts of the municipality, everyone will compete for the best choreography, most number of particiapants, and best dressed.
Located at the interior part of Brgy. Tugos, accessible from the end of the barangay road with 30 minutes trek and river fording towards a forested area where the falls of around 40 feet is located. There are natural pools for swimming at its foot.
Battle of Paye Site
Located in Sitio Paye, Brgy. Balimbing where the first successful battle of the local Marinduque revolutionaries led by Capt. Teofilo Roque over the American volunteers on July 31, 1900. A National Historical Institute marker was placed near a portion of riverbed where the skirmish happened.
Straddling on the municipalities of Buenavista and Torrijos, Mt. Malindig is the highest peak of the province towering at 1,157 MASL. This dormant type of volcano located on the extreme southern portion of the heart shaped island of Marinduque, is a home of endemic flora and fauna and a favorite mountaineering destination. Rated as easy to moderate for climbing enthusiasts, it has three peaks, the north, which is the highest, the central, where the former caldera is located, and south rockies peak. The north peak is a mossy forest while the slopes grades from coconut groves, grassy to secondary forest.
Malbog Sulfur Springs
This natural sulfur springs is located on the edge of the Malindig volcano, a famous picnic attractions of the locals and its sulfuric waters is said to be an effective treatment for skin maladies. During the early 1900, a local Marinduque pharmacist concocted and bottled small amounts of its water and sold in Manila as medicine for stomach problems.
Marinduque Hot Springs Resort
A privately owned mineral hot spring resort that offers five different swimming pools and modest accommodations, parking area, camping area and cabanas just 400 meters upstream of the Malbog Sulfur Springs.
Bellarocca Island Resort
Located at Elephant Island on the extreme southernmost side of Marinduque. This high end resort and spa offers a nine hole golf course, all major water sports activities, a sweeping panorama of Mt. Malindig southern slopes plus the whole of Tablas Strait and Sibuyan Sea. Famous locations of honeymoons and special wedding venues.
A celebration that started in Brgy. Bagacay and was adapted by the town where local folks parade each group donning home-made costumes out of coconuts.
Tres Reyes Islands
In between the first island and the mainland, shipwrecks of Chinese merchant vessels dating back to the Sung and Ching dynasty were salvaged in the 80’s . Recovered from the wrecks were hundreds of porcelain jars, plates, skillets, etc some are now housed at the National Museum.
Gaspar island is the nearest from the mainland, it offers crushed coral white sand beaches and secluded coves. Location of archeologically important caves on its eastern rock formations. An ideal snorkeling and scuba diving area. The only island that is inhabited.
Melchor is the middle island with several areas for wall scuba diving.
Baltazar is the farthermost island where an American- built Lighthouse Guardhouse still stands. On its northeast part underwater, is a cave for advanced scuba diving that enters into a 60 feet depth entrance and exits 90 feet depth. Mantas and sharks occasionally appears on this island.
Located near and on the town proper are butterfly farms that offers a glimpse of the butterfly life cycle though the live samples of butterfly larvae, pupae and full grown butterfly of several species inside big cages where live species freely flutter. Available are stuffed butterfly- based souvenir items.
Gasan Nature and Butterfly Park
Located on a rolling hill at the eastern edge of town, this nature park offers flower gardens, winding walkways, artificial waterfalls, picnic grove with butterfly cages maintained and managed municipal government adjacent to another municipal park.
A joyous celebration faith and thanksgiving for the “newly Risen Christ” featuring street dancing competitions between 21 barangays of the municipality held annually during Easter Sunday highlighted by a final performance in front of thousand audiences for judging in one of the town’s open park.
A maze of caverns, sinkholes, and multi-level chambers located in the interior forested part of Brgy. Tiguion. Can be accessed by travelling the barangay road and trekking uphill to the cave’s location. The Provincial Cave Assessment Team have recommended this cave as Class II or can be used for ecotourism thru trained cave guides. This cave is included in the recently held 14th PSS National Caving Congress.
Luzon Datum of 1911 National Landmark
This rock marker was established on 1911 by the US Coast and Geodetic Survey as the Geodetic Center of the country. A hole drilled inside an etched triangle in cubic meter of diorite rock outcrop at the top of the highest hill (272.42 MASL) in Brgy. Hinanggayon. The provincial government of Marinduque, DENR, NAMRIA developed the area and was inaugurated on its centennial year in 2011. It is located with an almost 360 wide ranging view of Tayabas Bay, Mompong Pass and Tablas Strait. Managed and maintained by the local folks as a Community-Based Eco Tourism Program.
Moriones Lenten Rites
The town of Mogpog started this century old masked tradition introduced by Fr. Dionsio Santiago around 1870 in order to encourage more town folks into the Christian faith. Men and some women don wooden masks and colorful costumes resembling the Roman soldiers during the time of Christ. This tradition is highlighted by the “Pugutan” of Longino on Easter Sunday. Today Mogpog Morions still practices the age old tradition of its ancient and original forms of sacrifice.
This is one of the most ideal and secluded cove of the province that witnessed the long history of Marinduque. This location was chosen by the Spanish Admiralty as construction and repair facility of the Spanish navy. The galleon “San Juan de Bautista” and almirante “San Marcos”were made in this cove.
During the closing of WWII, on November 25, 1944, two of the four Imperial Japanese Navy warships camouflaging in the cove were sunk by the American dive bombers form the USS Intrepid and killing thousands of Japanese. Two Jap shipwrecks still lays done under 140 feet of water for advanced wreck divers to explore.
Today, Balanacan serves as the main gateway of the province both for commuter traffic and commerce. Small islets that dots the surrounding area are ideal snorkeling, scuba diving and picnic sites.
Bintakay (Camarines) Cave
This cave is located in the oldest limestone formation of the province, located in Brgy. Bintakay near the historic battle site of Camarines, a rocky proturberance where Filipino revolutionaries during the Spanish-Filipino war used as their last stand. This cave features wide chambers, tight squeeze passages, profusion of insect bats, and beautiful speleothems. Can be accessed by a 25 minutes uphill trek from the Barangay Hall. This cave was assessed by the PCAT as Class II and is included in the recently held 14th National Caving Congress cave destination.
Located in Brgy. Bocboc, Paadjao Falls is a 100 plus feet cascading falls into a 6 feet deep natural swimming pool at its foot surrounded by tall forest trees and coco groves.. A favorite picnic area both by foreign and local tourists, it is the most accessible falls in the province.
Located inside the municipal forest park, Tarug Cave can be accessed via the barangay road, the caves are small and don’t have deep chambers, but it offers a 300 feet tall limestone walls going to the top excellent for rock climbers and rappelling.
Celebrated annually in honor of the town’s patron St. Isidore de Labrador, patron of farmers where barrio folks converge at the town and parade with its own “kanga” or wooden sled pulled by a carabao and bedeck with different products from each locality. The celebration is capped by the contest of the most beautiful “kangga”, on cooking of local delicacies and the unhusking of coconuts.
Sta. Cruz Church
One of the two oldest churches in the province. Like Boac Cathedral, it is surrounded by high protected walls. The church main attraction is its well preserved retablo altar, its pulpit and the original ceilings.
The original structure still remains but was now converted as a barangay office. This was used as an early warning look-out point during the height of the Moro raids in Marinduque during the Spanish period.
Bagumbungan Underground River Cave
This cave is located at Brgys. San Isidro and Punong, with around 2km underground river of mapped and assessed areas by the PCAT (Provincial Cave Assessment Team) and is classified as Class II. The regular entrance is located at San Isidro and a through and through explorations/trekking/ fording will go out at Brgy. Punong. The Cave Guides through the Municipality of Sta. Cruz constructed a visitor center at San Isidro for briefing and setting up personal safety equipments for visitors. A profusion of fruit bats and occasional reptiles can be found inside. It features an array of large chambers, flowstones, rim dams, variety of pristine speleothems and a cascading waterfall which is the turning point of newbie cavers. More adventurous visitors can opt to get out in Brgy. Punong. Can be accessed via the 16 km mixed combination of National road and barangay road from the town center. This is the main featured cave that was included in the 14th National Caving Congress and is now pushed as the best caving destination by the Prov. Tourism Office due to the well-organized Community-Based Tourism Program of the locals and its cave guides.
Located at Brgy. Ipil, Bathala cave have been a more popular cave destination in Sta. Cruz before, it features large church like interiors, archeological cave, and python cave. Though the cave is located in a titled private property, there is no organized community that caters to the basic needs of the visitors. The promotions of this cave as a current destination has been discouraged by the PCAT due none existence of a viable and working management plan. The private owners of the land are uncooperative.
This multi-pool water falls is located in Brgy. Bancuangan, named after some large kettle-like pools that are excellent for family picnics and refreshing dips. The falls can be accessed via less than 2 km of barangay road from the crossing of national road at Landy.
Polo, Maniwaya and Mompong Islands
Set on the northeastern fringes of the Municipality of Sta. Cruz lies these three major islands. Formed underwater during the late Pliestocene era were quiet marine conditions made favorable the development of massive coral beds, these terraced coral deposits lays the major composition of the three islands that now explains the long stretches of powdery white sand beaches it now possess.
Polo island is the nearest of the three islands that can be reached in less than 25 minutes by motorized outrigger from Buyabod Port. It has the largest wetland forest that is half of the island size. Due to its character, it harbors many different species of local and transient birds, a good number of macaque monkeys, fruit bats plus diverse selection of marshland and marine flora and fauna. The island was the site of former island prison for captured Filipino revolutionaries used by the American forces during the Fil-American War of 1900-1901.
Maniwaya Island-The middle of the three islands and is the most popular, offer stretches of fine white sand beaches, a 1.3 km along the southwest and 1.2 km on its northeast side. The southwest portion today is slowly being developed by locals with modest and comfortable accommodations and other watersports amenities. On the islands northeast side, is an offshore sand bar called Palad, an exciting place of unique splendor where the tidal fluctuations commands the availability to visitors. An immaculate stretch of crushed coral sands in the middle of the sea that appears only during low tides. A must-see attraction for Maniwaya visitors.
Mompong Island- the farthest among the three with less than an hour of boat ride from Buyabod port, offers the distinctive geological formation locally known as “Ungab”a natural land bridge curved by incessant sea wave actions on a sedimentary rock formation (Early Pliestocene dominantly marine tuffaceous clastics) on the island extreme eastern portion, while a 2.5 km white sand beach on its original state is on the north.
Botilao Seascapes and Landscapes
Located on the central northern portion of Marinduque, Brgy. Botilao, Sta. Cruz, Marinduque is bounded on the west by Brgy. Sayao, Mogpog, on the south by Brgy. San Isidro, on the east by Brgy. Ipil, Sta. Cruz and Tayabas bay on the north.
The area is accessible by land transportation in two (2) routes. One from a mixed concrete and macadam road from the crossing at the National Highway at Brgy. Lamesa, Sta. Cruz. Passing by Brgy. Punong, San Isidro and to Botilao covering around eight (8) kilometers, while another entry is at the crossing of the National Highway at Brgy. Landy passing Brgys, Lusok, Ipil and Botilao covering around ten (10) kilometers of mixed concrete and macadam road.
This remarkable area is blessed with six major islets and one minor islet. The biggest is Banot, next is Hakupan, then Pitogo, Manrique, Penarroyo and Perlas. An estimated area of 275 hectares of inland body of water comprise the inner part of the seascape, while another estimated 546 hectares of water north of the chain of islands up to the separate Hakupan island. A great potential as frontier for island hopping, inland water sports activities, scuba and skin diving and other outdoor activities.
Hakupan Island is located off northernmost part which holds a white sand crushed coral beach and sand bar that changes its configuration depending on the prevailing wind and current conditions. About a 100 meters northwest of the island is a submerged big coral reef around 60 feet deep, as big as the old capitol building. The body of water south of the island was previously experimented as a pearl farm and site for edible seaweeds culture. This island have been a favorite picnic grounds of visitors from adjacent municipality. This island containing an area of 6.2588 hectares and is classified as Timberland under project 5 of Sta. Cruz, Marinduque per Bureau of Forestry Land Classification Map 789 dated November 22, 1928.
Banot island which covers the biggest area and partly classified as Alienable and Disposable Land as per DENR Land Classification map 789 dated November 22, 1928. Local fisherman attested that there are sea caves located in the extreme northeast part of the island that can be validated by the Provincial Cave Assessment Team, if it can be classified for tourism purposes, thereby adding another outdoor activity in the area. Unique rock formations probably of columnar basalt are displayed in Banot Island on the central south portion along the waterline and mangroves.
Other islands, the Manrique, Perlas, Penarroyo and Pitogo have their own unique characteristics and can accommodate construction of ecolodges that can blend with the island adventure ambiance. Harnessing solar energy can be utilized using photovoltaic power for simple lightings and other low consumption utilities.
Proposed construction of a Visitors Center in the middle of the inland waters on stilts and connected to the mainland via elevated bamboo walkways is on the drawing boards to cater to guests, serving as small coffee shop and native restaurant, rest area, launching pad for island hopping adventures and community based tourism cooperative office.
On the mainland side, the whole barangay is covered by lush mangrove forest on the water edges. These natural habitat and roosting areas for diverse wildlife species offers another activity for birdwatchers, bird photographers and simple banca tours on its edges. Today, several local fisherman through the Marinduque Fisheries Office, nurturing aqua-silvi culture that gives additional income for locals, and is a natural eco-agri tourism attraction of the place.
With the nearby location of the now famous Bagumbungan Undeground River Cave of San Isidro, an exceptional tourism cluster is formed and can be offered to quality guests bringing the local tourism development initiatives to areas lesser known in the past but promising a bright future to the communities for other alternative livelihood projects.
Carmen Eco-Adventure Park
The former agriculture training center located at Tamayo is now converted in an eco-adventure park that offers two conference rooms, 100-bed capacity living quarters, dining room and kitchen plus a four air-conditioned rooms with twin beds and baths. Stands for Center for Agricultural Research Management & Enterprise Network, a 12 minutes ride from town center, one can enjoy kayaking at Isla Del Carmen inside a navigable marshland waterways for around 25 minutes, an Olympic- size adult and kiddie pool attracts both local and other visitors. for more adventurous type, a 7.5 kilometer kayak route will bring you to Buyabod bay. A 270 hectares of protected wetlands harbors diverse flora and fauna on its northern side, bird watching and fire fly watching is one of the offered activity. Board walk inside the wetland forest gives an insight of an agglomeration of known 20 species of mangroves. Catch and weigh fishing is offered on the fresh and brackish fishponds. A coffee shop, convenience store and a butterfly museum is housed inside the Tambayan hall. A 450-meter zipline is offered to add high adventure experience in the park. A monkey trail inside the Cabatuan karst forest can be availed to witness occasional appearances of macaque monkeys.
Pulang Lupa Historical Park
Located in high in the mountains of Pulang Lupa, this park offers a sweeping panoramic view of the eastern seaboard of Marinduque. The bloody running gun battle between the Filipino revolutionaries led by Col Maximo Abad and the American Volunteers led by Capt. Deveraux Shields resulted in one of the very few victories won by the Filipinos over the Americans, wherein they officially admitted their loss as recorded in the American War Archives. Today an obelisk, a NHI marker and a concrete retablo marks the place.
Poctoy White Beach
The most accessible and the only white beach area in mainland Marinduque offers a stretch of more than a kilometer of fine white to sugar brown beach for regular local and foreign visitors. The place is complimented by available modest accommodations for overnight travelers and more than a dozen native huts for rent. A good view of Mt. Malindig on the south from the beach area.
Ka Amon Cave
The cave is located in Brgy. Bonliw which is less than 200 meters from the national road, a Community Based Rural Tourism program maintains and handles the daily operations of the caves. There are identified seven chambers in the cave, remnants of human skeletal remains of pre-Hispanic Filipinos can be seen near the caves entrance., immaculate flowstones abound the next chamber, fruit bats thrives in the inner most chambers. This is a cave ideal for beginners and the oldies. This cave was included in the 14th PSS National Cave Congress.
Along the national highway near the boundaries of Sibuyao, Nangka and Maranlig is a spot almost 525 meters above sea level offering a 360-degree view of Marinduque’s eastern seaboard , Central Marinduque mountain range and a distant view of the Balagbag mountain range. During early morning and late afternoon treks along the rolling grasslands and pasture lands of the ridgeline, one can have “ above the clouds experience” with a mild chilly temperature normal for these elevations. A favorite and popular stop for picture and video taking in the area.
Marinduque Wild Life Sanctuary
An almost 9,000 hectares of two blocks of timberland in Central Marinduque straddling the municipalities of Boac, Gasan, Buenavista, Torrijos and Sta. Cruz. This forest zone is the home of a wide variety of flora and fauna, one of which is the endangered Rufous Hornbill (Rufous hydrocorax), the high endangered giant cloud rat (Phloeomys pallidus) that lives only in Northern Luzon, Catanduanes and Marinduque, endemic species of butterflies, reptiles, insects and other avian species such as the rare sunbird (Sperata Nectarina Marinduquensis). The west block is the Balagbag mountain range that rises up to 801 MASL and the east block is Central Marinduque range with the highest elevation of 845 MASL. These areas are excellent mountaineering and trekking sites. Each block has a viewing deck located strategically in one of its ridges. A DENR Protected Areas Office, Visitors Center and Function Hall is available for guests who wants to stay overnight either by tents or lodging rooms. There are many available routes that can be offered by the MAWISEGA (Marinduque Wildlife Eco-Guides Association) and MAWISBEGA (Marinduque Wildlife Balagbag Eco-Guides Association) as the community-based rural tourism people’s organization. All areas are accessible through interior barangay roads that go inside the timberlands.
Source: JOVEN M. LILLES
Supervising Environmental Management Specialist/Tourism Operations Officer – Marinduque.