Welcome to Marinduque-My Island Paradise

If this is your first time in my site, welcome! If you have been a follower, my heartfelt thanks to you, also. Help me achieve my dream, that someday, Marinduque will become a world tourist destination not only on Easter Week, but also whole year round. You can do this by telling your friends and relatives about this site. The photo above is Mt Malindig in Torrijos.
Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news in this blog . Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on the infringement of your copyrights. Cheers!

Marinduque Mainland from Tres Reyes Islands

Marinduque Mainland from Tres Reyes Islands
View of Mainland Marinduque from Tres Reyes Islands-Click on Photo to link to Marinduque Awaits You

Friday, July 31, 2009

Eruption of Mount Malindig, Philippines

Can you imagine a scenario if Mt Malinding in my beloved province of Marinduque, Philippines erupted today?
I am not hoping it would happen in my lifetime, but the chance that this eruption will not occur is zero. Assuming that the eruption is as intense in magnitude as Mt Pinatubo, destruction of the island particularly the town of Buenavista and Torrijos will be tremendous . The five star, Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa- the tourist jewel of Marinduque will be covered with volcanic ashes and will not be available for the enjoyment of our rich kababayans from Manila as well as tourists from Japan and Korea for quite a long time. The whole western coast of Marinduque, from Boac to Buenavista sites of beautiful homes and mansions owed by the Expatriate Marinduquenos and the rich businessmen from Manila and the location of several beautiful beach resorts ( including my own, Chateau Du Mer)will be a big mess. It will probably take several months or longer to bring it up to the pre-eruption conditions that we natives thoroughly cherish and enjoy. I hope this scenario will never happen, but we should be prepared and not surprise just in case this happens. Let me explain why this scenario could happen in the future.

Mt Malindig is considered a potentially active volcano, in part because of the sulfur and hot springs in Malbog, Buenavista. It has never erupted, but because it is an active volcano, the chance it will not erupt is nil. Its unique location, at the heart of Southern Tagalog Region, creates a panorama that encompasses Mindoro, Verde Island and Southern Luzon. It is the largest mountain in the island popular for mountain climbers and hikers. It is the home of different species of wild orchids and other endemic wild life in the island. Due to the elevation of more than 1000 meters above sea level, it is by Philippine environmental law a protected area. Mt Malindig is a stratovolcano with coordinates 13.2694 degrees North and 121.9922 degrees East.

The photo above is Poctoy White Beach with Mt Malindig in the background- the most photographed scenery in the islands. Let's hope that this eruption scenario will not occur for a long, long time. In the meantime, let us enjoy this beautiful mountain this summer, by hiking to the top, bird watching or just enjoying the panoramic view at the top. In a clear day, you can see Mindoro and the surrounding islands of the Southern Tagalog region.
Note: Today, Mt Malindig is dormant. There is a legend in Marinduque, why it has been dormant for quite some time. Evidently, at one time in the past, the volcano was showing sign of eruptions by the steam and boiling water oozing from top of the mountain. The local devotees of the Statue of the Virgin of Biglang Awa ( Perpetual Succor) prayed and prayed until the oozing of boiling water and steam stopped. When the faithful devotees of the Biglang Awa came to say thank you, by kissing the feet and gown of the statue, they observed that it was wet. The Lady of Biglang Awa is the patron saint of the town of Boac, capital of Marinduque. Today, there is a shrine built by the side of the Boac Cathedral in honor of Biglang Awa.Image from diosceseofboac.org

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bulusukan Falls, Buenavista, Marinduque

The latest posting from Marinduque.gov blog is Bulusukan Falls in Barangay Bagtingon, Buenavista. This posting is part of the Adventure Series articles by Eli Obligacion and Marinduque's Department of Tourism.
Development of this area, the Falls and surrounding Forests will support the province goal of being known as the ecotourism capital of the Philippines. The posting reported that Professor Panchito Labay of Marinduque State College has identified more than 300 endemic butterfly species in the forest around the Falls. The butterflies are apparently attracted by the high volume of negative ions in the area. Besides the butterflies, a variety of wild flowers, and animal species such as monkeys, wild cats, deer and boas thrive very well in the virgin and undeveloped forest. The area is a favorite picnic site for residents of Buenavista, Gasan and neighboring towns. Here's a short video for your enjoyment.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Palawan Subterranean River-Top 28, Natural Wonders of the World

In my news article titled Marinduque: Ecotourism Capital of the Philippines published July 21, 2009 in www.huliq.com, I mentioned that the Palawan Subterranean River in Puerto Princesa was on the top ten of the new 7 Natural Wonders of the World Contest from voters all over the world. I stand corrected, since today the judges of this contest picked up 28 top finalist out of 261 contenders about a year ago. The subterranean river was the only site from the Philippines. It features a limestone Karst mountain landscape with an 8.2 Km navigable underground river. The river winds through a cave before flowing directly into the South China Sea. The caves has major formation of stalactites and stalagmites. This is the longest underground river in the world.

This site has to compete with worldwide known natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon in US, The Amazon Rain Forest of South America, The Galapagos Islands of Ecuador, The Great Barrier Reef of Australia, The Dead Sea of Israel, Jordan and Palestine, The Iquazo Falls of Brazil, The Angels Falls of Venezuela, The Black Forest in Germany , The Matterhorn of Switzerland and Italy, Mount Kilimanjaro of Tanzania, the Uluru ( Ayers Rock) of Australia , The Cliff of Moher in Ireland and others natural wonders in South Korea, Puerto Rico and Indonesia. To see the list of contenders and vote, visit www.new7wonders.com.

I participated in the initial internet voting last year. In the original list, the Chocolate Hills of Bohol and the Mayon Volcano in Albay were two other contenders in the Philippines. The two sites were eliminated after it was narrowed down to 77 last week. In the news from several Philippine newspapers recently, the Palawan subterranean river was always in the top ten choice of internet voters all over the world. Final selection will be announced by 2011 according to the New Natural 7 Wonders of the World organization. So my fellow Filipinos and Filipino-Americans, please vote to insure that The Palawan subterranean river makes it to the top 7 new natural wonders of the world. Perhaps, someday you may be able to visit this beautiful tourist spot in the Philippines. If perchance, you are in the Philippines, please drop by Marinduque-my second home and island Paradise. Hope to see you soon in the Philippines.
Photo from philippineholiday.com
Here's a short video from GMA News in Tagalog and English. Please vote.

For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV
My Personal Choice for the New 7 Natural Wonders of the World in alphabetical order are:
1. Amazon Rain Forest of South America
2. Galapagos Islands of Ecuador
3. Grand Canyon of the United States
4. Great Barrier Reefs of Australia
5. Iquazo Falls of Brazil
6. Mt Kilimanjaro of Tanzania
7. Palawan's Subterranean River of the Philippines

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sea Turtle in Marinduque

It's migration time now for the sea turtles in the Philippines. They are called "pawikan" in tagalog. I am glad to hear that the natives are protecting this endanger species from extinction in Marinduque. Here is a short video from GMA news TV for your viewing pleasure.

For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Watch Out Palawan-You have Competition

photo from worldnaturalwonders.blogspot.com
Today, I just finished reading Eli Obligacion blog reporting that tourism officials in Marinduque had discovered a hidden cave with a subterranean river system in Bgy. San Isidro, Santa Cruz. The barangay captain has not even seen the cave and the river, since the place is supposed to be enchanted. Local rumors circulate that several locals who went there just disappeared and never came back. I am glad to hear of this new discovery. It will boost the ecotourism project of the province. Marinduque could now compete with Palawan. Palawan subterranean river is one of the natural wonders in South East Asia and the most visited tourist spot in the Philippines. The tourism officials who explored the cave, took a 5 minute video inside the cave and the river system. They found a small waterfall, shrimps and eels in the clear water of the river as well as bats. Here is the 5 minute video for your viewing pleasure.
From http://marinduque.gov.blogspot.com
Palawan you better watch out, Marinduque has now its own subterranean river for all the local and international tourists exploration and enjoyment.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Putong or Tubong-Only in Marinduque

There are several articles in the internet about Putong or Tubong. I found this article from the Philippine Inquirer last year. It was written by Gerald Gene R. Querubin dated 8/30/07.
There are some variations of the lyrics, and melodies from town to town. However, it is still a song and dance welcome ceremony to guests and visitors, wishing them good health, good luck and long life. This is one tradition indigenous to the island and add justification to the statement that Marinduquenos are the most hospital people in the Philippines if not in the whole world.
"People in the tiny, heart-shaped island of Marinduque welcome friends and visitors in a unique tradition befitting kings and queens in their own right.
photo from flickr.com
Literally meaning coronation or to crown, the putong (also called tubong) is a song of thanksgiving and, at the same time, a wish and a prayer for a long, blessed life. It has remained one of the popular traditions in this deeply religious province.
The practice has been extended to visitors and guests as a gesture of hospitality. It is, in fact, a prayer for their success, health and prosperity, and has evolved into a song of love, respect, praise and thanksgiving.
“The putong reflects the life of the people, frequently the common Marinduqueños,” said Prof. Rex Asuncion, director for culture and arts of the Marinduque State College.Folk Music
The putong can be classified as a folk music for it is an expression of folk concerns and often makes use of native folk poetry set to simple melodies, he said.
According to beliefs, the patron saint rejoices at this kind of celebrations and intercedes for the honoree in his wish for long life, happiness and safety from accidents and bad luck. The putong is likewise performed during birthdays and anniversaries, and even when someone passes the board examinations or wins in contests.
photo from boac.gov.ph/tourism
Marta Jardeleza, an 80-year-old “mamumutong” or performer from Mogpog town, said she learned the song from a friend when she was 15 years old. She had taught her children how to sing the putong.Teresa Bunag, 79, said her aunt taught her the song.
In the six towns of the province, the performance is basically similar, except for the melodies and lyrics. All singers wear costumes—the women in kimona and saya, and the men in barong Tagalog—and bring baskets of fresh flowers, palm leaves, and assorted coins.They dance and sway to the accompaniment of musical instruments, usually guitars and banjos.
The Performance
The ceremony starts with the “mamumutong” or the “manunubong,” who gather in front of the home of the host. The host may either be prepared for the event or taken by surprise.
As they enter the house, they explain their purpose and request for the host’s hospitality. “Narito po kami, Mahal na maybahay. Tinugtog na namin ang instrumentong taglay (We are here, dear host. We are already playing our instruments),” goes the song.
The first stage is known as the “pananayawan.” The verses are sung slowly until everybody is in the receiving room. At this juncture, the honoree is seated on a chair (supposedly the throne) at the center of the room or stage and flanked by two family members, each holding a lighted candle.
“Pag-akyat namin sa mahal mong baitang, may dalawang anghel ang aming nadatnan. Tig-isang kandila ang kanilang tangan, sa tamang umaakyat ay tinatanglaw (As we enter your home, there are two angels waiting for us. They have candles to guide us).”
The song’s tempo picks up and the celebration reaches its climax when the crown is placed on the honoree’s head.
“Nang kami ay dumating sa loob ng Herusalem, ang palma ay sa kamay, korona’y sa ulo. Kahimanawari’y magkapantay ito, sambahi’t igalang nitong buong mundo (When we arrived at Jerusalem, palms in our hands, crowns on heads. Hoping that the world will praise and respect them).”
Flowers and Coins
The honoree is showered with flowers and coins, symbolizing affection and wishes of good luck and prosperity. This is the cue for the host and other guests to throw candies, coins and paper bills to the honoree, as children and adults alike scamper for the bounty. Shouts and laughter fill the air.It is said that the crown and the coins must be kept for good luck.
“Kahimaniwari’y habaan ng buhay, sa mahal na santong aming pinutungan. Kahimanawari’y siya ay ilagay, mahabang panahong walang karamdaman. Ipag viva natin tuloy ipagdiwang ang mahal na santong pinutungan (We are hoping that the saint that we crowned will have a long life. We are hoping that he would be free from any ailments. Let us celebrate for the saint that we crowned).”
The putong ends with everybody shouting “Mabuhay!” and partaking of food, drinks and stories in a “salo-salo.”
This short video is for your enjoyment. Long Live, Good Health and May God be You, Always!
This a about one minute video of another Putong ceremony in Bario Bangbang in Gasan. Note that the six towns of Marinduque have different lyrics and melody for their Putong ceremony, but still has the same theme, that is welcome, good health and may God bless you in this occasion. It could be your birthday, wedding anniversary or just your first time to visit Marinduque
I hope that the next generations of Filipinos and/or Filipino-Americans will continue this tradition because it is an important part of our Marinduque cultural heritage.
Personal Note: Macrine and I were the organizers of the Christmas Carolers and Mamumutong ( participants of the Putong) Group of the Marinduque Association of the Capital Area(MACA) from 1995 to 2001.
We used the lyrics and melody commonly known in the town of Boac-capital of Marinduque. Here's a putong ceremony on the 62nd birthday of Bong Carrion.
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