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

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Is Manila Ready for an Earthquake?

YouTube and CNN posted this video on April 21, 2010. It is indeed scary, since the government appears to withhold this information from the public. Our government officials are too busy "politicking". About three days ago, 3 earthquakes of magnitude from 4.5 to 6.5 were felt in southeast Taiwan and Northern Luzon. If you are a resident of Manila and its suburbs, are you really prepared for a major earthquake of a magnitude of 7 or greater? Let us hope this will not happen soon, but view this video and judge for yourself. In the case of Marinduque, The LUBANG fault in Mindoro should be monitored for recent activity. Here's the video!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hyundai Goes Marinduque

Hyundai Genesis Coupe
The following article was published in today's issue ( 4/27/2010) of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. It was filed under, Travel, Tourism, Business and Finance Section of the newspaper. I am so excited and proud that Hyundai executives did their test drives to my island Paradise this year. I hope this article will help in making Marinduque, a tourist destination worldwide, not only on Easter Week but also whole year round.

"WHAT WERE THE FOLKS AT Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI) thinking when they decided to invite 30 motoring journalists to drive to Marinduque island? Unlike Boracay or CamSur, Marinduque isn’t exactly promoted as a top destination for foreign and local tourists alike.

Maybe HARI chose Marinduque precisely for that reason: to boost the less-known island’s media mileage. To give back to the cause of road-less-taken domestic tourism after recently gaining third place in the Philippine automotive industry’s over-all sales ranking, even as Hyundai Motor’s global vehicle sales jumped 26 percent in the first quarter so that quarterly net profit surged to 1.127 trillion South Korean won ($1 billion) from 225 billion won in 2009.

HARI had another good reason to pick Marinduque: getting there requires at least three hours of non-stop driving from Alabang through Laguna and Batangas to Lucena, Quezon via the Southern Luzon Expressway, two-lane provincial highways and congested, narrow streets of towns like Tiaong, Candelaria and Sariaya. The variety of road and traffic conditions going to Lucena and coming back to Manila tested the mettle of the 15 all-new 2010 Hyundai vehicles provided by HARI for the three-day sojourn: one Genesis coupe, two Santa Fe units, a Grand Starex Limousine, a Sonata sedan just released by Customs, and 10 Tucson petrol and common rail diesel units.

Day 1

The Hyundai vehicles were rotated daily among the participating journalists. On Day 1, a Tucson Theta II compact SUV was assigned to the Inquirer team consisting of motoring editor Jong Arcano, photog Edwin Bacasmas and me. I took the wheel for the 105.2-km Alabang-Lucena leg of the trip that did not require following a convoy or a speed limit. Thus, there were times when we were traveling at 160 kph, a velocity that hardly strained the Tucson’s 2.0-liter, DOHC, 166 ps gasoline engine.

An interlude from driving occurred after the vehicles boarded at Dalahican port the roro (roll-on, roll-off) ferry, which takes three hours to cross the Sibuyan Sea to Marinduque. Squeezing the Hyundai vehicles into the crowded cargo hold of the ferry together with big delivery vans and trucks demands good parking ability, so I was glad that Jong was driving at that time.

After disembarking at Balanacan Port in Marinduque, we discovered that the 55.20 km drive to Buenavista via Boac, the capital, and Gasan municipality begins with well-paved, winding mountain roads. The scenery was more beautiful once we exited the populated urban areas and caught glimpses of the sea while driving along the coastline and of the majestic dormant volcano, Mount Malindig, when we negotiated the mountain roads.


The road to Lipata Wharf—where we were to board speedboats for the five-minute transfer to Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa—tested the stability of the Hyundai vehicles as there were slippery, dusty gravel sections. But all units, including the low-slung Genesis sports car and the Sonata sedan, passed this test easily.

Bellarocca, a stunningly beautiful six-star resort hotel perched atop the rolling peaks of Elefante Island overlooking the teal blue Sibuyan Sea, is often compared to Santorini, Greece overlooking the Mediterranean. Bellarocca’s luxurious, relaxing amenities were most welcome after the nearly eight-hour trip from Manila and it revitalized us for the motoring adventures of Day 2.

On Day 2, the Inquirer team was assigned another Tucson Theta II for the morning activities and a diesel-fed Tucson R e-VGT (electronic Variable Geometry Turbo) for the afternoon. HARI implemented photo and travelogue contests on this day whereby the media would take photos of selected Hyundai vehicles at tourist attractions like the centuries-old Sta. Cruz Church, the Marinduque Provincial Capitol where natives in Moriones costumes posed, the old houses of Boac and Mt Malindig in Torrijos.


The photo entries were submitted at 7 p.m., two hours after our return to Bellarocca, ditto the entries for the travelogue contest. The brutal deadline required fast-track enhancement of photo entries via Photoshop and other gizmos and quick writing of an essay on Marinduque, Editor Jong bagged the first runner-up trophy and cash prize for his inspired travelogue while Edwin won the Media’s Choice award for his unenhanced photo of the Genesis coupe parked beside a “No Parking” sign in the old section of Boac.

Although I only won a travelogue contest consolation prize, I look back at Hyundai’s Marinduque adventure as an enjoyable experience—discovering the wonders of the island astride a future-inspired, technologically advanced, stylish Hyundai car. My only regret is that neither the Genesis coupe nor the Sonata was assigned to me for the long haul back to Alabang from Lucena. Perhaps next time, Paeng ?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Is Marinduque the next Travel Hotspot?

The Boac Cathedral Tower

This article was published on news.com.au. on March 19, 2010. It was written by Christine Pfeiffer. I assumed she is from Australia and is a guest of the Department of Tourism, Philippines. I found her article timely and realistic. We need more articles like this one so that Marinduque becomes a world tourist destination soon.

Is Marinduque Island the next travel hotspot?

"There are no sleek nightclubs, bars or tacky souvenir shops.

The few cars on the roads are vastly outnumbered by jeepneys (extended jeeps with two long seats behind the driver) and tricycles (three-wheeled motorcycles with passenger carriages).

All eyes are on our group of five as we walk through the streets of Boac, the capital. Western visitors in Marinduque are rare. Tricycle drivers stop by the side of the road to gawk, jeepney passengers crane their necks for a better look and shopkeepers run out to the street to stare. Shy children scuttle away when we try to take their photo.

Surrounded by Tayabas Bay, Mompoy Bay, Tayabas Strait and the Sibuyan Sea, Marinduque Island is only 170km south of Manila yet it's a world away from the traffic, skyscrapers and frenetic pace of the big city. The 959sq km volcanic island is a pristine natural treasure trove of sandy beaches, diving sites, caves, hot springs and waterfalls. The few local resorts on the island are simple and inexpensive. But this may not be the case for much longer because the local government has its sights on becoming the Philippines' next big vacation hot spot.

Change is coming

The ball is already rolling with new low-cost flights from Manila on Zest Air and SEAIR. A new luxury resort on a small private island nearby, Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa, has given the province a boost by building roads and employing local workers.

Most islanders are farmers or fishermen. But many are excited about the opportunities that a tourism boom could offer. Some have borrowed from money lenders to buy a jeepney (about $5000) or a tricycle ($1500). In a year or two, the more enterprising will catch on to the potential of operating souvenir stalls and cafes. The towns have Spanish names like Santa Cruz and Torrijos. And, with family names like Fernandez, Reyes and Gonzales, you could almost be convinced you're in South America, not Asia.

Our guide, Marie Diaz, grew up in Mogpog which was occupied by Japanese troops during World War II. On our tour, we pass bullocks working in rice fields and barangays (villages) where herds of goats and scrawny dogs roam the streets. Marinduque may be one of the poorer provinces in the Philippines but the people look happy. The streets are clean, homes are neat and children play with carefree abandon.

The town of Buenavista, Spanish for good view, lives up to its name with stunning ocean views, sandy beaches and swaying palms. Nearby Gasan is more prosperous, with bigger homes and concrete buildings. The shops are eclectic. The sign outside the local supermarket says "Glory to God, Sioland Supermarket, Gasan Branch". Next to the supermarket, in a space beneath a stairwell, is a fruit stall and a display of Western-style bridal gowns.

Island Highlights

The island's attractions include the WHS Butterfly Farm, near Gasan, where we chase a kaleidoscope of delicate butterflies fluttering among the flowers. The farm is a family enterprise that ships pupae as well as framed, dried and live butterflies around the world.

The Marinduque Museum in Boac is a good place to brush up on local culture and history. Exhibits include 16th-century porcelain recovered from the bottom of the ocean. Catholic culture on Marinduque has evolved in a unique way. Boac's main drawcard is the Gothic Boac Cathedral, which was built in 1666 to honour the Virgin Mary, introduced to the island by Jesuit missionaries. The Virgin Mary is known as Ang Mahal na Birhen ng Biglang-Awa or Blessed Virgin of Biglang-Awa Immediate Succor.

Back in 1807 the parish priest of Mogpog, Padre Dionisio Santiago, started a festival based on the story of Longinus, the one-eyed Roman centurion who pierced Jesus Christ while he was on the cross. Today people from all over the Philippines flock here at Easter time to watch the singing, chanting and street theatre. The main event is a parade that includes the Via Crucis, or way of the cross, in which "Jesus Christ" carrying a wooden cross is trailed by a group of barefoot devotees who whip themselves as penance for their sins. It ends with the beheading of Longinus.

Outside the Boac Cathedral we buy banana que (deep-fried bananas dipped in caramelised sugar), turon (banana jackfruit) and carioca (doughnuts) from a local woman. The snacks cost seven pesos each (18c).

It's a warm day so Diaz takes us on a short hike through the rainforest to Paadyao Cascades where we plunge into a cool pool beneath the waterfall. I spend the rest of the afternoon at my cliff-top villa at Bellarocca Resort sipping champagne in my private plunge pool while gazing at tranquil views of Sibuyan Sea.

Bellarocca's setting is stunningly Mediterranean. White-washed buildings are a stark contrast to green Mt Malindig and the turquoise ocean. Facilities include a nine-hole golf course, cigar room, gym and fitness centre, swimming pools and a spa. Rooms are luxurious and furnished with amenities such as L'Occitane and Aveda cosmetics, plasma television sets and iPod docks".


Getting there: Philippine Airlines flies from Sydney to Manila from $901. Zest Air and SEAIR fly from Manila to Marinduque; flights are about $70 return.

Getting around: Buenavista to the airport in a jeepney costs 20 pesos (50c); Gasan to Buenavista in a tricycle costs 120 pesos ($3).

Staying there: Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa's Dolce Vita package (valid until May 31) includes two nights' accommodation, brunch, afternoon tea and other extras from $350 a person.

More: www.philippinetourism.com.au or call (02) 9279 3380

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Latest News on Ecotourism in Marimduque

The following press release I found interesting and exciting. I have been promoting tourism in Marinduquue in several of my blogs( Marinduque Awaits you, Marinduque On my Mind and this site) for the last two years. Now, we have the encouragement and support of one politician. Thank you Bong Bong Marcos. May your tribe increased.

Environment-friendly Marinduque pushed as major tourist spot
(The Philippine Star) Updated April 18, 2010 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A move to fully maximize Marinduque as an environment-friendly major tourist destination in Luzon is being pushed by local officials in Luzon.

Ilocos Rep. Bong Bong Marcos, who recently visited the province, is spear-heading the move.

“Marinduque is known worldwide for its colorful Moriones Festival and that’s good; but it has so much more to offer in terms of world class attractions and facilities that we must and will capitalize on to boost tourism, spur economic activities and uplift the quality of lives of Marinduqueños,” said Marcos.

He noted that the island-province is environment-friendly and “that’s why no major catastrophies such as landslides and massive flooding occur there.”

“Once the Marinduque air and sea ports are modernized, a larger volume of local and foreign tourists can be lured to visit its little-known but awesome white sand beaches, dive sites, trekking and hiking trails
and a climate comparable to Tagaytay,” Marcos said.

A more modern air and sea ports in Marinduque, which Marcos is pushing for, will allow more local and international direct flights and cruise liners to come in, bringing loads of tourists and generating more economic opportunities in the area.

Marcos, who engineered a tourism revival in Ilocos Norte during his term as governor, pointed out that the Marcopper mining site, shut down for years, can be redeveloped, particularly its 18-hole golf course, housing facilities and hospital building for medical tourism.

Marcos is confident that Marinduque’s inherent beauty, charming people and the popularity of its Moriones Festival could easily draw tourists with diverse needs and interests, given the right support and approach.

A major tourist draw is Elephant Island, where several developments are ongoing. Marcos said other points of interest such as Paajao Falls , Bathala Cave, Malbog Hot Springs, Mt. Malindig and other secluded coves and beaches are just good and has good impact on the province’s environment programs".

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tourism Development in Marinduque-Home of the Morions

The following is a video made on November 28, 2009 by the provincial government outlining the development of tourism in Marinduque. This was edited by Eli Obligacion and I enjoyed the video very much. The expansive hall of Chateau Du Mer(CDM) is featured in the video. The CDM Hall was the venue of the STTC ( Southern Tagalog Tourism Committee) meeting in 2009 which was chaired by former provincial administrator Allan Velasco. He retired from his position in 2009 and now is running for Congress this coming May, 2010 election. His opponent is former Congressman Edmundito Reyes. May the best man win. The video is a must view if you are a true-blooded Marinduqueno specially if you resides abroad. The beauty of our province is beyond description. We should help in promoting tourism in our island by electing the best person who will promote tourism not only during Easter week but whole year round. Here's the video! Enjoy! Any Comments?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bongbong Marcos Visits Marinduque, Holy Week, 2010

I found this news on the web regarding Bongbong Marcos visit in Boac, Holy Week, 2010. His motorcade passed by our resort, but did not see him in person, but viewed all the activities in our local channel, including the putong ceremony to welcome him and his family to Boac. Here's the news item for your reading pleasure.

"Bongbong Marcos recently brought his entire family to Boac, Marinduque to catch a glimpse of the famed Moriones Festival and participate in a unique welcoming ceremony in the heart shaped island called ‘pagpuputong’.

After being greeted with an endless round of ’si Bongbong ngani’ and ‘Ay! Baya, si Bongbong’ (the usual expressions that come up in any conversation in Marinduque), the Ilocos Norte Solon went about town to join in the festivities that erupt like Mardigras just before the holiest Holy Week days.

I don’t know how it is among other people in other parts of the country, but it is still a big deal in Marinduque when national candidates visit the province.

For more than a decade now, after the Marcopper mines shut down, the economy of Marinduque has slowed down quite a bit and the only business left thriving (if you can really call it that) is copra.

Bongbong Marcos, wife Lisa, and kids pose with Moriones.

So, it was really good news when Bongbong came to Boac (which is the capital of Marinduque) and made a commitment to promote Marinduque as a key tourism destination.

This is rather believable, coming from someone who engineered a tourism revival in Ilocos Norte during his term as governor.

Bongbong, thinking out of the box, pointed out that the Marcopper mining site, shut down for years, can be redeveloped, particularly its 18-hole golf course, housing facilities and hospital building for medical tourism.

Like a true native of the island, Bongbong said that Marinduque’s inherent beauty can easily be a magnet for tourists with diverse needs and interests, given the right support and approach.

Bongbong Marcos, Lisa, and kids are welcomed in Marinduque with the Pagpuputong ceremony. Accorded to guests, the ceremony is supposed to bring good luck.

If you haven’t been to Marinduque, you ought to see the Elephant Island, Paajao Falls, Bathala Cave, Malbog Hot Springs, and Mt. Malindig".

Monday, April 12, 2010

Marinduque Seeks Sea Turtles (Pawikan) Habitat

Here's the latest news on the Sea Turtles Conservation Project in Marinduque

Marinduque seeks ‘Pawikan’ Habitat by G Querubin

FREQUENT SIGHTings and efforts to rescue sea turtles or “pawikan” in Marinduque have prompted local environment officials and advocates to work double time to have the island-province declared a critical habitat of the marine creatures.

Efren de los Reyes, acting head of the protected areas, wildlife and coastal zone management unit of the province, said the declaration would enable those concerned to initiate measures to reduce or eradicate threats to the survival of the turtles.

In the past five years, 44 pawikan have been rescued in different coastal villages of Marinduque and eventually released to the sea, according to the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro). Among them were green sea, Olive Ridleys and the rare Hawksbill turtles, the most threatened species.

Last year alone, 25 were rescued and set free, along with 157 hatchlings.

Rich biodiversity

The presence of the turtles indicates that the province’s coastal areas serve as their nesting grounds, foraging areas and path of migration, De los Reyes said.

It also means that these areas are rich in minute marine biodiversity, Danilo Querijero, Penro chief, said. He pointed out that Marinduque is one of the provinces comprising the Verde Island Passage/Triangle that marine scientists have described as “the center of the epicenter of marine biodiversity.”

“Everybody must be a stakeholder,” De los Reyes said in pushing for a declaration of critical habitat. “The primary beneficiaries of this advocacy will be the community. Village folk should be in charge of their communities’ sustainable development.”

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources defines a critical habitat of threatened species as that “designated based on scientific data, taking into consideration species endemicity or richness and the presence of manmade pressures and threats to the survival of wildlife.”

The known habitat is outside a protected area established under Republic Act No. 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act.

Quelling threats

Once a critical pawikan habitat is established, authorities can institute steps to protect the marine animal, such as prohibiting the dumping of waste products, squatting, mineral exploration or extraction, burning, logging and quarrying.

They can also punish violators.

Miguel Magalang, executive director of the Marinduque Council for Environmental Concerns (Macec), expressed concern that climate change was now taking its toll on the turtles.

Their “original habitat is getting warmer now, driving them to seek sanctuary in the coastal waters of the province,” he said.

Magalang said Macec had already intensified its pawikan protection and conservation program among the villagers. It has come up with an incentive program for fisherfolk who capture the turtles and report their catch to authorities.

“We give livelihood assistance to fishermen, P5,000 for the big pawikan and P2,500 for the smaller ones,” he said.

The Penro and the Macec are finalizing their action plans after undertaking a thorough survey mapping, assessment, focus group discussions and community consultations.

“The plans and recommendations that will be formulated will be the basis of the DENR (through an executive order by the secretary) or the local government units (through resolutions or ordinances) in declaring Marinduque a critical pawikan habitat,” De los Reyes said.

Help conservation efforts of the sea turtles by reporting to authorities, local residents, who had been searching for turtle eggs in your neighborhood.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Moriones Festival and Trade Fair, 2010

Today is Good Friday. The Moriones Festival is in full swing with Parades, Procession, Easter Pageant and the Life and Passion of Christ and traffic in Boac congested as part of our life here in sleepy Marinduque. This is the only time of the year when traffic is congested as if you in are Manila. Most of the stores are closed but the Trade Fair is open to buy native handicrafts. marble furniture, gifts and 100 other items of your desire. In my case, my purchase of the year are three marble tables and one matching marble table lamp. With the purchase I got a big marble mortar and pestle and a pen holder set. The above items cost me only about $300 ( a bargain if I purchased these items in US). The marble Company is from Romblon Island and comes to Marinduque only once a year during the Moriones Festival and Trade Fair. Next year we will not be able to stay for Holy Week here in Marinduque, so I am taking this opportunity to savor the pageantry of this island festival. Happy Easter to All!
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