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, June 30, 2010

Congratulations and Good Luck- P-Noy



Aquinos-The Past, the Present and the Future-A Dynasty?

The Philippines has a new President. Watching the inauguration ceremonies live in TV was very educational and inspiring. The Change of Power ceremony, the going down the stairs of GMA- most unpopular president of the century and the climbing of P-Noy up the second floor of the Malacanang Palace is indeed symbolic of the transition of Power. The inauguration ceremony was simple but inspiring. I do hope that the new President and his cabinet will be able to accomplish one of his goals -the elimination of graft and corruption ( G and C) in the Philippines.

Several articles in the web regarding G and C appeared today. One of the articles was written by Bob Martin in his web magazine “Live in the Philippines”. Bob mentioned several ideas regarding elimination of G and C that I like. However, personally I have a feeling that G and C could never be eliminated in the Philippines. It is a way of life in this country having originated more than 500 years ago from the Spanish Conquistadors and practiced by all levels in the Philippine Government for a number of years.

P-Noy may be able to reduce its incidence, but he will never be able to eliminate it in his lifetime. In Martin's article, one reader commented that perhaps a law imposing Death Penalty on all politicians found guilty of G and C charges should be passed. If this law is passed, I commented that is is the best way of eliminating majority of our Politicians and political Dynasties.

Another blogger mentioned that she hopes in six years after P-Noy , another “Aquino” name in the person of Kris becomes the next president of the Philippines(2016). I think this is too early, but with the Filipino habit and addiction of electing actors and actresses ( name recognition), this is a high possibility. What do you think? Comments any one?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Roel Torres Travelogue to Marinduque, Holy Week, 2010


Morions in front of the Boac Cathedral-photo by Toby Jamilla
I found this three videos published in YouTube a few days ago, by Roel Torres, a Balikbayan from New York City on his recent trip to Marinduque last April during the Holy Week. This is a travel documentary on Marinduque and its Moriones Festival, from the television series "Balikbayan Trail". The material was originally created and produced for Lakbay TV and broadcast to 128 countries around the world. Written by members of the Psychic Pilgrim Media team.
Thank you Roel for sharing these three videos. It is an excellent documentation
of what life in Marinduque is during Holy week. Your documentation of the crowded Roro ferries and the pageantry of the Moriones Festival is realistic. I hope you come back to Marinduque soon and documents the other aspects of life in my island paradise. I really enjoy these three videos, I had to share it with my blog readers.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Developing a Road to Central Marinduque

Ferns along this Rural Road
The following video is from Marinduque Rising, Eli Obligacion blog about Marinduque.
HOPEFULLY, this project will be completed as central Marinduque is beautiful, scenic and the climate cooler because of the high elevation. I had the privilege of joining a tour of central Marinduque about 6 years ago through the invitation of current governor-elect Carmencita Reyes. There was then even a plan/talk about constructing a city( to be called Carmen City)and call it the summer capital of Marinduque. I hope this project will be continued to insure that Marinduque will indeed be officially recognized as the ecotourism capital of the Philippines

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Latest News on Bellarocca Resort and Spa


Marinduque’s luxury isle - is the title of the article on the Daily Inquirer by G. Querubin dated 6/23/2010 . With rates starting from $420 ( hotel room) to $1320 (villa) per night, most of the local Marinduquenos can certainly not afford these prices. Even Filipino-Americans Balikbayan found this resort very expensive. The resort has a website( www.bellaroccaresort.com) but their promo packages had not been updated.

I hope that the resort will give discounts to Balikbayans who are from Marinduque in the near future. I am currently negotiating with a representative of the resort to give our group ( Marinduque International) a discount in our planned post medical mission vacation at the resort this coming February, 2011. If you are interested in joining my group, please let me know ASAP. I will announce the negotiated discounted rate as soon as I received it. Here is the article for your reading pleasure.

"MARINDUQUE, A heart-shaped island-province south of Manila, is home to the world-renowned Moriones Festival, but on a small mountain-islet on its southwestern coast also sits a luxurious Mediterranean-style resort.

Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa on Elefante Island features elegant accommodations, with balconies and verandas that offer breathtaking views of the Sibuyan Sea and the majestic Mt. Malindig. It was formally opened on Feb. 14.

Bellarocca (“beautiful rock” in Italian) is part of Buenavista (good view), the smallest and poorest (fourth-class) of the province’s six municipalities. Pristine and picturesque, Buenavista also boasts of the Bagtingon mountain ranges where butterflies abound.

The resort islet has rolling terrain and immaculate white structures perched atop cliffs, reflecting sunlight and contrasting with the lush green surroundings and blue seas below. Its corporate owner compares its landscape with the quaint island of Santorini in Greece.

Asked what makes it different from other resorts, Jan Michel Gautier, a former general manager, said in an interview: “Service beyond customer expectation.”

“We create demand, we create potentials and we see to it that our customers will have a memorable experience with their stay with us,” he said.

The resort is owned by Gold Barrel Social Club Resort Capital Inc. and is managed by Genesis Resorts and Hotels Corp.

Villas and Terrazas

It features 50 exclusive and stunningly appointed rooms—21 deluxe, nine suites, 10 “terrazas” and 10 villas—designed to highlight a lavish ambiance and intimate stay. Each villa has its own eternity pool, Jacuzzi and pocket garden, and features fully furnished rooms with minimalist interior design and high ceilings.

Room and villa rates range from $420 (about P19,000) to $1,320 (about P61,000) per night. An overnight stay at the presidential villa is pegged at P250,000.

The prices are undoubtedly beyond the reach of most of the 230,000 Marinduqueños, whose average monthly income is estimated at P11,000. Poverty incidence in the province was placed at 50.6 percent, according to a 2006 report of the National Statistical Coordination Board.

Guests are shuttled to their accommodations from the marina, where they are first welcomed in the traditional “putong” (crowning) rite. Employees dance to the chanting and toss petals to the air before presenting kalachuchi leis to them.

An eternity pool, natural hot spring pool and a pavilion restaurant are found near the beach. In between the marina and the pavilion area is the aqua sports center, which offers snorkeling, kayaking, hobiecat sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, sunset cruising and island hopping.

Ramil Lagroso, the food and beverage manager, said the hotel restaurant serves mostly Asian and Western cuisine.

The resort also has a par-36, 9-hole golf course at the foothills of Malindig, a fully equipped air-conditioned gym, cigar, karaoke and piano lounges, library, entertainment center, garden and a meditation sanctuary.

Tours are available around the mainland and to various destinations, such as century-old churches, beaches, museum, Bathala cave and butterfly farms.

Commitment

Bellarocca is committed to help in the province’s social progress by being a part of social developments, Gautier said. During lean periods, the resort’s doctor conducts medical missions in the communities.

“We are helping the locals through employment,” he said. Of the 167 resort employees, 124 are from Marinduque.

“We buy seafood products used in our restaurants, also, directly from local fishermen,” Gautier said.

Fishing is the next main source of income of the locals. Marinduque is primarily agricultural, with 55,810 hectares of its total land area of 95,924 ha devoted to coconuts and other crops.

The municipal government of Buenavista expects that its revenues would increase from business permit fees and taxes that the resort will remit and from the taxes of local businesses tied up with the resort’s operation, such as restaurants and “pasalubong” stores.

Bellarocca is now the banner site of the province for local and international tourism, according to provincial tourism officer Gerry Jamilla. Marinduque, he said, “is becoming the next potential international tourism destination.”

“If the local products and support services such as restaurants will be developed fully, the benefits for Marinduque will be bigger,” trade provincial director Carlito Fabalena said.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dialect of the Philippines and Marinduque


The tagalog speaking region of the Philippines-Katagalugan Region of the Philippines

Friends and relatives here in US often ask me how many dialects are there really in the Philippines. My answer is usually 7 to 8, since that was what I learned in elementary school in the late 1940's. However, I found out today, I was wrong. I found the following article from the web stating there are 12 major regional languages in the Philippines. In the article there are over 170 dialects, one of them is the local Marinduqueno dialect spoken only by the natives of Marinduque. Hopefully a dictionary of Marinduque dialect will be published soon. Note that I have meet other Filipinos here in US who does not even know that Marinduque is known as tagalog speaking province. Most of these non-Marinduquenos believe Visaya is spoken In marinduque. Here is the article that I found interesting and even informative not only to non-Filipinos but also the other Filipinos living outside the Philippines.

"In the Philippines there are over 170 dialects of which about twelve, belonging to the Malayo-Polynesian language family, are of regional importance. Of all these languages only Filipino and English are considered to be official in the country.

The twelve major regional languages are the auxiliary official languages of their respective regions, each with over one million speakers: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon, Waray-Waray, Kapampangan, Bicol, Pangasinan. Kinaray-a, Maranao, Maguindanao and Tausug.
Most of the country’s languages are closely related, belonging to one of several subfamilies of Austronesian - more specifically, Western Malayo-Polynesian languages. The major languages of the country generally correspond to the largest ethnic groups.

Tagalog is the most widespread language of the Central Philippine subfamily, with the bulk of its native speakers concentrated in Manila, central and south-central Luzon, and the islands of Mindoro and Marinduque. The national language of the Philippines, Filipino, is based on Tagalog and shares a place with English as an official language and medium of instruction. Tagalog (including Filipino) has the most extensive written literature of all Philippine languages.

Cebuano, also a Central Philippine language, is used widely in Cebu, Bohol, eastern Negros, western Leyte, and parts of Mindanao.

Ilocano is the most commonly spoken language of the Northern Luzon subfamily, and its speakers constitute the third largest language community of the Philippines.

Other prominent languages of the Central Philippine group include Hiligaynon and Waray-Waray, both spoken in the Visayas, as well as several varieties of Bicol, spoken in southern Luzon.

Tausug is widespread in Palawan and the Sulu Archipelago.

Kinaray-a is spoken mainly in Antique Province. It is also spoken in Iloilo province and certain villages in Mindanao.

Kapampangan (Pampango) and Pangasinan, both Northern Philippine languages, have many speakers in central Luzon.

Notable languages of the Southern Philippine subfamily are Magindanao and Maranao, which are spoken in parts of Mindanao.

Both Spanish and Arabic are used as secondary languages in the Philippines and the use of Arabic is prevalent among the Filipino Muslims. The Lan-nang-oe version of Min Nan Chinese dialect is widely spoken by the country's Chinese minority".

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Orchids Collection in Chateau Du Mer Gardens


One of the many reasons why I love Marinduque is that the climate is conducive to growing orchids outside all year round. Most of my orchids bloom almost every four months except during the hot summer months. My gardener waters the orchids every day only in the morning. It takes her at least 25 minutes to water ( spray) the orchids every day( no rain that day). We fertilized every three months. There are aphids and insects ( ants) in some varieties that had to be hand pick and killed, since I am not in favor using insecticides. Here's some of my orchids for your viewing pleasure:





In 1996, when we first built the main house at Chateau Du Mer in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines, I started planting about a dozen orchids in front of the house. Today, I have a collection of more than fifty varieties of dendrobium, phalaenopsis and vandas. The dendrobiums and phalaenopsis cost around 100 to 200 pesos today(about $4 to $8 US dollars),still very cheap compared to US prices here in California. The vandas cost from 250 to 500 pesos depending on the variety and its rarity. My favorite orchid is the Princess Mikasa, a blue orchid(see top photo above). This was a gift from my first cousin from Iloilo about five years ago. I had to hand carry this on the plane to Marinduque. My cousin's primary business is growing orchids. She has more than a thousand plants in her home in Pototan, Iloilo. She attends to all the orchids Shows and Fairs in the Philippines and exhibits her orchids for sale and competes for awards. My other orchids, I purchased them from orchid gardens in Lucena, Quezon as well as locally during agricultural Fairs and at the Flea markets in Gasan and Boac. The other orchids in the photos are dark pink and yellow vandas as well as the purple dendrobium. I also have three cattleyas in my garden.
Here's a short video of romantic music and orchids. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Marinduque Cuisine- The Best in the Island?


It has been almost two years since my last posting about Philippine cuisine, specifically Marinduque cuisine. But the latest posting from one of my on-line friends in FB, reminded me that food is an excellent topic any time of the year. My on-line friend who is a Caucasian American( JM) and married to a Filipina posted on his FB wall that his wife relatives from the Ilocos Region sent them fresh Lapu Lapu, Prawns and kankong ( a native vegetables), the other day. JM commented that his wife is a good cook and served him chili prawns, fish sticks and kankong sautéed in oysters sauce that night for dinner. The menu made me hungry and reminded me of my wife's recipe of prawns in garlic sauce, sweet and sour bingao and chicken cooked in coconut milk with saffron and green peppers. Bingao is an ocean fish in the red snapper family. It is more fatty than Lapu-Lapu and taste like pork with no fishy smell. The texture is similar to fresh water eels. It is very expensive and rare. I am sorry I can not give you an English name, but bingao is better tasting than Lapu Lapu. We will not be in Marinduque until the end of the year. But the first thing I will instruct our housekeeper is to look for Bingao in the fish market as soon as we arrived.

Now back to Marinduque cuisine. There are four dishes that the Marinduquenos are proud to call their very own. First, they have the ADOBO SA GATA. This is usually a native chicken cooked in coconut milk with green papaya and pepper leaves, spices and dilaw ( a yellow spice) also known as tumeric, (a cheap imitation of saffron). The native chicken is sometimes tough but has a more sweet-tasty feel compared to the regular chicken. The native recipe do not call for green, yellow or red peppers fruit, but my wife always instruct our cook to add this three kind of peppers for color/texture. This is my #1 favorite. I could eat this every week with gusto.

The second dish is the dinugu-an or Kari-kari. The Marinduqueno kari-kari has ox blood but a dryer sauce(compared to other regional blood pudding dish) and very spicy. This is a different dish from Kare, made of tripe and ox tail in peanut butter sauce with green beans. I do not know the details of how it is cook, but when Macrine's aunt give us her Kari-kari, it taste like heaven with rice cake (puto) or just steam rice (I am salivating now, just thinking about it). If you hate spicy dishes, this is not the dish for you .

The third and most delicious of the native dishes is ulang-ulang. It is made from the coconut lobster and young coconut ( shredded buko), coconut milk and a sprinkling of garlic pepper, unions and kalamansi juice( similar to lemon juice). It taste heavenly with steamed rice and noodles.

The fourth dish native to the island is "laing". It is made from taro(gabi) roots and leaves with garlic, ginger and coconut milk. Sometimes, dried fish ( dilis) or tulingan is added to the dish and a tint of shrimp paste( bagoong)


To All Married Men Readers! Do you believe in the statement that, "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach". This statement really applies to me! Comments?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Marinduque Wildlife Sanctuary for Birds*



For the last four months this year while we were in Marinduque, Macrine and I had been enjoying watching the beautiful wild birds that resides in the gardens and fruit trees of Chateau Du Mer. I do not know most of the bird names except for one, they called "the cuckoo", because of the sounds the bird makes. This bird had a long tail, blackish-brown almost look like a small parrot and very elusive. It flies from the tamarind tree in our back porch to the huge palm tree by the side of the house. It hides in the thick foliage of the trees, so unless you look closer, you may not be able to see this beautiful wild bird. Another bird is multicolored and almost look like the California blue Jay but with a yellow breast but blue throat. It is smaller than the cuckoo, but this one would stay on our clotheslines for minutes and you can enjoyed watching its beautiful plumage for a long while. Besides the above two birds, there several varieties of birds, butterflies, and bees that also reside in the gardens and fruit trees of Chateau Du Mer.

Today, I found out that there are bird sanctuaries in Marinduque. The wildlife adventure organization of the world listed the following birds that can be watched in the six towns of the province as follows:

Amethyst Brown-dove, Blackish Cuckoo-shrike, White-browed Shama, Mangrove Blue Flycatcher, Purple-throated Sunbird, Mountain White-eye Zosterops, Philippine Duck, Philippine Cockatoo and Green Racquet-tail.

Other activities recommended by the group besides Bird Watching are, Caving, Trekking and Camping. The seashores near Chateau Du Mer is excellent for bathing and snorkeling as well as jogging or just beach walking/combing. Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort and Conference Center is located in Western Marinduque, 8 KM from downtown Boac- the capital town of Marinduque.

Marinduque Wildlife Sanctuary regions are located on the western side of Gasan, northeast side of Sta. Cruz, southern side of Buenavista, northwest side of Boac and at the eastern side of Torrijos.

The best time of the year for bird watching is from December 1 to May 30. For details, visit www.world-wildlife-adventures.com. As Marinduquenos, we should do our best to help in the conservation of these wild birds. They are our national treasures.

* The above article is my reaction after watching the whole week news on the effects of the Oil Spill in the US Gulf Coast to the wild birds ( brown pelicans and others) in the Louisiana marshes. Oil companies especially BP should be accountable and held responsible for their mistake and mismanagement of this catastrophic event.
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