Thursday, September 6, 2012

Why I loved Marinduque

As most of us don’t have any remaining VL  for a week-end extension, we had to wait for a holiday to date a marinduque trip.

We took the P880.00 JAC Liner bus straight to Marinduque; Left Kamias at 5:30pm, and arrived 4:00 am in Cawit Port. From there, It went leftwards to drop passengers bound for BOAC, and then a U-turn to head to Sta Cruz, being it’s final destination.

It took us almost 3 more hours before we got to the Junction for Buyabod Port. The bus driver was a middleman for charcoal, and was asking each house it known for stocks.  What’s cool was that instead of the usual peanut, corn, boiled eggs being sold by hoppers, here, it's fish J. I thought we’re even going to come across vendors of live chickens too..

Anyhow, more than 2 hours past, we reached Buyabod port. I was initially informed that there’s an 8am passenger boat for Maniwaya, but asking the people around in the port, I was informed the schedule is (and ONLY) at 10am.

 Instead of waiting for a few more hours, we had breakfast and rented a tricycle to get us to Kawa Kawa Falls.

Along the way to Buyabod Pier, I’ve seen some mangoes being sold. I was surprised that they still have mangoes at this time, as I thought, mangoes were rather only a summer delight. So, after Kawa Kawa falls, I asked manong trike driver to do a quick stop in the public market so I can get mangoes. I got them at P20/kilo.. huwaawww!

Mangoes fresh from the Market @ P20/kilo

Ice candy @ P6

When we got back to the Pier, only a few minutes later, the boat was ready to leave.

After close to 1 hour on the boat, we finally set our foot in maniwaya island by noontime. (we checked in at PALO MARIA for P600 instead of P1200 for a nipa room complete with beddings; versus another group who arrived later at night who paid P900 for a really hard-on-the-back open cottage ;-) . I'm glad I've inherited my mom's almost-cost bargaining technique.

That kubo in the left is the only enclosed accomodation Palo Maria Beach Resort has til now

We took a bath and napped; it was almost 6pm when I woke up. I woke up the other 2 girls too so we can go ahead and scout dinner. We’ve already skipped lunch and there’s no way to have no dinner.

A walk to remember? towards Talao Talao in Maniwaya Island, Marinduque

Aling Rosalinda called her 2 young girls to guide us to the fish dealer. Unfortunately, when we got there, there’s nothing but empty styroboxes. We asked the girls if there’s anywhere else we can check, and they said there’s this place "Talao talao" where they may have some more (and I was recalling Talao Talao to be the jump off for the sand-bar and my memory serves it right that it's on the opposite side of the island).

After 1 hour walking in the dark, we reached Talao Talao and only to be told to wait for an hour more or two for the incoming fishermen. We can’t wait that further anymore as it’s going to be very dark already in the return trek. Besides, we would have been rotting of hunger by then.

We walked back and came across a store. I thought about buying canned stuff instead. When we got there, I just asked the vendor straight up if she had spare food left (and that's very normal for me to have such gut) She asked to wait; Silently went to the kitchen, and came back with a plateful of fried fish. She was claiming she’s actually been thinking in fact of what to do with so many cooked fish; A small chat further, thanked, then quickly left.

The following day, we left for Bathala Cave. From Sta Cruz Market, we waited for the passengers to fill up the jeep. We took the time to have breakfast too. And since we did not want what's in serving, we asked if we could buy stuff instead and have it cooked. The owner agreed and surprisingly, our bill did not seem to include the cooking charge.. yay!

Marketing for Breakfast

poor cow we've been with in the Road from Bathala to ta Cruz Marinduque market

While waiting, I did my usual interview with the driver, until I asked him If we can do topload. He agreed so, but we had to wait until we get past to the next barangay where there’ll be no more policemen.  Our eyes were on the road patiently waiting for the landmark for the next barangay. Later, one passenger requested to driver to stop so she can pick up something somewhere. After the passenger left, we asked the driver if we can go ahead and climb up. He agreed and people around were just at awe at how quickly our excitement got us up. We immediately took out our cameras but had to be on the lookout every so often as we had to combat the tree branches. Ron, my travel buddy, almost got electrocuted as she kept raising her arm to take pictures of us.

Toploading from Sta Cruz to Bathala Cave in Marinduque

10am, we arrived in the jump off point. The caving series wasn't so spectacular except for the python cave. We've spotted 5 huge pythons and then 2 more on the way to another cave. 1 was hung at a tree branch that we had to cross below.

Bathala Caves

Python Cave in Bathala; you should see 5 of them just in this picture

a view from a cross atop a hill

thick group of bats in Bathala Cave

Bat shits 

It was almost noontime when we finished the caving. We were running towards the waiting shade, but even before we got there, we were told the noontime jeep arrived earlier, 15 mins ago. We have no choice but to wait for the next jeep an hour after.
We could smell the sweat plus the bat shit right from our clothes. There was a river alongside, and we thought about checking it out. We spotted some mums doing their laundry so we thought it would be clean enough. When we asked if we can take a bath, we were told to walk further where there's a better spot to bathe. Indeed! we were so glad we discovered it.

Afterwards, we walked back to the shed. Then again, we were hungry and thirsty. We walked towards a store and bought some drinks. We took the time to hung our wet clothes since it will take a lot more time before the jeepney arrives. I also excused to use the family's comfort room as I think I've digested well from the mangoes I bought the day before.

Just a little bot more later, the jeep arrived. We proceeded to Buenavista for Gaspar Island.

It was already past 5pm when we got to Gaspar island. As soon as we arrived, we scouted for fish as we did not want a repeat of what happened in Maniwaya. For P105.00 we got a almost 1 kilo Lapu Lapu. The resort caretaker volunteered to prepare the food for us, so, we took a quick dip into the sea. The waves and current was too strong and it wasn't long enough until we decided to clean up and prepare for dinner.

Our P105 lapu lapu in Gaspar Island
After dinner, we got back to our in-between gambling session. The first night in Maniwaya, I won P1000. This time in Gaspar, I lost P2300 (To think that there's only me and my other travel buddy Ron left in the game; Daes, the other travel bud, bought out for lack of funds earlier in the first quarter :-) ).

The morning after, we woke up real early, 5:00am, to take the boat back to mainland. We left at 5:30 and the waves were a killer. The boatman was refusing to leave just yet as he couldn't see how the tide is at the middle of the course, but, probably thinking that we have to set sail, the resort caretaker said we can leave. It was late already, after sailing for a few meters, that we stared at eye other. Never had I experience waves this big, and in a boat, so small the wave could just flip us over. Thank god the boatman was really good at shifting.

Waves in the shore this rough? Imagine what it was like in the middle between Gaspar Island in Tres Reyes and Marinduque mainland

We docked safely into the mainland and waited to get a trike to Malbog. From the entrance, we could smell the sulfur. I didn't really know sulfur substance could stink that much, but the resort caretaker, who was the only person there at that time, said it really smell like that. Few more people came minutes later including the town mayor's partner who said indeed, the smell stinks. 

enjoing the warm bathe in Malbog sulfuric hot spring while my mind keeps saying it's in a drainage somewhere in Pasig

We took our pictures, and had to leave next for Luzon Datum. There wasn't electricity at that hour, thus, there wasn't water to clean up too. We were again pointed to the river, where, again, we spotted early-laundryers :-). By this time, we were really laughing at it. We didn't really chance upon any blog talking about bathing in the rivers.

beach goers turned river bathers

After sort of cleaning up, we left. We took a jeep bound for Balanacan, but upon arriving in Boac, the driver said it won't push forward for Balanacan; We were asked to transfer. When we got to the terminal, as usual, there's only a few passengers there, and the jeep won't leave until it's full. The driver said it will leave in a bit, but the store staff next to the terminal said it will most likely leave around 1am. She said the passengers who take the Balancan jeep are only the same passengers who'd ride the Starhorse trip to Dalahican at 2:30; And these passengers arrive only at around 1pm. One passenger probably felt our whining, and she said she's waited from 7am. The minute we heard it, we zipped our mouth. We knew we can't get to Luzon Datum too so we took it off the plan. So, instead of just waiting in the jeep, we walked around the town center and played billiards (I took one of the passenger's mobile number so he can txt us when the jeeps about to leave). Ron had to buy some work sandals too as she forgot to throw one to her backpack. The jeep left about few minutes past 12.

When have you last been to a Footstep store?

BOAC town proper with FAT Limbonis
We reached balanacan after an hour; Had lunch while Ron had to knock some houses so she can take a bath (She thought it's nasty to go straight to work with a river-bath).


  1. Kagutom! Your photo in the market made me miss dilis and tuyo sooo much :(

    1. i'm trying to keep my eyes off that picture myself... :-)

  2. ganito gusto kong trip walang kaartehan.. siguro pg ksama nio ko sa bangka n gnun kalaking waves bka hinimatay na ako... hai miss ko tuloy probinsya nmin

    1. wow.. taga san ka duN? di mo nman sinabi.. nakikain sana kami sa mga kamaganak mo.lolz

  3. grabe ang adventure nyo! kaya i always stuff my bag with biscuits and water just in case walang makain.. hehehe!!! nakakatakoy yung waves, ang aga nun pero lakas ng alon... may bagyo ba? yan lang talaga mahirap in some provinces eh, mauubos ang oras mo sa waiting time sa transpo... part na rin cya ng adventure... hahaha! :)

    1. yup.. may bagyo that day marvs.. though, accdg to the locals,,, wala din ulan. it's been months since they had a dropfall.

  4. Thanks for visiting our province...hope that you guys really enjoy your trip here in the "Heart of the Philippines" Marinduque....hoping to see back here again....doing like mountaineering, undeground river caving, mangrove eco-tour with kayaking....cheers!

    1. certainly Joven... i realized natangco beach is a must.. so i got to go back

  5. reminisce moment ako while reading your was indeed an adventure! we are looking forward to our Masbate trip...

    1. akalain mo... binasa mo pala. heheh... yep! kaya.. file your leave ron.

  6. Hello Mr. Ian Limbonis,

    A pleasant day to you.

    I will be launching s2kd by the end of April. Primarily it will be a collection of personal stories of travel in the Philippines. The basic idea is for people to share the excitement of going places and at the same time offer useful information to would-be wanderers.

    In connection with this I am requesting your permission to allow me to republish in full (text and images) your blog post at

    As usual, full credits along with a link back to your article will accompany the republished content.

    A preview of s2kd is available at

    Hoping for your approval.

    Ronald Alcazar


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