Marinduque: Weekend at The HEART of the Philippines

Marinduque is one of the provinces off coast the island of Luzon. Since I visited almost all the contiguous provinces within mainland, I took the opportunity to spend my weekend here, despite long hours of travel via land by bus, and via sea by RORO (roll-on roll-off vessel), as this is the only way getting there unless you take a plane, which is expensive and has irregular schedule.

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Mimaropa, formally known as the Southwestern Tagalog Region, is an administrative region in the Philippines. It was also formerly designated as Region IV-B until 2016. The name is an acronym combination of its constituent provinces: Mindoro (divided into Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro), Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan.

When you hear of Marinduque, no doubt Moriones comes to mind. The Moriones is a lenten rites held annually on Holy Week on the island of Marinduque, Philippines. The “Moriones” are men and women in costumes and masks replicating the garb of biblical Roman soldiers as interpreted by local folks. This is a folk-religious festival that re-enacts the story of Saint Longinus, a Roman centurion who was blind in one eye.IMG_20200202_085620
The festival is characterized by colorful Roman costumes, painted masks and helmets, and brightly colored tunics. The participants use morion masks to depict the Roman soldiers and Syrian mercenaries within the story of the Passion of the Christ. The mask was named after the 16th and 17th century Morion helmet.

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Legend has it that Longinus pierced the side of the crucified Christ. The blood that spurted forth touched his blind eye and fully restored his sight. This miracle converted Longinus to Christianity and earned the ire of his fellow centurions. The re-enactment reaches its climax when Longinus is caught and beheaded.

Marinduque is considered as the geographical center of the Philippine archipelago by the Luzon Datum of 1911, the mother of all Philippine geodetic surveys. The province is a “heart-shaped” island , situated between Tayabas Bay in the north and Sibuyan Sea to the south. Hence, they adapted the moniker “The HEART of the Philippines ♡”.

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Marinduque is an island province in the Philippines located in Southwestern Tagalog Region or MIMAROPA, formerly designated as Region IV-B. Its capital is the municipality of Boac. The most accepted theory of the etymology of the province’s name is a Hispanized corruption of either malindig or malindug, which means “stand tall” or “elegant”, in reference to a potentially active volcano in the southern section of the island, the Mount Malindig. Marinduque is my 66th province visited.

A quiet island province littered with heritage churches and natural scenic spots, in this post, I’ll show the tourist destinations I visited in Marinduque over the weekend, my 66th province so far. I’ll post here in my #project81 the articles related to each province. Presenting my sightseeing itinerary below with Balanacan Port as my entry and exit point:

MARINDUQUE TRAVEL MAP
My Marinduque Travel Map doing clockwise route from Balanacan Port in Mogpog. Note that I stayed for a night at Boac as it has a terminal where jeepneys are bound to different municipalities. From Torrijos to Buenavista, I chartered a tricycle since there were no available jeepneys that time.

MARINDUQUE PROVINCE HIGHLIGHTS:

Boac
📍Boac Town Plaza
📍Boac Museum
📍Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of Boac designated as National Historical Landmark
📍Boac Town Arena
📍Casa Real (Boac Old Town Hall)
📍Boac Municipal Hall
📍Public Market where you can buy bibingkang lalaki and other delicacies
📍Heritage houses near town plaza with souvenir shops and eateries
📍Casa de Don Emilio, a restaurant and coffee shop serving kari-kari

Gasan
📍St Joseph the Worker Parish Church
📍Gasan Municipal Hall
📍Heritage Houses

Mogpog
📍Biglang Awa Shrine in Balanacan Harbor
📍Balanacan Port
📍Moriones Monument
📍Mogpog Municipal Hall
📍San Isidro Labrador Church
📍Heritage Houses

Santa Cruz
📍Holy Cross Parish Church
📍Municipal Hall
📍Old Convent
📍Heritage Houses
📍Rejano’s Bakery for arrowroot delicacies

Torrijos
📍Poctoy White Beach
📍St Ignatius of Loyola Parish Church
📍Municipal Hall

Buenavista
📍Malbog Sulfuric Hot Spring
📍Church of the Holy Child
📍Municipal Hall

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All municipalities have been visited, where you can see a glimpse of locals’ daly life.

 

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Balanacan Port (Filipino: Pantalan ng Balanakan) is the major port in the island province of Marinduque, Philippines. It is located at the north-western tip of the province in Barangay Balanacan at the town of Mogpog. It is famous for its large image of Our Lady of Biglang Awa, erected at a top of a shed on a mound of land overlooking the sea.
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Boac, officially the Municipality of Boac, is a 1st class municipality and capital of the province of Marinduque, Philippines. Boac is home to most of the province’s commercial businesses.
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The Boac Cathedral is Marinduque’s central cathedral. In Barangay Mataas na Bayan, it is a historical church where the Katipunan Flag is said to have been baptized. Our Lady of Immaculate Conception is the patron saint of Boac, while Birhen ng Biglang-Awa is the patroness of the province. Built in 1792, it played “silent witness” to Marinduque’s history. People held on to the belief that the church, with its walls and fortresses built and fortified with adobe, protected the island from pirate attacks in the 18th century.

Separate post: Marinduque: Visita Iglesia at the Heart-shaped Island Province

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The name Boac is derived from the Visayan word bi-ak, which means “divided”. The town had been divided into two by a river running from the eastern hinterland to the western plains down to the sea.

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Other records says that Boac came from the word “bulwak”, which characterizes the tide caused by the rapids of the Boac River to its mouth in Barangay Lupac and to the banks around the riverside barrios.
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Beautiful Boac Tourist Brochure given to me by tourism officer at Casa Real, now housing the municipal library and visitors’ office.
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The origin of the name of Gasan came from the term Gasang or Gasang-Gasang, a type of coral once abundant around the town’s shoreline. Legend has it that when the Spaniards discovered the town, they found an old woman near the banks of today’s Matandang Gasan River. When asked in Spanish what was the name of the town, she interpreted it as if they were asking about what was the name of the corals growing around the area, with the Spaniards interpreting her answer as the name of the town. Over time, the term Gasang-Gasang was shortened to Gasang before being shortened further to Gasan.
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Mogpog, officially the Municipality of Mogpog, (Tagalog: Bayan ng Mogpog) is a 3rd class municipality in the province of Marinduque, Philippines. Mogpog was named after the Tagalog word, mag-aapog or kiln makers abundant in the municipality.
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Barangay Balanacan is where the main shipping port is located. It is famous for its large image of Our Lady of Biglang Awa, erected at a top of a shed on a mound of land overlooking the sea.
Historically the famous Moriones Festival is said to have originated from Mogpog. Moriones Festival was founded by a Spanish friar Rev. Father Dionisio Santiago the first parish priest of Mogpog.
66_SANTA CRUZ
Santa Cruz, officially the Municipality of Santa Cruz, is a 1st class municipality in the province of Marinduque, Philippines. The largest of all the six municipalities both in land area and population, it is considered as a secondary municipality after Boac (since it is the capital). Together with Boac, it is also a first-class municipality with established industries and commercial routines.
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Sta. Cruz Church is one of the two oldest churches in the province. Like Boac Cathedral, it is surrounded by high protected walls. The church’s main attractions are its well preserved retablo altar, the pulpit, and the original ceilings. One of the best preserved churches in the province.
According to the inscription on its main door, the church was constructed in 1760. This makes it the oldest standing structure in the province, even older than the Boac Church, which was constructed in 1792 by the Jesuit priests.
The church was not only built for worship; it was also designed to provide natives a refuge in times of calamities and attacks by Moro pirates. It did serve its purpose very well. When piracy was at its height, a deep moat was constructed parallel to the walls to make it doubly difficult to penetrate the church defenses. The tile roofing destroyed by a quake was eventually replaced with galvanized iron from Europe and it has effectively preserved the whole structure for posterity.
66_TORRIJOS
Torrijos, officially the Municipality of Torrijos, is a 3rd class municipality in the province of Marinduque, Philippines.
Named after three purported origins; 1) from Gen. Torrijos, 2) from torrillos, referring to the cows which pastured in its vast plains, and 3) from torre y hijos, referring to the watchtower men guarding the parish.
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Torrijos is deemed to be the summer Capital of the Province and known for locally-grown strawberries.
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Poctoy White Beach is a must see when you visit Torrijos, Marinduque. Its approximately 1 kilometer stretch of white-sand beach offers visitors a unique beach experience. The beach has fine, cream sand, and blue, cool waters, ideal for swimming, playing beach volleyball in and picnicking. Environmental fee is Php50.
66_BUENAVISTA
Buenavista, officially the Municipality of Buenavista, is a 4th class municipality in the province of Marinduque, Philippines. The smallest of the six municipalities.
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It was once part of the municipality of Gasan known as Sabang. It was named such because of the “good view” of the Tablas Strait and offshore islands.
SANTA CRUZ_ARURUT
Arrowroot cookies are the most popular pasalubong from Marinduque, and are made from the root crop that grows all over the island. In other parts of the Philippines, these cookies are known as ‘uraro.’ However, Marinduqueños use the name ‘arrowroot,’ which they pronounce briskly, the syllables mashing together: “Arurut!”
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For a time, arrowroot flour was hard to come by. The traditional method of processing the root into flour, which involved crushing the root using a large rolling pin, was time-consuming and made the flour very expensive. With the help of the Department of Science and Technology, though, local Mita Rejano Reyes opened up the first modern arrowroot processing plant in Marinduque.

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Parine na baya! Dasig-dasig!
Yanong rikit rine! 😁🏖️ (n_n)

Marinduque: Visita Iglesia at the Heart-shaped Island Province

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3 thoughts on “Marinduque: Weekend at The HEART of the Philippines

  1. Was able to visit Poctoy White Beach two years ago, and I can still remember every detail. Marinduque has a special place in my heart. 💙

    Like

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