Islands

Marinduque Island Visitors Guide

Written by Patrick

ABOUT SEE & DO EAT & DRINK STAY BUDGET ADVICE

Travel Insurance

ABOUT

A smaller island east of Mindoro Island, Marinduque is an island province found at the heart of the Philippines.  It is most known for its Moriones Festival, a Lenten season event and one of the oldest festivals in the country.  But there is more to Marinduque than this celebration to depict the story of Saint Longinus during the biblical times.

Some parts of Marinduque’s provincial waters are part of the Verde Island Passage, the richest part in the entire Coral Triangle and deemed as the center of the center of the world’s marine biodiversity.  It also has cave systems, spring, waterfalls, mountain, and manmade attractions such as centuries-old churches making the island an interesting travel destination in this part of the country.

This brief guide to Marinduque Island will help you plan your trip. It contains information on what to do, eat, and drink as well as the must-see spots and the best hotels.

Location

Marinduque Island Location Map

Best Time to Visit

It’s best to visit the Philippines during the dry season.  Dry season in the Philippines spans from November through April.  These are the summer months in this country.

Be aware that temperatures and humidity levels are particularly high in April and May.

The best time to be a beach bum and explore the islands is from March to May.

TIP:  This guide recommends that booking for Marinduque Island summer trips should be done as early as possible, at least a month before your travel dates, since resorts get fully booked early.

The period from June to October is the rainy (wet) season and is best avoided due to the high possibility of typhoons. The typhoons can not only be destructive, but most tours and activities are cancelled under such circumstances.  Transportation via plane and boat is also seriously impacted as well.  This happens frequently so beware!

This guide recommends traveling to Marinduque Island in April-May or in November-December, just before and just after the rainy season. This will likely bring fewer crowds, yet pleasant weather, and is also a great time to score a travel deal.

Fast Facts

Destination Name:
Marinduque Island
Local Time:
PST (UTC+8)
Best Time of Year to Visit:
December – May
Population:
Approximately 239,300
Language(s):
Marinduqueño, Tagalog, English
Currency:
Philippine Peso (PHP)
Exchange Rate:
Approximately 1 USD = 50 PHP click for exact exchange rate
Location:
Geographic Coordinates:
13°24′N 121°58′E
Area:
952.58 km2 (367.79 sq mi)
Neighboring Cities:
Calapan
Neighboring Islands:
Climate:
Tropical
Clothing:
Lightweight casuals
Religion:
Catholicism (majority), Iglesia Filipina Independiente, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Iglesia ni Cristo
Best Known For:
Major Industries:
Agriculture, handicraft manufacturing, fishing, tourism
Electricity:
Standard voltage is 220V
Plug commonly used is Type A but Types B and C are used as well. Bring A to B adapter(s).
International Phone Code:
+63-042-XXX-XXXX
Airport & Airport Code:
Seaport(s):
Balanacan Port | Buyabod Port | Cawit Port
Bus Terminal(s):
Jac Liner Terminal Bus

Getting Here

There are many ways to get here depending on your starting point. This guide recommends using the following online tools to identify all the available options and cost for each while on Marinduque Island:  Rome2Rio and PHBUS. The following are the major ports of entry for this destination.

BUS TERMINAL

Bus Terminal

Jac Liner Terminal

SEAPORT

Seaport

Balanacan Port

PH Bus

Getting Around

The following are the modes of transportation available on Marinduque Island …

Bicycles

Bicycles

Bus

Bus

Jeepneys

Jeepneys

Motorcycles

Motorcycles

Motorized Outrigger

Motorized Outrigger

Tricycles

Tricycles

Rome to Rio

SEE & DO

The following is your guide to places to see and activities to enjoy while on Marinduque Island.

1 | Mount Malindig

With the peak at 1,157 above sea level, Mount Malindig is the highest spot on the island.  It is considered a potentially active volcano as indicated by the solfataric springs in the area.  It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Marinduque due to its scenic landscapes, the gently rolling hills, lush forests, and the interesting flora and fauna found in the area.  

Mount Malindig is considered an easy to moderate climb, thus a great hiking destination even for newbies.

2 | Malbog Sulfur Spring

Located at the base of Mount Malindig, Malbog Sulfur Spring attracts people with its swimming pools with lukewarm water coming from the slopes of the volcano.  The sulfuric water has a relaxing effect and is believed to cure various skin diseases and colds.

The area, surrounded with lush greenery, is a good place to hang out if you are not up for taking a dip.

3 | Boac Cathedral and Gasan Church

Formally called Immaculate Conception Cathedral Parish, Boac Cathedral in Boac town is a Roman Catholic fortress church with Baroque architecture.  It was once used to shelter the locals during a Moro attack in the 1800s.  Its facade was made of rough terra cotta while the bell tower was made of adobe stones.  It has carved doors and ceilings.  The church is an important part of Philippine history being the spot where the Philippine flag for the revolution was blessed.

Next to the town of Boac is the town of Gasan where Gasan Church, also called St. Joseph Parish, is located.  Located on top of a hill, the church has a grandiose facade and stairways leading to the entrance.  The ceiling is adorned with carvings and paintings while the beams are decorated with polished coconut shells.  The intricately designed retablo houses sculptures of various saints.  Outside the main structure is a garden, an area displaying old church bells, and a view deck where the breathtaking views of the town, beaches, and nearby islands can be seen.

4 | Cave Systems

Marinduque is blessed with four cave systems – Bathala Cave, Tarug Caves, Bagumbungan Cave, and Tablo Caves.  

In the Bathala Cave system, only four caves are open to the public out of seven caves it comprises.  The biggest cave, called Church Cave, has stalagmites and stalactites formation that resembles a church, hence the name.  One cave is home to pythons and bats while another one housed human bones believed to be of the soldiers during the war.

Bagumbungan Cave has a lot to offer to tourists aside from the stalactite and stalagmite formations.  It has small waterfalls and a brook with natural pools where a few marine creatures like catfish, crabs, eels, and shrimps thrive.  Tarug Caves has three chambers and rises steeply to 270 feet above the ground while Talao Cave has multi-level chambers and overlooks the western part of the island. 

5 | Proctor White Beach and Underwater Museum

Considered the most famous beach in Marinduque, Poctoy White Beach boasts of pristine waters in addition to its long stretch of white sand.  It’s a great spot for swimming, diving, and snorkeling and it offers the scenic views of Mount Malindig.  Not too far from the beach is the Poctoy Underwater Museum where a statue of Morion was installed for scuba divers.

6 | Kawa-Kawa Falls and Paadjao Falls

In addition to caves and beaches, Marinduque is blessed with a few waterfalls – two of the most popular are Kawa-Kawa Falls and Paadjao Falls.  Kawa-Kawa Falls is a series of small falls that cascades into natural pools with shape resembling a kawa (large wok), hence the name.  It is found in the middle of the forest and is surrounded with lush greenery.  Less than an hour away from Kawa-Kawa Falls is Paadjao Falls.  It measures about 15 feet and cascades into a natural pool where you can enjoy the cold and refreshing water.  Like Kawa-Kawa Falls, Paadjao Falls is also surrounded with greenery making it a great place to unwind and commune with nature.

7 | Luzon Datum of 1911 Site

The site is where the geographical center of the Philippines is found.  It is at the peak of Mount Mataas in the town of Mogpog.  It is approximately 220 meters above sea level and offers panoramic views of the mountains and the sea.  Best to come in time for sunset or before sunrise to truly enjoy the view.

8 | Butterfly Gardens

Did you know that Marinduque is the Butterfly Capital of the Philippines?  Six towns in Marinduque are into butterfly farming therefore contributing more than 85% of the country’s butterfly and pupa exports.  To see various kinds of butterflies and find butterfly merchandise such as pupa, framed butterflies, and souvenir items like shirts, come to Gasan Butterfly Garden or Marl Insect and Butterfly Garden, two of the most popular in the province.

9 | Sunflower Gardens

Aside from butterfly gardens, Marinduque is also home to a few sunflower gardens.  In the town of Gasan, less than one kilometer from Marinduque Airport is Sunflower Farm. Farther away, in the town of Boac is El Jamby Sunflower Garden.  These gardens allow visitors to explore the area and have their pictures taken.

10 | Nearby Destinations

Off the coast of Santa Cruz town are three islands, Santa Cruz Island, Maniwaya Island, and Mompong Island which are known for their long stretch of white sand beach, clear water, and magnificent rock formations that’ll make a stunning backdrop for your photoshoots.  On the other side of Marinduque lie Tres Reyes Islands, the three islets named after the three kinds Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltazar.  These three islands are popular island-hopping destinations.

NOTE: The Moriones Festival occurs annually in Marinduque Island during the Holy Week…

Klook

EAT & DRINK

The following is your guide to the flavorful food to enjoy and restaurants to try while on Marinduque Island.

1 | Casa Don Emilio

Casa Don Emilio is a lovely restaurant in the town of Boac.  It is located on the second floor of a well-preserved wooden ancestral house adorned with vintage furniture.  It is a fine dining restaurant serving authentic Marinduqueño cuisine and other Filipino dishes such as sinigang, kare-kare, and lumpiang ubod.

2 | Curba Bar & Grill

Cap off the night with a few cold drinks at Curba Bar and Grill.  It also serves budget-friendly meals and other foods to go along with the drinks.  The bar has branches in Boac and Buenavista.

3 | Kusina sa Plaza

Right below Casa Don Emilio is Kusina sa Plaza which is known for its budget-friendly foods.  The restaurant serves one of the tastiest pizzas on the island as well as breakfast meals, pastries, and coffee.

4 | Café Mamita

Café Mamita is a homey restaurant located on the ground floor of Boac Hotel.  The eatery has a vintage setup complete with furniture and memorabilias hanging on the walls.  It takes pride in serving dishes using the freshest ingredients found in the area.  Don’t miss their manakla (a kind of crustacean) with vegetables and coconut milk, bulalo, and sizzling or grilled blue marlin.

5 | 10 Y.O. Cafe

Located across Balar Hotel & Spa, 10 Y.O. cafe offers not only coffee and snacks but breakfast and lunch meals as well.  It serves mostly Filipino foods and a few Western favorites.

KNOWN FOR: Uraro, a Filipino cookie made of arrowroot flour

WHERE TO STAY

There are many different types of accommodations available in this destination ranging from hostels to luxurious resorts. The following is your guide to our top choices for each range on Marinduque Island.

1 | Eastpoint Hotel by the Sea (Budget)

2 | Luxor Resort and Restaurant (Mid-Range)

3 | Balar Hotel and Spa (Luxury | Resort)

This guide recommends using the following sites to conduct research online of where to stay on Marinduque Island or for a specific destination:

Book your room with these trusted online booking sites.  Booking online in the Philippines almost always guarantees the best price and a room when you arrive.  We use these sites frequently to get the best prices and enjoy convenient bookings. Click each of the buttons below to find the best place for you at the lowest rates:

TIP: Luxor Resort and Restaurant is the best property to experience this destination.

BUDGET

Suggested Budget

Use the chart below to get an idea of how much to budget daily.  Actual amounts will depend on YOUR travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages … some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less. Prices are in USD.

ACCOMMODATION
FOOD
TRANSPORTATION
ATTRACTIONS
AVERAGE DAILY COST
Budget
Accommodation: $7
Food: $5
Transportation: $5
Attractions: $20
Average Daily Cost: $37
Mid-Range
Accommodation: $30
Food: $15
Transportation: $10
Attractions: $25
Average Daily Cost: $80
Luxury
Accommodation: $70
Food: $30
Transportation: $15
Attractions: $30
Average Daily Cost: $145

Travel Costs

Accommodation

A bed in a hostel dorm costs from 350 PHP ($7 USD), but smaller dorms can cost from 500 PHP ($10 USD).  For a private double, prices start around 700 PHP ($14 USD).

Most budget hotels begin at 700 PHP ($14 USD) per night for a double room and usually include free wifi and breakfast.  For a three-star hotel, prices begin around 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) per night.  AirBnB is also widespread throughout the country, with private rooms starting from as little as 500 PHP ($10 USD) per night.  For entire apartments, expect to pay at least 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) per night.

Resorts and luxury accommodations vary greatly from 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) to 5,000+ PHP ($100+ USD).  However, there are some really nice resorts and luxury accommodations which are surprisingly affordable.

We use and recommend booking online to save money using HostelWorldAgodaBooking.com, and AirBnB

Food

Local food is extremely cheap, with street food costing under 50 PHP ($1USD).  For an inexpensive meal at a local restaurant, prices start around 100 PHP ($2 USD).  For a meal at a mid-range restaurant with drinks and table service, expect to pay from 200 PHP ($4 USD).  Knowing that their target customers are primarily tourists, Western food venues can be pricey compared to Filipino food.  Also, some of the ingredients need to be imported, which contributes to the higher cost. Western food (burgers, pizza, pasta, etc.) is much more expensive but is still relatively affordable at around 200 PHP ($4 USD) for a meal and drink.

Fast food like McDonalds will cost around 200 PHP ($4 USD).  A beer at the bar will cost around 50-100 PHP ($1–2 USD).

A week’s worth of groceries will cost between 300-600 PHP ($6-12 USD) per person.  However, food in this country is so inexpensive, and kitchens & refrigerators are hard to come by, I don’t recommend cooking your meals here since there is plenty of delicious street food to eat at very cheap prices. You won’t make it as good as they do and the food is too delicious to miss!

Transportation

There are many modes of transportation available in the Philippines and each varies greatly. 

Public Transportation is cheap.  Bus services on the islands are inexpensive.  Local buses (called jeepneys) are the most common type of transportation in towns and cities. The fare is usually between 7-25 PHP ($.20–.50 USD).

On islands without a bus system, a taxi or tricycle is the only form of transport with fares starting at 50-500 PHP ($1-$10) USD for short trips. 

Taxis are everywhere, and they’re very cheap.  Most fares shouldn’t cost you more than 500 PHP ($10 USD) around town.  

To get between islands, you’ll need to take a boat or to fly.  There are ferries that connect the island together since they aren’t too far apart but, generally speaking, flights are the most realistic option. 

Flights between islands usually cost about 2,000-3500 PHP ($40-70 USD).  However, this isn’t the cheapest way to travel.  It’s only recommended if you have limited time. 

We recommend booking online to save money using: SkyscannermomondoKayakkiwi.com.

Attractions & Activities

Most attractions and activities in the Philippines are pretty cheap. Most attractions throughout the area are FREE to enter, though some of the more well known and popular ones cost 5-100 PHP ($.10-$2 USD) to enter. 

Depending on the activity, most day tours only cost around 1,000-1,500 PHP ($20-30 USD), oftentimes less.  You have more bargaining power if you go with a group. If you are expecting to do some climbing, remember to pack some warm layers. It gets cold at the top!  

Other activities such as Island Hopping, scuba diving, helmet diving, swimming with whale sharks, jungle trekking, canyoning, ATVs, jet skis, wakeboarding, cruises, parasailing, horseback riding, cultural experiences, and tours can cost as much as 1,250-5,000+ PHP ($25-100+ USD).

The Philippines is one of the least expensive places to learn how to scuba dive. Learning to scuba dive usually costs about 15,000-20,000 PHP ($300-400 USD), but often includes FREE accommodation for the duration of the course, which lasts three or four days.

Always book your tours and activities when you arrive.  Stick to travel agents who are selling on the ground. If a travel agent won’t negotiate with you, move on to the next until you find one that will.  Booking tours online is almost always more expensive. 

Typical Costs on Marinduque Island in 2022:

  • Hostel Dorm Bed: 250-350 PHP ($5–7 USD) night
  • Budget Hotel:  700 PHP ($14 USD) night
  • Mid-Range Hotel:  1500 PHP ($31 USD) night
  • Street Food: 50-150 PHP ($1–3 USD) meal
  • Restaurant Meals: 200-300 PHP ($4–6 USD) meal
  • Local Beer: 50-100 PHP ($1–2 USD) bottle
  • 1.5L Bottle of Water: 38 PHP ($.75 USD) bottle
  • Jeepney Ride: 7-25 PHP ($.20–.50 USD) ride
  • Tricycle Ride:  20-100 PHP ($.5-2 USD) ride
  • Long-Distance Bus Ride: 400-500 PHP ($8–10 USD) ride
  • Public Ferry Ride: 200-300 PHP ($4–6 USD) ride
  • Domestic Flight: 2,000-3,500 PHP ($40–70 USD) flight
  • Island-Hopping: 1,000-1,500 PHP ($20-30 USD) trip

DOWNLOAD: Budget Planner Template

 

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ADVICE

The following is some of our best advice on traveling to Marinduque Island.  Learn what you need to know BEFORE you go!

Tips & Hacks

he following are our Top 10 Tips when visiting this destination in the Philippines:

  • Be aware that a tourist VISA is only 30 days. You can extend it upon arrival, or within the first 30 days, for an additional 30 days for a fee of approximately 3,000 pesos.
  • Don’t buy into the fear factor. The Philippines has an unjustified reputation of being a dangerous place. It’s true there are security guards everywhere, but that is to deter theft.
  • Manila is NOT the Philippines. Get outside of the cities to see the real Philippines.
  • Don’t over plan. Boats, buses, and even airplane schedules are notoriously unreliable. Be flexible.
  • Check the weather. The weather varies greatly throughout the Philippines daily.
  • Typhoons can have a huge impact on your plans. Account for this when planning your trip.
  • It’s not cool to raise your voice or show outward frustration in public.
  • Be polite at all times. Realize that your country’s sense of humor may be different from Filipino humor and take this into account when interacting with Filipinos and while in public places.
  • Things move at a slower pace. Accept it … don’t get frustrated … but do account for it.
  • Don’t drink the tap water… but stay hydrated! Save money by buying large bottles (6-10 liters) of water and using it to fill your water bottle or hydration bladder in your backpack.

For a complete list of our travel tips & hacks, check out the following guide and be sure to download a FREE copy for yourself.

VIEW & DOWNLOAD: The Ultimate Travel Tips & Hacks Guide for the Philippines

Money Matters

The Philippines has its own currency called the Philippine Peso. Banks, ATMs, and money-changers can be found on the island. If you are exploring the neighboring islands or provinces, make sure to bring enough cash that will last until the next time you get to an ATM or bank since most tours, transportation, and budget accommodations only accept cash.

READ MORE: Money in the Philippines: Everything You Need to Know

Health & Safety

Crime

While overall the Philippines is a safe country to visit, as is Marinduque Island, you need to use common sense just as you would in any country, especially when traveling, and in a city, town, or area you are unfamiliar with.

Consult your hotel or resort front desk as they are more likely to give you reliable information than a random stranger on the street. Be careful when approaching strangers and selective about who you approach. Always pay attention to your gut feeling and follow it.

READ MORE: How to Avoid Scams & Thieves in the Philippines

Safety

There are many things to consider when traveling in order to stay safe … things that we may not be accustomed to during our normal everyday lives. The following are articles about tips on how to stay safe while traveling in the Philippines:

TIP: The best way to avoid problems and stay safe is to travel with a local resident.

Health

Staying fit & healthy can be challenging when traveling in the Philippines. 

The tropical Philippines climate requires you to prepare for illnesses that you may not normally be accustomed to. 

The following are our Top 10 Tips for Staying Healthy while Traveling in the Philippines:

  • Maintain a Balanced Diet
  • Stay Hydrated but Only Drink Bottled Water
  • Get Plenty of Rest
  • Allow Your Body Time to Adjust 
  • Keep Active
  • Sanitize Often 
  • Be Aware of Food Safety Concerns
  • Take Your Vitamins
  • Practice Safe Sex
  • Be Prepared Should You Get Sick

READ MORE: Stay Healthy in the Philippines: How to Avoid Getting Sick

Staying Connected

You need to have a local-based SIM card in order to stay connected when in the Philippines. Network giants such as Globe and Smart have SIM cards you can use to make calls, send text messages, and also to connect to the Internet. A SIM card costs around 50 PHP ($1 USD) and usually comes with a FREE load worth 50 PHP ($1 USD). You can buy a card containing a code you can enter on your phone to replenish your load or buy an electronic load that is available almost anywhere in the city.

While you may not have problems with signal strength when in the city, it is not always the case when on islands or in remote areas of a province.  So when arranging for transportation pick up, say when renting a boat to take you to and pick you up from the island, it would be best that you make it clear what time you need to be picked up before the boatman leaves.

Apps for smartphones and tablets can be useful both before you leave and while you’re traveling.  Most are available for iPhones and Android phones.

The following are our Top 10 most useful travel apps on our smartphones when traveling in the Philippines:

  1. Grab (taxis/ride shares)
  2. Angkas (motorbike ride-hailing)
  3. WhatsApp (phone calls)
  4. Skyscanner (flights)
  5. Rome2Rio (transportation)
  6. Agoda (accomodations)
  7. Booking.com (accomodations)
  8. AirBnB (accomodations)
  9. Traveloka (flights, accomodations, activities)
  10. Klook (attractions & activities )

Be certain to download and set up apps BEFORE leaving on your trip to make certain each is installed and working properly.

For our complete list of travel apps that we use and recommend while traveling in the Philippines, checkout our checklist below.  Download a FREE copy for yourself as a PDF.

READ MORE: The Ultimate List of Travel Apps for the Philippines

Itinerary

Trying to decide what to do when traveling to a destination for the first time can be a bit overwhelming given your lack of familiarity with the place along with all of the available options. 

We’ve created the following itinerary to help simplify the process and ensure that you get the most out of your trip.  Although we provide a 7 day itinerary for this destination, it can always be adjusted to fit the length of your trip.

VIEW: Marinduque Island 7-Day Travel Itinerary

Packing Checklist

The secret to a successful and stress-free trip is to start by using a packing list.  This will reduce anxiety from the start and ensure that nothing important is forgotten when packing.   To make this process easy for you, we’ve created a detailed packing list.  Click the link below to download it for FREE now. 

Carrying your checklist with you during your travels can be useful when repacking, by helping to ensure that you do not leave anything behind.

VIEW & DOWNLOAD: Our Ultimate Packing Guide & Checklist

Things to Remember

This guide recommends to take note of the following while traveling on Marinduque Island or in the Philippines in general.

Smoking

There is a nationwide ban which prohibits smoking in public places including indoors, the streets, on sidewalks, in restaurants , and on public transportation, requiring smokers to use designated smoking areas.  Selling tobacco to and purchasing from or for minors is also prohibited. Violators are subject to fines (up to 5,000 PHP | $100 USD) and even 4 months in prison.

Alcohol

The minimum legal drinking age is 18.  Alcohol such as beer and hard drinks can easily be bought in grocery and convenience stores.  The most common alcoholic beverage is beer, generally served cold.  Local alcoholic drinks include tuba (coconut wine which is usually very strong) and potent moonshine-like clear liquors made from sugar or fruit.  Imported beer, wine, and name brand hard alcohol are available but expensive.

Drugs

Drugs are illegal in the Philippines.  Don’t use, buy, or sell any non-prescription drugs while in the Philippines … not even marijuana.  It is considered an especially heinous crime to buy from, for, or sell drugs to children.  The penalties are severe … up to and including death.

Nudity

Public nudity is illegal in the Philippines and is not tolerated.  Most locals consider it offensive.  There are laws which prohibit provocative and erotic clothing and swimwear, therefore carefully consider your clothings and swimwear choices to make certain they are not too revealing.

Foreigners & Expats

If you are not a Filipino citizen, remember that you are a guest when visiting this country … be certain to act accordingly.  Respect the people, their customs, and the environment and wlidlife. You can be deported and banned … so behave … but have fun and enjoy all that this wonderful destination has to offer.

READ MORE: Practical Information about the Philippines

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About the Author

Patrick

Patrick is an entrepreneur, digital nomad, explorer, and photographer. Patrick is always in search of fun and adventure. He is well travelled throughout the world, and although location independent, his home base is Phoenix, Arizona in the USA. Patrick loves island lifestyle which is no wonder why he is so interested in spending time in the Philippines with it’s over 7,000 islands. Patrick created this site to share his knowledge of and experiences in the Philippines with Filipinos as well as other foreigners.

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