The Philippine province of
No. of towns: 6
Land Areas: 959.2 sq. km.
Location. It is located between the Bondoc Peninsula at the southeastern portion of Luzon and Mindoro Islands. It is bounded on the north by Tayabas Bay, on its northeast by Mompoy Bay, on its southwest, by Tayabas Strait, on its south by yhr Sibuyan Sea.
Overview. Marinduque gained prominence during the early 1960´s at the discovery of the "Moriones Festival" - a unique and animated Lenten tradition featuring masked men, called "morions", dressed in colorful costumes to the likeness of Roman soldiers. This week-long celebration starts on Holy Monday and culminates on Easter Sunday when the story of Longinus is reenacted in pantomime.
But this province has more than the Moriones Festival to offer-beaches and seascapes, unexplored caves, hot sprins, waterfalls, spectaculars underwater flora and fauna. All these add up to the wonder that is Marinduque, an island awaiting rediscovery.
Brief history. The first inhabitants of the island of Marinduque were the Malays and Mangyans. They were believed to be under the able and firm leadership of the Bonbon settlement in Batangas which was founded by the Bornean datus Dumagsil and Balkasusa.
Legend has it that the original name of the island was Malandik. When the Spaniards came, they found it hard to pronounce Malandik so they called the island Marinduc. By common usage, Marinduc became Marinduque.
Highlights of Historical events.
Year 1571 - Marinduque became an encomienda under Dr. Pedro de Mesa.
- Christianity was introduced by Fr. Diego de Herrera.
1590 - Marinduque became a sub-corregimiento of Mindoro.
1899 - Marinduque became a province under the First Philippine Republic.
1902 - Mindoro was annexed to Marinduque.
1920 - Marinduque became an independent province by an Act. of the Philippine Republic.
Geography. Having an aggregate land area of 959.2 sq. km., this heart-shaped island includes four major islets and eight minor ones. It is characterized by hilly or mountainous valleys, sheer seaside cliffs interspersed with patches of plains in different parts of the island.
The soil is fertile but dotted with large stony areas making wide contiguous farming difficult. Deposit of iron, copper, and lead are likewise found and mined in the area.
Language. Despite a tendency among Philippine island inhabitants towards insular individualism, the people of Marinduque did not evolve their own dialect. Tagalog, the mother tongue of its neighboring provinces to the north is spoken by 99 percent of its inhabitants. Only 45 percent can speak Englinsh and 3 percent can speak Spanish.
Major industries. Marinduque is agricultural, having no well-organized manufacturing or processing of the island products. Agriculture is practiced by antiquated methods. Palays is the major product of Marinduque´s subsistence agriculture. The limited arable land area and the prevalence of hills and mountains in the province limit extensive production of this staple crop. Coconut is the major crop of the province and is its top revenue earner.
This is a place bestowed with vast fishing grounds. It has also a substantial mineral deposits such as gold, silver, and copper.
Points of interest
Battle of Pulang Lupa Market (Brgy. Pulang Lupa, Torrijos). A marker stands at the site of the bloodiest battle ever fought on the island between the Marinduque Revolutionary Forces and the Americans. The "Battle of Pulang Lupa" was the first known major battle won by the Filipinos over the Americans. The area is surrounded by dense vegetation making it an ideal place for camping.
Battle Of Paye Marker (Brgy. Balimbing Boac). The marker serves as a reminder of the battle that took place here on July 31,1900 between the Filipinos and the Americans. Inspite of inferior weapons, the Filipinos defeated the Americans.
Putong. This is MArinduque´s unique custom of welcoming and honoring friends and visitors. The ceremony starts with the "mamumutong", a group of men and women singing greetings to the honoree. Calling the latter "santo", the "mamumutong" sing and dance in quickening rhythm in front of him, showering him with flowers and coins as signs of affection. A crown made of flowers and garlands/bouques are given the honoree. Shouts of "mabuhay" and "viva" end the ceremony.
Kulatang. This is a kind of instrument indigenous to the province. The "Kulatang" consists of two pieces of wood, graduated in size to produce different notes, with which a band of 10-12 people make music.
Bathala Caves (Brgy. Ipil, Sta, Cruz). The Bathala Caves complex is believed to be seven in all. Only four of these caves have so far been explored. The first is called the Simbahan owing its name to the natural formations inside its church-like interior: stalagmites forming a rough likeness to an altar, a silhouette of the virgin Mary carrying the Child, the bell-like stalactite, etc. The second cave, darker and deeper than the Simbahan, is occasionally guarded by a python. Another cave has an underground river. Inside the fourth cave are human bones which the people of Brgy. Bathala believe to be the remains of WWII soldiers.
Tres Reyes Island. Located off the coast of the town of Gasan. Three islets named Gaspar, Melchor and Baltazar, collectively known as the Tres Reyes Islands, are among the favorite picnic grounds and dive spots in the Marinduque. The first islet, Gaspar, has a short stretch of coral beach with clear blue-green waters ideal for swimming and snorkeling. The second and third islets, Melchor and Baltazar, have preciptitous shore cliffs and under water caves frequented by divers. Marine species such as groupers, snappers, mackerels and sweet lips are abundant in the area while coconut crabs called "igod" are frequently found in the beach.
In 1981, a sunken galleon was found 130 feet underwater buried deep in the sand between the waters of Gaspar and the mainland. Believed to be one of Limahong´s vessels, the find yielded millions of pesos worth of artifacts and treasures, mostly porcelain jars and plates. The Underwater Archaeology Section of the National Museum salvaged numerous artifacts from the wreck some of which are now on exibit.
Elephant Island. Located off the coast of Brgy. Lipata, Buenavista. One of the small islets dotting the seas of Marinduque is almost surrounded by sheer cliffs with a half-kilometer beach of white sand and crushed corals. The beach is ideal for swimming and snorkeling. In 1987, construction of a leisure resort on the island and on the mainland was started - Facilities include cottages a swimming pool, a golf course, restaurants and a jetty. As of September 1990, 80% of the resort has been completed.
White Beach (Brgy. Poctoy, Torrijos). A stretch of white sand beach, this resort is one of the most frequented beaches in the province. Makeshift huts have ben built along the seashore to provide temporary shelter to pecnickers. Marine life is known to be abundant in the general area farther off this coast.
Malbog Spring ( Brgy. Malbog, Buenavista). At the base of the inactive volcano that is Mt. Malinding can be found the therapeutic waters of Malbog Springs. Two swimming pools of warm though slightly sulfuric waters offer relaxing baths to visitors.
Norada Falls (Sitio Paadyao. Brgy. Bukbok, Mogpog). This is series of gently cascading falls ending in a 10-foot deep pool of crystal-clear waters-an ideal place for a picnic or camping.
Polo, Maniwaya and Mompong islets. Off the coast of Sta. Cruz are the islets of Polo, Mompong and Maniwaya. The first, Polo, is only 35 minutes by boat from the pier. A white sand beach and 10-foot sandy cliffs line its coast.
Only 15 to 20 minutes away from Polo is Maniwaya whose powdery white sand beach could rival that of Boracay´s. Northeast of the islet is another beach similar to White Beach of Torrijos. Mompomg, the farthest from the mainland, is approximately 20 ti 25 minutes by boat from the Maniwaya.
Northwest of this islet lies a kilometer stretch of white coral beach almost similar to the one in Elepant Island.
There are no tourist facilities to speak of in these islets. Visitors are advised to bring drinking water and tents should they plan to stay longer.
Natangco Islet. Located at the Northwestern tip of Marinduque, off Balanacan Pier. Natangco is an eight-hectare islet with a short stretch of powdery white sand beach that gradually slopes into the sea. This islet is a haven to scuba divers, its waters teeming with corrals and marine life-moorish idols, butterfly fishes, occational sightings of manta rays and marlins, etc. Visitors are advised to bring water and food since there are no facilities here.
Mt. Malindig. Bordering the towns of Buenavista and Torrijos, this mountain is 36 km. away from Boac. Dominating the south of Marinduque is Mt. Malindig, an inactive volcano rising 3,167 feet above the sea. Dense forest covers its upper half-giant tries, moss forest, wild orchids, while the rest is nearly deforested due to the slash-and-burn method of farming. The latter, however, does not diminish the attractions of Mt. Malindig. It still remains an excellent place for mountain climbing, camping and bird watching.
Salomague Island. Located off the coast of Sta. Cruz. Found on the eastern side of the island is a half-kilometer long white beach of sand and crushed corals. There is a good dive spot to the northeast off the islet.
Salomague Island is a privately-owned island. Permission should be secured by those who intend to bathe at the island's white beach or use the area as a jump-off point for scuba diving.
Costa Celina (Sitio Talisay, Brgy. Bonliw, Torrijos). Flanked by cliffs on both sides, it is among the favorite dive spots in Marinduque. Approximately 40 meters from the shore is an undersea wall rich in marine flora and fauna.
Amoingon Coast (Brgy. Amoingon, Boac). Abundant marine flora and fauna can easily be seen only ten to 15 meters away from the beachfront-colorful butterfly fishes, bobbing clown fishes, lionfishes, melon-sized sea urchins, and schools of angelfish are among the varieties found here.
Mainit Hot Spring (Brgy. Mainit, Boac). A flowing brook of hot spring water is the main attraction in Brgy. Mainit. Mainit Hot Springs, whose highly therapeutic water is a favorite among the Marinduqueños, is the local version of a hot spa.
Boac Cathedral (Brgy. Mataas-na-Bayan, Boac). This cathedral was built sometime in the 18th century. The architecture is Fil-Hispanic Gothic with much of the original structure faithfully preserved - the facade and main body, the belfry, and the altar. Stained glass windows, though a later addition, adorn the walls and enhances the age-old beauty of the church.
Marcopper Mining Corporation Mine Site (Brgy. Tapian, Sta. Cruz). The mines of Marcopper Mining Corporation (MMC) produces 20% of the country's copper supply. A guided tour around the mine site has been organized by the MMC. It has facilities like swimming pools, bowling lanes, basketball / tennis courts and an 18-hole golf course.
Mariones Festival. Celebrated in Boac, Mogpog and Gasan. Every week before Easter, the centurion named Longinus "comes alive" as the towns of Boac, Mogpog and Gasan celebrate the Mariones Festival. A religious festival which links the story of Longinus with Christ's passion and deat, it features masked men in colorful costumes in the likeness of Roman soldiers.
Starting on Holy Monday, "morions" roam the streets of Boac, Mogpog and Gasan. They play pranks on the townspeople, serenade ladies, frighten children and sometimes engage in mock sword fight.
The highlight of the festival takes place on the eve of Black Saturday, at about 9:30 p.m. to 12 midnight, when the story of Longinus is re-enacted in a pantomine by the bank of the nearly dried-up Boac River. A merry chase between Longinus and the other morions takes place to the delight of the onlookers. They story ends with the eventual capture and beheading of Longinus.
Feast of the immaculate conception (Boac Town Fiesta). The town fiesta of the municipality of Boac falls on the feast day of the Immaculate Conception. During this day, a religious-civic-military celebration is observed throughout the town.
Scuba diving. The waters of Marinduque are replete with underwater riches. Numerous dive spots are scattered around the island's water simply waiting to be rediscovered. Among the more popular ones these are found off the coast of the islands of Maniwaya, Natangco, Salomague and the Tres Reyes. There is only one dive resort in the province:
Marinduque Marine Sports Corporation
Brgy. Balaring, Boac, Marinduque
Booking Office: Mantours Inc.,
Casa Blanca Bldg., 535 R. Salas St., Ermita, Manila.
Aquasports Services: Full scuba services includes 7.4 CFM compressor, Scuba air-tanks, regulators,
BCD's, mask, fins and snorkels, windsurfboards, windsurfing instruction, motorized rubber boats.
Accomodation: six cottages with toilet and bath.
Air refill stations (PCSSD accredited).
How to get there. The province is accesible mainly by water transportation and is serviced by several shipping lines which launch ferry goods and passengers to the mainland of Luzon.
Air transportation is provided by Philippine Airlines at the national airport in Gasan.