Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Tuesday, June 07, 2016
The beachfront of Marikit-Na
Ungab Rock Formation of Mongpong Island



Enjoying a Marinduque getaway for two days is possible if you happen to live near the heart-shaped province of the Philippines. For Metro Manila residents like myself, it entailed me to set aside at least four days considering the mainland Luzon trips to and from two optional ports in Quezon Province. And, I'm one to linger in my pursuits so I have the tendency to lose track of time. To reach it, boarding a RORO vessel from Dalahican Port in Lucena is the established route. With Maniwaya Island being always the last destination in one's itinerary, riding the passenger boat from the island barangay to the port in Quezon Province's town of General Luna is the preferred route for the home-bound trip. Most guests seem not to return the same way. In between, it's one blissful vacation of old town charm layover, island-hopping, and tropical nights at the beach.

Beyond the annual festival of Moriones, the province is an ideal destination for intrepid travelers who don't mind the complex journey for as long as the experience is enviable enough to rid one of ennui. The journey's bus and boat fares may be cheap but the views are certainly golden.

Here are a few essential ways to ascertain that you enjoy your visit of Marinduque:

Palo Maria De Sanctuary Beach of Maniwaya Island
At the vanishing Palad Sandbar
Marikit-Na Beach Resort

Book The Most Unique Stay on Maniwaya Island

If you know what you're in for, you will ignore the slightest provocation to cancel your trip. A random beachfront property may not be the crowing jewel of the destination but it certainly is a necessary complement. Any iffy details about it can easily ruin one's vacation. You don't want to be perplexed thinking about unsavory meals or prison-like guestrooms while sunbathing at the beach, right?

My best recommendation for an inspiring stay on Maniwaya Island is Marikit-Na Beach Resort. Named after the city of Marikina where the owner used to reside, the resort is stylish from the entrance at the beachfront and ridiculously unique starting with its villa's facade. Inside the guesthouse living room, it even gets more charming! It's nothing that you will see anywhere near the island as its owner's penchant for style and everything attractive is palpable in the choice of construction materials, furniture, fabrics, and other details. The bathroom designs are sexy at best but, most of all, the over-all ambiance is like home.

(left) Sinugba for lunch; (right) Danggit for breakfast
The interiors of Marikit-Na Beach Resort
(top left) Chicken Cordon Bleu; (bottom left) Tocino and Tinapa; (right) Blue Marlin

Marikit-Na Beach Resort offers full-board meals with its bookings which is something that backpackers normally stay away from thinking that there's good food nearby. However, the island village may have a rural community but it's not keen on having eateries and the like. This is where having your meals prepared at the resort by the kitchen staff comes in handy. The food is fresh and the variations for long-stays are remarkable. It even has a bar for access to kooky drinks to make your moonlit nights at the beach interesting.

It's also an ideal stay for families as it has a mini theater where teens and kids can watch their favorite movies after spending the whole day outdoors.

Dalahican Port in Lucena, Quezon Province
The mesmerizing ocean view from the RORO vessel

Maximize The Journey

The journey to the province may be a bit complex for first-timers but it's basically about anticipating the risks and settling on what you can appreciate. With RORO vessel rides, you have to expect that it won't leave exactly on time and you'll be on board different types of people. A nifty takeaway there is a chance to meet new faces. They may be locals who can offer useful tips where to eat and what to see once you disembark at the Balanacan Port in Mogpog.

In my case, the ride was useful in terms of having ocean views on a good day. It's not everyday that I get to be out to sea surrounded by nothing but cerulean waters and the expanse of blue skies. As a city dweller, it allowed me to take a gander at the pleasant scenery even before I got to change to my swimming attire.

Aboard the RORO vessel
Once you're at your layover in Sta. Cruz, which I highly recommend that you include in your itinerary, take a stroll around town. Set aside a few hours to check out the 1760-built church called the Holy Cross Parish and visit the plaza. Along the way, you'll spot a lot of old houses.

From the port of Buyabod in Sta. Cruz, you can find the pleasant scenery extended. Regardless if you're on a passenger or chartered boat ride for the island village of Maniwaya, the idyllic views are the same -- tree-filled hills and mountains set against the expansive sea.

Holy Cross Parish (old church in Sta. Cruz)
Sta. Cruz scenery: (left) Moriones landmark (top right) view of the town; (bottom right) Municipal Hall
The bend in the long stretch of Palo Maria De Sanctuary Beach
Sunbathing at Palo Maria De Sanctuary Beach

Explore Maniwaya Island and Mongpong Island

Since Marikit-Na Beach Resort is on Maniwaya Island, it's the first area you can explore upon check-in. The resort's beachfront alone is worth a satisfying mid-day soak, but it's highly recommended that you hie off to the island's White Beach which locals call Palo Maria De Sanctuary Beach. It's a long stretch of fine white sand which bends in the middle leading to the island's pier. It's also where the other beach resorts are but they pale in comparison to Marikit-Na's delicious meals and guestrooms.

To reach it, you either hire a habal-habal (motorcycle) for commute inland or avail of the resort's island-hopping package which includes a stopover at the strip of beach.

A Maniwaya Island beachfront resident
Maniwaya Island dusk 
The Ungab Rock Formation of Mongpong Island
With fellow travelers, Paolo Ruel and Paula O.

Doing a brief stroll at the beachfront can also reward you with memorable conversations with locals. Most of them are there anyway as a fishing community and not yet driven away by conglomerate businesses. During my recent visit, I got the chance to see how parts of a big boat were assembled and I spotted a peddler of bamboo-made cages called "bobo" which residents allude to the foolishness of the fish that enters them.

Marikit-Na is also the closest beach resort to the vanishing sandbar called Palad, so it's best to schedule a visit of it in the early morning when it's low tide.

Should you get fortunate to view it, you can then proceed to visit the nearby island of Mongpong where the sand is also as fine and white. However, what many tourists spend time briefly leaving Maniwaya Island for Mongpong is its rock formation in the village of Ungab with the same name. The attraction is a natural bridge that's massive to behold at one side of the island's beachfront where smooth pebbles of rock fill the shallow waters. Under the cathedral-like rock formation, young locals are known to bathe during the day. Some of them even effortlessly scale the rock walls to eventually dive down below.

A peddler of "bobo" on Maniwaya Island
Sunset on Maniwaya Island
Scenery on Mongpong Island
You can have your Marinduque getaway on a shorter schedule of three days, but that will mean that you'll be on a hurried mood which does not befit a vacation. Plan your trip well and zero in on the things that matter -- a unique accommodation, memorable stopovers, and the destination itself.

Marikit-Na Beach Resort

Official Facebook fan page of Marikit-Na Beach Resort

Address: Sitio Central II, Barangay Maniwaya, Sta. Cruz, Marinduque, Philippines 2490
Phone: 0927-878-9782 or 0921-978-5565

More Photos Below:

Marikit-Na Beach Resort
Relaxing at the resort
The dining area at the resort
The kitchen (left) of the resort
Boat-makers on Maniwaya Island
The beachfront scenery at Marikit-Na
(left) Dessert of Leche Flan; (top right) The resort bar; (bottom right) Dinner of Chicken Tinola
(left) Barkada Guestroom; (bottom) A sea-view suite
Arriving at the vanishing Palad Sandbar
More rooms at the resort


Got anything to add to my post or want to express your thoughts about it? Comment away!

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