|Young locals of Mongpong Island at the Ungab Rock Formation|
I S L A N D -
H O P P I N G
When you're in Marinduque and it's not the Lenten Season for the annual Moriones Festival, there's still a lot of attractions to visit in the province to fill your itinerary. Aside from the white sand beach of Maniwaya Island and the old houses of Boac, you can spend a day on Mongpong Island which is just an hour of boat ride away from Buyabod Port. You won't miss the port in Sta. Cruz because it's where most travelers arrive from different parts of the country. The island getaway is a laid-back side trip that I've personally tested to be a complement to my 3-day revisit of the province last summer.
Marikit-Na Beach Resort on Maniwaya Island for the revisit, I made sure to avail of the property's island-hopping package which included stopovers on the vanishing Palad Sandbar and Mongpong Island's Ungab Rock Formation. With the sandbar submerged in crystalline waters during our trip as a result of high tide, we settled to linger in the area for just a few minutes before proceeding to our next destination. It was easy to wade through the waters anyway even if I don't know how to swim. Reaching Mongpong Island became our target to culminate the day's activity.
|A young Mongpong Island local that our boat disturbed while fishing at the shallow beach waters|
|Approaching Mongpong Island|
|Snacking on Halo-halo near the rock formation|
Arriving At Ungab
From a distance, Mongpong looked like any other island in the province. It was even clear from my vantage point on the boat that a beach strip of of the island has the same fine, white sand as Maniwaya. The boatman informed me that there's currently no resort operating there, so the lone resort that I learned to have operated there probably closed down already. Or maybe he's just misinformed.
Beholding The Natural Bridge
We docked at the rock-studded beach of the island village called Ungab which shares the same name of its natural attraction -- a massive rock formation that stands more than a hundred feet above the water. Ungab Rock Formation 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.
|The clear waters can be deceptively deep|
The area that's exactly below the rock formation was intimidating for me to tackle in the beginning because the farther the space was away from the pebbled surf, the deeper everything seemed to become. And, I was not wrong in assuming that because that's exactly the case according to the kids who were swimming there that time.
Where To Eat
Since there isn't any decent eatery on the island that's anywhere near the rock formation, tourists can negotiate with locals living nearby to pay for cooked seafood. Fishing is the chief source of living by the island residents anyway, so the opportunity can benefit both parties.
During the visit, a couple of young locals lured me and my entourage to their humble home for a sampling of their mom's halo-halo. The house stood next to a small sari-sari store which was a stroll away from the beachfront. We didn't expect to snack on thirst-quenching desserts on a remote paradise such as Mongpong because we did not bring any supplies, but there we were taking our time with every sip of that cold glass of milk-mixed melted ice with a pleasant tropical view. The kids shared that if we visited the island a day earlier, we could've witnessed the annual parade of young beautiful residents who took part in the area's Santa Cruzan which is traditionally held at the beach.
|Marikit-Na Beach Resort guestroom|
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
Ask for the island-hopping package to the Palad Sandbar and Mongpong Island.
More Photos Below:
|With Marinduque tour mates Paolo Ruel and Paula O|
|A huge crevice on a rock wall at the beachfront|