Heart of the Philippines: Maniwaya & Mongpong Islands | Marinduque

Ungab Rock Formation, Mongpong Island, Maniwaya Island, Marinduque, Philippines, the Heart of the Philippines, Balanacan Port, Mompong, 3D2N, 4D3N, 2D1N, Itinerary, Accommodation, Hotel, Resort, #VisitPH2015, #VisitPhilippines2015, #itsmorefuninthephilippines
Ungab Rock Formation, Mongpong Island

 Maniwaya Island, White Sand, Beach, Mompong, 3D2N, 4D3N, 2D1N, #VisitPH2015, #VisitPhilippines2015, #itsmorefuninthephilippines, Marinduque, Philippines, the Heart of the Philippines, Balanacan Port, Itinerary, Accommodation, Hotel, Resort
Maniwaya Island

Ticked another Philippine province off my bucket list! Marinduque is an island in the Luzon island group of the Philippines, east of Mindoro, south of Quezon and north of Romblon. The province is home to the Moriones Festival held during Holy Week. It is dubbed as the "Heart" of the Philippines because one, it's shaped like a heart and two, it's located at the heart/center of the Philippines.

Our destinations: Maniwaya and Mongpong Islands

It was a roughly 3-hour bus ride from Manila to Lucena. From Lucena you need to take a roro to Balanacan port which takes around 2-3 hours as well. From the port, another 45-minute boat ride to Maniwaya Island.

See detailed itinerary at the end of this blog post.

What to see in Marinduque:

1. Palad Sandbar

Palad Sandbar, located two miles away from the northeast coast of Maniwaya Island, boasts of crystal clear water and ivory white sand and is only visible at low tides.

"Palad" means palm of the hand in Filipino. The circularly shaped sandbar looks like a palm of the hand.

2. Powdery-white sand + serene and peaceful beach

If you're looking for a nice beach to just relax and unwind without the noisy crowd and all that jazz, Maniwaya Island is the perfect beach getaway. Unlike any other tourist-y beaches in the Philippines, not too many people flock here (except on Holy Week, Moriones Festival - Marinduque's star festival).

Mongpong (Mompong) Island on the other hand, is perfect for the more adventurous or those who wish to be away from the rapid-paced life in the city but want a bit of adrenaline pump.

3. Sumptuous seafood!

Balakwit was the star of our meal during our stay in Maniwaya. Balakwit, also known as conches, is a type of edible seashells found along the shores of Marinduque. The locals consider it as one of their staple food and can be cooked into different kinds of delicious dishes.

4. Ungab Rock Formation

Mongpong Island is famous for its beautiful overarching bridge rock formation called Ungab which towers about 100 feet above the water.

From Maniwaya, the Ungab rock formation in Mongpong Island is definitely another site worth visiting.


5. The hospitality of the people

We stayed at Villa Atilana Resort–a guesthouse that features nipa hut accommodations at an affordable package. The accommodation package does not include meals, but they can cook for you at an added cost.

One of the many things I enjoyed at Villa Atilana is the warm welcome of the staff, including the owner, Atilana. Tita Atilana was hands on during our stay, as if we were just staying in a relative's house. A lot of chit-chats during our free time and she even gave us Korean Ampalaya (Bitter Gourd) seedlings. Filipino hospitality for the win!!

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Detailed Itinerary:

BOAT: Kuya Wawie | 09213695359
Villa Atilana Resort: Atilana Rodriguez | 09185594522

2100 Meet-up JAC Liner Buendia
2200 JAC liner bound to Lucena (Only 10pm and 12am trips)

0300 ETA Lucena (Dalahican Port). Buy tickets to Cawit Port, Marinduque
0400 ETD to Marinduque (Balanacan Por)
0700 ETA Cawit or Balanacan Port. Take jeep or Van to Sta Cruz
0730 ETA to Sta Cruz town proper (Palengke) Breakfast, Hire a trike to Buyabod Port
0800 Rent boat to Maniwaya Island.
0930 ETA Maniwaya Island and Early lunch
1100 Island hopping (Polo Island, Ungab Rock Formation, Palad Sandbar, and swimming onwards.)

0600 Wake up. Breakfast. Swim-photo ops-swim
1100 Break Camp/Clean-up
1300 ETD to Buyabod Port
1400 ETA Buyabod Port. Buy tickets to Lucena Port
1800 ETA Manila

Estimated Budget:

Php 230.00 Jac Liner bus, Buendia - Lucena-Dalahican Port
Php 30.00 Terminal Fee Dalahican Port
Php 270.00 Roro to Balanacan Port
Php 20.00 Terminal Fee Balanacan Port
Php 100.00 Jeep form Balanacan Port to Sta Cruz
Php 80.00 Van Sta. Cruz to Balanacan Port
Php 270.00 RoRo to Balanacan Port
Php 240.00 Bus Lucena to Edsa (Ortigas)

Php 230/head = Php 4,000 chartered boat (includes island hopping) / 18 pax
Php 473/ head - Villa Atilana accommodation for 18 pax

Total Damage = Php 2,313/head