Marinduque Escapade

There are great reasons why the island of Marinduque is dubbed as the “Heart of the Philippines“. First of all, the island itself is literally shaped like a human heart. In addition to that, the arrangement of the island is similar to the anatomy of where the heart is in the human body. My friends and I were able to visit Marinduque last April and it was truly an amazing experience. We had a chance to join a tour organized by Backpackers Route which is a 2-Days-1-night stay in Mongpong Island. Mongpong, not to be confused with Mogpog, is a small island located at the northeast part of Marindique. It is the nearest island next to the famous Maniwaya which is popularly known for the Palad Sandbar.

While Maniwaya Island is truly a top tourist destination in Marinduque, Mongpong Island is special on its own. For instance, the island features some unique rock formations including the one called Ungab. Our 2D1N tour in Marinduque allows us to explore the entire vicinity of the island through island hopping and habal-habal tour. We also get a chance to visit the Palad sandbar and witness some exciting night activities in Mongpong. We also concluded our tour by visiting the Girasoles Farm in Candelaria, Quezon.

Today, I am sharing you the summary of our recent Marinduque escapade as well as some notable expenses we had on top of our packaged tour with Backpackers Route.

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Day 1: Arriving in Mongpong

We were picked up from Cavite on Friday night and we were able to reach Catanauan, Quezon province Saturday morning at around 5 am. From here, we had a 45 minute boat ride going to Mongpong Island. The first thing that will greet you upon arriving the island is the El Marinduqueño’s Island Resort. Unlike other islands that I have visited so far like the Calaguas Island in Camarines Norte or the Sombrero Island in Masbate, Mongpong is slightly commercialized. There is a regular power supply in the island, well furnished accommodations, a bunch of sari-sari stores, a public school, a marketplace, and more. The first thing we did upon arriving is to set up our tent.

Since we are already part of a packaged tour, all the entrance fees in the island is already shouldered by our organizers. However, if you are planning to visit the island via DIY tour, keep in mind that there is a minimal entrance fee of Php 50 in the resort. You can pitch your own tent for Php150 or better yet try their cottages and rooms ranging from Php600 to Php4000/night. If you are planning to visit the island, make sure to book your accommodation first by messaging them directly to their official page (El Marinduqueños Island Resort)

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There is a large cafeteria-like hall where you can buy foods, drinks, and souvenirs. It also acts as an event area which gives you access to their sound system and videoke machine. You also have access to their man-made pool. Mongpong beach features a mixture of coarse and powdery white sand. They also offer some beach activities like Banana boat and kayak. After setting up our tent, we had enough free time before our lunch so we decided to avail the so-called Habal-Habal tour. Using the habal habal (motorcycle), the driver (guide) will tour you around some unspoiled spots in Mongpong. A habal-habal can only accommodate one guess per ride and it will cost Php250 per tour. Our tour guides took us to three notable location; the Pier, the Siargao Vibe, and the Hidden Paradise.
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The Pier

The first destination is the pier. Although there is really nothing much to do in this area, you can get a beautiful panoramic view of the island. You can also grab the opportunity to take a nice Instagram-worthy picture in that little shed at the end of the pier.
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The Siargao Vibe in Mongpong

Our second destination is what the locals described as “Siargao Vibe“. This is in reference of Siargao’s famous Palm Tree road. Another picturesque spot in Mongpong.
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Hidden Paradise in Mongpong

We concluded our Habal-habal tour in the so-called Hidden Paradise. It is indeed a paradise and unlike the shoreline in front of El Mrinduqueño’s Island Resort, this one is not easily accessible. We were told that it is more ideal to visit this place in the afternoon as you can get a magnificent view of the sunset. As much as we want to stay longer, we were scheduled to go back in the resort for our lunch.
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The crystal clear water of Mongpong

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Out of curiosity, I asked my tour guide if there is any church nearby the resort and he was kind enough to drop me off in a small chapel before we head back to the resort. The small chapel was dedicated under the patronage of Our Lady of Lourdes.
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The Ungab Rock Formation

After our lunch, we proceeded to one of the major highlights of our Marinduque escapade. We had a chance to witness the popular Ungab Rock Formation. Ungab is known for its unique arch-like formation. There is also a minimal environmental or landing fee of Php50. Ideally, you should visit this place on weekdays as it gets really crowded on weekends. We were supposed to visit the Palad Sandbar after Ungab but the tide is already high so our organizer decided to move it the next day.
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We went back to the resort and concluded our first day with an amazing fire dancing activity.

Day 2 : Palad Sandbar and Girasoles Farm

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The slightly submerged Palad Sandbar of Maniwaya

Maniwaya Island has been sitting on my bucket list for quite some time and I’m glad that i had the opportunity to visit the famous Palad Sandbar. Unfortunately, even though we arrived there on time, we were quite late to witness the sandbar in its full form. The tide is starting to go high and the sandbar is nearly submerged in water already. In addition to that, the place is filled with an overwhelming crowd. Although it was not really a satisfying experience or probably not really how I pictured the tour will be like, we decided to enjoy our time and make the most out of it. We took as many pictures as we possibly can before we head back to Mongpong and pack our things.
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Girasoles Farm in Quezon

Before heading back to Manila, we had a couple of side trips. We first went to a pasalubong shop in Quezon and we headed next to the Girasoles Farm in Candelaria. It is a beautiful attraction that somehow reminds me of the Sunflower Farm in Tayug, Pangasinan but better. It features a lot of picture-worthy attractions that depict various famous festivals in the country like Panagbenga, Pahiyas, and Flores de Mayo to name a few. The entrance fee is Php100.

How much is our Tour costs?

The 2d1N Marinduque tour offered by Backpackers Route is worth Php2999 per head. These include the van and boat transfers, 3 sets of meals, tent, access to swimming pool, toll and parking fees. Here’s the breakdowns of expenses for our Marinduque escapade. I’m excluding personal expenses like pasalubong and extra drinks.

Marinduque Package Tour Php 2,999
Habal-Habal Tour Php 250
Ungab Rock Formation Eco Fee Php 50
Eco Fee Php100
Girasoles Farm Entrance Php 100
Total: Php 3499*

(*)This excludes our first breakfast which we had in Quezon and various personal expenses. Prices and fees are also subject to change without prior notice.

(**) This tour is also NOT SPONSORED by Backpackers Route and all the aforementioned fees are shouldered by me

This is also the start of my Marinduque Escapade series and I will have more details about each destination in my future blog entries. For the meantime, feel free to watch my Vlog about this recent trip (and please subscribe 🙂 )

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