I was lucky to tag along with two travel photographers (Oggie Ramos and Ferdz Decena) and got to experience the island firsthand.
Marinduque is not as fancy as destinations like Palawan, or Boracay maybe, but it has its own rustic charms. Most would consider it an off-the-beaten path destination. There are centuries old churches (we got to visit some), scenic falls (this too), and beautiful uncrowded beaches. A winding highway with a great view of the coast connects the towns around the island, just driving on it is an experience.
Getting to Marinduque
There are several bus lines that ply the Manila to Lucena route (JAM, JAC, Lucena Lines) and they have their terminals in Cubao and in Buendia-Taft. From Lucena there are fastcraft and RORO (Roll On, Roll off) vessels (see Montenegro Lines) that goes to Balanacan port in Mogpog or to the Cawit port in Gasan. The RORO vessels mean that you can bring your own car or van if you have a large group.
We took the JAC bus that goes straight to Boac via RORO (fare: Php 717.00 including the terminal fee at the port). The bus leaves the JAC terminal in Kamias at around 6PM and goes to their terminal in Buendia-Taft, arrives there usually at 8PM. You have to be real early if you plan to catch the bus in Buendia-Taft since there are only a handful of seats available once the bus gets there (a JAC employee told us there are only about 10 slots available). During the off-peak season there are only 2 schedules for the bus straight to Boac, one in the morning and one in the evening.
I got to the Buendia terminal at around 5PM and found out I still have 3 hours of waiting time. Good thing I had Oggie and Ferdz for company, never a dull moment.
It was already around 9PM when the bus finally got on its way to SLEX (South Luzon Expressway). We got to the Lucena port several minutes past 1AM, waited a couple of minutes before the bus went into the RORO vessel (scheduled departure time for Cawit port is 2AM).
There were just a few vehicles that morning but during the Holy Week this vessel is packed.
Once inside the ferry we went up and looked for a place to idle the time away and maybe get some sleep. Its still a good 3 hours before the ferry reaches Marinduque. We saw an aircon lounge (additional fare of Php 42.00) and went in. We later found out that the air conditioning is not working. Although tired, the group's mood was still jolly, exchanging jokes and making comments about the lousy local game show being played on TV. We tried to sleep on the cramped couches but it was too hot. Oggie and Ferdz settled for the the plastic mono-bloc benches outside the lounge. I followed suit on Oggie's suggestion that its much cooler on the benches.
I'm not sure how long I was able to sleep (half-sleep maybe the correct word) before the PA system announced our arrival in Cawit port. From Cawit the bus proceeded north to Boac before heading down south to the municipalites Gasan and Buenavista. We were supposed to alight in Boac but missed the stop (somebody overslept! hehe) and ended up in Gasan, which is good since Ferdz actually planned to head to Brgy Pingan in Gasan anyway. What's better is that the bus conductor did not asked us for additional fare. Folks in Pingan are real helpful, pointed us to the nearest resorts when they saw us walking down the coastal road.
Getting around in Marinduque
You can catch the public jeepneys that go around the island but if you are concerned about your schedule its best to hire a tricycle (if the destination is not very far) or a jeepney if you want to go around faster and visit more places. We decided to rent a jeepney for the whole day (Php 2000.00)
More stories soon...