Things to Do in Marinduque

The legendary and historic Marinduque is one of the most visited places by local tourists in the Philippines. The heart-shaped island is not just full of natural treasures like white sandy beaches, scenic diving sites, beneficial hot springs, and enchanting caves, it is also full of interesting cultural traditions.

Like any other island paradise in the country, visiting Marinduque is affordable. Its accommodation options cater to all kinds of tourists, from budget travelers and backpackers, to luxe honeymooners. If you’re going in Easter, when tourist numbers peak, it’s recommended to book hotels in advance through online booking sites like Traveloka to secure the room you want within budget.

Locals believe the origin of the island to be the result of a tragic romance. It is widely held that Marina, a daughter of a local chief, fell in love with Garduke, a prince from a neighboring kingdom. Their parents were opposed to their romance and they were sentenced to be beheaded. The two managed to elope, ending up in the sea where they died with their remains forming the island.

The island is also historic. Indeed, the name of the island is a corruption of the local name of the tallest point on the island, Mt. Marlanga (now Mt. Malindig), which the Spanish used to rename the island after they captured it in 1569.

It is also on the island that American soldiers first set camp before the Filipino-American War of 1899-1902. The Battle of Pulang Lupa, as the war is locally referred to, ended with the defeat of American soldiers. The island again featured in World War II when the locals put up a stiff resistance against the Japanese.

Things to Do in Marinduque

It is on the background of the heart-shaped island’s legends and history that tourists continue to come in thousands. There are simply many things to do on the island.

One thing that Marinduque is most famous for is the Moriones Festival, held during Holy Week from late March to early April. This is the time when locals in full Roman centurion’s costume reenact scenes in the Bible when Jesus Christ was crucified. Thousands of tourist flock to the island to witness this festivity. There are also other festivals such as Gasang-Gasang, Kangga, and Flower festivals held between April and May.

A tour of the island’s capital, Boac, is also highly recommended. A walk down the streets will introduce you to old stone houses that tell of the island’s history. Visit the Boac Cathedral as well to marvel at its structure.

Another must-go-to place is the Red Mountain, the area where the famous Battle of Pulang Lupa took place. You will need to employ your hiking skills to get to the top for a 360-degree view of the island including its numerous valleys. The “Red” refers to the huge amount of blood shed during the war. You will also need to pay a visit to the memorial built at the site to complete your visit.

Your visit to Marinduque will never be complete without exploring the famous Bathala Caves. This is a complex and extensive cave system that runs below Santa Cruz mountain range. Although it is privately owned, tourists are allowed in at a small fee. It is recommended to visit the cave in the evening when it is lit up.

Marinduque is a volcanic island and a visit to Buenavista Town will expose you to the famous Malbog hot springs. This is where you can have a refreshing and rejuvenating bathing experience.

Indeed, hundreds of tourists visit the place for the therapeutic nature of the springs. You will also have the opportunity to visit the nearby Bulusukan Falls with its crystal-clear waters.

For shopping options, head to the town of Gasan for local souvenirs including beautiful wood carvings. You can also buy some arrowroot cookies. Made from pure uraro (obedience plant), a perennial plant native to Marinduque, the cookies are bite-size and golden brown and crispy with a very unique taste. It is light and easy to digest.

If you want some relaxation time, head to Elephant Island. A visit there is a must if you love golfing and spa treatments. The island boasts of some of the best golf, yoga, and spa amenities you can find anywhere.

Given all these things to do, Marinduque is indeed more than just an island. Visit now to fully appreciate it!

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