STILL LIFE IN AN ISLAND

by - 1:49 AM

By having good memories on every place you visit,
you are building paradise in your own heart and your life.
- Toba Beta

MANIWAYA ISLAND, MARINDUQUE, PHILIPPINES - Time stood still for almost a week of  hibernation in this hidden paradise still unknown and worthy to be discovered.

Despite the grueling journey towards Marinduque on a Holy Week, the reward of discovering and communing with the natural wonders of Maniwaya Island is priceless, which swept away all previous qualms.

At one night, when the moon decided to flaunt its brightness and the stillness of the water surfaced, with no creature even heard of, we traversed the waters toward the island.  Surprisingly, the water was as calm as standing water in a clear cut glass.  The journey was a breeze, with a few moments of solitude to feel the melodramatic moments of our life. After almost an hour of travel on the shores from the Buyabod Port, we are now at Maniwaya Island.

 Getting There

Like lost wanderers, we have no clue as to where we shall stay for the night.  We arrived at Balanacan Port at 5PM.  After waiting for some passengers on the van en route to Buyabod Port, we left at round 530PM.  (100 pesos fare per passenger).  It took us almost an hour to reach Buyabod Port and darkness began to envelope the surroundings.

While boarded on the van, we tried to talk to some passengers to more or less know that we are in the right track towards our final destination - the Maniwaya Island.  Since it would be too late already, they were not sure if there are still motorized outrigger canoes or passenger boats that would take us to the island itself.  A little bit worried yet with a resounding small percentage of confidence, we tried our luck and instructed the driver to take us directly to Buyabod Port.  At an instant, luck must have been at our side, when one of the passengers of the van told us that her grandfather owns an outrigger canoe which we can charter en route to the island.  Thus, we requested we get his contact number and made one of his grand children to come with us to the port.

Upon arrival at the port, boats and outrigger canoes were nowhere to be found.  In a few minutes, it was as if the stars suddenly lit up the sky with the full intensity of the moon, and Mang Daddy, as he is popularly known to locals appeared in an instant.  Now, that's a bit of a scene, like a superhero coming to the rescue.  After a series of negotiations, we chartered his small and slow-paced outrigger canoe on our journey to the island.  And off, we journeyed to the island.

No lamps or headlights was needed back then.  It was the natural light of the moon which guided us towards our final descent for the day, the Palo Maria Beach of Maniwaya Island.  After forty-five minutes, we are now in a paradise.

Where we stayed

For the first night, we decided to pamper ourselves a bit and stayed at the RESIDENCIA DE PALO MARIA.  The owners were kind and hospitable.  Despite the fully-booked accommodations of the resort, we were given the chance to stay for a night at one of the non-airconditioned cottages.




The transient sojourn in this resort was fun-filled and relaxing indeed.  This is the place to be when you want comfort living in an island, being the only resort with generators as the island has a scheduled electricity.

There are also various water activities to indulge at while at the resort like kayaking as well as the use of speedboats and jetski. Indoor activities include table tennis, darts and of course swimming in its well-landscaped swimming pool situated at the middle of the resort.

Guests can likewise order foods at their dining area or you may want to request for a freshly-caught seafood and have it cooked the way you want it to be.  As expected, since it was holy week there were a lot of guests in the resort, but the waiting staff were all courteous and kind enough to accommodate almost all the concerns of every guest.  That was pretty tough!



If not for the full accommodations during the holy week, we could have stayed longer at this developing resort in the island.  Our heartfelt thanks to the owners of the resort, Dr. Clifford Pernia, Engr. Clarence Pernia and Dr. Ester for the chance to discover the resort.  We will definitely be back, with the hope that it's not fully booked again.

Room Rates for an Overnight Stay (24 hours) - based on their Facebook Page posted March 3, 2013

Family Room (1 Twin Bed and 1 Single Bed, with living and dining room) - 3,500.00 pesos for 5 persons inclusive of air-condition, TV w/cable and refrigerator

Twin Bungalow Room (1 twin bed and 1 single bed) - 3,000.00 pesos for 3 persons inclusive of air-condition, TV w/cable and CR

Single Room (1 twin bed) - 2,000.00 pesos for 2 persons

Kubo/Bamboo Hut (1 Twin Bed) - 1,500.00 pesos for 2 to 3 persons inclusive of fan and TV

Suite Room (1 Twin Bed and 1 Single Bed) - 2,500.00 pesos for 3 to 4 persons inclusive of flat screen TV and air-condition with CR

Deluxe Room (1 Twin Bed) - 2,000.00 pesos maximum of 2 persons inclusive of flat-screen TV, air-condition with CR

Superior Room (1 Twin Bed) - 1,800.00 pesos maximum of 2 persons inclusive of flat-screen TV, air-condition and common CR

Note:  additional 200.00 pesos for extra bed and additional 200.00 pesos for exceeding person

As I Wander

While we were actually given the option by the owners of the resort to pitch our tents within the vicinity of the resort, we declined for the reason that we would look like squatters and an eyesore to the ambiance of the resort.  Thus, the following day, we opted to discover the island and search for our temporary refuge for the days to come.

Not far from the resort, still along the stretch of the Palo Maria Beach, we were able to meet locals relaxing in a small cottage and eventually we asked them where we can pitch our tents.  At first, we informed them that we're looking for the part of the shoreline where there are tree houses aligned. (my friend made a research on this)  And they replied that the same is located somewhere far and we need to take a canoe to get there, however, it is of private property, so we need to get the permission of the owner.  The beach is known to locals as Aloha Beach.  In case, we won't be permitted to stay there, they have given us the option to stay at this part of the island where the newly built cottages are.  It turned out that they were the caretakers of this soon to open beach resort in the island.  We requested from them to take us to Aloha Beach and without hesitation one of the boatmen agreed.  We asked how much shall we give as boat rental, he just said, whatever amount we were willing to shell out.  How kind that was!

The next scenes are indeed indescribable.  It was surreal and the landscape was breathtaking.  The local fishermen's daily activities was a sight to behold en route to Aloha Beach.









Then, we reached the beach of Aloha.  True enough as what the locals say, it was a paradise.  The turquoise water was so clear that a glimpse of the rich marine life can be witnessed through the vast coral reefs underneath. We felt so excited with the hope that this will be our temporary home for the next few days.

The sand was powdery and with no traces of corals.  It felt good despite the scorching heat of the sun.  We immediately proceeded to the tree houses aligned, and saw a lot of people in one of the cottages.  And it appeared to be a family reunion.  When we requested if we can pitch tents, unfortunately, the old woman who was the caretaker informed us that the owners told them that the same is not open to the public.

Thus, left with no recourse, we have to go back to Palo Maria Beach.  At least we were able to discover that a beach with the perfect waters, sea and sand exist in another part of the Maniwaya Island.
 



 
the coral reefs underneath the clear waters

Back at Palo Maria Beach, we asked the caretakers of the newly opened resort if we could pitch out tent and rent one of the cottages. Then they informed us that we can but we have to wait for the owners who were on their way from Quezon.  When the owners arrived, we requested if we could make their small paradise our humble abode for the coming days in the island.  They agreed.  And the rest is histrory.

Equally panoramic and picturesque as the Aloha Beach was our home for the next few days. 








We were their first clientele.  How lucky we are!  The caretakers were all accommodating and they even offered their house just in case we want to charge our gadgets.  They started decorating our cottage and as the first business of the year, all were enthusiastic.  Since there was no electricity in the island, they lend us a rechargeable lamp, sufficient enough to lit the surroundings at night.

The resort has still no name and is owned by the cousin of the owner of Residencia Palo De Maria who is likewise an engineer by profession and his wife, Ms. Judith.  The couple has a cute little child named Amara. Thus, the caretakers told us that the resort may be named Amara Resort.  That we have to see after a year, just in case we get back to the island.   



Kuya Eman, one of the caretakers was our guide and companion in the island.  A family man who previously worked in Manila, but returned back to the island for a simple life and in the company of his daughters.  Our island adventure was made more memorable because of him and we learned a lot on how life is at Maniwaya Island.  Who would not come back to your hometown if it is a paradise such as this.


us (the first clientele) with the caretakers of the resort, Nanay Norie and Kuya Eman

Nanay Norie, Rommel and udak traveler Regina

  The nights at Maniwaya Island was just perfect.  As we all thought that darkness would envelope our surroundings, the moonlight was just perfect as a backdrop on our drinking spree session.  There was even no need for the rechargeable lamp.  There were no insects and mosquitoes.  The cool breeze of the night was a perfect way to relax and be in a deep slumber.


drinking spree at the shores of the island with the moon as the only source of light
I got to taste their local wine, lambanog (cocount whisky), and I must say, it made me forget myself for a night and was even about to back out for the island hopping the following day.  Good thing my travel companions forced me, otherwise I won't be able to see the magnificent Mompong Island and the Palad Sand Bar.

While at the beach, the art of doing nothing is completely enhanced.  In communing with nature, the stillness of one's life is an inevitable part of the journey.  We got to reflect our ways of life and our plans in the future, and even the life of other creatures is being witnessed.  As for me, the bird watching become a hobby.  I've witnessed frolicking birds near our cottage of a specie which I don't know but whose feathers are of varied colors, from yellow, white and blue.

If you're used to people watching, then you might as well engage in bird watching as well.



loner mode
courtship (haha)
lovers quarrel

thinking of how hard life is
fighting angry birds
Food was the least of our problem in the island.  Survivor living as it is, yet, we were like in an everyday feast.  You will never ran out of food as there are freshly-caught fishes available sold by the fishermen direct from the waters of the island.

If you want to engage in water sports activities and wander in the terrestrial view of the island.  There are jetski's, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and paddle boards available for rent.

 

Beach bumming is a given activity.  Who would not be enticed of the turquoise waters and wander in the waters even to the point of burning your skin under the scorching heat of the sun.  There is no perfect time to swim in the island as every minute is indeed perfect.

Wandering also made us discover some inhabitants of the island - the jellyfish, starfish and even the aroma trees which I mistakenly identified as a tamarind.


the aroma fruit ( i thought tamarinds)
While conversing with one the councilors of the municipality who is from Maniwaya Island, it was his predicament that the Department of Tourism should give preferential attention to the visitors needs and to cater to the infrastructure problems of the island.  The concrete path from their port towards the resorts were destroyed due to the recent high-magnitude earthquake that hit Japan and has repercussions on the island as well.  To him, the said issue should be addressed by the provincial government, to boost the tourism industry in the island and give the locals a decent livelihood.

still at your service though the concrete path is devastated - the port at Maniwaya Island


As expected, the slow rising and fading of the sun over the panoramic island is a must see.


the island at dawn - as the sun slowly rises

sunrise
sunset

Time stands still in our stay in the island.  We got to meet the kind locals and embraced their way of life. Indeed, a one of a kind island experience.

Travel Date:  March 26-29, 2013

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26 comments

  1. the sunrise shot looks spectacular!

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  2. that was my room when i was there. the kubo on the right side. and true nga! mabait sira sir cliff at clarence. even maam ester and the kids and the oldies. at gawa na pala yung second level nila. when i was there hindi pa gawa eh :) waaah. i suddenly miss maniwaya. haaay

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oo. ang babait nila. hehe anyway, medyo developed na sya. before kami pumunta binasa ko din blog mo pala. hehe kaya ask sila pano namin nalaman resort nila then i said nabasa ko din sa blog mo. thanks to u also. hehe

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    2. Hello po :) Taga-Marinduque po ako pero never pa akong nakapunta sa Maniwaya Island. This coming holy week, nagbabalak kami ng mga kawork ko. Isa po sa kanila nabasa itong blog ko, at super nagustuhan nila talaga. Sana matuloy kami :) Thanks po sa blog mo. Super laking tulong :)

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  3. i really love d place.can i post your pics on fb so my friends will be willing to come with me?

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    Replies
    1. hi you can copy the url and post so proper credits will also be given. hehe thanks for dropping by!

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  4. Replies
    1. hindi tayo nagabot? haha mga lasing cguro kami habang nagiikot kau. hehe

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  5. any contact number po sana sa maniwaya. please.. thanks.

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  6. i love reading diff blogs and yours is truly wonderfull...i am currently looking for a place where we could spend the holidays esp holy thursday and good friday and all your blog is indeed a great help...can you help me to find good place but not so much in budget...were just want to enjoy but were not capable to spend a lot..were 10..thanks and looking forward for your new blog...

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    Replies
    1. thanks for reading! there are public resorts as well in maniwaya island if you'll come in a big group. pitching tents might be an option for you. thanks again.

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  7. antinde nito sir! :) another destination on my travel list. may i ask how much ung total cost na nagastos nyo? or any tips/suggestion pra makatipid kami. 6-7 persons po ang target na isasama. Thanks in advanced. more travel blogs pls. :) hehe.

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  8. antinde nito sir! panalo. sir ask ko lng magkano po ung total cost na nagastos nyo? Thanks in advanced. :)

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  9. hi! do you have any contact numbers there? thanks!

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  10. hi, pupunta kame dito this coming weekend,, san maganda mag tent dito sa maniwaya.

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  11. Marinduque has been in my bucket list for a long time! I promise this year, I will explore that Island! ;)

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  12. Hi,

    May i know the contact number of the caretaker?

    Planning to visit this place next month :)

    Thanks! :)


    April

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