by - 12:23 AM

The heart-shaped island located at the center of the Philippine archipelago, Marinduque, is a popular destination during the Holy Week. 

There are many reasons why the said island province has been marked in every travelers calendar during this long week lenten celebration.  However, a visit to the said province should be clearly planned ahead of time to do away with the necessary hassle of traveling like what we have experienced.

For a five-day trip to Marinduque, this is my travel guide.

Getting There

Going to Marinduque on a weekend through the JAC Liner in Cubao, Quezon City requires advanced bookings as early as 3 months before the scheduled trip, as direct trips to Marinduque would definitely be fully-booked during the Lenten Season.

JAC Liner is the only bus company that serves direct route to the Marinduque Island.  

Thus, on our case our route was only towards Dalahican Port in Lucena, Quezon.  From Quezon City to Dalahican Port in Lucena, it usually takes four (4) hours as travel time depending on the traffic situation at EDSA.  In our case, we left 7AM and arrived at the Dalahican Port in Lucena at 12:20PM due to the heavy traffic in EDSA.  

There are two ways to get to Marinduque, that is, through the Balanacan Port and the Kawit Port.  There are no more trips direct to Buyabod Port from Dalahican Port.  Since, we were bound to Maniwaya Island, we opted for the trip to Balanacan, which first trip is scheduled at 2:30PM.  

While waiting for the scheduled trip, we took our lunch at the eateries aligned outside the terminal.  Food is bearable and cost is cheap.

Terminal fee is 30.00 pesos for regular and 24.00 pesos for students.

eateries aligned outside the Terminal

Holy Tuesday number of passengers at the Terminal

Travel time from the Dalahican Port to Balanacan is two hours and thirty minutes.  It was smooth sailing along the Tayabas Bay en route to Balanacan Port of Marinduque.  However, it was so hot and overcrowded.  This is actually my first time to ride a RORO (Roll On/Roll Off) Ferry on a holy week and towards a popular destination at that, and it was the most grueling travel experience I had to date.

Children crying and passengers murmuring on their qualms of heat and overcrowded space, the passenger ferry without a doubt exceeded its maximum capacity of passengers.  But most of us didn't care as we only have one goal and that is, to reach our destination - the island of Marinduque.  Thanks to my insomnia that I wasn't able to sleep on the night before our travel, thus, on board the ferry I cared less for comfort.  I was in deep sleep and was awakened heavily perspiring.

Upon arrival at the Balanacan Port, we were greeted by the limestone formations of Tayabas Bay and on the port itself, the image of the Our Lady of Good Voyage was a sight to behold, as if, consoling us that the trip was over and that it was indeed a good and safe voyage made.

From Balanacan Port, there are jeepneys and vans stationed outside the port en route to Santa Cruz, Marinduque.  In our case, we opted for the van transport and requested that we be directed towards Buyabod Port, our gateway to Maniwaya Island.  

Transport cost is 80.00 pesos towards Santa Cruz, but since we were to be directed towards Buyabod Port, our fare amounted to 100.00 pesos for each passenger.  Travel time is one hour.

From Buyabod Port to Maniwaya Island it takes an hour of travel time.  Since there are no passenger boats available, to charter an outrigger canoe is inevitable.  

Basic Transport Cost

Manila to Lucena (Dalahican Port) 227.50
  (Through JAC Liner)
Lucena to Balanacan Port 260.00
Terminal Fee 30.00
Balanacan to Santa Cruz 80.00
Santa Cruz, Marinduque to Buyabod Port 20.00
Buyabod Port to Maniwaya Island 240.00
(charter- 1,200 pesos)
Palo Maria Beach to Aloha Beach 40.00
(charter - 200 pesos)
Maniwaya Island to Buyabod Port 50.00
Buyabod Port to Maniwaya Island 50.00
Island Hopping (Mompong Island, Palad San Bar and Maniwaya to Buyabod Port) 200.00
(charter - 1000 pesos)
Buyabod Port to Santa Cruz Public Market 20.00
Santa Cruz  to Boac, Marinduque 47.00
Tanza, Boac to Balanacan Port 50.00
Balanacan Port to Lucena via RORO 260.00
Lucena to Cubao, Quezon City 182.00

TOTAL 1756.50 each
The actual cost incurred was shared by five (5) persons in the group.  Thus, the same may vary depending on how many will share on the group cost. 

What to Do

Celebrate with the locals and tourists what Marinduque is known for, that is, MORIONES FESTIVAL;
*  Be amazed at the various rock formations, pristine coves and beaches, and the rich marine and terrestrial life of the islands of Santa Cruz through cruising the Islands of Santa Cruz;
*  Commune with nature at Maniwaya Island;
*  Walk the streets of the colonial-heritage town of Boac;
*  Interact with the most kind-hearted people I've known in my life - the people of Marinduque.


Travel from Manila before Wednesday, as I've heard stories of travelers being stranded at the port for hours as tickets would be easily sold out at Dalahican Port;
*  Bring enough amount of cash when staying at the islands for days, as necessarily, there are no ATMs at the island;
*  Buy tickets back to Manila at the Balanacan Port as large amount of discounts can be given (JAM Liner);
*  Apply sunblock protection to avoid burning your skin.

Special Thanks For This Trip

THE CARETAKERS OF "AMARA" RESORT OF MANIWAYA ISLAND - special mention to Nanay Norie, Eman Perlada, Romel Tribiana, Engr. Pernia and wife, Ms. Judith.

MANG DADDY - our ever reliable boatman at Maniwaya Island

and of course, KUYA DANILO NIEBLA and FAMILY - whose trust and confidence upon us,  being strangers on the road, is overwhelming.  We are so grateful to have met you.

Travel Date:  March 26-30, 2013

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  1. i love starhorse. isa siyang party boat. hehe. is amara a new resort? di ko nakita yan last year :)

    1. haha party boat nga sa dami ng tao. sobra. haha amara is a new resort kami pinaka first client nila. nung nirent namin isang cottage saka lang nagdecorate. baka next year malaki na pagbabago. maganda beachfront nila at wla masyadong tao kami lang. hehe

  2. thank you for the blog. Me and my friends will going to visit maniwaya this april 2014 (before the holy week). BTW, just wanted to clarify the fare from buyabod to maniwaya island (50 reg fare + 20 adult landing fare) so total of 70php? thank you

    1. Hi! Yes it' a total of 70 pesos collected separately. The landing fee is collected by a local official of maniwaya. Thanks! Have a safe travel.

    2. kita kits vhonsy lopez... try nyo din sa balanacan... magandan din..

  3. kita kits.. Enjoy the summer vacation in marinduque..

    try nyo din sa balancan, dami din beach don

  4. Hi, may contact number po kayo ng Amara? thanks in advance

  5. hi, may contact number po kyo ng Amara? thanks in advance

  6. May byahe na pu ba ng black saturday ?