” I once embarked on a journey. I was alone, searching for stories I’ve never witnessed, collecting as many moments as I could.” – Cholo Laurel, filmaker, writer.

When one hears of Marinduque, the Moriones Festival comes to mind. We’ve often heard of it, yet, as the above quote states, we’ve never witnessed nor experienced it. But Marinduque has more to offer, and such was the motivation behind this sojourn to the island dubbed as the heart of the Philippines.

From the moment we disembarked till the time we had to return to the city, Marinduque certainly gave us its moments. It evoked thoughts of finding and keeping one’s faith, wonder at the beauty of nature, bemuse at the colors exploding around you, silently remember those who have come and gone, be amazed at getting to know the people of the place, to discover the place itself for the first time, and to simply just let Marinduque take you to where it wants you to be.



Communicate with your planned place to stay and be very clear as to the duration of your stay. Do not take a chance that you can get accommodations during the Holy Week. You might as well sleep on the road as there are local and foreign tourists who flock to Marinduque during the Holy Week.

We opted to go by land & sea.


We booked JAC Liner via Biyaheroes (they are legit) for the routes Kamias, Cubao, QC – Sta. Cruz, Marinduque departure date and time April 16, 2019 4:00 pm, and Sta. Cruz, Marinduque – Kamias, Cubao, QC, departure date and time April 20, 2019 2:00 pm. All terminal fees paid to Montenegro Lines are taken cared of and are inclusive in your payments. The trip is about 10-12 hrs., so stock up on water and snacks.


There is another option and that is by air via Cebu Pacific. The plane lands in Gasan, Marinduque, and land transportation (jeepneys / vans) abound just beyond the gates of the airport.


You can bring your vehicle via the Montenegro or Starhorse Roro at Dalahican port (passenger fare plus cargo fare / vehicle matrix). If you’re going to do this, bring a Utility Vehicle, as the roads tend to be rugged and steep at some points. A pick-up truck would be perfect.

You can hire tricycles for land tours to sightseeing spots, or rent scooters. The sightseeing spots are quite a ways-off from one another, so a means of getting around is necessary. For P2,000.00, we scored this comfortable enough and souped-up ride for our ’round Marinduque land tour.

Sweet ride.

There are also a lot of jeepneys to get you from one point to the other, but best to get an early start if you’re gonna take this option, as the jeepneys tend to wait until the vehicle is filled with passengers.

Tricycle fare in Sta. Cruz, going to and fro from your place of stay, to, say, the town plaza or restaurant, is P12.00-P14.00 per person.


We weren’t able to chase waterfalls’ Kawa-Kawa, Busay, Paadjao Falls, visit caves, and trek up to Luzon Datum anymore, as we were pressed for time, but you may want to include this in your itinerary.

So without further ado, here are some pics of our stay in Sta. Cruz, Marinduque.

All photos posted are without any filter / filters whatsoever.



It’s not flashy but the ACU room was great. Clean CR. Comfy beds.
Unfortunately, because I did not reiterate clearly to the owner that we’d be staying for 4 days, we could only stay overnight at this place. The owner, Melqui, however, set us up at another place.
You know you’re in Sta. Cruz, Marinduque, when you see this enormous statue of a Morion. The people of Marinduque, during Holy Week, celebrate the Moriones Festival based on the story of Longinus.
It is said that it was Longinus, blind in one eye, who stabbed Christ’s side with a spear when He was upright and nailed to the cross. When the blood of Jesus fell on his face, his sight was miraculously restored. A converted believer, Longinus started preaching the teachings of Jesus Christ, and the Romans did not take kindly to that. Longinus was hunted down, and eventually captured.
Legend has it that Longinus was asked to retract everything he said to those who listened to him, to which he declined, and thus was put to death by beheading.
Our ride arrived and our first stop was the Balanacan View Deck in Mompog.
It is said that upon arriving in Marinduque, one has to give thanks and a prayer to
Our Lady of Peace and Safe Voyage
located at the Balanacan port.
The Boac Cathedral, built in 1792.
Beautiful interiors.
Old houses, called heritage houses, abound in Boac.
Eight of these old houses burned last 2015.
Only a few are left standing.
The townsfolk of Boac are very proud of their old houses.
It’s like being in Vigan, only less grander and much simpler.
The people of Marinduque are so nice, warm, and friendly, always asking if they could help.
Old and new.
When you’re in Boac, you must eat here @Kusina sa Plaza.
My daughter ordered Sinigang na baboy.
Their lechon kawali is superb.
The interiors evoke an old house feel.
After lunch, I chatted it up with some locals and took a selfie with them. Like I said, they’re really nice people.
Little Morions
Photography works of Cholo Laurel was on display.
We looked for and dropped by at Boac’s 10 y.o. Cafe.
Coffee fix.
Quaint interiors.


Marinduque State College Sunflower Farm @Torrijos.
In the middle of it all.
It’s not as grand as Quezon’s Sunflower fields but it is uplifting, nonetheless.
Sunset @Poctoy White Beach with Mt. Malindig in the background.
It’s white sand and crushed corals.
Plenty of shops here, drinks, food, tents. cottages, accommodations, and resorts
I had a great swim here. The waters were cool.
Frolic in the waves.


Fortune favors the brave.
In this case, it was still really dark when we were about to go to Palad Sandbar, the 1st stop in our island hopping.
We were delayed a bit because someone asked us to accommodate a family of four who also wanted to go island-hopping. We obliged, as this would bring our cost down from P2,150.00 for 2 persons to go on an island hop of 3 destinations, to P1,160.00.
Buyabod port @sunrise.
At first the sun seemed to play a game of hide and seek.
Taking a peek.
And there she was!
Nature is beautiful. She permitted me to capture this shot of her.
Unfortunately, what nature giveth, nature can take away. When we arrived at the Palad Sandbar, she’s already disappeared under about a half-foot of water. In the middle of nowhere, there’s this crush of people standing on the sand bar, putting immense pressure on her. Hope the sand bar does not buckle under the weight.
I did alight from the boat to take a couple of photos
and an underwater picture.
And I thought we were the only ones going to be here because we set out early…
From Palad Sandbar we proceeded to Mompog Island to see the Ungab Rock Formations brought about by millions of years of erosion.
Very picturesque.
Clear waters.
Imposing silhoutte.
Being in Maniwaya island gives you this vibe that you’ve been here before or wish you had.
Its beautiful here.
It’s like seeing a friend whom you haven’t seen for ages.

There’s a resort here named Wawie’s Beach that has great accommodations.

Great cool and clear waters and I swam for almost 2 hours here under the scorching sun
but underneath the waters, it was exhilirating!
I’ll just let the pictures do the talking now.
Remember when I mentioned that we had to check out of Villa D Arco the day after we arrived?
Well, this is what Sir Melqui, and Ms. Karen, Villa D Arco owners,
scored for us as ACU rooms accommodations for our next 2 days @P1500 / day.
Thanks also to the owner of the place, Ms. Beth Fidelino.
I’m not complaining. It’s a sweet deal.
We had late lunch.
Maniwaya Island restos’ were fully loaded that day,
then we slept from 2pm until 8pm in the evening.
Later that evening we visited this place called Rico’s Inn and Restaurant and had pansit / kare-kare for dinner.


Centuries old Sta. Cruz Church.
This old house beside the church used to be a convent.
Mass before the 5pm procession.
When in Sta. Cruz, this is where you should eat.
Although choices are somewhat limited, the taste is alright. Go for their pasta/noodles/sandwiches, but not the pizza, as the crust needs improvement.
Tuna pesto and carbonara
Before the procession started,people jostled for positions where they could join the procession.
Almost all those who would join the procession were barefoot and in their Sunday best, so to speak.
Locals say most of those who participate are from Sta. Cruz, who arrive from other parts of the country together with their loved ones, part of a yearly atonement (panata).
Some join because they believe it brings them luck.
Others take part for the first time and once experienced, the locals say they keep coming back.
Scenes like this are happening simultaneously all over Marinduque.
Here in Sta. Cruz, from this vantage point of mine, it took close to an hour before
all the people were able to join the procession.
There must have been more than 5,000 people in the Prosesyon de Santo Entierro.
Resplendent in their Roman costumes
I ordered chicken, fries, and bread later that evening while my daughter had lechon kawali.


We had lunch at Roby’s again. This time I ordered Lomi while my daughter had pansit.
Had to bulk up as the land and sea trip back home is about 10-12 hrs.
Before we headed out to sea, Marinduque gave us another of her stunning moments. No filter.
Sunset at Balanacan port.

What I will remember about Marinduque, aside from its stunning beaches and spectacular sceneries, is the warmth and friendliness of its people.

Our host for the last two days, Ms. Beth, a native of Marinduque (from Mompog), always has a ready smile for us, and is always asking if we are doing fine. Ditto with Ms. Karen de Luna of Villa D Arco. Even passerbys, if they notice that we’re somewhat at a loss as to where to go, always seem to be ready to help. Our land tour guide, Jeh, is always there for us. Even their native tongue seems pleasing to the ear.

Marinduque certainly has its moments, moments that are worth remembering.

Of course, I did not forget my co-DIYers. Below is our actual 4 days 3 nights itinerary together with expenses incurred for two (2) people.

Be good to one another.

Happy Easter to all !!!

Sashamae / Spike Allowance (our dogs hehe) 500.00 
Taxi to JAC Liner Kamias 273.00 
JAC Liner to Gasan, Mdque from Manila 
/ Biyaheroes
Late Lunch / miscellaneous expenses 645.00 
Arrive at Lucena / Dalahican Port / 
Dinner @stopover
Dalahican Port to Balanacan Port, Mogpog, 
Arrive at Balanacan Port  
JAC Liner to Sta. Cruz
Check in @ accomodations (Villa D’ Arco)
Advance BDO Bank payment for Villa 1,500.00 
Early checkin /breakfast 600.00 
Preparation for Land tour 
(Miscellaneous expenses)
LAND TOUR via Tricycle c/o Villa D’ Arco 2,200.00 
50.00 Entrance
6. LUNCH @Kusina sa Plaza 560.00 
7. Coffee @ 10 y.o. Cafe 185.00 
Return to Villa D’ Arco
Dinner @Rico’s Inn, Free Time 373.00 
Lights Off
DAY 2 APRIL 18, 2019  
Wake up Call 
From Villa D’ Arco to Buyabod Port 
(tricy /misc)
Boat rental c/o Villa d’ Arco for 
Island Hopping
Depart Buyabod Port to:
Swimming, Photo-ops
Ungab Rock Formation
Swimming, Photo-ops
Wawie’s Beach Resort / , halohalo / others 100.00 
Photo ops / swimming
Boat ride: return to Buyabod Port
Tricy back to Villa D’ Arco
Checkout from Villa D Arco / 
transfer to Fidelino residence
3,000.00 (2 nights)
Dinner @R. Centro 273.00 
Lights Off
Wake up Call 
Lunch  @Roby’s / Miscellaneous 560.00 
Dinner @Rico’s Inn 540.00 
Lights out
Wake up Call 
Checkout from Fidelino residence
Prepare for return to Manila
LUNCH @Roby;s 500.00 
Depart for Plaza Sta Cruz / JAC Terminal 48.00 
Arrive at JAC Terminal
Check in @JAC Liner
Depart to Lucena/Dalahican Port 
via Biyaheroes
ETA Lucena/Dalahican Port
Dinner /Miscellaneous 500.00 
Travel time to Manila (3hrs)
ETA Manila
Dinner 500.00 
TOTAL 19,279.00 


There was this long December 2018 weekend and the thought just popped into my head: we’re going to Puerto Galera!!! I vaguely remember the time I was there with my youngest sister Dawn, and cousin Jet, and it would be nice to show the place to my daughter. I heard stories that the place was now too commercialized, but I was hoping Puerto Galera still has some magic in her hidden somewhere, not unlike when I first visited wayyyyy back then. I remember secluded beaches against a backdrop of a mountain where the sun only really showed up past mornings. The crystal clear waters, swaying coconut trees, and cool morning breeze. At night, White Beach explodes with life and pitchers of Mindoro Sling abound. This time, though, it would be a more muted visit, and I looked forward to soothe my weary body and mind after a really tough but rewarding year.

As always, a few pictures for first time DIYers to get an idea of where to go while in Puerto Galera, followed by an actual itinerary with expenses incurred for two (2) people. Book your accommodations in advance as there are a lot of tourists all-year-round. Explore. Get off the beaten track. Enjoy ‘ya’ll.

December 30, 2018. As we made our way to our accommodations, we befriended a tricycle driver named Billy (a good guy who ekes a living to send his siblings to school) @Balatero Port and asked him to be our land tour guide the next day. I asked him for a place with a view, and this is where he took us to, a view of White Beach.
We alighted at our destination in Bgy. Talipanan, and thanked Billy, who would pick us up the next day. Bamboo House Beach Lodge and Restaurant was where we booked in advance. It’s clean, the staff are very nice, with air conditioned rooms if you choose to have this type of accommodation, free breakfast, wi-fi, and great food.
Hammocks by-the-sea.
Your view every morning is always going to be different. It’s a mindset thing.
The horizon beckons.
May it be dusk or dawn.
Be thankful.
Morning view.
Later that evening, just beside Bamboo House, we made our way to Luca Cucina Italiana. You have to eat here.
The Carbonara was delicious and plentiful.
The Contadina was simply superb and is actually good for 4 people. You should order this. You won’t regret it.
Of course I had to wash it all down.
December 31, 2018. Before heading out for the land tour, Bamboo House served us breakfast.
I had a mild headache that morning but still the food was delicious.
First stop was Tamaraw Falls, the twin waterfalls. The falls were raging at full strength when we got there.
For the land tour on our 2nd day, we made our way to a Mangrove conservation area.
A sandbar on the mainland
Here’s the other side of that sandbar
Bamboo walkways
Virgin Beach
Bulabod Beach
Bulabod Beach after a storm.
Virgin Beach, so called because it had a Virgin Mary statue looking over the sea.
At the famous White Beach
Where we hunted for souvenirs
And had lunch at Terminal BBQ
Our Coffee fix
@Cafe Marco
Nice design
We also walked towards the nearby Mangyan Village @Talipanan.
And marvelled at their handicrafts.
That December 31, 2018 New Year’s Eve, Bamboo House served a buffet spread consisting of roasted pork, spaghetti, beef stew, chicken BBQ, buttered shrimp, and desserts. For P600 per head, it was worth it. Bye 2018!!! Hello 2019!!!
Happy New Year !!!!
January 1, 2019. Off we went to Minolo Port for our island hopping.
The port is very pretty.
Off we go!
Fed fishes and snorkeled with them @Coral Garden!
Swam on a deserted Haligi Beach.
Cool & picturesque.
Ain’t no one here but us.
This is easily my favorite beach: Bayanan Beach!!!
@Haligi Beach
After island hopping, I needed coffee again to perk me up.
I needed that…
We then proceeded to go up to Ponderosa. We were supposed to visit this as part of Billy’s land tour on our 2nd day but we decided against it but as the weather now cooperated, we went for it, and this view was our reward.
We went back to our accommodations, slept for a while, and had dinner consisting of bulalo,
Fried chicken
and a fish dish.

It was hard to go but we had to get back to the city. But I needed to take one more look at where I was, at that moment.

I will come back to you. Soon.
You will always be on my mind, Puerto Galera.

As promised, here’s the complete itinerary with expenses incurred for two (2) people.

Sashamae Allowance (she’s our dog!)          700.00
Taxi to Cubao Jam Liner          150.00
Depart Cubao for Batangas          450.00
Arrive @Batangas Pier
Starlite boat fare to Mindoro
(1130 AM for Balatero)
Arrive @ Balatero port
Lunch: Batangas Lomi / Tocilog/more          240.00
Tricy to Bamboo House Beach Lodge            95.00
Check in to accomodations        5,100.00
Dinner @Luca Cocina Italiana          880.00
Coffee            25.00
LAND TOUR c/o BILLY BOY       1,500.00
Tamaraw Falls
Bulabod Beach
Virgin Beach
Mangrove Conservation Spot
Island Sandbar
White Beach
LUNCH @Terminal BBQ & Ribs          440.00
Coffee @Cafe Marco          249.00
Rest @Bamboo House
DINNER BUFFET @Bamboo Beach House       1,200.00
Tricycle to Minolo Port          150.00
Bread            50.00
Coral Garden  / small boat (transfer)          200.00
Haligi Beach
Maniknik Beach
LUNCH          480.00
Bayanan Beach
Back to Minolo Port
Tricy to White Beach            50.00
Travel to Ponderosa Golf Course c/o Billy
Back to Bamboo House
Walk to Mangyan Village
DINNER           825.00
Check out           800.00
Tricy to Balatero Port          150.00
Boat ferry tickets to Batangas          400.00
Depart for Batangas 
Arrive @Batangas
Bus to Manila          450.00
Arrive at Manila
LUNCH @Tokyo! Tokyo!          463.00
GRAB! to San Juan          210.00
TOTALS     Php 17,607.00

Be good to one another. Always.


As Arya Stark said, the North remembers. How can one not remember the North, especially La Union?

Surfing has exploded in La Union, or Elyu, as it is fondly called. Urbiztondo Beach is its hotbed. Whether it’s the time of “habagat” or “amihan”, surfers flock to La Union to frolic in its waves, and partake of its nightlife. La Union boasts of unique restos for foodies, live music for the audiophile in you, treks for the avid mountaineer, and of course, the waves for beginner or champion surfer. It’s easy to get to, just ride a Partas Transit and get off at San Juan, La Union but book your accommodations in advance because if you plan to go on there during long weekends, you’d be surprised that almost all accommodations are full.

For my daughter’s birthday, I decided that we should go to La Union and take in the surfer and culture vibes La Union has to offer.

A few pictures are below so you can appreciate the beauty and great vibes of Elyu.

After arriving and checking into our accommodations, we headed to Midway Grille and ordered Ribs / Veggies / Pork BBQ for lunch
After lunch, we set off for San Fernando and made our way to Ma-Cho temple. The temple is said to have been built to celebrate Filipino-Chinese friendship.
It is about 70 feet above sea level.

This is a place where people from all walks of life come to ask for luck from a Chinese deity named Ma-Cho.
Well after 2 hours, we took our tricy to The Pindangan Ruins. These are the remains of a church built in the 1700s. Locals say this place is haunted. It certainly had a chilling feel to it.
The church was said to have been the binding of two villages: San Vicente and San Guillermo.
After staying for quite the time at both Ma-cho Temple and Pindangan Ruins, we made our way to and sampled the famous Halo Halo de Iloko.
The back part of the place was packed, the front was quaint, and you can tell it’s an antique place. We bought souvenirs here.
We made our way back to Urbiztondo Beach.
After resting up, we headed to Surf Shack and ordered Bocnotan Pizza, Chicken Wings, and a cold one for me. Delicious and affordable.
Surf Shack is the place to be for music, food, and drinks.
The next day, before going to Luna, La Union, we discovered Tipple & Brew. You should eat here.
Roasted chicken, iced coffee for breakfast.
Classic Tapsilog
First stop on our Luna trip: Namacpacan Church, said to have been built in 1587.
Walking distance from Namacpacan Church is the 400 year old Balwarte Watch Tower, which has stood guard over the centuries against marauding pirates and dangers coming from the sea.
The Watch Tower’s renovation was completed in 2015. Before that, it was cut in half by Typhoon Lando.
Also in Luna, La Union, is the famous Bahay na Bato where art works carved in stone are found.
Here’s the original house before it was expanded up the front of the property.
The inside of the original “bahay na bato”.
You’ll pass by this part of the compound before getting to the original house.
A lot of picturesque pathways .
When we visited, there was a pre-nup pictorial going on. Apparently, a lot of that happens here
and here.
Stone works
Catching a break.
Pebble Beach
Here’s a head-scratcher: all these rocks & pebbles were washed ashore by the sea.
So we made our way back to San Juan from Luna, and we ended up partaking of meryenda @Beach Bum Food Park.
Our dinner platter
With seafood.
To wash it down, of course.
The next day oh did we ever need coffee.
Breakfast @El Union Roastery was simply perfect.
See you again soon, Elyu

As usual, our actual itinerary and actual expenses incurred for two are also below.

Sashamae 2 days Allowance (that’s our dog)
11:00 PM Taxi to Partas Transit Cubao        150.00
12:30 AM Depart for San Juan, La Union    1,086.00
5:30AM Arrive @San Juan, La Union
Check-in @San Juan accomodations    1,800.00
Jeep to / Lunch @Midway Grille 11:15am       530.00
Tricycle Tour  (San Gabriel / San Fernando)        500.00
Ma-cho Temple 12:30nn-1:30pm
Pindangan Ruins 1:45pm-2:15pm         50.00 entrance fees
Meryenda @Halo-Halo de Iloko
2:47pm – 3:30pm
      477.00 we had fries and bought souvenirs
Tricy back to Urbiztondo, San Juan
5:00 pm Catch sunset @Urbiztondo Beach
Tricy back to accomodations         50.00
Freshen up 6:30pm
8pm Dinner @SURF SHACK       542.00
Drinks @Surf Shack 8:15pm-10:15pm       200.00
Lights out 10:30pm
5:00am – 5:30am prep for Luna, La Union
6:00am Breakfast @Tipple & Brew       506.00 so good to eat here
Jeepney to Luna, La Union 6:20am         80.00 its 40 kms. to Luna so buckle up
7:00 am- 3:00pm Tricy Tour       300.00
– Namacpacan Church         25.00 (Donation)
Baluarte Watch Tower 
Bahay na Bato 
(Entrance Fee Bahay na Bato)       140.00
Luna Pebble Beach 
Back to San Juan via Viron Transit Bus       200.00
Merienda @Beach Bum Food Park       300.00
5:00 pm Catch sunset
Swimming @Urbiztondo
Dinner & Socials @Beach Bum Food Park    1,198.00
Breakfast @El Union Roastery       620.00
Abbey’s money     1,100.00
Tricy to Partas Transit       100.00
Pasalubongs       300.00
10:30am Depart for Manila via Partas    1,048.00
7:00 pm arrive @Manila
Taxi to San Juan       200.00

Be good to one another. Always.