Last week after the Pahiyas Festival 2016, we pushed on and traveled to Marinduque Island.
Marinduque is one of those special places in the Philippines that I really want to set foot on. For one, it is what many considered as the heart and the center of the country. Second, there is an allure to Marinduque that seems to be calling me to come to this island-province. Third, it’s where you can find the Luzon Datum of 1911.
I’m fascinated with reference points like the KM 0 signs for what they represent – beginnings and starting points. I have pics of Kilometer 0 in Luneta and the one in Basco, Batanes. The Luzon Datum is another reference point that I really want to visit and to have a picture with. I planned to go to Station Balanacan where you can see the unassuming rock that serves as the datum. This plan didn’t materialize during this visit, in a future travel perhaps.
The Luzon Datum of 1911 is reference “0”, the starting point of all geodetic surveys and mapping activities in the Philippines. In 1992 this reference point was incorporated into the PRS92 or “Philippine Reference System of 1992”. You can visit Luzon Datum up on the hills and within the Station Balanacan.
The thing that stopped me from visiting last week was the dearth of public transport. But I think I now have an idea of what to do. I think one can hire a tricycle from Balanacan Port going to the base point of Station Balanacan, less than 10 minutes ride. Have the tricycle wait at the bottom of the trail for you while you climb to the station, to ensure that you have transport on your way back. Public transport are rare in that part of the island. Then after visiting the station and the Luzon Datum, you can take the same tricycle back to the port, where you can find jeepneys bound for different towns of Marinduque.
Why not take a jeepney right from the Port of Balanacan to the datum? Based on my observation, jeepneys are filled to the max before these jeepneys depart the port. You can take the jeepney from port to Luzon Datum jump-off point if you insist but finding transport from there back to port or onward to a town could be difficult, unless you are willing to ride top-load.
Transportation Route and Fare to Lucena Dalahican Port to Marinduque
We followed this travel itinerary for our Marinduque trip with starting point in our home in Liliw, Laguna. We were 4 in our small group, my sister and her friend came all the way from Cebu for Pahiyas and Marinduque vacation. 🙂
Our route was a bit circuitous but worth it because of the saved time. Explanation later..
We took a tricycle from Liliw to Majayjay jeepney terminal – P80 / 20 per pax
Took a jeepney from Majayjay terminal to Lucban town center (the jeep’s normal route is Majayjay to Lucena but because some roads are still close in the town of Lucban due to the Pahiyas Festival we have to get-off the jeepney near the Lucban church.) – P30 per pax
Tricycle Lucban center to jeepney terminal for jeeps bound for Lucena, Quezon Province – P10 per pax
Jeepney from Lucban terminal (across Southern Luzon State University or SLSU) to Lucena via Tayabas – P40 per pax. We disembarked just before the main intersection of the Diversion Road in Lucena, since we need to ride a jeep bound for “bayan”. We did not choose to go straight to the Lucena Grand Terminal because the only option there that can take you to bayan or town center are tricycles which tend to mananaga ng presyo.
Once nasa bayan na, we disembarked two blocks after the Lucena church. Then took a tricycle “pakyaw” or on a “contract” basis bound for Dalahican Port. Fare was P100, or P25 per person.
Total travel time for our route going from Liliw to Dalahican Port was about 2 hours.
An alternative route would have been Liliw to San Pablo, and from therein ride a bus bound for Lucena or if lucky, take one that will go straight to Dalahican. But this route takes more time. This was the route we took on the return journey from Dalahican, took us 4 hours to get to San Pablo, and another one hour to Liliw despite us arriving 6 PM in the port and with less traffic on national highway Lucena to San Pablo. If you travel in the morning, expect worst traffic since the bus coming from Manila will pass by the town centers of Tiaong, Sariayaya, Candelaria, and Lucena.
The route we took going to Marinduque which was again Liliw to Lucena via Majayjay – Lucban – Tayabas passes through almost traffic-free mountain roads so we saved time.
If you are coming from Manila:
There are buses that goes direct to Dalahican Port in Lucena. These buses are JAC Liner, JAM Liner, and DLTB. These bus have terminals in both Cubao and Buendia.
If you wish, you can also take the JAC Liner bus that goes DIRECT to Marinduque. It’s a Bus to RORO transport which leaves Buendia JAC Liner terminal at 7 PM. You can ride this same bus from Marinduque back to Lucena, but I have to warned you though, this bus will travel the length of Marinduque, passing through each town looking for passengers and cargo before heading to port. This bus is set to ride the roro boat at the 8 PM schedule from Balanacan to Dalahican.
Travel time Manila to Lucena Dalahican Port and vice versa is approximately 4 hours and a half sans unusual traffic.
DALAHICAN to MARINDUQUE (Balanacan Port)
There are two shipping lines that goes to Marinduque from Lucena and the two are Starhorse Shipping and Montenegro Lines. These are RORO boats so you can bring your vehicles to Marinduque.
We took the 10:30 AM StarHorse Shipping Lines from Dalahican to Marinduque.
There was a discount offered by Montenegro Lines for their RORO boat bound for Marinduque at 12 NN but we didn’t take this since we felt that 12 NN is too late.
For the complete schedule of StarHorse shipping refer to this boat schedule guide.
Regular fare for Starhorse Shipping to Marinduque is P260. One thing I can say, I am impressed with this roro boat’s comfort room, it’s clean, working great, with tissues, and air-conditioned pa!
By the way, there is an air-conditioned section in Starhorse ferries, same fare for all accommodation.
BALANACAN PORT to BOAC, Marinduque
We took a jeepney going to BOAC. This jeep will pass by Mogpog Town. Boac is about 15 kms away from port, fare is P50. There are jeepneys bound to the various towns of Marinduque like Torijos, Buenavista, Gasan, Mogpog, Boac.
This is one thing I have a hard time understanding why the fare is so expensive for such a short distance of pier to Boac, about 30 minutes ride, especially if you compare this with the almost-an-hour ride from Boac to Sta Cruz town center which is only P47 for about 45 kilometers.
We originally thought this was a ‘tourist fare’ but all others were paying P50 too. But still it’s expensive for the covered distance.
Anyhow, once in Boac, we arrived as walk-in guest to Boac Hotel. Pretty convenient location in the town center, close to an Landbank bank and atm as well as RCBC bank. It’s also a few walks away from Boac Cathedral and restaurants like Kusina sa Plaza, GoodChow. Boac Hotel’s restaurant is Café Maita.
We only stayed overnight in Boac. We rode a jeepney from Boac to Sta Cruz the following day to catch our boat ride going to Maniwaya Island.
BOAC to STA CRUZ via Jeepney
Ask a local to help you with directions in locating the jeepney terminal bound for Sta Cruz town. It’s a complex that is beside a bridge and the Boac River, it’s at the town center. The Sta Cruz jeeps queue under a mango tree. There is a carenderia in the terminal complex in case you are looking for one.
Boac to Sta Cruz is set for hourly departure. We originally planned to take the 7 AM trip to Sta Cruz, but there was a set-back so we had to catch the 8 AM trip. It is normal for some passengers to go for top-load since the jeepneys are rare and you have to wait long for the next trip schedule.
Jeepney fare is P40 per person from Boac to Sta Cruz. Be prepared as the road is winding and climbs up and down mountain roads.
Once in Sta Cruz we just walked to the tricycle terminal and rode one bound for Buyabod Port, the pier going to Maniwaya Island. Tricyle fare is P100 or P25 per person.
Since we signed-up for a Package rate at Maniwaya Island’s Marikit-na Beach Resort, our boat ride was already waiting for us at Buyabod Pier. Boat ride from pier to Marikit-na beach resort was close to an hour. Sea is generally calm and serene, hardly any big wave.
GOING BACK ROUTE from MANIWAYA ISLAND, Marinduque to Dalahican Port to Liliw
On the return trip, we took the same boat that fetched us the day before to go back to Buyabod port. This is part of the all in package – transport, island hopping tour, onboard meals, and accommodation – we availed for Marikit-Na Beach Resort.
Read Penfires Review on Marikit Na Beach Resort in Maniwaya Island, Marinduque.
Can you ride public transport all the way to Maniwaya Island? Is there a boat for regular passengers? My short answer is yes, though I have not tried this yet.
There is a once a day trip going to and leaving from Maniwaya Island to Buyabod Port at 10 AM. Fare is P70. This is based on the fare matrix that we saw on the check-in counter in Marikit-na. This fare matrix for inter-island travel from Buyabod port comes from the MPDC Municipal Tourism Office.
I am just not sure where this regular passenger pumped-boat will dock in Maniwaya Island or where it will pick-up passenger.
*The congregation of resorts are mostly on one side of the island, and Marikit-na resort is on the other side, isolated from the rest.
If you will hire a banca for special trip to take you to Maniwaya from Buyabod port and back, boat hiring rate is P3,000. Can be lower depending on your negotiation skill.
Onward Journey Back to Luzon Mainland
I just loved saying that ‘Luzon Mainland’ heheh.
Once in Buyabod port, we took a tricycle bound for Sta Cruz town center. Fare is P100. We requested the driver to drop us off at the VHire terminal or the UV Express Van terminal that will go to Balanacan Port. The van terminal is located inside the Sta Cruz Church compound. Van fare is P80 per passenger, approximately one-hour ride on a winding road.
The UV Express van going to Balanacan port does not leave the terminal until it’s full. So prepare for some waiting time. By the way, you can already buy your bus tickets in the van terminal or at the Marinduque pier. Different bus lines offer fare discount of 20% for buying ahead. Make sure that if you buy your bus ticket in Marinduque, you will board the correct bus line when you get to Dalahican Port.
We took Starhorse Shipping again going to go back to Luzon island proper 🙂 Port of call in Lucena is Dalahican Pier. There are waiting buses at the port – JAC Liner, JAM, DLTB that will go to either Cubao or LRT Buendia via Alabang, and LRT Buendia.
We took a JAM bus and got off in San Pablo City, paid P75 instead of P92 per person because we bought bus tickets ahead while in Marinduque.
Once in San Pablo, we took a tricycle to SPC town proper for P50, had a late dinner, then rode a jeepney to Liliw for P30 each. We got home after 11 hours on the road. Lol.
You can bypass Boac if you want to, and go straight to Sta Cruz then Maniwaya Island if you have made boat arrangement. Or stay overnight in Sta Cruz, there are pension inns and lodging house in the town proper and then catch the once-a-day passenger banca or ferry going to Maniwaya.
But if you have the budget, I really recommend getting a package hotel with tour for convenience and so you won’t miss your preferred boat schedule going back to Lucena.
Also, if you have enough time, do visit Boac. Not much choices for activities to do for a tourist there but if you love visiting churches, the Boac Cathedral is nice, it sits atop a hill protected by a stone-wall. Plus, there are lots of old 2-storey houses in Boac town proper you might be interested in. They are not as fancy looking like the colonial houses you will find in Vigan, but the sheer number of them in the town proper, one after the other, and build with almost the same structure makes them interesting, imho. 🙂
Anyhow, hope this Penfires guide on how to travel to Marinduque have been helpful for you. Do read the other posts on my Marinduque Special series.
Enjoy the island!