It is Lenten season again. The season that gives us, Christians, a chance to focus on simple living, fasting, and prayer in order to grow closer to God. Also, the season that allows most of us to unwind, relax and travel. And the season that permits us to escape real life for a while.
Each year, as much as possible, we make sure that we’re able to use this chance not to only travel but to also realize the life God has given us through His sacrifice and love for us. With this, we decided to visit the place where Lenten rites is being commemorated–Welcome to the Heart of the Philippines! MARINDUQUE!
Marinduque is a heart-shaped island in the upper left side of the Philippines that is why it is known as “The Heart of the Philippines” and it is the fifth smallest province in the country. It is divided in six municipalities: Boac, Buenavista, Gasan, Mogpog, Santa Cruz and Torrijos.
How to go to Marinduque?
- Zest Air is the only airline that services Gasan, Marinduque. A Manila-Marinduque round trip ticket will cost you P3000, all-in.(source:http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/301298/newstv/biyahenidrew/marinduque-in-48-hours-a-biyahe-ni-drew-itinerary#sthash.18Nr5cp2.dpuf)
- But if you’re on a budget, you may travel via land trip. From Manila, you may ride Jam, Jac, or DLTB liner going to Dalahican Lucena port at Quezon province for only P216.00 per pax. (For the trip schedules, please check their websites). The travel may take 4-6 hours from Manila to Lucena. From Dalahican port, you will take a Roll-On-Roll-Off (RORO) ferry to Mogpog, Marinduque for P270.00 per pax in 2 1/2 hours. From Mogpog, we rode a jeep going to Boac for only P50.00 for 45 mins.
On our first day, we were able to see the Boac Cathedral, Marinduque’s oldest standing building.This has served in several instances as the refuge of the people of Marinduque. People attribute many miracles here hence, this Cathedral is dedicated to “Mahal Na Birhen Ng Biglang Awa”. (For more information, pleae visit https://pinoyontheroad.com/2012/08/12/marinduque-the-century-old-boac-cathedral/)
After that, we went straight ahead to our homestay.
On the afternoon, we explored Boac since this was one of the most visited City in Marinduque. And since, it’s lenten season, we were lucky to experience their Moriones Boac Lenten Rites which is really famous at Marinduque.
Trivia: Each City is celebrating their own festival. According to Kuya Jinsky, a tricycle driver we met at Gasan who became our tourist guide eventually, Moriones is technically not a festival, it’s still a way on how they commemorate the lenten season that’s why its not really that festive. But as the tradition passed by, Marinduque became really famous because on how they follow the tradition of a Morion where in they wear colorful costumes and masks to portray their Patron, St. Longinus who decided to believe in God after his right eye was healed when the blood of Christ fell onto his eye after he pierced Him.
In a place which the locals normally call the junction, people used to gather to celebrate the festival.
During Holy Thursday, the locals have started celebrating by having their annual parade of Morions.
We also visited the famous Kusina sa Plaza in Boac City and tried their famous homemade pizza.
On the evening, we went back to the junction to watch the role play for Holy Thursday of the locals.
On the second day, which is the Good Friday, we decided to explore the other towns and went to Tres Reyes at Gasan, Marinduque. Due to the limited time, we were only able to visit Gaspar Island, one of the islands of Tres Reyes which is named after the Three Kings.
As you can see on the photos, Gaspar island is not yet really fully exploited. There are no resorts here. The island is fully maintained only by the locals through the donations given by the tourists like us. In fact, there are no lights here in the morning. Their only source of electricity is the solar panels and their main source of income is fishing.
On our way back to Boac, luckily, we were able to witness the parade of Giant Morion on the town of Gasan.
On the afternoon of good friday, we were also able to watch the traditional parade of Saints of the locals in Boac. Truly, their faith and believes will remind you of what is Lenten season is for as Christians.
The traditional good Friday parade of Boac where in they’re walking on their bare foot only while solemnly praying. According to the locals, the reenactment of the life of St. Longinus, a centurion who converted to Christianity and the reason behind the said festival, is being played every Easter Sunday.
Looking for awesome pasalubongs?
Marinduque is best at baking Arrowroot. These are made from the root crop that grows all over the island. In other parts of the Philippines, these cookies are known as ‘uraro.’ However, Marinduqueños use the name ‘arrowroot,’ which they pronounce briskly, the syllables mashing together: “Arurut!”. The prices start at p35.00 up to P180.00.
(Source: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/300376/newstv/biyahenidrew/marinduque-meals-food-from-the-heart-of-the philippines#sthash.LeGWu41A.dpuf)
They are also good in weaving and this is also the source of livelihood for many women of Marinduque. A good remembrance from the locals of Torrijos.
The beauty of Marinduque will truly help you forget and escape Manila. More so, the experience here will also help you realize and meditate during Lenten season.
If you’re planning for your next travel, visit Marinduque and be captivated by the beauty it has. The place, the food, and the locals, they are all perfect reasons why you should have to go there. My words are not enough to describe my experience so I urge you to try it as well. The long travel is all going to be worth it and a good investment for yourself.
I invite you to see, feel and hear the heart of the Philippines!
And then, live, love, write with me, again, Karla.