Welcome and Mabuhay

If you love Marinduque and want to contribute articles to this site, please do so. My contact information is in my profile. The above photo was taken from the balcony of The Chateau Du Mer Beach House, Boac, Marindque, Philippines. I love sunsets. How about you? Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news in the right side bar of this blog. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringing your copyrights. Thank you and Cheers!

Tres Reyes Island view of the Marinduque Mainland

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Update on Diving Sites in Marinduque, Philippines

Here's the latest update on diving sites in Marinduque. The following video was filmed by the provincial government department of tourism. It is a short video, but shows you do not have to go far to enjoy scuba diving in Marinduque. Baltazar Island is one of the three islands in the group called Tres Reyes Island-a marine sanctuary.
Diving in Baltazar Island
Image from asiadivesite.com
Our province is mostly known worldwide because of the Moriones Festival. However, it has recently been in the news due to interests of divers all over the world to explore the diving sites in the island and in the vicinity. Among the diving sites are:
1.Natanco- north of the island has good walls and drift diving. Corals are abundant. Close by is the wreck of a Japanese torpedo boat
2.Baltazar-west of the Island-one of the Tres Reyes Island Chain- has a cave 20m worth exploring. Stone fish may be a problem.
3.Elephant Island-now known as Bellarocca- private resort with good walls, coral formation and and several varieties of tropical fish. Currents could be strong, but conditions for photography good.
4. Torrijos- canyons and fissures to explore. Can expect to encounter grouper, barracuda, tuna and shoals of tropical fish.
5.Maestro De Campo Island-southwest of Marinduque- a wall on the west side and a wreck of a ferry boat, MV Mactan on the east side
6.Banton Island- farther southwest – amazing corals and an array of fish. Dolphins, sharks and sting rays may be seen. From February to May are the good months for scuba diving
7.Sibuyan Sea- outlying areas to the south and east of Marinduque are fairly unexplored. Puerto Galera, Mindoro is the place to organize this tour if you are adventurous.
Here are two excellent videos, I found in You Tube. Enjoy! Happy Diving

Diving Video from Southern Leyte, Apo Reefs, Sogod Bay, and Puerto Galera

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Marinduque-World Tourist's Destination

Here's the latest report from marinduquegov.blogspot.com by Eli Obligacion spotlighting Marinduque as tourist destination, dated September 6, 2009. My dream and hope is to see my beloved island, Marinduque, become a worldwide and whole year round tourist destination to compete with Boracay. I would also like to see the province officially declared as the eco-tourism capital of the Philippines by the Department of Tourism. This is the reason, why I devote so much time promoting the island province as a tourist destination in my two blogs: http://marinduqueawaitsyou.blogspot.com and http://marinduquemyislandparadise.blogspot.com
I hope you will join me in the accomplishment of my dream for Marinduque.


Marinduque Airport streamer welcoming Secretary Ace H. Durano and party. The party of thirty expected to arrive today at the Marinduque airport includes Undersecretary Eduardo Jarque, Jr. and other top officials from the Department of Tourism and tourism attaches from Philippine embassies abroad. The list also includes directors Ma. Victoria Jasmin, Allan Canizal, Benito Bengzon, Jr., Ma. Rica Bueno, Dir. Louella Jurilla from among others, as well as local and foreign media representatives.

The visit is part of the tourism department’s annual marketing and technical visits to top priority destinations such as Albay, Cebu, Bohol and Manila. Marinduque which is now on the list, has drawn the attention of the travel industry with the launching of Bellarocca Resort and Spa. Part of Bellarocca’s promotional thrusts for resort guests is the integration of visits to Marinduque’s tourist attractions as well.

In recent months, the provincial tourism office has taken time to show the Bellarocca group headed by its sales manager for travel, Sheila Evano, to local tourism sites like Tarug caves, Bathala caves, Paadjao falls, Poctoy Beach and the Torrijos loom-weavers. Support for development of eco-tourism sites with potential to generate livelihood has been adopted by the resort as part of its social responsibility program. A joint undertaking of the provincial government, the municipality of Buenavista and Gold Barrel, Inc.,resort owner, is the current establishment of a 100-hectare forest area in Barangay Tungib-Lipata in Buenavista, where a 9-hole golf course has been developed, part of Bellarocca facilities.

These moves have triggered greater optimism for local tourism stakeholders as well as for bigger prospects for Bellarocca Island Resort and Marinduque tourism in general.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Marinduque On My Mind

It has almost been a year when Yong Nieva, Macrine's (my wife) first cousin on the maternal side of the family, suggested that we collect articles, poems, ramblings, personal memoirs from all Marinduquenos all over the world. So far we have only eight contributors to the site. We definitely need more articles, before printing it into a small book. Yong and I believe this could be done. But without your help, this project may not be realized soon. Below is my write up of the proposed literary project last year, just in case you have not read it. So, again calling all Marinduquenos all over the world for your help! May we count on your contributions soon.

The first picture is from Amana, Nature Reserve, an eco-friendly sanctuary of Yong Nieva in Cawit, Boac. The next two photographs were taken from the balcony of the Chateau Du Mer Beach House in Amoingon, Boac, "Sunset at Low Tide"!
Yong (Guillermo Nieva,Jr) Nieva, Macrine's first cousin sent us an e-mail recently to collect articles from Marinduquenos all over the world on their memories about growing up in Marinduque. Eventually, as soon as I received a number of posts, we will published it as book as serious reading that stirs the soul and commit our beloved island of Marinduque to memory... in our hearts, in our minds and in our souls! So that even when we look beyond the coast of California across the Pacific, at least we will not be alone, we have company in each other souls! A collection of true "felt stories".
Yong wrote the following Preface for the Proposed Book, "Marinduque on My Mind"
Marinduque is a strange illness. You come and you would go. You think you are leaving, but its the town that gets away from you. You wish you could understand, and yet you keep coming back.
I realized I had a "problem" that I have to deal with; the problem of my relationships to this small island and the areas around it. I therefore decided that someday we can write a book to try to understand what was really happening, that could clarify our feelings, not by thinking descriptively,analytically or rationally.
We must follow the journey to go back in time. Follow a thread, but which one?
It really doesn't matter. We just let ourselves be led by an image; a word, a memory; the trails of ink left by visitors who have been won over and those that have been lost. There's so many indeed!

Here's a short biography of Yong: He is named after his father Guillermo(Will) Sarmiento Nieva,Sr of Boac. He has grown to be known as Yong. After a short stint with Philippine Airlines, in 1980, he got married and lived in San Francisco working for Allstate Insurance for fifteen years. In 1955 he got divorced and moved back to Manila. He is now in the restaurant business. Together with his wife Ivy Syquia Almario, an interior designer, they regularly visit Cawit, Boac starting an "ecologically-correct" family retreat or sanctuary. They named it AMANA, Nature Reserve.(see first picture above).

Here's a summary of Yong's email to us:

Dear Manang Macrine and Manong Dave'
Greetings! It was a lazy Sunday afternoon today and looking at the photos in my e-mail of my project in Cawit " The Amana", I was struck by the thought of what is it that really beckons me to keep going back to our beloved island, Marinduque.
When I started thinking of words to describe the feeling about Marinduque, all thoughts just came in a rush. It became a virtual "collage-series" of events in my young life. How Papa made it an annual mandate that we spent two weeks of summer with Lola Elving and our aunts, uncles and cousins in Boac. Ah, days of reckless abandon-the treks to the beach, and the jam-sessions at night. How we felt so loved by each and everyone of them, which even to this day we cherish. How even our cousins friends also became our friends. And they remember!
This is not only about us-the children of Guillermo "Will" Nieva of Boac. I then thought, "What about others"? What about those, who like me lived in the States, but still carry Marinduque in their hearts. Maybe if we all share via website, the hi-tech way, to answer the question of what really beckons us to Marinduque. Then together we can solve this strange illness. ( My personal comment: this illness will grow deeper and stronger as we grow older and older).
Surely, the Marinduquenos association all over the US, do not only continue to thrive because of its leaders, but also because if we really look closely, there are many reasons why its members continue to stay in touch. It is a rare gift, if I may say so!
In that Marinduquenos heart, there's still an image- a face of his/her first love, or the first kiss; an incident in his/her young life that forever changed his life; his dreams, his goals, his pains that drove him to become what he/she is now; the emotions felt of being left behind from a good bye; the sound of the rambling jeepney on its way to Balanacan; the scent of coconut oil in early morning hours as you drive the narrow roads; the fear and scampering from the town's idiot or from the town's bully, and why not? the love story of beautiful "Peace Corp" volunteer fell in love and married the handsome local swain! So many essays and narratives to start and follow the "journey". ( Personal Note: I was told the pancit of Choing still reminds some of you of your pleasant childhood memories.

Manong Dave, could you please design a website for this literary project and invite our fellow Marinduquenos there in US to share their thoughts, hearts and feelings in words and so we can solved (or at least understand) this "strange illness" inside each and everyone of us!

My response to Yong: I am excited of this idea. My suggestion is to create a blog site instead of a website. The blog site is easy to manage. This is where articles could be posted and edited. The blog site is free and easy. I could titled it http://marinduqueonmymind.blogspot.com. I will manage it along with my other blogs on the internet. Once we have collected a number of postings, we can published it ourselves via publisher as mypublisher.com or Sharebook.com
I will volunteer to write an article on " I left my Heart in Marinduque ( not in San Francisco), since I did not grow up in Marinduque but married a Marinduquena. Rene Nieva, Yong's oldest brother also wrote me, he will support this project.

You may write your article via the comment section of this blog or sent your article to my e-mail, tagajaro@comcast.net or to tagaboac@comcast.net. I am looking forward to your submissions.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Things To Do in Marinduque

There are numerous things to do in Marinduque during your vacation. But the following ten items are my recommendations:
1.Beach combing, snorkeling, bathing , scuba diving and sunset watching
This photo was taken at the balcony of the Beach House. Note that low tide is starting and the corals are starting to stick out also.

2.Caves Exploration-Spelunking. There are two caves worthy of exploration-Bathala in Santa Cruz and Tarug in Mogpog. The Bathala Cave consist of eight other caves. One of the caves has a resident python. Photo by Flickr.com

Resident Python-photo by 4.bp.blogspot.com
3.Island Hopping- The Tres Reyes Islands Marine Sanctuary, Polo and Maniwaya Islands.
This is Maniwaya island being develop as an alternative to Boracay, photo by panoramnio.com

4.Shopping for Morion masks and native handicrafts- nito products,wood carvings and potteries. This is a nito handbag, a popular gift item. Photo by handicrafts.org

5.Trip Around the Island-Sulfur and Hot Springs, Poctoy White Beach and Mt Malindig
This is Poctoy White Beach with Mt Malindig in the background in Torrijos, the most popular beach in the province.

6.Partaking and Enjoying the island delicacies- Ginatan na Manok sa Gata, bibingka, kare-kare and ulang-ulang soup. Photo of bibingka by wikimedia.org, yum, yum, it is delicious.

7.Join or just watch the Moriones Festival during Holy Week. Women Moriones Participants-photo by etravelpilipinas.com

8.Visit 400 year-old churches, ( Boac, Gasan and Santa Cruz )and antique homes in downtown Boac. This is one of the many antique houses in downtown Boac. This one is owned by my sister-in-law, Mrs Siony Jambalos. It is located just across the Boac Hotel.
The Green Mansion photo by Dong Ho
9.Watch colorful butterflies (in the butterfly farms) or native birds ( bird watching) in the foothills of Mt. Malindig. This is a monarch butterfly. Photo by howdididoit.com

10.Treat yourself to the most expensive and luxurious resort in Southern Luzon- The Bellarocca Resort and Spa in Buenavista or pamper yourself to an affordable private beach resort at Chateau Du Mer in Boac. The Beach House and Bridge at twilight.

For details visit the following websites: www.chateaudumer.com or http://marinduquemyislandparadise.blogspot.com

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

An Experience of a Lifetime-Trip to Marinduque

Dodie and Family with Dave and Macrine
By Diosdado (Dodie) Katague
Last Christmas and New Year( 2007-2008), I spent the holidays away from my wife and children. I was in the Philippines with my parents, brother, and sisters celebrating my parent 50th wedding anniversary. I had a great time visiting the country of my birth, but missed my family, who stayed home. I know it would be an adventure with or without them. And what an adventure it was! Just getting to the small island of Marinduque from Manila after a 16 hour plane ride took another 8 hours via a van on a two lane road dodging cars, jeepneys, motorized tricycles and livestock to get to the ferry port. We missed the ferry by 15 minutes and had to wait another 4 hours on the dock. The 3-hour ferry trip was crowded because of the Christmas holidays and there were no seats in the passenger section so we slept in the van in the cargo hold for most of the sea-faring trip. Fortunately, I did not get sea sick.

(Please note that on November, 2008, Zestair( formerly Asian Spirit Airline) started air service from Manila to Marinduque and back, 4 days in the week. It takes only 30 minutes of flying time. This is indeed a relief for visitors and tourists to Marinduque.)

We arrived at my parents house(CHATEAU DU MER) around midnight-24 hours after boarding the plane. But that was the worst part of the journey and I kept thinking that I was glad that my family was not with me because they would have complained the entire time and there was nothing I could do about it. I took in all the bad and the good things that happened, and I had the experience of a lifetime.

What I discovered about my parents surprised me. They were raised closer to the land than I ever know. Just imagine going back to visit your relatives on the farm back in Iowa that's how I felt. Except my parents were rural folks in the tropics. Still, they have a retirement home on a few acres right on the beach, a housekeeper, cook, driver and gardeners, so it was a very comfortable vacation once we arrived. My parents renewed their wedding vows in the same historic church( the Boac Cathedral built in 1756) they were married in 1957. We wore traditional Filipino clothes( barong tagalog for men) and my brother and sisters were all part of the ceremony. I saw some American tourists peaking into the church and taking pictures of us and I remember thinking, "Those tourists are going to show pictures of me to their friends thinking they got a snapshot of the Filipino culture when all they really got was a picture of some overweight short guy from California".

Note: Dodie was born in Manila, grew up in Boac, but immigrated to US when he was only 18 months old. He obtained his law degree from UC Davis and now a prosecuting attorney in Northern California. In his spare time he writes. He is now in his second novel-a legal thriller in a DA's office. He also loves hiking and geocaching (www.geocaching.com) He is married to his former classmate,Ruth Carver, also a lawyer and they have 3 children, ages 15, 14 and 11. This trip was his first trip back to the island. Dodie's first novel, Cloyne Court is scheduled for publication this Fall, 2009 by Three Clover Press.
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