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

Monday, August 30, 2010

Funny Wedding Pictures-Not Worthy for your Album


The subject of wedding was brought to my attention recently, when Macrine's niece informed us that we will be the primary sponsor for her wedding this coming November (civil wedding ceremony) in Los Gatos, California to be followed next year (January 29) with a Roman Catholic ceremony in the Boac Cathedral in Marinduque. She will be inviting 14 guests from US, so we are currently planning their accommodations at Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort in Marinduque. Macrine's sister from Alameda, California and her family are also planning to attend, so it appears that Chateau Du Mer will be filled to capacity the last week of January. So, if you are planning to reserve the beach house on the dates between January 23 to 30, 2011 you are out of luck. Get your reservations from other hotels or beach resorts in Marinduque.
Here are the photos from golmao.com for your enjoyment. Comments will be appreciated.



Sunday, August 29, 2010

Santorini Island, Greece and Bellarocca Resort, Philippines

Santorini Island, Greece
The architectural design of the buildings in Bellaracco Resort, Marinduque has often been compared to Santorini, Greece. This did aroused my curiosity and so I am posting this six minute video about Santorini. View it and judge for yourself. Is the comparison valid or just plain baloney or humbug from the promoters of Bellarocca?.





The first three photos are from Santorini and the last three photos are from Bellarocca

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Another Promo Tour for Bellarocca Resort and Spa



The following article was published at http://luxeblack.com and written by Miquel Sarmiento dated August 22, 2010. It was titled: Bellarocca: Where Gods and Goddesses Unwind-Part 1. Continue reading and let me know if the article's title is indeed the truth or just "humbug". For $1500 a night, it better be a place that Gods and Goddesses can really unwind. Here's the article for your reading pleasure.

"As you all may know, our team just finished the successful Pretentious Asian promo tour. Though it was hectic and tiring, we had a blast!

A night before our flight to the island resort, Bellarocca Island Resort & Spa, Director of Marketing & Sales, Mr.John Tanjangco personally met me (during a scary typhoon) at the lobby of the Mandarin Hotel to give me my accommodation slips.

He personally briefed me about the resort we were about to visit.

Thanks, John, that's what I call personal & world-class service galore! I hadn't left yet and I was already being pampered!!

The resort is just a 30 minutes plane ride from Manila to the island of Marinduque, another 45 minutes scenic drive from the airport to the exclusive embarkment point for Bellarocca and then a 10 minutes speed boat ride to PARADISE!!

When the speed boat approached the private harbour of Bellarocca, the entire staff and crew of the resort was already singing their welcome song to us. As we disembarked, we were showered with fresh flower petals (love the various scents, Oh la la!) and were given a "Mabuhay" lei ( welcome in Filipino language). Rodulf Studer, General Manager of the resort and his staff personally greeted us at the dock. And that's what I call a real warm welcome (So nice when GMs of hotels & resorts personally greet me and my team).

As we were escorted by super cool, Guests Services Manager, Mr. Anito Lanticse, to the main reception area, we were in awe with the breathtaking views (no, not the 5 golf carts behind us carrying our baggages, ok!). Healthy and refreshing welcome drinks greeted us (oh those papaya & watermelon shakes are so delish!)

As soon as we checked-in for the 4 nights/5 days heavenly vacation, Anito brought us to our 1,500US$ per night villa, XANADU (all villas are named after gods and goddesses --> Then why did they not name one villa after me ???).

My team and I arrived at the doorsteps of the 2-bedroom, 2-floor villa, and yes we were all smiling! The Santorini-inspired villa is stunning. I have toured around the globe, and until now, I can say I haven't seen it all ;-)

The tastefully decorated villa gets my thumbs up. The huge living room has a 42-inch Plasma screen( satellite TV!!), HIFI stereo surround system, iPod dock and a DVD player (they have wide-array of the latest and top hits movies that you can borrow for free at the reception area).

The dining area has a 6-seater dining table. While the kitchen has a complete electric stove/oven (for those who plans to bring their personal chef with them) and all the hi-tech kitchen gadgets. If you bring your house hold staff or personal chef, the villa has a room for your staff (comes with toilet and bath facilities too).

Of course, moi gets the master's bedroom (who else Whatever,Princess!). The room provides elegance and luxurious comfort with a touch of a home-like essence. First thing I checked was the pillows. Oh how divine! All my pillows are chilled (as per my request, well I got tons of request. *grin* The emperor-sized bed (as how I call it) can sleep all Angelina & Brad's babies comfortably. The room is equipped with the same home entertainment system I mentioned earlier.

It has a Skype-enabled Belkin phone that connects you to the resort's various offices and amenities as well to all your family and friends worldwide.

The closets can fill all the contents of my 5 luggages (Now don't ask me why I brought 8 pairs of shoes, 3 suits, etc etc in an island resort!

The bathroom is very spacious (I had even the massage table placed there!). It has a jacuzzi/bathtub system and a separate rain shower area for 2 or more --->oh la la!! *wink*. The bathroom amenities are complimented by all natural products from L'Occitane ( how cool is that, sugar!). The villa's main pool is just steps away from the master's bedroom.. *dive & splash* Ahhhhhh ;-)

So I visited ( well, inspected) my team mates in their room, the guest room! While Jeroen, Dave and Magic unpacks the video and photo cameras, I meticulously inspect their room at the 2nd floor. Since it is a guest room, it is a bit smaller than the master's bedroom, but can comfortably fit 3 super-energetic adults (Jeroen, Dave and Magic, that is!). Their bathroom is also provided with a rain-shower, jacuzzi bathtub as well as L'Occitane products. The room has the same entertainment system like my room. I must admit, in both rooms, pillow, comforters and all the bed linens are EXCELLENT! The terrace of the guest room has a to-die-for view of the sea!!

FYI, all the rooms in the villa are airconditioned with separate remote controls (Ask Jeroen & Dave how I full-blasted the the AC system that the whole villa's temperature is like Siberia,lol). Anito also provided us with a strong and reliable WIFI signal, so I can update my Facebook status even while I am having a massage at my own room.. lovely!!!

So after few hours (of unpacking my stuff), I changed into my Speedos (don't try to raise your eyebrows..again!) and lounged at the villa's private lap pool and jacuzzi. The jacuzzi can comfortably fit 6 people at the same time, while you can do some relaxing laps at the pool. The view from the eternity pool is just breath taking.

The 3 musketeers (Jeroen, Dave and Magic) relaxed at the second dining area located reside the pool & jacuzzi. I joined them and had our production meeting for the island resort.

We had our shot list beforehand, but after seeing the resort, we had to change the list…because there is more to show and tell."

Comments any one?

Friday, August 27, 2010

America's Got Talent- Previous Winners


America's Got Talent (AGT) is one of my favorite TV show. The following three videos (related) are my favorite previous winners. The 2010 winner has not been crowned, but I have my favorites ( Jackie Evancho). Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Top 6 Attractions of Marinduque-From Boosh News


The following article attracted my attention. It was published in Boosh News dated August 21, 2010. The author is Lilliane Cobiao-see last sentence in this report for details.

Marinduque is an island province in the Philippines most popularly known for the unique Moriones Festival. Tourists, local and foreign, flock to the island to take part in the colorful parade where locals dress in Morion costumes and masks.

The province is also infamously known for the multi-billion dollar mining industry in the 60s that resulted in an accident that brought the industry into a halt. It also caused great damage to the environment and the people of the island. A pending lawsuit with the multi-billion dollar companies responsible for the disaster, Marinduque slowly get back to its feet. While tourism isn’t a major source of their economy, it should.

Here are my take on the Top 6 Attractions of Marinduque.

(1) Scuba dive or snorkel in the clear waters of one or all of the tres reyes islands: Melchor, Gaspar, Baltazar.

(2) Explore the caves of Bathala in Sta. Cruz. Get a local guide and roam the spunky damp cave where bats and python dwell. There is a little climbing involved.

(3) Dip into the therapeutic water of the hot spring in Malbog in Buenavista. It is known to cure health condition such as migraine and skin asthma.

(4) Walk the old town of Mariduque and basked in culture with old stone houses, locally known as “bahay na bato”. There are also several old churches around the island with Cathedral of Boac being an important national historical landmark.

(5) Indulge in the luxury of Santorini inspired Bellarocca built on the Elephant Island. First class amenities such as golf, spa, yoga, infiniti pools, and various water sports are available. Finally,

(6) Shop for souvenirs or “pasalubong” at the local handicraft makers and famous uraro at Rejanos.

This is my addition to the article on things to do in Marinduque

1.Snorkeling in Amoingon Coast among the coral reefs

2.Shopping for native handicrafts

3.Visit butterfly farms and flea markets

4.Bird watching and hiking on Mt Malinding

5.Swimming in Poctoy White Beach and Hot/Sulfur Springs



Marinduque Island is reachable by a number of ports and by air via Gasan Airport. There are also bus companies that brings you to Marinduque by ferry.

Lilliane Cobiao is an avid traveler, photographer, and scuba diver. If she’s not actually doing one of the 3, she is either talking or writing about them. Join her in her wanderings at http://www.wanderlass.com

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Enjoy Marinduque for Less than $80 per Day!(For 2)


The Beach House with a 180 degree Balcony overlooking the western Marinduque Sea

You do not have to spend a fortune( Bellarocca Resort) to enjoy the beaches, hot and sulfur springs, caves and underground rivers, cliffs and coral reefs, diving or snorkeling or just relaxing in your beach house balcony over looking the coral reefs of the Amoingon Coast, in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines :
If you stay at Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort in Boac.

Note: Chateau Du Mer is a 3-bedroom HOUSE not a HOTEL Room. All rooms are either air-cooled or air-conditioned. There is a kitchen with small refrigerator and a microwave oven. There is hot water for showering. There is daily maid service. Massage therapy, manicure, haircut and transportation services are available with one day advance notice.

HOTEL rooms will cost you around $20 to $40 per day depending on location and amenities in Marinduque.

The cost of the beach house for 2 is only $ 50 per day. Your food will cost you around $12 to $15 per day for two depending on the meals you desire. Transportation cost will vary from $10 to $15 depending on how far you travel from the resort. Curious? Visit http://chateaudumer.blogspot.com.

The resort is owned and operated by David and Macrine Katague, Filipino-American Retirees who spend their retirement time half of the year in Marinduque and the other half in California, USA.

Here are some of the things to DO and SEE( videos) while you are in Marinduque-My Island Paradise.



Saturday, August 21, 2010

Latest Article on Bellarocca Resort and Spa


The following article attracted my attention. It is title "My Paradise" and written
by Bob Zozobrado and published in the Manila Standard dated today. I enjoyed reading it and I hope you will also.

"Having covered the four corners of the world during my past life in the travel industry, I’ve seen almost everything nature has to offer. Natural attractions captivate the senses and certainly put me up there in the clouds!

But there is one place on earth I’d rather spend my holidays in because it gives me a natural high like nothing else can the island of Santorini in Greece. God’s masterpiece! I’ve been there quite a few times. Every time I get the chance to take a longer-than-usual break, and I never get tired of it. In fact, the idea of relocating and spending the rest of my life there has actually crossed my mind. But, Santorini is halfway across the world from where my family is.

You can then imagine how overjoyed I was when, not too long ago, I discovered a relatively new destination here in the country that made me feel like I was in Santorini. It has a similar breathtaking landscape, a magnificent view, elegant white structures, and the peaceful ambience that my constantly harassed physique is always in search of…

Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa

The popular hideaway of Hollywood stars, European and Asian royalty, and of course, Manila’s well-heeled, Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa is a 20-hectare world-class, upscale resort perched on top of a rock island off the southwestern coast of Marinduque. Bellarocca is now my “Santorini” here in the country. Easily accessible by air (approximately 45 minutes) or by “Ro-Ro” (approximately seven hours), this local version of “paradise,” was designed by Alex Yatco of AY Design. It boasts of a tastefully done, uniquely constructed white stucco structures, similar to what you’d see in Santorini and those tiles in the steps, and the mirrors in the bathrooms are typically Mediterranean! This over-a-year-old serene getaway offers de luxe rooms, suites and casas but, to me, the ultimate stress relievers are their uber luxurious private villas. A word of warning—when you stay in one, you no longer want to leave.

Definitely a “plus factor” is the hotel’s very efficient team of lifestyle and recreation activity consultants who can easily put together anything a guest wants—a specially cooked meal, a golf game in the property’s private greens, a romantic dinner in any part of the island, or any type of marine activity. They can even set off fireworks in synch with a guest’s marriage proposal to a loved one, or a private movie screening outdoors, or hours of soothing treatments and healthy rituals in their Grand Spa and Wellness Center. The team can even make arrangements in a jiffy, for your own private cruise in the waters around the island, or a sightseeing tour of Marinduque. But who wants to be busy with those activities, when the golden sunlight tempts you to just laze around in your veranda or by the infinity pool, with a tall glass of piƱa colada and an exhilarating view to boot… the perfect antidote to frayed nerves.

What I also like about Bellarocca is their attention to detail—the hallmark of a true luxury property. Their bathroom amenities include such ecologically correct brands such as L’Occitane, Ren, Aveda and Molton Brown, highly in-demand brands, which are also used in their Grand Spa.

And, of course, the “silk ribbon” that ties the attractive package together is the hotel’s service staff, proudly brandishing their own endearing brand of Filipino hospitality. Rarely do I find a team of solicitous, sincerely caring group of happy people who proactively tends to the guests’ needs with clockwork competence… a desirable trademark of a Genesis Resort.

So, if it takes me longer this time to put together more dollars and cents for another trip to Santorini, I’m not worried. Now, there’s Bellarocca… a truly amazing luxury paradise! In fact, my bags are packed for my next visit! More information is available through (02) 817-7290 or at www.bellaroccaresorts.com."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Genealogy of Macrine's Maternal Side-The Nievas

It is summer time and time for family reunions. The Nievas of the World will probably be have a reunion in the Philppines or here in US sometime this year or next year. Hopefully, Macrine and I could attend this time.
Dave and Macrine Katague of Marinduque and Northern California( Macrine's gown designed and tailored by Rudy Diego of the Philippines)

In 2003, there was a reunion of the Nieva clan in the Philippines organized by Rene Elizalde Nieva, Macrine's first cousin. We were invited but not able to attend. Rene wrote in his invitation that he is in the process of writing a book about the Nieva clan. He said the book will be privately published with limited printing which will include a general history starting on the possible roots of the Nieva family as well as the achievements of various members of the clan and their contribution to the betterment of Marinduque and of the Philippines. As of this writing date, I have not heard on the status of Rene's book.

In his invitation he invited all the direct and indirect descendants of the children and spouses of Calixto Nieva and Epifania Morente. Note that Rene is the great-grandson of Calixto Nieva and Macrine is also the great-granddaughter of Calixto Nieva , thus Rene and Macrine are first cousins.

I just can not believe that my six grand children are now the great-great-great grand children of Calixto Nieva and Epifania Morente.

Calixto and Epifania Morente had six children, four boys and two girls as follows (from oldest to youngest) along with their spouses.

1.Juan Nieva had two wives. The first wife was Isabel Decena. When Isabel died Juan remarried Elvira Sarmiento. Juan Nieva is both Macrine's and Rene's grandfather. He was the first governor of Marinduque and also the grandfather of the outgoing Governor. Rene and Macrine are first cousin of Jose Antonio (Bong) Nieva Carrion, the outgoing Governor of Marinduque.

2.Victoria Nieva married Doroteo Mercader

3.Dionisio Nieva married Salud de la Santa

4.Gregorio Nieva married Maria Arevalo

5.Jose Nieva married Trinidad Carmona

6.Rosita Nieva married Dr Angel Mayuga

Rene's invitation also included the descendants of the brothers of Calixto, namely Pedro and Francisco Nieva. It also included the brothers and sisters of Epifania Morente, which included not just the Morentes but also the Roceses, Abadas, Trinidads and the Kasilags. Incidentally, the Reyeses are second cousins of Macrine and the other Nievas of Marinduque.

This article will concentrate on the descendants of Juan Nieva and his two wives, Isabel Decena from Santa Cruz and Elvira Sarmiento from Buenavista..

Children of Juan Nieva and Isabel Decena ( from Oldest to Youngest)

1.Calixto Nieva married Juanita Jambalos
2.Blanca Nieva- single was killed by the Japanese during World War II
3.Elena Nieva married Bernardo Jambalos, Jr ( brother of Juanita)

Children of Juan Nieva and Elvira Sarmiento(from Oldest to Youngest)

1.Guillermo ( Willie) Nieva married Dr Celina Elizalde
2.Rosario Nieva married Ramon Carrion
3.Ester Nieva married Rafael Seno
4.Monica Nieva married Conrado Luarca
5.Elizabeth Nieva married Romulo Santo Domingo
6.Asuncion Nieva married Dr. Rafael Ocampo
7.Fr Constantino Nieva- single

For the purpose of this article, I will discuss only the descendants of Elena Nieva and Bernardo Jambalos, Jr. They have seven children as follows: ( From Oldest to Youngest)

1.Macrine Nieva Jambalos- married David B Katague from Iloilo ( that's me)
2.Sister Guia Jambalos- Order of the Cenacle-single
3.Bernardo Jambalos III married Loreta Mercader
4.Fe Jambalos married Edgardo Lazarte
5.Edgar Jambalos ( deceased) married Asuncion Pagalunan
6.Jean Jambalos married Mitch Maeda
7.Rosario Jambalos married Michael Levin

Note that Rene Nieva is the oldest son of Guillermo Nieva and Dr. Celina Elizalde. The younger brother of Rene, Yong is my partner in our literary project, I left my Heart in Marinduque ( not San Francisco). http://marinduqueonmymind.blogspot.com

Macrine's telephone buddy and first cousin from Vancouver, BC, Canada Olga Luarca Quiazon is the oldest daughter of Monica and Conrado Luarca

The outgoing governor of Marinduque is the second son of Rosario Nieva and Ramon Carrion

This posting continues with the offspring of Macrine Jambalos and David B. Katague. They have 4 children and six grandchildren as follows:

1.Dodie( Diosdado) Katague married Ruth Carver- They have 3 children, Philip Winchester, Alexandra and Marina Katague
2.Dinah E Katague married David E King- They have 2 children, Ian and Elaine King
3.David E III-single
4.Ditas Macrine Katague married Nick Thompson- They have one child, Carenna Nicole Thompson

Fe Jambalos has two daughters, Lanie and Ella
Jean Jambalos has two daughters, Yuri and Yuka
Rosario has two children, Carlos and Zehara
Asuncion Jambalos has three sons, Edmund, Nonoy and Jhun-Jhun and a daughter, Marilyn
Bernardo Jambalos III has five children and three grandchildren as of this writing date.

Accomplishments of the children of David B and Macrine J. Katague are discussed in detail at
http://theintellectualmigrant.blogspot.com

Some Interesting Vignettes:

The marriage of Calixto and Juanita Jambalos was not approved by their father Don Juan Nieva. Juanita was the daughter of a barrio businessman from Laylay. During those time, if you are from the barrios, you are not welcome or accepted to the social group of the main town of Boac. The Jambalos family although well off were considered TAGABUKID ( from the bonies). Don Juan Nieva wanted his lawyer son to marry Enriqueta Nepomuceno, one of the popular socialites in Boac. When Juanita died, Calixto did not marry again. Soon Calixto also died and every one in town claimed he died with a broken heart. Enriqueta in the meantime was waiting for Calixto. Enriqueta never married and died as a spinster.

Blanca Nieva graduated from Nursing School at Philippine General Hospital and was earning well. When their father died, she helped in sending her half-sister Rosario to College. She supported her sister and spoiled her by dressing her up to maintain her place in the high society of Boac at that time.

Elena, is the third child of Isabel Decena from Santa Cruz. Isabel died giving birth to Elena. Elena was therefore nursed by the sister of Isabel, Regina Decena Reforma. Elena and Policarpio Reforma ( son of Regina) shared the same breast milk of Tia Regina. When Elena was five years old, she and sister Blanca as well as brother Calixto, were brought to Boac where their father Juan Nieva remarried Elvira Sarmiento from Buenavista.

Elena grew up under the care of Lola Victoria ( sister of Juan Nieva). They lived in the old Nieva Building at the foot of the hill leading to Mataas Na Bayan. Elena later went to college at the University of the Philippines and finished her Bachelor Degree in Education.

When Juanita Jambalos-Nieva( wife of Calixto) died during childbirth, Elena and Bernardo Jambalos II ( brother of Juanita) were made in-charged of bringing the corpse from Manila back to Marinduque.
During the trip, people mistook them as husband and wife. Their romance started then and later were married at the Boac Catholic Church.

Today, if I had to guess, there should be more than seven hundred members of the Nieva clan, just based on the six children of Calixto Nieva and Epifania Morente all over the world. If you include the descendants of Pedro and Francisco Nieva, the two brothers of Calixto, it could reached to more than a thousand Nievas all over the universe. If you are a member of this clan, please let me know. Someday, I may be able to trace the Nieva genealogy all the way to Spain, as I did with my mothers name "Balleza", several years ago. My e-mail is in this site and I am also in Face Book.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Travel to Marinduque-From Manila Bulletin-8/12/2010


Moriones Festival (http://muntingpolo.weebly.com)

Here's a reprint from today's issue of the Manila Bulletin for your reading pleasure and information about Marinduque-my island Paradise written by Jacky Lynne Oiga. My personal/comment note is in bold.

"Located at the geographical center of the Philippines, Marinduque is home to the Moriones Festival, a top tourist attraction wherein locals parade in costumes and masks, representative of the Roman soldiers during Biblical times. It also boasts of scenic beaches, diving sites, mystical caves, hot springs, and serene isles, making it an ideal retreat for adventurers, spelunkers, and nature lovers.

The island of Marinduque owes its origin and name to the legend of Marina and Garduke – lovers whose romance ended tragically. It’s been said that Garduke, a prince from the nearby kingdom of Balayan (now Batangas) fell in love with Marina, the daughter of a local chieftain in the kingdom of Tayabas. Their parents were opposed to their love and so they eloped by going out into the sea where they perished and eventually their remains formed the island which bears their names.

Today, Marinduque is known for farming, fishing, and tourism, the last being seen as the next catalyst for development in the province. A treasure trove of exquisite natural beauty, this island of 370 square miles is dotted with various white sand beaches, well-preserved diving sites, enchanting caves, rejuvenating hot springs and tranquil islets that provide for a perfect getaway. Being an island of volcanic origin, hot springs, are also a common feature in Marinduque.

Local Dialect: Tagalog

Must dos:

Take part in the Moriones - The Moriones Festival is an amazing spectacle that takes part all over Marinduque during Holy Week. During the Lenten season, the province comes alive with people from all over the country visiting to witness the very popular Moriones mascots, a colorful religious celebration that links the story of Longinus with Christ’s Passion and Death.

Diving - Marinduque has a lot of places to explore underwater, generally the drop-off into the reefs and marine life of the island is a few hundred meters off shore. The Tres Reyes Islands are some of the nice spots for diving or snorkeling. The islands are surrounded by abundant marine life and warm tropical waters.

Personal Note/Comments:

1.Snorkeling in Amoingon Coast among the coral reefs

2.Shopping for native handicrafts

3.Visit butterfly farms and flea markets

4.Bird watching and hiking on Mt Malinding

5.Swimming in Poctoy White Beach and Hot/Sulfur Springs



Must See:

Bathala Caves - The Bathala caves are said to be mystical and the repository of psychic powers emanating from various points of the universe. It is believed that there are seven caves composing the Bathala Cave Complex. However, only four of these caves have been explored.

Paadjao Falls - A series of gently cascading falls ending in a 10-feet deep pool of crystal-clear waters, Paadjao Falls is an ideal place for family picnics and camping.

Natangco Islet - Natangco is an eight-hectare islet with a short stretch of powdery white sand beach that gradually slopes into the sea. This islet is a haven for scuba divers, its waters teeming with corals, marine life, butterfly fishes, and the occasional siganids.

Battle of Pulang Lupa Marker - A marker stands at the site of the bloodiest battle ever fought in the island between the Marinduque Revolutionary Forces and the Americans. The “Battle of Pulang Lupa” was the first known major battle won by the Filipinos over the Americans.

Boac Cathedral - This cathedral was built sometime in 1656. The architecture is Fil-Hispanic Gothic with much of the original structure faithfully preserved - the facade and main body, the belfry, and the altar. Stained glass windows, though a later addition, adorn the walls.

How to get there:

Regular flights from Manila can take you to Marinduque in about 45 minutes. You can also take a bus to Lucena City, and then hop onto a ferry for the Buyabod Port in Sta. Cruz or Balanacan Port in Morong. Other bus lines can also take you directly to Marinduque from Pasay, or Kamias, Quezon City".

Correction: Balanacan Port is in Mogpog not Morong.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Marinduque- A Photographer's Dream


Marinduque is a photoblogger dream. The province is endowed with unspoiled white sand beaches, pristine blue waters, fringing reefs, virgin coral reefs, coves, limestone caves, meandering rivers, mountain peaks, cascading waterfalls and streams, fabled sulfur and hot mineral springs,old churches and of course beautiful sunsets. The Internet is filled with photographs of the scenic beauty of this island not only from the local professional photographers but also from amateur photographers all over the world. The province has more than six big islands popular to beach lovers, scuba divers and snorkeling enthusiasts. It has Mt Malindig known to mountain climbers, hikers and bird watchers. It has Bathala and Tarug Caves popular to spelunkers and just curious seekers. In one of the eight caves of Bathala, there is a resident python, believed to be enchanted. If he shows himself when you visit the caves, it is suppose to bring you good luck.
Sunset over Tres Reyes Islands- Photo from panoramnio.com
The nearest and most accessible islands from the capital town of Boac are the Tres Reyes Islands ( Islands of the Three Kings), Gaspar, Melchor and Baltazar in the town of Gasan. The local names are Laki, Pangkog and Man-nga ( see map above). These islands are located southwest of the mainland. The other three group of islands bigger in area and more populated are Polo, Maniwaya and Mongpong Islands. These are located in the Northeast part of the mainland in the town of Santa Cruz. Maniwaya's Polo Maria White Beach is being develop as an alternative to Boracay. There is a bigger island, Salamongue Island which is not as well known to the tourists and residents.. I really do not know the reason, but I believe it is not as accessible from the mainland . Moreover, it is not as developed( no electricity or running water) compared to the other islands.

One of the most popular white beach located in the mainland in the town of Torrijos is Poctoy White Beach. It is about a 70 minutes drive from downtown Boac. Poctoy White beach with Mt, Malindig as the background is the most photogenic and the most photographed scenery in the island.

Just late last year, the former Elephant Island in Lipata, Buenavista, owned privately, was renamed Bellarocca Resort Island and Spa. It has been converted to look like Santorini Island, Greece with buildings all painted in white sticking in the cliffs. From what I heard, this resort is one of the most expensive and luxurious resort in Southeast Asia. The cheapest room charges $300 per night excluding meals and other amenities. When I was in Marinduque last year, I met a few rich and famous Filipinos( businessmen, actors and actresses, TV personalities)) from Manila as well as Korean and Japanese tourists at Masiga Airport in Gasan on their way to the resort. From the resort advertisement, I know that the most expensive accommodation is a 3-bedroom villa with its own pool and jacussi charging over $ 1000 per night without meals.

Dong Ho, Oggie Ramos, Ferdz Decena, Allan Barredo, Sydney Snoeck and Dennis Villegas are some of the photographers that I know who have photo blogs about Marinduque. Their pictures are beautiful, unique and mesmerizing. It is worth your time to visit their photo blogs sites. Looking at their photographs and reading of Marinduque's Tradition and Culture will surely make you proud of the beauty of our island paradise.
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