Marinduque: A Place full of Beauty
The province is geographically at the heart of the Philippines and the best alternative for Boracay. The province is part of MIMAROPA Region which is about eighteen kilometers from Manila. The province is situated in the northern section of Sibuyan Sea. Marinduque is bounded in the east and north by Quezon province, in the west by the province of Batangas and Mindoro; and in the south by Romblon.
The province is composed of six municipalities namely Santa Cruz, Torrijos, Buenavista, Gasan, Mogpog and the capital of Marinduque which is Boac. The province total land area is 960 square kilometers with Santa Cruz as the largest municipality followed by Boac. The smallest municipality with an area of 79 square kilometers is Buenavista.
Climate is categorized as Type IV where rainfall is more likely distributed the whole year through and there is no marked season for wet and dry.
Transportation. The province have six seaport namely the Balanacan Port in Mogpog, Cawit Port in Boac, Laylay Port in Boac, Buyabod Port in Sta. Cruz, Gasan Port and Bitik Port in Santa Cruz. There are two airports namely the Gasan Airport in Gasan and Tapian Airport in Sta. Cruz and is service by Zest Airlines and SeaAir. Gasan airport just operated last November of 2008 while Tapian Airport is private owned by Marcopper Mining Corporation. The usual transportation within the province consists of tricycles, jeepneys and trucks although the major public transportation is jeepney but locals living in the inner or remote area have to travel by foot or ride a horse because there is no transport road available.
Communication. You can easily make local or international calls through DIGITEL and PLDT which is installed in municipalities in Santa Cruz, Mogpog, Gasan and Boac. They also install telephone booth in Torrijos and Buenavista. Other telephone services include cargo services, post offices, telegraph station, radio communications, fax machines and cellular phones.
Internet services are also available and provided by PLDT, Piltel and DIGITEL Company. You can have your own internet connection at home. The three major mobile network companies also operate in Marinduque – GLOBE, SUN and SMART. GLOBE and SMART have cell sites present in all six municipalities in Marinduque while SUN has only two cell sites in Santa Cruz and Boac.
The province also has two FM radio stations, the Radio Natin located at Santa Cruz and Boac. They also have cable TV coverage namely the Marinduque CATV in Boac, Lucky 7 Skycable CATV in Boac and GR CATV Services in Buenavista, Torrijos, Santa Cruz and Mogpog.
Major magazines and newspapers are also available in the province and they have one local weekly newspaper which is “The Weekly Marinduque”.
Electricity/Water. Power supply is through MARELCO or Marinduque Electric Cooperative, Inc. It supplies all the six municipalities and it can supply electric power for twenty-four hour exception on occasions when there is heavy rainfall or strong wind.
The source of water supply is from springs and well and it is managed by the municipal government. Present water supply is not really enough, only about seventy-five percent of the urban population avails of this water system. The rural areas get their water from wells.
To date there are three government hospitals namely Torrijos Community Hospital, Santa Cruz District Hospital and Damian Reyes Memorial Hospital in Boac formerly Marinduque Provincial Hospital. Aside from the government hospitals, there are also twenty private Medical Clinics, three private Health Centers and eight government Health Centers. Unfortunately medical facilities of public hospitals are insufficient and the government is constantly improving their health facilities. It is important to note that diarrhea is the top rank disease in the province due to poor quality of drinking water.
Education system consists of elementary, secondary or high school and tertiary levels. There are a total of 169 elementary schools, 157 of it is public school and 12 are private school. In the secondary level, there are a total of 56 schools, 44 of which are public schools and 12 private schools. In tertiary levels a total of 6 schools, 5 of which are private and only one public school.
Major economic activity is agriculture and by far is the largest sector that provides employment to the locals. Approximately fifty-eight percent of the total land area of the province is use for crops. Major crop of the province is coconut. In fact sixty-six percent of the cropland is planted with coconut.
Rice is the next crop with eighteen percent of the total cropland planted with it. Other crops include legumes like peanut and mongo; cacao, coffee, banana, root crops, vegetables and corn.
Aside from farming, locals are also involved with livestock and poultry rising. They raised goats, cattle, carabao, hogs and chicken.
Farming is certainly the major source of income by the locals and next to farming is fishing. Since Marinduque is an island it is surrounded with waters which gives the island big fishing areas which gives large supplemental income to the province. Their catch does not only supply the whole province but about seventy-five percent of it is exported.
Each municipality has its own type of investment or business opportunity. In the capital city, Boac, various establishments are present here like retail stores, bakeries and restaurants. In municipality of Mogpog you will find the fishing industry a boom which is the same in the municipality of Buenavista, Torrijos and Santa Cruz. In the municipality of Gasan is where you find the exporters and makers of handicrafts. It will be viable to invest in such business.
At present there are no large shopping malls in the province but you can find several commercial buildings. There are no multi national companies here so that unemployment is quite high since most establishments here only employs about one to four people only.
Even if it is considered as the smallest province in Southern Luzon but it is full of beauty and it is also home to the biggest festivals that are celebrated every Lenten season. Check out why the province is the best option for Boracay and Palawan.
Putong is a ceremony usually done to welcome visitors and friends. Each Barangay in the province has its own version of the tradition. Another cultural attraction worth to witness is the drinking of Tawak. It is a mxture of mint leaves. This is only served every Good Friday. And last is the Pangkat Kalutang.
Battle of Pulang Lupa Marker in Torrijos and Battle of Paye Marker in Boac are just the two mot famous historical attractions of Marinduque.
There are a number of beautiful old churches and one of the famous church in the province are Ina ng Biglang Awa Cathedral or known as Boac Cathedral, and Lourdes Grotto in Buenavista.
Of course no one can ignore the scenic and natural beauty of the province. From there white island to mountains and caves, you just name it and you certainly find it in the region. Here are some of the natural attractions that you should visit – Bathala Cave in Santa Cruz, Tres Reyes Island in Gasan, Santa Cruz Island Beaches, Mount Malindig in Buenavista, Molbog Sulfur Spring, and Bulusukan Falls in Buenavista.
As well there is one of the largest festivals in the country. The most famous is their Moriones Festival which is celebrated every Lenten season. It is actually the re-enactment of the crucifixion. Another festival which is celebrated every May 15 is the Kangga Festival. The feast is done in honor of San Isidro Labrador. The celebration features cultural performances, beauty contests, street dancing and more. And of course no one can forget the Bila-bila Festival every 8th of December.
One can take a bus en route to Dalahican port or Talao-Talao port in Lucena City where a RORO vessels van take your bus to Marinduque. Another option is to go down in port of Talao-Talao and take a ferry or fast craft to Mogpog. From there, you can take air-conditioned van or jeepney to other municipalities of Marinduque.
If you want to travel fast and with no hassle then you can travel by air. Local airlines have direct flights. It takes around forty minutes to arrive in Marinduque.