[Marinduque, Philippines] ~ That Island Called Maniwaya

Its seclusion made it initially scary, but it’s exactly later on what made worth all the scare – 09.25-27.15


I decided going to this place two days be fore it happened but I am just glad that I did not choose wrong. That ship ride getting there a check in my to-do list this year, the initially scary quiet and odd rawness of the island despite its many resorts (apparently also with an interesting story behind its name), lazy day of reading and wading, an impulsive trip to a sandbar and taking an alternative rather brave-the-waves kind of ride on a boat shared with only two other passengers.

There are two major bus lines that could take me to port in Lucena which would be jump-off point to get to the island. For some reason, I chose JAC but since it sounds too close to JAM that my taxi driver brought me to latter. Well I would not know the situation should I have been to my choice but it was a quite a blessing anyway as I did not have much wait time at the terminal. I boarded the bus and as soon as I sat, before I knew it we were leaving for Dalahican Port in Lucena.

A not-so-blessing though that a few minutes after sitting, someone on seat opposite mine was creepy that I had to move to the second to the last seat. It was no bother though as I ended up sleeping so soundly during the entire trip.

We arrived at the port around midnight. It was not as busy as I imagined it to be after having read online that ferry trips run 24/7. It was only after I got down though and walkedmy way toward the ticket booth did I realize that people were awake there at that time of day – especially the stall vendors who would incessantly offer me food and drinks. I gave in to one by the way just for some security tummy fill.


Carinderia stalls open at an early time of day and their ever “bibo” vendors


20150925_003520Where the passengers are supposed to wait




There was quite some wait time before they got us  onboard but it was fortunate that waiting area was not a pain. It was not as crowded. There was TV, food (in case I again get hungry which I did not) and that coin-operated charging station. My highest demand at that time was for the latter having realized that both batteries of my phone and camera were dying.


Almost as clean (or more even) than some domestic airports in the Philippines. 

Good job there! 



On this seat close to the charging station


It was around 2 or half past 2 when we were boarded.I hurriedly looked for a place to sit. I definitely wanted one where i can see the  water and feel the wind so I looked for seats on the sides. I found one that is kind of hidden from all others. I thought I would have it to myself but I was later joined by two other passengers.

I have been meaning to stay awake all trip (wow that was ambitious considering that time of day). I failed obviously. I dozed off almost immediately and have been waking up from time to time whenever I would feel the cold. Yep, apparently it gets pretty cold on the outside benches. No matter some prefer to get seats on the covered part toward the middle.


Oh that man so sound asleep (which I would later be)



My seat on the right side of the ship



Interesting decorative stuff on the ship


20150925_014237Ship has a cafe even. Interesting stuff hanging on its walls too



If you opt for the covered one


I woke up perfectly a few minutes before sunrise. I witnessed no spectacular sight but for some reason, it just felt good having woken up from a boat (?). Gaaaad. I know sometimes I can be weird.

Our boat arrived at the destination port around 5:45AM (Yes I know because I was trying to document as much as I can on my notebook for this trip). There was much maneuvering that had to happen though to ensure that ship’s properly aligned with the dock (if there is such a thing) that we were able to go down 15 minutes later. I immediately got on a van which took me town to Sta Cruz which from there I took a tricycle to Buyabod Port.


Good morning, fellow passengers




Not so visible sunrise



20150925_073704Port to port



Hopped on a special trip



Where van dropped me off in Sta Cruz


Challenge upon arrival at Buyabod Port was that I was both too early and a few minutes late. Why so? I was too early because there were no passengers yet going to Maniwaya and they need to fill the public boat with passengers. At the same time, I was few minutes late as a local told me, owner of the resort where I was staying was just there a few minutes earlier and he could have taken me with him onto island.

Port was so small and I stand out as a tourist so I was not feeling comfortable at first because it seemed that they were all looking at me and probably wondering what I was doing there at that time of day. I sat on one of the two carinderias though, ordered some viand and quietly ate there. I could not prevent the chitchats though which oddly replaced bits of my discomfort into ease.

They were warm and I could feel that they all wanted me to get to Maniwaya earliest I can – including asking a fellow local whether I can go with their boat who was off to somewhere. It turned out though that they were not passing by Maniwaya because waves were strong and theirs was a small boat.

When a couple arrived who was also headed to the island, they told us to all just wait in the boat so we do not get bored as much. It was a painful wait for the boat to be filled. There were instances even when a group of people would come and my face (I can imagine) would light up then would be gloom again upon realizing they rented a private boat.

On the bright side though, I managed to do an amount of writing – amusingly even introspective ones at that.




Where I was waiting for the other passengers



It was when I stopped counting time that almost without realizing it, we were off to the island on a 30- to 45-minute trip. Sun was up on its hottest when we arrived that I had this uh-oh thought bubble when I realized I had to much walking to get to the resort. (I remembered vaguely an online article mentioning they did take a motorcycle to get there but I remembered too nor caring about that island since hey, we can always walk along the shore).



Loaded now




There you are, Maniwaya



I had no choice though so with my backpack and tent, I walked in search of Wawie’s. It did not help that my fellow passengers who seemed to be locals disappeared soon on the opposite direction to where the resorts are. I was in some panic too as no one was swimming, resorts looked empty and for some strange reason, I was not able to track whereabouts of the couple tourist I was on the same boat with.

I walked and walked with no person to ask. I got so tired there was a point when I found shade, relieved myself from sweat by dipping in the water before going back to walking again. At some point too when I thought I went too far already, I came back and rechecked as I may have missed my resort the first time.

Which I did not so I just kept on walking until finally, I see the resort I was ‘booked’ in. I was welcomed by this man who introduced himself as the owner and who seemed defensive why they were no other guests on the resort. I did not tell him but to me that was a good thing. An empty resort is okay but an empty island is not.

And here are snapshots of the island while I was looking for Wawie’s


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Immediately since I found it, I was soon agitated and badly in again need of water. So after some small talk with the owner and some ‘surveying’ of the area where I can set up camp, I immediately went back in search of parts of sea where I can swim.

Oh before that I asked for beer but I was told they have none on stock but I can tell him what I drink and they would buy from town. So off I was in search not only where to swim but where I can also grab beer.



My chosen spot for my tent. 

Note the difference in color though as one was taken using my phone while the other, my action camera (which I realize I have been using for wide-angle shots more than for action really 😀 )



And there was the resort owner, Kuya Wawie 


When I went back to the resort to find some chill shade, there was a family of locals there already. I just found myself a place to rest, people-watched and leisurely read. That was basically how I spent my entire day in between ‘trips’ to the sea, the store and bathroom.

By the way, sea there is generally calm with gentle waves. Water is surprisingly clear but not saved from seagrass on time when I arrived as it was low tide.

One really then has to find parts of the sea where swimming is best. For me, I found it in front of this resort called Plaza Amara as it has less waves and can be deep enough before the seagrass. (This I realized by the way during high tide the following but theoretically, this should be the good part also during low tide). Sea in front of Wawie’s also swimmable but there are more waves there and more rocks so maybe not for scared non-swimmers like  me.


I can rest under all those umbrellas that day



 Black hole



If not for the ants, I would have sat here



Finally some time for reading



Can’t remember why I just threw all my stuff there when I can easily put this on the bench etc



Resort has a dog



Or dogs, maybe?

I would find out later on that these dogs are not owned by Kuya Wawie but they just like going there to eat guests’ food (yikes), except the nice one Putol who was like family to the owners. He was named such because his tail has been cut during an accident (“putol” means cut in English)


When sun got less harsh, I decided to explore the other end of the island – which I am glad I did because I got a glimpse of the community there. Oddly though, there were still not much people, except some kids playing by the sea.On my way back, I took the path on what looks like some forest but when paths got tricky, I decided to go back to the safe route by the beach.

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During low tide, the seagrass gets exposed making options of the beach not ideal for wading



View in panorama when I went some walking towards left of the island






Some local’s black pig




Path that leads to wherever


I was planning on stargazing that night but unfortunately, it rained. Out of kindness too, the owners offered to give me room instead of sleeping in my tent because it may not be safe as there is some construction happening nearby. They were just being protective of guests I suppose but a part of me still wanted to camp and look at stars all night. I ended up being obedient then which meant sadly I lost a night for this trip.

Having had too much sleep then, I was groggy the following morning and not in the mood. It was good though that I woke up to a calm morning and I was accompanied by the friendly dog Putol.



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So it’s the resort crew who did transfer my tent and okay. that peg should not be there, Mister.  


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Maniwayang umaga



Slept too many hours that I was feeling lethargic sad but Putol was my first happy thought that morning



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I was all awkward but Putol was looking all adorable here




Spot Putol



It’s (More) Fun in Marinduque indeed



Roof under another roof


20150926_074519It was time for bag clean-up



You are being so sweet again, Putol

Just to put context, I am that kind of person who rarely attracts animals so it’s a big deal for me whenever there is one who doesn’t run away 😀 


I had nothing planned during the morning so it was more relaxing hours of sitting by the beach, reading and walking (while sun was not yet unreasonably hot, take note).


Natural vase



More of this calm on my second day



Bench adjusts to the tree



I just have to capture this moment when I have more time to again finally read



With this kind of view at that



Apparently what happens during high tide

This part used to have some sand space for walking the previous day



At sea again! 



And  again more pictures of what I see from sea! 

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Perfect spot with shade



Can’t get enough landscape snapshots and here are more when I was going back to my camp

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Now some time at the hammock while fellow guest-watching

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Afternoon was scheduled for a visit to PALAD SANDBAR around mid-afternoon. I was with two boatmen in a very small boat and I try my best to hide but I was scared whenever a wave would welcome us.

Sandbar was more crowded than the main island and with people scattered, it was a challenge to take a scenic photo. I then just enjoyed the water first and photos including selfies happened later.


Uncaptured but we did encounter waves then



Beer belly bulge on the sandbar. What a welcome 😀



More people on this place than on the main island – hmm, which makes me wonder where they came from



From the other side




Water clear but sandbed rocky



Clouds hid the sun from time to time but that did not stop me from enjoying the island

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Translated as “I love whoever reads this”.




Kept on waiting for the end of the sandbar to be people less






Yep, they were busy swimming



Okay, I’m just too dark in this picture



Obvious again where I was



Going nowhere



Okay, photobomb-free selfie from the other end



Hidden heart-shaped water drops



And what is my tour guide trying to achieve in here?



Sandcastle in the sand 

I just got reminded of How I Met Your Mother Robin Scherbatsky’s music video



Okay. People on choppers better not take this seriously



And I could not just remember why I need this picture again



I think panorama just got confused with that strip of land between two bodies of water



I and other sandbar folks



We stayed at the sandbar for about an hour and a half. By then, we were the only boat left  from our ‘batch’ but there was one more coming in.


What a lovely way to dry me up



Discreet setting of the sun



And Putol was again there to join me during sunset



I declined when they first offered but could no longer say no when Kuya handed it to me. Instant “dinuguan” pulutan, then?





That sunset may be subtle but it gives the island a different hue



Stars all hiding from you


I spent my last night on longer being obedient and an early sleeper. It was dark from our resort to the other resorts but with my cellphone as only source of light, I bravely walked looking for a place to drink from what seemed the busier part of the island. I found one in a bigger resort but I got bored after and I could not drink without worrying about my another walk in darkness that I must surpass.So yes, ending is — I ended up sleeping early that night too!

The following morning is when I leave the island – quite early at that. I was excited however as I am taking on a route different from how I came in. Our boat left at 8:45AM and after about 3 hours of ride with waves, I was on this unknown town named after a recently released Filipino movie loved by most.



At this port for boats en route to General Luna



At this time I did not even know that that would be my boat




I made sure to stay close to the floating device



Selfie with the only passengers on boat


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Those waves look nothing on photo but according to our boatmen, those were strong



General Luna after taking the General Luna route




Because I have always been curious with this pancit canton I’ve been seeing in carinderias since day 1



Van to Lucena



Lucena terminal’s food court


And this entry lacked an ending. 😀 But I hope you enjoyed the photos anyway.

How to get to Maniwaya Island :

Take JAM or JAC Bus Liner to Lucena (Dalahican Port). Travel time is 3-4 hours and fare priced at Php230.

From Dalahican Port, take ship/RORO to Balanacan Port. Fare at Php 260 +terminal fee of Php30. Trips are every 3 hours.

From Balanacan Port in Mogpog, there are vans going to Sta Cruz Marinduque where you can ride a tricycle to take you to Buyabod Port.

From that port, wait for public boats that go to Maniwaya Island. For those traveling in big groups, you may rent a private boat.

How to leave Maniwaya : 

As shared earlier, I took an alternate route via General Luna. This skipped the ride to Balanacan and roro to Dalahican but waves can be rough.

Some practical information while on the island : 

Pitching your own tent  at Wawie’s Resort costs Php300 per night

Trip to Palad SandBar booked via resort at Php500

Restaurants /carinderias rare in the island so best to bring your own or ask resort to cook for you (probably at a free). Beer on the island mainly Pale Pilsen but can have preference upon request (like in my case Red Horse :D)


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