TRAVEL GUIDE : Getting to Boac Marinduque on a Holy Week for the Moriones Festival

Photo Credit : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ph_locator_marinduque_boac.png
the heart-shaped island of Marinduque (Photo from wikipedia.org)

Marinduque is a heart-shaped island province located in the MIMAROPA region. It is divided into six municipalities, namely Buenavista, Gasan, Mogpog, Santa Cruz, Torrijos and the capital town of Boac. It lies between Tayabas Bay and Sibuyan sea. It can be reached through a direct flight to and from Manila via ZestAir which lands at Marinduque Airport in barangay Masiga, roughly in between Gasan and Boac. To get there, there are shipping lines bounding from Lucena City to Marinduque through Balanacan Port in Mogpog, Buyabod Port in Sta. Cruz, and Cawit Port in Boac.

At around 8:00 PM on a holy Wednesday, we took a bus bound for Lucena City at Buendia terminal of Jac Liner. After 4 hours of travel with no stop-over, we finally reached Dalahican Port (Port of Lucban) in Lucena City; fare is around 220 pesos. From there, we took a ferry boat bound for Cawit in Boac Marinduque. Travel time from Lucena to Marinduque is around 3 hours, fare is Php 360 pesos. All in all, it will only take you 7 hours to reach Marinduque coming from Manila on a regular day.

at Jac Liner Buendia Terminal

Since it's holy week, there were a lot of passengers (tourists and locals), wanting to spend their long vacation in Marinduque. The long holidays started on holy Thursday so we already expected that there would be too many passengers in the port. Di nga kami nagkamali... We arrived at Dalahican port at around 12 midnight (holy Thursday), ticket booths were closed, they only sell tickets if their vessel is already in transit coming from Marinduque. So, we waited...

the massive number of people trying to get a ride

We queued on the line and waited. Good thing we were a group of 7, we (ehem! actually "they"...) took turns in queuing on the line. Thank you guys for not giving up. Hehehe! Here are my FB status updates while waiting:

Facebook updates...

At last, we got our tickets at around 6:00 AM, Wahhhhhhh! 6 hours of waiting on the line! Whew!!! Unfortunately, there’s still no sight of Motenegro Shipping Line's ferry boat. We went inside the terminal after paying the terminal fee of 20.00 pesos and waited for the ship to arrive.

At around 7:30 AM, we finally saw the ship coming. Yahoo!!! At last! we can now board... Passengers hurriedly went to the docking area as everyone wants to ride the boat first.

the mismanaged boarding of passangers

They let in the cars first and then the passengers. Most of the passengers were already restless and uneasy. Most have not slept and were already tired. There were kids, pregnant women and elderly patiently waiting under the sweltering heat of the sun. Passengers by now lost their temper and upheaval started. You can hear them screaming and shouting unto the ship’s personnel (see video below). Kids were crying and everyone’s already mad at how they (MSL) were managing the situation.

I have nothing against the management of MSL, they were just making sure that only those who has a ticket will be allowed to ride the vessel. I think it’s also their way to make sure that only the allowable capacity of passengers will be boarding the ship. What they’re doing is for the safety of all the passengers.

I guess the problem here is the lack of judgement and mismanagement of the ship’s personnel on how they will make the boarding organized. At first, there was only one passage way being used to board the ship, and with around 1,000 passengers, it will take hours before everyone can ride. What a waste of time! It took them around 30 minutes to get another bridge to be used as passage way to make the boarding faster.

I cannot also blame the passengers who’ve been waiting for so long, especially those carrying their little kids. It wasn’t really easy for both parties.

kids were already tired...

Everyone had calm down as soon as they boarded the boat and it started cruising along Tayabas Bay.


sitting on the ship's floor

aboad MV Maria Rebecca

Until we safely reached Cawit Port in Boac Marinduque. Thank God!

welcome greetings...

happy faces after reaching Marinduque...

From the port, you may opt to walk towards the national road to get a jeepney bound for Boac Town Proper or you may take a tricycle outside the port. I suggest that you take the jeepney as it is less expensive, fare is only 13.00 pesos going to the town proper.

where you heading at?

PLEASE NOTE that this scenario only happens during peak seasons. It should not hinder us in exploring this majestic island. Traveling to Marinduque should be smooth during regular days.

The next time I'll go back to Marinduque, I will not go there on a Holy Thursday. I will leave Manila before Thursday so that I won’t be stuck in the port with too many passengers waiting for a ride. We also expected that this will happen on our way back to Manila if we leave Marinduque by Sunday. So the group decided to cut our trip to 3 days instead of 4 days and decided to leave on Black Saturday. This is to avoid the surge of passengers going back to Manila. Good thing we did.

ALSO READ: HOTELS IN MARINDUQUE: Tahanan sa Isok and Other Hotels in Boac, Marinduque

passenger terminal in Cawit Port...

We may have faced a lot of hardships in reaching our destination. But those were wiped away by the experience we had in this lovely island of Marinduque. I will tell you how and why on my next posts.

Happened last April 21-23, 2011, here's a series of posts on this one of a kind Moriones Festival experience in Boac Marinduque, Philippines. Thanks to Ajel and Julius for letting me use some of their photos in this series.
Map By: Wikipedia


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  1. I never knew about this place! It looks very charming and popular judging by all the people in the photos :)

  2. Your patience may grow short, but it's always a great feeling to be on the road especially after enduring challenges along the way. :) Super dami nga ng tao!

  3. my gash!! hindi pa rin sila nag babago ng systema! and this is my experience naman last year! http://www.bonggaba.com/how-to-get-to-marinduque.html

  4. @Cedric - i didn't lose my patience, as i am willing to wait as i know that it's worth it... thanks po... =D

  5. @Don Trivino - hopefully next year mas organized na sila... thanks for sharing your experience...

  6. Oh the crowd is always there during this kind of festival in Philippines.... It brought back memories...:)

  7. @Jorie Pacli - the experience was great! even if it's not easy going there during holy week... =D

  8. Wow ganito pala dun pag Holy Week. matinding pasensya ang kailangan para hindi ma-imbyerna :)

  9. @lakwatsera de primera - yeah, or dapat pumunta na dun ng mas maaga... thanks Claire!

  10. first time ko rin to watch this festival thou the trip was sickening but the experience was worth it:)

  11. A very great travel guide I ever read. Very informative. It makes a lot easier for us if we plan to travel to Boac.

  12. Sir kontakin yo lang ako kapag bibisita ulet kayo .. I could offer you guys a place to stay .. sa Santa Cruz naman kayo.

  13. Hi mervs,

    Very informative... Way lot cheaper rather than taking a flight. Would u know how far cawit port sa airport.. And san ko po makikita ang schedule ng ferry going to boac. Thanks much

    Happy travels!!

  14. @Marie - i think malapit lang cya kc the aiport is also in Boac lang naman... naku, wala akong sked ng ferry eh... try to check out Montenegro Shipping Lines' website... :)

  15. i wonder if there are safe overnight parking in lucena, right off the pier. something similar to batangas port where there are paid overnight parking. we're planning to go in Marinduque this holy week and would like to take the car from our house and just leave it in Lucena instead of taking it with us to Marinduque. We don't know any route in the place so it won't be practical. However, traveling with 2 kids on a bus is also not advisable. hope someone can advise on the availability of paid overnight parking. thanks


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