Marinduque is a small island province found in the central region in the Philippines (hence its monicker “Heart of the Philippine Islands”). Situated between Tayabas Bay and Sibuyan Sea, it offers island hopping opportunities particularly at Maniwaya Island – one of the most popular summer destinations from Manila. It is also known for the Moriones Festival, a religious celebration with colorful masks held every Lenten Season.
Compared to similar provinces, Marinduque tends to be overlooked by tourists. So come discover the best Marinduque tourist spots with us!
Note: Please refer to the tourism office for the updates on these attractions. As of October 2023, Bagumbungan Cave is still closed for visits.
- 1. Maniwaya Island
- 2. Ungab Rock Formation
- 3. Palad Sand Bar
- 4. Poctoy White Beach
- 5. Tres Reyes Islands
- 6. Mount Malindig
- 7. Kawa-Kawa Falls
- 8. Boac Cathedral
- 9. Malbog Sulfur Hot Spring
- 10. Bagumbungan Cave
- 11. Luzon Datum of 1911
- 12. Bathala Caves
- 13. Paadjao Falls
- 14. Bulusukan Falls
- 15. Natangco Island
- 16. Visit a butterfly farm
- 17. Witness the Moriones Festival
- How to Get to Marinduque
- Where to stay in Marinduque
- What to read next:
1. Maniwaya Island
Perhaps the most famous tourist attraction in Marinduque, Maniwaya Island boasts of white-sand beaches and peaceful atmosphere that makes it perfect for relaxation and unwinding. You can also rent a kayak, paddle board, or snorkeling gears to explore its surrounding waters.
There are several casual beach resorts in Maniwaya Island, most of which offer affordable rooms. As such, the island is popular among budget tourists.
We’d already been to Maniwaya Island, where we camped and then island hopped to nearby spots such as Palad Sand Bar and Mongpong Island. But my favorite part of our visit was the snorkeling area where various types of corals were clearly visible from the boat because of how clear the water was!
2. Ungab Rock Formation
Ungab Rock Formation is an arc-like rock formation located in Mongpong Island. It can be visited as part of the island hopping tour, which includes Maniwaya Island and Palad Sand Bar.
Here you can take pictures of the rock formation, cliff jump, or just swim at the beach. There is also a resort nearby where you can relax for the day.
We’d been to Ungab Rock Formation, and as one of the popular tourist spots in Marinduque it can be crowded especially on weekends. So if you want to visit in quiet times, schedule your trip on a weekday.
3. Palad Sand Bar
Craving for some sun, sand, and sea? Look no further than Palad Sand Bar, one of the popular tourist spots in Marinduque.
This sand bar is situated off the coast of Maniwaya Island, about 20 minutes away by boat. It features a stretch of fine white sand, crystal-clear waters, and a breathtaking panoramic view of the azure sea. It is surrounded by shallow water, making it an ideal swimming spot even for children. And of course, don’t forget to take IG-worthy spots of the sand bar!
Remember, it’s a sand bar, so time your visit perfectly to coincide with the low tide.
4. Poctoy White Beach
As the locals would say, there’s no need to go to Boracay when there’s a white-sand beach right here in Marinduque! Poctoy White Beach features one kilometer of powdery white sand and clear waters, perfect for swimming and other watersport activities. It also offers a view of Mt. Malindig from afar.
This beach is a popular destination especially among families. You can find several restaurants and resorts along the shore with affordable rates, perfect for day trip or overnight visits.
5. Tres Reyes Islands
Located in the southwest coast of the mainland, Tres Reyes Islands is one of the best Marinduque spots that you should visit. Especially if you love beaches, like we do!
Tres Reyes Islands (which translates to “Three Kings Islands”) is a set of small islands named Gaspar, Melchor, and Baltazar, the names of three kings in the bible. These islands are a perfect day trip or overnight camping – just remember to bring your own tent!
Gaspar is the largest islands, with a beautiful white-sand cove perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Melchor features high cliffs, turquoise waters, and abundant marine life. Lastly, Baltazar is a renowned diving destination, with access to an underwater cave! Whether you like beach bumming or adventurous activities like snorkeling and diving, there is something for you at Tres Reyes Islands.
6. Mount Malindig
For those who love hiking, a trek to the summit of Mt. Malindig is a must-do activity in Marinduque. Mt. Malindig is a dormant stratovolcano, as evidenced by the presence of sulfuric hot springs at its base. It’s considered the highest point in the province.
The trek to the summit takes about 3 hours, where you’ll cross various trails – including coconut plantations, open grasslands, and a mossy forest reminiscent of other mountains such as Mount Pulag. While there isn’t much view at the summit, it’s a great place to relax and congratulate yourself for a climb well done.
After conquering the mountain, you can visit the nearby Poctoy White Beach for a post-climb swim!
7. Kawa-Kawa Falls
Kawa-Kawa Falls is one of the lesser visited tourist spots in Marinduque, popular among locals and those looking for a quick swim. The waterfall is composed of three cascades, which resemble a kawa (a large deep cooking pan commonly used in the Philippines). Take photos of the waterfall framed by lush surroundings and head to the topmost cascade for the best swimming spot!
This attraction may be simple but makes for a great nature trip. As it is located in Sta. Cruz, it is also accessible and the entrance fee is affordable.
8. Boac Cathedralhttps://www.instagram.com/p/CqWVRd8vW-7/
For those interested in history and architecture, a visit to Boac Cathedral is a must.
Boac Cathedral is one of the landmarks of Marinduque. Built in the 16th century, this beautiful church boasts a mix of Baroque and Romanasque styles. It has distinct red brick exterior, intricate wooden doors, and an ornate colonial altar inside.
For the people of Marinduque, the cathedral isn’t just a place of worship but a part of their history. As local stories go, in the past, locals sought refuge at this site during a pirate raid. They prayed to their patroness, Our Lady of Immaculate Concepcion. They then saw an apparition of a beautiful lady, who drove the invaders away. After the incident, they called their patron “Ina ng Biglang Awa” to honor her. Today
This cathedral is located on top of the highest hill in the town of Boac, offering views of the town and river. Getting here requires a short but steep climb, but as anyone would tell you it is worth a visit.
9. Malbog Sulfur Hot Spring
Malbog Sulfur Hot Spring is a great destination for family outings. Situated in the rustic town of Buenavista at the base of Mount Malindig, this natural wonder is famed for its hot sulfuric waters believed to possess healing properties. People from far and wide visit Malbog Sulfur Hot Spring, seeking relief from various ailments particularly skin conditions.
There are two pools at this resort, which are naturally heated by underground volcanic activity. Though it has a distinct smell of rotten eggs, it nonetheless provides a soothing bath for the body and soul. There are also cottages inside the resort complex, so you can bring food and drink for a picnic.
With its unique charm and health benefits, Malbog Sulfur Hot Spring is one of the best Marinduque tourist spots to visit.
10. Bagumbungan Cave
Bagumbungan Cave offers a thrilling adventure for the daring explorers visiting Marinduque.
Located in a small sitio in Sta. Cruz, this extensive cave system extends over 1.9 kilometers, featuring a stunning array of stalactites, stalagmites, and other fascinating rock formations. It is said to be one of the most beautiful cave systems in the Philippines.
Exploring the cave takes about 3-4 hours. As you journey through its chambers, you will be greeted by underground rivers and falls and even see the various types of wildlife that exist inside.
Don’t forget to bring a drybag and waterproof camera to capture memorable moments!
Whether you’re a first-time or seasoned spelunker, the Bagumbungan Cave is one of the Marinduque tourist spots that you shouldn’t miss.
11. Luzon Datum of 1911
It is said that Marinduque is located at the heart of the Philippines, and Luzon Datum of 1911 (also called Station Balanacan) is the “Geodetic Center of the Philippines.” Situated in the small town of Mogpog, this spot serves as a reference point from which all map and survey data of the country are based.
It’s not just the geographical significance that makes Luzon Datum a fascinating place to visit. The trip to the datum itself is an adventure, as it involves climbing up over 400 steps to the summit, where you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view of the island. It’s a popular spot among photography enthusiasts and those who love sunrise or sunset views.
12. Bathala Caves
For those who love spelunking, Bathala Caves is one that shouldn’t be missed. Bathala Caves is a series of 7-8 caves located in Sta. Cruz. These caves are more than just fascinating geological formations, they also hold significant cultural and spiritual importance, with the locals believing them to be the dwelling place of Amang Bathala, the Supreme God of the Tagalogs.
Among the caves, four have explored. The Church Cave, the largest among them, stuns visitors with its cathedral-like structure adorned with naturally formed stalactites and stalagmites. The Python Cave is home to pythons, which are said believed to be pets of Bathala. The next cave, the Cemetery Cave, is a burial site. Lastly, the Underground Cave features an underground river.
Visiting Bathala Caves requires a bit of courage and physical exertion, but the enthralling experience of exploring these natural wonders makes it an unmissable part of your Marinduque tourist adventure.
13. Paadjao Falls
Paadjao Falls is another gem among the tourist spots in Marinduque, ideal for a quick swim especially during the summer months.
The falls are nestled amidst a verdant forest. From the road, it only takes about 10 minutes on foot to get there. Once you reach the falls, prepare to photograph its multiple cascades, reaching a height of 15 feet, and swim in the natural pool basins.
Given its accessibility, it is a popular swimming and picnicking spots among the locals. Visit here on weekdays for a crowd-free experience.
14. Bulusukan Falls
Want to discover off-the-beaten-path attractions in Marinduque? Then check out Bulusukan Falls, a multi-tiered waterfall located amidst a mountain forest in the town of Buenavista. This waterfall is a great swimming spot and offers a getaway from the usually crowded attractions in the province. It also serves as a natural habitat for hundreds of species of butterfly.
Getting here requires about an hour of trekking depending on your pace and includes rough trails and river crossings.
15. Natangco Island
Let’s explore another one of the hidden gems of Marinduque! Natangco Island is an 8-hectare islet located in the town of Mogpog, about 45 minutes away from the town proper.
It features a small fine, white-sand cove, said to be one of the finest beaches in Marinduque. Get your sunscreen ready for beach bumming and swimming at this tropical paradise. Underwater enthusiasts would love to hear that the islet is a part of a marine sanctuary, where various species of fish are found – as do occasional sightings of manta rays.
Snorkelers and freedivers can explore the 30- to 40-feet fringing shelf reef on the western side of the islet. Meanwhile, scuba divers can explore the reefs that continue into near-perpendicular submarine cliffs down to the sandy bottom.
For water babies and outdoor enthusiasts, especially those who love exploring off-the-beaten spots, Natangco Island is one of the must-visit Marinduque tourist spots.
16. Visit a butterfly farm
Did you know that Marinduque is considered the “Butterfly Capital of the Philippines”? It is the major supplier of butterfly and pupae products in the country, which are exported to collectors and exhibitors abroad.
You can visit a butterfly farm in the towns of Cawit, Tugos, and Gasan. Learn about the life cycle of butterflies and moths, see various live species, and finished products like framed specimens. One recommended farm is the Marl Insects and Butterfly Culture in Gasan.
If this interests you, then you should also visit Marinduque during Bila-Bila Festival, which celebrates butterfly farming and conservation.
17. Witness the Moriones Festival
If you happen to visit Marinduque during Holy Week, don’t miss out on witnessing the grandeur of Moriones Festival. This religious festival portrays the story of Longinus, a Roman soldier who was blind in one eye and converted to Christianity after witnessing the crucifixion of Jesus.
Be amazed by the intricately designed masks and costumes worn by participants as they reenact different scenes from the biblical story. This is truly one of the best festivals in the Philippines.
How to Get to Marinduque
There are different ways on how to get to Marinduque from Manila.
Cebu Pacific flies to Gasan Airport in Marinduque a few times a week. Travel time is 45 minutes.
- Option 1: Take a direct bus (via Jac Liner) from Manila to Marinduque. Travel time is 8 hours.
- Option 2: Take a bus to Lucena Grand Terminal or Dalahican Port. From either location, you can take a ferry or roro to any of the ports in Marinduque: Balanacan Port (Mogmog), Cawit Port (Boac), or Buyabod Port (Sta. Cruz).
Where to stay in Marinduque
Here are the best places to stay in Marinduque:
- Balar Hotel and Spa. Modern hotel located at the capital of Marinduque.
- Boac Hotel. The oldest hotel in Marinduque, perfect as home base for exploring Boac and other nearby attractions.
- Bellaroca Resort and Spa. One of the popular resorts in Marinduque, featuring luxurious accommodations, facilities, and a private beachfront.
- Cozea Beach Lodge. One of the private resorts in Maniwaya Island.
Do you have recommendations on what to add to our list of best Marinduque tourist spots? Let us know in the comments section below!
What to read next:
Visiting Marinduque Island? Read these essential guides!
- Best Marinduque tourist spots + things to do
- Best beaches in Marinduque
- Best Marinduque resorts and hotels
- Maniwaya Island
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Katherine Cortes is a long-time backpacker and a freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).