Marinduque: The Heart of the Philippines
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Marinduque is an island located south of Manila, in the Southern Tagalog Region.
It is a province that lies at the geographic center of the country, thus named the Heart of the Philippines. It can be reached by a 30-minute plane ride from Manila or by bus via roll-on and roll-off boats from the capital. Some ferries also come here from ports in Lucena City, Quezon or San Juan, Batangas.
Marinduque is a famous Lenten travel destination because of its annual Moriones Festival. In March or April, participants dressed as Moryons or roman soldiers from Jesus’ time, parade in the streets of Boac, Sta. Cruz, Gasan, and Mogpog amidst celebrations. A depiction of the story of Longinus, a blind roman soldier whose sight is restored from blood dripping off his spear from a wound of Jesus, is re-enacted in the towns of Boac and Sta. Cruz. Other things to do in Marinduque include cave exploring in Sta. Cruz and Mogpog, butterfly watching in butterfly farms situated around the island, and relaxing in Poctoy White Beach in Torrijos.
Nowadays, Marinduque is gaining fame for the luxury resort Bellarocca. Located in the town of Lipata, this small rocky island has five-star amenities located within its Greek-inspired surroundings. Its buildings with distinct white stucco façades amidst lush landscaping make this resort an idyllic vacation destination for the discerning traveler. From the airport, a 40-minute van ride provided by the hotel will take you to the small dock where you will take a 5-minute speedboat ride to the island. The sophisticated traveler can opt to arrive straight from Manila and onto the island via helicopter or aboard a chartered yacht.
The resort has villas, hotel rooms, terrazas, and casas available. The villas boast of private infinity pools overlooking the ocean and Mt. Malindig. Terrazas are located cliff side, casas are scattered in the middle of the island, whereas hotel rooms are found in the main resort building where the main dining hall and swimming pool are located. Another pool is located near the beach area where water activities like kayaking, jet skiing, and windsurfing await the guests. A spa is also in the works, and should be fully operational by 2012. Island hopping can also be arranged with island excursions of snorkeling, picnics, and swimming in the nearby coves that take about 20-30 minutes to reach by boat.