Marinduque – Philippines – A Perfect Escape

Marinduque - A&B Sunset

JUNE 2016:



OVERVIEW:

In this post, I tell you about a little ‘hideaway’: Marinduque Island …

I tell you how you can spend a month living in peace and quiet on this idyllic little island … and do so on a GRANDPAcking Budget.


ABOUT MARINDUQUE ISLAND:

Marinduque is an island province in the Philippines located in the MIMAROPA Region.

Marinduque - Boac Farmland Marinduque - Boac TownIts capital is Boac.

Marinduque lies between Tayabas Bay to the north and the Sibuyan Sea to the south. It is west of the Bondoc Peninsula of Quezon province, east of Mindoro Island, and north of the island province of Romblon.

Tablas - Aglicay - Resort from Northern HilltopCarabao - Republic - Beach SouthCouple Marinduque Island with the Romblon Islands (such as Tablas Island and Carabao Island as well as Romblon Island itself) and you will get an ‘unspoilt’ Philippines holiday experience.

You can get to Romblon Island from Marinduque Island by ferry (and to Tablas and Carabao from there).

The province of Marinduque is inhabited by peace-loving people and was ranked number 1 by the Philippine National Police and Philippine Security Forces in 2013 as the ‘Most Peaceful Province of the country’ due to its low crime rate statistics.

Furthermore, for almost 200 years, the province is home to one of the oldest religious festivals of the country: the unique and colorful Moriones Festival celebrated annually every holy week. However, accommodation prices DOUBLE in Holy Week!


CROSS REFERENCES:

Read Lucena – Philippines – To Marinduque Island for more detail.

Read about Philippines Retirement Locations.

Read about other Philippines Destinations and Travel Budgets.

Read about GRANDPAcking Costs if you don’t know how to interpret my figures.


THE A&B CORAL RESORT:

The A&B is on a beach.

Marinduque - A&B Beach South Marinduque - A&B Beach NorthBut, alas, it is not the best beach that you will find on the island.

The sand is course and there are rocks underfoot when you enter the water – bring water shoes.

That is the only negative thing that I can say about the A&B … the rest is all good.Marinduque - A&B Beach

I can honestly say that you won’t find a more peaceful, friendly, and homely resort.

 It is a small resort that focuses on a picturesque central garden. The garden has fruit trees and seating areas.

Marinduque - A&B - Restobar & LoungeMarinduque - A&B Coral Beach - Balcony ViewThey also have a very pleasant restaurant / bar / lounge area. The lounge area has cable tv.

There is a free water dispenser. They also have a free hot water dispenser (so come with your own sachets of coffee / tea if you want to).

They have cheap fan rooms for PHP800 … but I would go for an aircon room.

Marinduque - A&B Coral Beach - Beach View

THE AIRCON DOUBLE SUITE:

The Suite comes with aircon, hot water shower, cable tv, and in-room wifi.

Marinduque - A&B Coral Beach - Room Entry Marinduque - A&B Coral Beach - Ensuite EntryThe owners are a French-Canadian (Bruno) and his Filipina wife (Amelia).

They have gone to some lengths to try and address the poor accommodation standards normally found in The Philippines in this price range.

They have done the rooms up very nicely … and, for what you get, they are charging a very reasonable price.

The room was clean and comfortable … and it had a balcony that looked out over the resort grounds to the sea.

The ensuite was small but made OK by placing the sink inside the room.

The hot water shower was good and so was the water pressure. They are one of the few resorts in this price range that have a water pump.

The cable tv had movie and sports channels.Marinduque - A&B Coral Beach - Room

THE SECRET:

Marinduque - A&B Coral Beach - Sink Marinduque - A&B Coral Beach - Balcony If you contact the A&B directly in advance, you can get an Aircon Double Suite for just PHP1000 / night at their ‘standard’ rate.

They are currently building a Family Suite with its own Kitchenette (yet to be priced).

I am sure that Bruno & Amelia (the owners) will consider giving you a good discount if you book for a couple of weeks (or even a month).

They are those sorts of people.

However, the rooms are so well priced that the usual rule of thumb on accommodation discounts will not apply … don’t expect big discounts … but expect something.Marinduque - A&B Coral Beach - Furniture


THE RESTAURANT:

You are ‘resort bound’ for your meals.

The Family Suite kitchenette may come in useful … should you want to do some of your own cooking … but, read on … the restaurant prices are so reasonable, you may not want to bother.

 Marinduque - A&B - Pork Adobo & DangitMarinduque - A&B BreakfastThe restaurant has no menu.

You just ask for what you want … or ask for what they have.

Without a menu … you just have to trust them (like I did in Quan Lan, Vietnam).

And, you can trust them. You will not be disappointed.

They fed me very well with good food and plenty of it.

They even gave me free fruit from their trees.

They gave me a special price on the food because I spent a few hours helping Bruno on his laptop … but they are very reasonably priced … and so is the bar (with a beer just PHP40).Marinduque - A&B Dinner


OTHER INFORMATION:

YOUR HOSTS:

Bruno and Amelia are wonderful hosts and so are their staff; come with the right attitude, and you will enjoy this ‘escape’.

They really do make you feel that you are ‘home’.

YOUR HEALTH:

There is a Hospital 3kms away in Boac should you have any problems.

GROCERIES:

There are a couple of local shops within 500m if you want to buy odds and sods (like a bottle of Emperador Brandy or Tanduay Rum).

These stores charge ‘local’ prices.

You can stock up on Groceries in Boac. Boac is a 50 minute walk away … or a few pesos (less than PHP10) Jeepney ride.

CLIMATE:

Marinduque is categorized on the Type III climate having rainfall more or less evenly distributed throughout the year with no clear boundary between dry and wet seasons.

The annual mean, maximum, and minimum temperatures were calculated at 27.0 °C (80.6 °F), 32.9 °C (91.2 °F) and 22.3 °C (72.1 °F) respectively.

Humidity average is 78% year-round with an average annual rainfall totaling 2,034.6 mm (80.1 inches).

WHAT TO DO:

Marinduque is an ‘escape’. You come here to get away from it all and relax.

The A&B, itself, offers very little other than a peaceful and relaxing place to stay … and a beach for some swimming, snorkelling, and fishing.

But, there are plenty of things for you to do around the island:

  • There are at least 4 good beaches to get to by Jeepney
  • You can Island Hop to more remote beaches from Gasan and Santa Cruz
  • Boac Cathedral, Heritage Houses, & Museum
  • Luzon Datum
  • Malbog Surfer Spring
  • Paadjao Falls
  • Maniwaya Island
  • Palad Sandbar
  • Ungab Rock Formations
  • Bathala Cave (PHP150 for a guide)
  • Ka-amon Cave (PHP150 for a guide)
  • Tres Reyes Island Hopping (Gaspara, Baltazar, Melchor) for PHP1,000

SPREADSHEET SUMMARY:

Marinduque GRANDPAcking Costs


WHAT IT SHOULD COST 2 GRANDPAckers:

COST OF EXISTENCE (COE):

Accommodation:

Rent a Double Suite directly with the resort at PHP1,000 / night. Rent for longer, and you should get a discount (depending on your length of stay).

Transport:

I have included a return trip for 2 people to somewhere on the island each week.

This will get you to some of the nice beaches on a day trip.

Communications:

I have included a prepaid 1 Month GLOBE ‘unlimited’ data package (with no texts and no talk time). Do not get SMART – it must be GLOBE.

If you don’t use the internet much, you can easily survive on the A&B’s free wifi.

Fees & Visa:

  • I have budgeted for you to spend a maximum of 2 months in The Philippines
  • There is good reason for this: the cost of the Visa
  • You get your first month free but it will cost PHP3,130 each to extend that for 1 more month
  • For the first 2 months, this works out to be an average of PHP52 / day each
  • To extend for a further 2 months will cost another PHP7,840 each
  • This latter cost (for months 3 & 4) can be absorbed within your budget if you want to stay longer – but it means that your average visa cost increases to PHP96 / day each
  • You may want to get your 1 month Visa Extension before coming to Marinduque … but, check with the A&B first, because I believe that there is a Bureau Of Immgration in Boac (so you may be able to get your extension there)

Food & Beverages:

I have budgeted for you to eat all of your meals in the A&B restaurant.

The ‘Cost Of Existence’ of 2 GRANDPAckers is about PHP1,903 / NZ$63 / US$45 / €40 / £33 per day. This is 79% of your daily budget.

This is a ‘worse case scenario’ which improves if you stay a while and get a discounted room rate.

COST OF LIVING (COL):

This is about PHP508 per day to LIVE on (i.e. 21% of your GRANDPAcking budget).

With that money you can LIVE comfortably.


CONCLUSION:

If you need to ‘escape’, for whatever reason, you can look to the A&B Coral Resort on Marinduque.

The locals are really friendly and genuinely happy to see you.

The island is the safest in The Philippines.

Expect to make your own entertainment.

TTFNMarinduque - A&B Sunset


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