I won’t bore you with an elaborate intro. If you want to know about Marinduque, google it or read here. But if you want to know how to survive the “Marinduque Loop” on a bike, read on (refer to the map above).
- Mission: To finish the Marinduque Loop in 3 days.
- Route: (Counter Clockwise) Mogpog – Boac – Gasan – Buenavista – Torrijos – Santa Cruz – Mogpog
- Itinerary: Day 1 Mogpog to Torrijos (83 kms), Day 2 Torrijos to Maniwaya Island in Santa Cruz (33 kms), Day 3 Santa Cruz back to Mogpog (34kms).
- Cash in hand: P3,000
- Gears: Surly Troll, Larga handle bar bag, Vedas rear rack bag by Yadu, 2 water bottles.
I. April 08, Day 0: Point A to Point B (Manila to Lucena Dalahican Port)
- 08:30PM – Assembly at JAC Liner, Cubao Station
- 09:30PM – Departure Manila
- 01:30AM – Arrival Dalahican Port, Lucena
- P227.50 – Bus Fare
- P100.00 – Bike Fee
- The bus leaves hourly with alternating destination, Lucena Grand Central Station and Lucena Dalahican Port.
- JAC Liner does not allow seat reservations
- Detach all your packs and gears from your bike, park it near the loading area of the bus, then fall in line. You will be asked to pay for your ticket on board.
- If you’re bringing a folding bike, just fold and load.
- If you’re bringing a full size bike, remove front wheel and load.
- Be sure to bring a bungee cord to secure your bike to the bus compartment.
- Before loading your bike, rush up to the bus and save yourself a spot by placing all your bags on one of the seats.
II. Point B to Point C (Lucena Dalahican Port to Balanacan Port, Marinduque)
- 02:30AM – Departure Starhorse Shipping Line RORO (Regular schedule: 2:30AM, 10:30AM, 3:30PM, 11:30PM)
- 06:30AM – Arrival at Balanacan Port, Marinduque
- P260.00 – Starhorse Shipping Line (RORO)
- P30 – Dalahican Port terminal fee
- RORO travel time is 3-4 hours. What takes a long time is the loading and unloading of vehicles.
- Bring a jacket and an inflatable pillow on board. It gets really cold and the pillow will allow you to get a more relaxed sleeping position.
- Force yourself to sleep during the bus and RORO ride, you’re going to need it.
III. April 09, Day 1: Point C to D (Balanacan Port to Torrijos)
- 07:30AM – Ride Out to Mogpog (9.5 kms); Photo op at the “Santa Cruz x Boac” street sign
- 08:30AM – Arrival at Boac Town Proper (6 kms), photo op at Boac Municipal Hall, breakfast at Kusina Sa Plaza (special thanks to Rommel), change outfit, visit Boac Cathedral.
- 12:00PM – Lunch at Curba Grill in Buenavista, siesta time, bonding time.
- 03:00PM – Ride Out to Torrijos
- 05:30PM – Arrival at Torrijos town proper where we got our food and water supply
- 06:00PM – Arrival Villa Briones (0999-765-7054 Eleanor Briones), White Beach, Torrijos (68 kms)
- 10:00PM – End of day 1
- Balanacan port to Mogpog – 40% flat, 60% ascending and descending
- Mogpog to Boac – 90% flat, 10% ascending and descending
- Boac to Gasan – 100% flat
- Gasan to Buenavista – 60% flat, 40% ascending and descending
- Buenavista to Torrijos – 60% flat, 40% ascending and descending
IV. April 10, Day 2: Point D to E (Torrijos to Santa Cruz to Maniwaya Island)
- 05:30AM – Wake up
- 06:30AM – Breakfast, coffee time, bonding time
- 08:30AM – Ride back to Torrijos town proper (2.5 kms)
- 08:45AM – 2nd Breakfast, Carinderia, Torrijos town proper
- 09:30AM – Ride out to Santa Cruz port (38 kms)
- 12:30PM – Arrival at Santa Cruz port, leave bikes inside a port storage
- 02:30PM – Departure of passenger boat to Maniwaya
(Regular schedule is 11:30am, our ride was a special trip because there were a lot of passengers. Exclusive boat rental roundtrip is 2,500)
- 03:00PM – Arrival Maniwaya Island
- 05:30PM – Sunset swimming
- 07:00PM – Downtime, dinner, bonding time, free time.
- 08:30PM – Check in at Residencia De Palo Maria Beach Resort and Hotel (0921-2118211/ 0998-5394726)
- 09:00PM – Night pool swimming
- 10:00PM – End of day 2
- P70.00 – Passenger boat fare (one way)
- P300.00 – Overnight bike port storage (can fit up to 12 full size bikes)
- P1,500.00 – Bahay kubo (fan only)
- P1,800.00 – Paluto lunch and dinner (good for 8 pax)
- We were lucky to catch a boat in the afternoon. If you really want to get to Maniwaya Island, be sure to be at the port before 11:30am
- We saw an open port storage and asked the guard if we could leave our bikes there. He charged us P300 for overnight and then locked and secured the storage.
- Residencia De Palo Maria Beach Resort and Hotel accommodations:
- P1,500 kubo (fan only) – good for 2 max of 4; P100/head for extra pax
- P3,000 private (aircon) – good for 4 max of 8; P100/head for extra pax
- P100 – Entrance fee to use pool, bathroom, and other amenities
- Torrijos to Santa Cruz – 40% flat, 60% ascending and descending
- Be sure to stay hydrated
- Use petroleum jelly between thighs to avoid burns
V. Point E – F (Maniwaya Island, Santa Cruz to Balanacan Port)
- 06:00AM – Wake up
- 07:00AM – Depart Maniwaya Island
- 07:30AM – Arrive Santa Cruz Port
- 08:00AM – Breakfast at Santa Cruz Port Carinderia, get and set bikes
- 09:00AM – Ride out to Mogpog
- 12:00PM – Arrive at Mogpog, lunch, siesta
- 01:30PM – Ride out to Balanacan Port
- 03:00PM – Arrive at Bulanacan Port (39 kms), refresh, repack gears and bikes
- 04:00PM – Depart Bulanacan Port
End of day 3 and Marinduque Loop
- P100.00 – Special boat ride back to Santa Cruz Port
- P50.00 – Breakfast Carinderia (Fresh cucumber with “Camp Vibes” spice and fried rice)
- P50.00 – Lunch Carinderia (Fried tofu, rice, and bottled soda)
- P260.00 – Montenegro Shipping Line
(Montenegro regular schedule: 2:30PM and 4:00PM)
(Starhorse regular schedule: 6:30AM, 11:30AM, 2:30PM, 07:30PM)
- P22.00 – Balanacan Port terminal fee
- When you arrive at Bulanacan Port on day 1, be sure to check the schedule for your trip back home.
- Surprisingly, local carinderias also serve vegetarian food like fried tofu and lumpiang gulay.
- Santa Cruz to Mogpog – 50% flat, 50% ascending and descending
- Mogpog to Balanacan Port – 40% flat, 60% ascending and descending
- By this time, your body is already exhausted. Just take it easy and keep yourself hydrated. Don’t forget to stop for breakfast, lunch, and merienda to boost your energy.
VI. Marinduque to Manila
- 07:30PM – Arrive Lucena Dalahican Port
- 08:00PM – Depart Lucena Dalahican Port, JAC Liner Bus Cubao bound (hourly schedule)
- 12:00AM – Arrive Cubao JAC Liner, bike to house
- 12:30AM – Home safe and sound.
End of Marinduque adventure
- P227.50 – Bus Fare
- P100.00 – Bike Fee
- Do I need to bring a tent?
A: No need. There are hotels / pension homes in all major towns around Marinduque. Price range 1,500 – 2,500 (good for 4 pax usually)
- Do I need to bring a sleeping bag?
A: No need. But I would recommend you to bring a malong/sarong to protect you from the cold during the bus and boat ride, and this can also serve as an extra blanket when you get cold in the night.
- How much cash should I bring?
A: Be sure to bring cash to the Island. Bring loose change too. I recommend you bring 3,500 – 5,000 pesos good for 3 to 4 days.
- Do I need to bring a raincoat?
A: Yes! Always bring a raincoat when bike touring in Marinduque. Weather can be unpredictable. At one point, we experienced light rain shower.
- Will there be sari-sari stores along the way?
A: Yes! There are plenty of sari-sari stores along the main road, at least 5-7 kms apart where you can get drinking water, soft drinks, and other power drinks.
- Are the roads hilly?
A: About 50% of the roads are ascending and descending. But don’t worry, there are recovery points where you can rest. It’s doable.
- I’m a newbie rider, can I finish the loop?
A: Yes! Just be prepared mentally. Where the mind goes, the body will follow. Take your time. Even stop and take pictures.
- Is the road paved or rough?
A: Yes! The entire loop is paved. Some parts are rough damaged by heavy trucks but manageable.
- Do I need to bring my DSLR camera?
A: If you can take photos using just your camera phone, that would be ideal. But if you can’t live without your DSLR, then bring it. The goal when bike packing is to pack light. The space that your DSLR will occupy can already be space for your food supply for 3 days.
- Do I need to bring night lights, blinkers, and head lights?
A: Yes! Be sure to bring lights. On our first day, we ended at 5:30PM, unlike in the city, highways in the province are not lit. So you have to depend on your bike lights.
Mission accomplished! Thank you to the gentle and generous people of Marinduque, and special thanks to my bike buddies Miko Aguilar, Tina DC, Mich Rama, Jeremy, Aubs Rodriguez, new found friend, Dennis Salvador, and bike guru and striker Lucio Binalla for the great company! I wouldn’t have done this without you guys! Until our next tour. Safe winds!
View more PHOTOS here.