Marinduque Loop

Marinduque Loop (Counter Clockwise)

Marinduque Loop (Counter Clockwise)

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.
STRAVA: Marinduque Loop

STRAVA: Marinduque Loop

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

Expenses:

  • P227.50 – Bus Fare
  • P100.00 – Bike Fee

Notes:

  • 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.
Boarding the RORO

Boarding the RORO

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

Expenses:

  • P260.00 – Starhorse Shipping Line (RORO)
  • P30        – Dalahican Port terminal fee

Notes:

  • 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.
Inside the RORO

Inside the RORO

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

Ride Notes:

  • 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
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Kusina sa Plaza

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Boac Cathedral

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Boac Municipal Hall

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Locally grown pakwan. P100 each.

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60% coastal view

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Curba Grill at Buenavista

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A bahay kubo with the grand view of Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa.

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Villa Briones, White Beach, Torrijos

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

Expenses: 

  • 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)

Notes:

  • 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

Ride Notes:

  • Torrijos to Santa Cruz – 40% flat, 60% ascending and descending
  • Be sure to stay hydrated
  • Use petroleum jelly between thighs to avoid burns
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#CoffeeOutside

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Finally a group shot. 4 ladies, 4 gentlemen.

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2nd Breakfast at a local carinderia.

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Team Brompton.

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Maniwaya Island boat ride.

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Paluto with the locals.

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Residencia De Palo Maria Beach Resort and Hotel

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

Expenses:

  • 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

Notes:

  • 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.

Ride Notes:

  • 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.
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7:00am boat ride back to Santa Cruz Port.

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Temporary bike storage

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We did it!

We did it!

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

Expenses: 

  • P227.50 – Bus Fare
  • P100.00 – Bike Fee

FAQ:

  1. 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)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Is the road paved or rough?
    A: Yes! The entire loop is paved. Some parts are rough damaged by heavy trucks but manageable.
  9. 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.
  10. 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!

We did it!

We did it! L-R: Dennis, Mich, Aubs, Jeremy, Tina, Lucio, Miko, and Me!

View more PHOTOS here.

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Dicasalarin Cove, Baler (Day 2)

Dicasalarin Cove

Dicasalarin Cove

If you were in Baler, it would be a sin not to visit Dicasalarin, a beach cove 15-16km away from Sabang. On day 2 of our trip to Baler, our mission was to bike to the cove in the morning, be back by lunch, and leave for Manila by 3pm… non of that happened. #Lol!

That morning I woke up early to see the famous sunrise of Baler, did some rounds on my japa beads, then had some coffee… it seemed like a perfect and steady morning when suddenly, Louie, our friend/local host, arrived on his motorbike and interrupted our serenity. “Let’s go!” he said.

Without talking about the plan, we quickly packed our gears, hopped on our bikes and followed him to town. Within 5 minutes, we reached the HQ of Aurora Biker’s Club, where 20+ mountain bikers (as in bikers on mountain bikes) waited for us ready to roll. Our destination, Dicasalarin Cove.

The day before riding to the cove, Louie told us that the cove was only 16kms away from Sabang, and that if we rode out at 7am, we would be back by 10:30am, just in time for us to cook, eat lunch, and get ready to leave for Manila by 3pm. What he didn’t tell us was that we would climb up a mountain first before we got to the cove. It was the kind of climb that made me swear every minute and made me question my very existence every second. No kidding, I would never climb that peak again unless I rode a habal-habal or any form of motorized vehicle.

One thing I learned from this ride – Aurora Bikers are the true hardcore riders!

After an excruciating 1 hour hike, we reached the peak of Dica, where we found PAGASA / “Hope”.

PAGASA rooftop.

PAGASA rooftop overlooking Dicasalarin Cove.

From the peak, we descended to the cove. Naturally, what you descend, you must ascend.

From the peak, we descended to the cove. Naturally, what you descend, you must ascend. Non-stop of walking with our bikes.

20 minutes later, we arrived at the foot of the cove, finally! What to see in Dicasalarin:

  1. The Artist Village
  2. The bath house
  3. The cave
  4. The lighthouse (172 steps to get there)
  5. The creamy white sand beach
  6. A bathing spot where the river meets the ocean

By the time we had to leave Dica, it was already 1pm. The heat was unbearable and we still had to hike back to the peak again (not fun anymore).

Dicasalarin Cove

Goodbye Dicasalarin Cove

We arrived at our kubo at 4pm. The bus tickets were sold out. We decided to rent a van to bring us to Cabanatuan and took a bus to Manila from there.

We arrived at our kubo at 4pm.

So how did we get home? We rented a van from Baler to Cabanatuan (P2,700), then took a bus to manila from there. We left Baler at 9pm. We reached home at 4am, Monday.

What an epic weekend!

Calatagan Weekend

Another epic weekend with biker buddies in Burot, Calatagan.

With my gal, Melissa Sambajon, travel extraordinaire.

With my gal, Melissa Sambajon, travel extraordinaire.

Take a bus from Coastal Mall Provincial Bus Terminal to Calatagan:

  • Celyrosa Express leaves every hour.
  • Non-aircon bus until 9am, after 9am, AC bus is available.
  • P140/head
  • Non-stop 3-4 hr trip
For P150-P200, a trike can take you to Burot beach. We rented one to carry our bags.

For P150-P200, a trike can take you to Burot beach. We rented one for our bags.

Our first stop was the nearby market where we bought:

  • Drinking water
  • Food & Snacks

Make sure to buy everything you need because everything else in Burot is more expensive.

We grabbed a quick bite at the market, then pedaled our way to the beach (estimate 5KM). If you’re planning to bike to Burot, ensure that you have good wheels. The road is rough and full of sharp rocks. At one point, I had to walk because it was too bumpy for my small wheels.

The famous Burot sunset.

The famous Burot sunset.

Camp site

Camp site

Tent is the only option for accommodations in Burot. If you don’t have a tent, you can rent one for P300 – P500 depending on the capacity. Best to bring your own because the island can run out of tents during peak season.

For only P100/head one can go sandbar hopping. We went to 3 sandbars. If you really want to swim, take this offer.

There's always time for a selfie!

There’s always time for a selfie!

Loving the beach life!

Loving the beach life!

After 2 hours, we returned to our camp. When leaving your campsite, make sure to lock your tent and take your valuables with you. Rumor has it that visitors have lost stuff. In our case, we left Jen Mai behind. Well, she volunteered. Thanks dear!

Chef Melissa in her element.

Chef Melissa in her element.

Melissa makes the best vegetarian pasta with her ever reliable camping cook set.

Melissa makes the best vegetarian pasta with her ever reliable camping cook set.

Part of camping is preparing and cooking your own food. Master chef Melissa got it covered.

The next day, we biked to the lighthouse in Cape Santiago, about 10KM away from Burot.

We made it!

We made it!

Side trip: The Stilts. Normally, you have to pay a minimum amount of P350/head to enter The Stilts, lucky for us, we didn’t have to. I’m not really sure why… I think the guard had a crush on Jen Mai (Hahaha).

Thank you Calatagan!

Thank you, The Stilts!

We had to get extra seats for our bikes. The AC bus has a smaller compartment than the Non-AC bus.

Thank you Calatagan!

Thank you Calatagan!

More photos here!