Sunset taken from the Balcony of the Chateau Du Mer Beach House
My two guests at Chateau Du Mer for this coming Moriones Festival are both professional photographers. I believe both are primarily interested in photographing the colorful and unique Moriones costumes and festivities but perhaps also interested in photographing Marinduque's natural beauty, perhaps its limestone caves*, white sands beaches, waterfalls, coral reefs, gorgeous sunsets, old churches and antique homes. Their visit here at the Chateau Du Mer this coming Holy Week reminds me of an article I wrote in my blogs about 2 years ago titled Marinduque-A Photographer's Dream as follows:
Marinduque is a photographer's dream. The province is endowed with unspoiled white sand beaches, pristine blue waters, fringing reefs, virgin coral reefs, isolated coves, limestone caves, meandering and underground rivers, mountain peaks, cascading waterfalls and streams, fabled sulfur and hot mineral springs, old churches, antique homes and of course beautiful sunsets. The Internet is filled with photographs of the scenic beauty of this island not only from the local amateur and professional photographers but also from photographers all over the world. The province has more than six islands popular to beach lovers, scuba divers and snorkeling enthusiasts. It has also Mt Malindig known to mountain climbers and hikers. It has Bathala* and Tarug Caves popular to spelunkers and just curious seekers. In one of the eight caves of Bathala, there is a resident python, believed to be enchanted. If he shows himself when you visit the caves, it is suppose to bring you good luck.
Sunset over Tres Reyes Islands- Photo from panoramnio.com
The nearest and most accessible islands from the capital town of Boac are the Tres Reyes Islands ( Islands of the Three Kings), Gaspar, Melchor and Baltazar in the town of Gasan. The local names are Laki, Pangkog and Man-nga ( see map above). These islands are located southwest of the mainland. The other three group of islands bigger in area and more populated are Polo, Maniwaya and Mongpong Islands. These are located in the Northeast part of the mainland in the town of Santa Cruz. Maniwaya's Polo Maria White Beach is being develop as an alternative to Boracay. There is a bigger island, Salamongue Island which is not as well known to the tourists and residents.. I really do not know the reason, but I believe it is not as accessible from the mainland . Moreover, it is not as developed( no electricity or running water) compared to the other islands.
One of the most popular white beach located in the mainland in the town of Torrijos is Poctoy White Beach. It is about a 70 minutes drive from downtown Boac. Poctoy White beach with Mt, Malindig as the background is the most photogenic and the most photographed scenery in the island.
Two or three years ago, the former Elephant Island in Lipata, Buenavista, owned privately, was renamed Bellarocca Resort Island and Spa. It has been converted to look like Santorini Island, Greece with buildings all painted in white sticking in the cliffs. From what I heard, this resort is one of the most expensive and luxurious resort in Southeast Asia. The cheapest room charges $300 per night excluding meals and other amenities. When I was in Marinduque last year, I met a few rich and famous Filipinos( businessmen, actors and actresses, TV personalities)) from Manila as well as Korean and Japanese tourists at Masiga Airport in Gasan on their way to the resort. From the resort advertisement, I know that the most expensive accommodation is a 3-bedroom villa with its own pool and jacussi charging about $ 800 per night without meals.
MI, Inc members stayed overnight at the resort with a dinner and dance last February 14, 2011-celebrating Valentine's Day and the success of the 2011 medical mission.
Dong Ho, Oggie Ramos, Ferdz Decena, Allan Barredo, Sydney Snoeck and Dennis Villegas are some of the photographers that I know who have photo blogs about Marinduque. Their pictures are beautiful, unique and mesmerizing. It is worth your time to visit their photo blogs sites. Looking at their photographs of Marinduque, its Tradition and Culture will surely make you proud of the beauty of our island paradise.
Here's the latest on Recommended Caves in Marinduque from Joven Malabana Lillies:
"As one of the member of Provincial Cave Committee and Provincial Assessment Team, we are not recommending and promoting Bathala Cave anymore, the reason is based on the National Cave Act, before any cave is offered for tourism, there should be a classification approved by the IPCC & RCC (Regional Cave Committee) and with a management plan to protect the cave and trained cave guides for visitors, which Bathala do not have....We are recommending Bagumbungan Underground River Cave (San Isidro,Sta. Cruz) Ka Amon Cave (Bonliw , Torrijos) Camarines Cave (Bintakay, Mogpog) and Talao Cave (Tiguion, Gasan).We just finished a week long Cave Guides Training Seminar and Workshop sanctioned by the DOT,DENR,PCGA (Phil. Cave Guides Assn), Philippine Speleological Society and Province of Marinduque".