An Island in the Heart of the Philippines: Maniwaya Island

In Philippines
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Self Portrait by the Shore

    The Philippines is really known for its great beaches, reefs and rich culture. This archipelago has approximately 7100 islands and several islands are reported to be uninhabited which makes these certain islands special. These special islands are referred to as the Virgin islands because it was never touched nor developed by any commercial companies to earn a profit. In this case, these islands are very clean, quiet and serves as a proper habitat for some animals.
    Maniwaya Island is located in Marinduque, known as the “heart island” of the Philippines. It is a very small Island surrounded by clean and clear waters. This Island is maintained and managed by its local people where they grow animals such as pigs and cows for their food. There are small resorts that are managed by the locals to accommodate the tourists which usually stay for 2 days.
    Maniwaya Island is not that advanced in terms of technology. People here are simple and survive with the help of tourists and fishing. Although this island is a perfect place to get away from school or work stress, they still have electricity from 3 PM to 11 PM. After those given hours, generators will kick in to provide electricity to the resorts (generator operation depends on the resort)

Accommodation

   In my experience, I have seen three (3) great resorts to choose from, Wawie’s Resort. Playo Amara, and Villa Atilana. All of these resorts offer private, group and camping accommodation. So every kind of tourist has a choice whether to get a private room, share with friends or camp out for a first-hand island experience.
    Wawie’s Beach Resort offers tent rentals for 500 Pesos (US$10) per night, but if you bring your own tent the rate is reduced to 300 Pesos (US$6) per night. If you want a more luxurious island experience, you can rest a cottage at 1200 Pesos (US$24) per night that is good for 4 people and 1500 Pesos (US$30) per night that is good for 6 people.
    For those people who just wanted to experience the island and/see a specific landmark near Maniwaya Island, Which are the Rock formation and Palad Sand Bar, A day tour can be arranged and as soon as you arrive at Maniwaya Island, an open cottage can be arranged just for resting or chilling.

Food

Most tourist or travellers tend to look for the best food dishes in every place they go, and in this island, almost all Filipino dishes are available. From Pork Adobo, Kare-Kare to plates of seafood! Of course, the staple in this island is seafood and rice. You do not get wrong with seafood because they are all fresh catches every day. Beers orders are also available thru your resort, island stores and souvenir shops.

Tourist Attractions

Clear Waters of Maniwaya Island

   First, of course, is swimming. Enjoying the very clear water and great sand of this island will really be worth it. Snorkelling is also possible (check with your resorts tour packages) but it is recommended for you to bring your own snorkelling gears. Island hopping can also be arranged through your resort. Several packages may be available depending on the choice of places or group you would get into. The most usual package was the tour to Ungab Rock Formation, Snorkelling and Palad Sand Bar.

Ungab Rock Formation

Ungab Rock Formation

    Ungab Rock formation is located on an island where there is a rock formation by the shore where the tour guides will let you swim and take pictures for a while. This location is one of the most iconic places located in the province of Marinduque. This mass of rock was never reconstructed nor renovated in any manner. Next will be the snorkelling site, This is a small place near the shore where small fishes can be seen. Do not expect colourful corals or fishes under this spot.

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Palad Sandbar

The Famous Palad Sandbar

    Last is the best part of the tour, the Palad Sand Bar. This place is really not usual to all countries and apparently, there are a lot of sand bars in the Philippines. One of which can be found near Maniwaya Island, the Palad Sandbar. It is basically a bunch of Sand in the middle of the sea creating an Island-like spot but it is so small. When it is low tide, the sand is above the water while during the high tide, the sand is underwater.

Palad Sandbar Shot with Friends

    This is a very small location that you and your friends can enjoy. People just usually relax in the very clean and clear water and take pictures. It is a perfect place to stage all your acts as friends and produce creative outputs for your photos, it will surely be worth it.

When is the perfect time to visit?

A starfish stuck by the shore

    The Philippines is a tropical country which means this country only has 2 seasons in a year, Summer and Rainy. It is recommended to go between the months February and June to avoid high chances of rain. It is best to visit in a very sunny weather for you to enjoy the summer heat, clear skies and great view of the islands. It is of course, safer to ride the boat, which is their main mode of transportation for this island is an hour away from the big major island of Marinduque.
    According to the residents of the Philippines, Filipinos, the best time to travel and explore famous islands of the Philippines is during the “Holy Week”. Usually, for Catholic or Christian Countries, this is a week celebrated to reminisce and learn more about the religious past but for some, this is their time to escape the stress and unwind. Filipinos usually plan and book for travels during this week because of the long weekend. Starting Maundy Thursday, Classes and work are already suspended to pay respects for the celebration of the Holy Week. The Holy Week usually happens in the last week of March and 1st week of April. At this time, it is also expected to have the hottest weather in the Philippines which is great for foreign tourists who love the sun.

How to get here?

First: Bus Ride

    You get on a 12 AM bus trip going to Lucena, Quezon. This is a 3 – hour trip so make sure to have dinner already and bring your neck pillow with you. From Lucena Grand Terminal, you have to take a van (commuter van) going to General Luna. Upon arriving at General Luna, get in a Tricycle going to General Luna Port. From the port, there are a lot of boats going to Maniwaya Island. Off you go.

Second: Packaged tour (Recommended)

    There are a lot of tour packages from travel agencies that you can find online. I recommend this because I already had a trip going to Maniwaya Island and the itinerary was really great and on-time. All you have to do is go to their Facebook page or website, pick a place and a tour then contact them to get their bank details. Deposit and off you go. For the trip to Maniwaya Island, it costs around 2800 pesos for the whole package. Inclusions are an air-conditioned van, 3 meals upon arriving the island (Lunch, Dinner, and Brunch on the last day), Boat Rides and tour (Ungab Rock Formation, Snorkelling and Palad Sand Bar), tour guide and Accommodation. All in one transaction so this is what I recommend for you guys to do, It’s safer and reliable.
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