Do you know that Marinduque is a heart-shaped island? Not only that, it’s called the heart of the Philippines. I guess that says a lot as the Marinduquenos are the most accommodating of all the locals I ever met in my entire 100 days journey. They even have this culture called “pagputong” where they put some kind of a native hat on the visitor’s head as a sign of respect. I wasn’t able to experience that but they still do it until this day, usually on special occasions with VIPs.
Anyway, it was still dark when I arrived in Cawit port and to save on expenses I chose not to book a lodging house and just waited for the sun to rise. What I did was order a coffee in a small carinderia at the public market in Boac, the capital town. From there I went to Boac Cathedral to get some sleep inside the fortress church. The early mass is just about to start and I pretended to be praying while I was trying to get some needed sleep. You see I have to save on every expenses I can. This was part of the challenge- to trust not on what I have but on what simple locals would offer.
The mass started and the faithful locals began to sing a prayer I can’t understand. The golden retablo is shining gloriously I thought I was in heaven for a moment. I tried to listen and continued to pretend I was participating with them in the mass, I’m no Catholic but I respect everyone’s belief or religion. Even though I didn’t understand the mass, it taught me about the faith of the old, their devotion to God.
The mass ended and I continued to find my sleep sitting on one of the pews. I also seized the opportunity to charge my phone and camera when I saw an outlet. After dawn I began to check out one of the best preserved fortress churches in the country- Boac Cathedral. It was really huge and history would tell me that Marinduque is one of the islands where Moro raids have victimized. I will talk about this when we get to Southern Cebu Province on Day 84.
My main purpose of getting to Marinduque is the Station Balacanan or Luzon Datum. As I said, Marinduque is in the heart of the country and as such it has this marker where all geodetic engineers used as point number one in making a map. From Boac I went to Mogpog on a jeepney and then took another jeepney to Balacanan/Hinanggayon. I was brought to the Brgy. Hall of Hinanggayon where I have to register before I trek towards the hill where the marker is located. It was scorching hot when I arrived so I opt to rest first. One of the Kagawad, Sir Lito Leal accommodated me and told me that I can use the 2nd floor of the baranggay hall to hang my hammock and sleep. I had a good deep sleep for about 2 hours before I finally decided its time to reach the peak. The trek to Station Balacanan is breath-taking, you catch your breath every single step. Sir Louie Leal, with t-shirt off, followed me on the peak with his dog. He is the caretaker of this important site. Sir Louie told me that he gets colds when he wears his shirt. haha Really cool guy! We went back to the village before sundown.
I went back to the baranggay hall and as I was preparing my stuff, Ex-Kapitan Lauro Jalac, invited me to have some tuba (coconut wine) before having dinner. I also took some time to play with the kids, they were playing moro-moro or agawan base (if you were born n the 80’s you played this game and you had an awesome life). So I ask while I watched the twilight “Why can’t we become kids again?” How I wish we were always reminded how awesome it is to play like kids, to stop and pause for a while just to play, play without the purpose of winning, just to be like kids- enjoying life and living.
Kagawad Lito and his wife, Marife, invited me to dine in their simple house. I cannot say no when they told me that they prepared “adobong pusit,” which is my favorite seafood dish. After dinner came another session of tuba this time with other locals- Maurito, Darwin, Louie and Keith. Actually, I wanted to say no but I want their pulutan “adobong pusit,” “fried milkfish,” and “adobong papaya.” Befofe I passed out I thanked Kagawad Lito and Nanay Marife for treating me as their own son. They were also instrumental in making me welcomed in their small village. Before I left I told them that I want them to be my parents in Marinduque, they were happy with the thought and asked me to return on their fiesta. How sweet!
Route: Lucena City – Cawit Port, Marinduque – Boac – Mogpog – Hinanggayon
Expenses for Today: Php559
340- lucena to cawit
20- cawit to boac
10- capitol to boac
10- boac to mogpog
5- to balacanan terminal
35- mogpog to hinanggayon