Maniwaya is an island off Sta Cruz town in Marinduque.
I first went to this island in 1986, when it was practically uninhabited. My friends from General Luna, a coastal town in the Bondoc Peninsula, suggested we take a boat to a virgin island where, according to the old folks, then President Manuel Quezon would bring guests to sample paradise. We had a whole day of fun, but the boat ride back to General Luna then was something most of us would not forget. The afternoon waves were so bad we thought of turning around to stay overnight instead in Maniwaya. Thinking about it now, sayang.
Today, Maniwaya is developing as a resort destination. There is Palo Maria, a mom & pop operation, with a few bedrooms to rent. There are 2 resorts that are “tourist” class. On my last trip I saw a jet ski. A town mayor is building an 8-room low-rise hotel on a beach front. A top Marinduque politician has built the foundation for what looks like another resort.
But camping is still popular. The island, in my book, can still be described as undiscovered, and charming. I have not met anyone who has actually been to the island. Even the Marinduquenos themselves.
Best to go there now, before the horde descends on this beautiful island. But do not spread the word irresponsibly. Choose to tell only your friends who are responsible. Those who will not damage the island. I would not want to see Maniwaya decay into another Boracay.
HOW TO GET THERE.
You have to go to the main island of Marinduque. JAC Liner takes passengers from its Quezon City terminal straight to Marinduque, via a roro ferry from Lucena. There are several trips everyday, sailing from Lucena to the 3 ports in Marinduque – - – Cawit, Balanacan, and Buyabod. Buyabod is the nearest to Maniwaya, but there are less frequent trips to Buyabod. The most number of trips are to Cawit, in Boac, the capital of Marinduque. My favorite “port of entry” is Balanacan. Approaching the pier, passengers are treated to the sight of many islets before the ferry docks in Balanacan.
From Cawit or Balanacan, passengers can take jeepneys to Sta Cruz. The boat ride from Sta Cruz to Maniwaya is less than an hour.
Travel time from Nichols to Lucena is approximately 3 hours. The ferry ride is another 3 hours. I paid P2,700 to get my car on the roro. If taking your car, make sure you get a full tank before crossing over to the island where petrol is much more expensive.
2013 UPDATE: I went back to Maniwaya Maundy Thursday 2013. Read about new accommodations. http://boyplakwatsa.com/2013/04/21/maniwaya-revisited/