MANIWAYA ISLAND: Budget Travel Guide To A Rarely Spoken Jewel Of Marinduque

The Philippines is an archipelago dotted by more than 7500 islands and islets and surrounded by one of the world’s most diversed ocean waters. Hence, discovering gorgeously beautiful and pristine islands in the country should not come as a surprise but the case is utterly otherwise. Everyday we come across precious delights that don’t ever fail to satisfy the eye and trigger our inner wanderlust. Everyday a handful of stunning islands and must see destinations in the country are discovered, adding to our already overflowing bucketlist. There’s always a secret to unravel in every hidden corners and the possibility of stumbing into something wonderful is limitless. Maniwaya Island happens to be one of those undiscovered jewels concealed behind the shadows in the not so distant province of Marinduque.

Marinduque is widely known for the traditional Moriones Festival celebrated annually during the Holy Week but little do people know that there’s more to this province than men dressed in ancient Roman costumes and morion masks until an island promising white sandy shores, turquiose seawater, stunning sandbar and amazing rock formation surfaced the internet. It didn’t take long for people to take notice of the long, unspoken jewel that was Maniwaya Island and the myriads of splendid things it offers.

Maniwaya Island is part of the town of Sta Cruz in Marinduque and is less than an hour of boat ride away from the main island. It is surprisingly undeveloped with only a handful of resorts lined along its shores of rough coral stones and white sugary sands. Its water is teeming with life although negative effects of cyanide and dynamite fishing in the past are still very much evident in one too many dead corals scattered in its ocean floor. Its rustic vibe and tranquil state are its most redeeming qualities. Plus, it is totally off the path and uncrowded so you are guaranteed to have that patch of sand to frolic under the sun with for that much needed tan.


Commute Via Dalahican Port

  • Ride a JAC Liner bus in Buendia or Kamias stations bound for Marinduque (Check here for schedules). Alight the bus in Sta Cruz. From Sta. Cruz proper, ride a jeepney to Buyabod Port. Charter an outrigger boat to take you to Maniwaya Island or your preferred resort.
  • Ride a JAC or JAM Liner bus to Lucena/Dalahican Port. Board a ferry to Balancan Port, Marinduque. From Balancan Port, ride a jeepney to Sta. Cruz and alight in the town center then ride a tricycle to Buyabod Port. Charter an outrigger boat to take you to Maniwaya Island or your chosen resort.

Commute Via Gen. Luna Port 

  • Ride a JAC or JAM Liner bus to Lucena Grand Terminal. From there, ride a van to General Luna Port. Once you get to the port, charter an outrigger boat to take you to Maniwaya Island or your chosen resort.

Rented Van Or Private Car Via Gen. Luna/Calauag Fist Port

  • Drive to SLEX taking Calamba exit. Continue to CALABARZON Express Way. Drive until General Luna via Pan-Phil Hwy passing by Lucena, Pagbilao and Candelaria. Once you get to the port, arrange for a parking service with the locals (if you would leave your car) then charter an outrigger boat to take you the Maniwaya Island or your chosen resort.


Along the white sandy shores of Maniwaya Island are a range of resorts suitable for every budget and preference. I’ve listed some of them below.

  • Wawie’s Beach – A homey resort with the usual tropical vibe. Cottages are made of native materials such as bamboo and nipa and has a spacious camping area under the coconut shaded grounds. [Contact: Kuya Warlito – +63 921 369 5359]
  • Playa Amara – A family owned resort with modern amenities and glamorous cottages resembling those of Bali Indonesia. [Contact: Kuya Abner – +63 928 507 0362]
  • Marikit-Na Beach House – A beachfront resort with the right touch of cozy and luxury. [Contact no: +63 927 878 9782]
  • Residencia De Palo Maria – One of the many resorts fronting the beach with a swimming pool and a lush garden that’s perfect for kicking off stress. [Contact: 09192375633, 09228670312 & 09179540495]


  • Check out Palad Sand Bar and Ungab Rock – Not only is Maniwaya Island a great place to get a respite out of the bustle but it also offers some spectacular sites such as the long stretch of sugary white sands in Palad Sand Bar and amazing rock formation and beach in Ungab Rock.
  • Snorkel – Illegal methods of fishing was rampant in this side of the country in the past but it’s still nice to see the surviving underwater ecology in the waters of Marinduque.
  • Try water activities – If you are the type who easily gets bored with just frolicking at the beach then don’t fret. Water activities such as banana boating, kayaking, jet skiing and paddle boarding are offered in some resorts within the island.
  • Do unlimited photo ops – The place is absolutely stunning! You can get as much dose of those instagram worthy photos as you like.
  • Test the waters – You’re at the beach babe! What else to do then? You gotta swim!
  • Just frolic under the sun – Nothing beats relaxing by the beach, just watching the tides and the blue skies and simply letting time pass by.
  • Sunset Watching – Maniwaya Island has one of the most spectacular sunsets in the country so spending quiet moments by the beach while watching the harmonious color of the breezy afternoon collide as the sun bids the day goodbye is always a perfect way to cap off one eventful day.


  • If you are to take the General Luna route and is going on a rented van or a private car, travel time may take 4-5 hours max. No need to be at the port too early since travel hours to Maniwaya Island will not start until 8-9 AM when the water level has risen up after the lowtide.
  • There is a public market beside the port in General Luna where you can buy food, other goods and necessities.
  • The best time to go to the island is during the low season from July to November. Beach is guaranteed all yours and prices are cheaper. Although you have to anticipate rough seas and bumpy boat rides.
  • Palad Sandbar appears during the lowtide hours from 6AM-8AM and 3PM-6PM.
  • Ungab Rock may not be accessible during rough seas.
  • Camping is possible. Wawie’s Beach has camping grounds for which they charge a fee of P200 per tent.


SUMMARY OF EXPENSES (Rented Van Via Gen. Luna 
Rountrip Manila-Gen. Luna (Van) @ P9000/10P900
Food (Marketing) P2500/10P250
Accommodation (Wawie's Beach) @ P1200/room/3paxP400
Roundtrip Boat Transfer @ P5000/10paxP500
Banana BoatingP200
Day 1

0300 Meet Up Buendia Bus Station
0330 ETD General Luna
0730 ETA General Luna Port
0800 Breakfast. Marketing
0900 ETD Maniwaya Island
1030 ETA Maniwaya Island/Chosen resort. Settle Down.
1200 Lunch
1300 Free time. Rest.
1500 Palad Sandbar
1600 Ungab Rock
1700 Back to resort. Wash Up. Sunset Watching
1800 Dinner
1900 Socials
2200 Lights Out
Day 2

0600 Wake Up. Freshen Up.
0700 Breakfast
0800 Water Activities
0900 Swim. Enjoy the beach. Photo Ops.
1200 Lunch
1300 Pack Up.
1400 ETD General Luna/Catanauan
1500 ETA General Luna
2000 ETA Manila

-Tent (If you plan to camp)
-Snorkel gear
-Extra clothes
Van Rental (Sir Paul) - 0948 062 8899
Kuya Eldie - 0949 573 3861


See the irresistible charm of Maniwaya Island and learn the epic story of our happy weekend escape through our numerous photos.

There you have it folks. Our escapade to Maniwaya Island was probably one of the most memorable this year. From the beauty of the island to the sheer laughter we had shared, the time I’ve spent with our new found friends was all worth it.

Ayt. Until next time. Feel free to leave your comments or share your Maniwaya Island experience in the comments box below. Ciao! 🙂

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