As I wake up at the Balar Hotel and Spa in Boac, I feel excited about the second day of our Marinduque Cycling Challenge. The hotel’s comfy bed and linens have always left me fully rested, making it a perfect home base for our Marinduque adventure.
My anticipation is momentarily dampened when I discover my bike’s rear tire is flat. Thankfully, the Darling’s electronic air pump comes to the rescue, but I know I’ll have to replace the interiors soon. Undeterred, we set off early, heading south to Gasan and Buenavista.
Cycling through the countryside is always a delight for me. The cool air and the picturesque rural life fill my senses with joy. I pedal at my own pace, despite being the only one with a folding bike. But as we’re riding in a group with a schedule to follow, I do my best to keep up.
Gasan Sea View Park
We make our first stop at the Gasan Sea View Park, a familiar spot from my previous visit as it was formerly called Reyes Park. The park offers an unobstructed view of the nearby Tres Reyes Islands and is a great place to witness a beautiful sunset. I’m reminded of its historical significance, as it was the site of the Battle of Marinduque in 1945, where the combined forces of the US and Philippines defeated the Japanese.
St. Joseph the Spouse of Mary Parish Church
Next, we head to St. Joseph the Spouse of Mary Parish Church, just a short ride from the park. The uphill climb to the church challenges us, but the scenic views of the coast and Gasan town make it worth the effort.
As I enter the church, I am captivated by its architecture and well-crafted design. The heavy entrance doors are decorated with impressive woodwork and carvings, depicting the life of St. Joseph and his family. The church’s ceilings are tastefully adorned with geometrical fans resembling anahaw leaves, while the ceiling beams and retablo boast intricate patterns. Even the walls and beams are thoughtfully tiled with polished coconut shells, adding a unique touch to the interior.
Stepping outside the church from the exit beside the altar, I discover a serene meditation garden with coastal views and a clear sight of the Tres Reyes islands. Antique church bells and a St. Joseph statue add to this lovely nook’s tranquility.
Ride Cut Short in Pinggan
As we continue our journey towards Buenavista, I take my time to capture videos and photos of the coastal road and the breathtaking sea views. However, my joy is short-lived in Pinggan, when I realize my rear tire is losing air again. Not wanting to hold up the group, I decided to join our support vehicles and board the bike. I’ll have to replace the interiors when I get the chance.
High at Haynon Hills
Arriving at the jump-off point for Haynon Hills in Barangay Malbog, Buenavista, I am excited to explore this new destination. It requires a bit of a hike to reach the top, and I empathize with the other cyclists as they struggle to pull their bikes up the narrow trail. But the effort is well worth it when we reach the hilltops and are greeted by the mesmerizing panoramic views of Haynon Hills. Vast undulating hills, cattle grazing the land, and Mt. Malindig towering over the landscape make it a sight to behold.
While the other cyclists descend down the trail on their bikes, I make my way down on foot and eventually meet them at the Malbog Sulfuric Hot Springs. After enjoying some snacks and a dip in the hot spring, we continue our ride to Tungib-Lipata in Buenavista. Though my ride was cut short due to the tire issue, I’m still grateful for the experience. From the charming St. Joseph, the Spouse of Mary Parish to the sleepy town of Pinggan, I relished every moment of this countryside adventure. The peaceful vibe of Marinduque has left a lasting impression on me, and I can’t wait to explore more of this beautiful island in the future.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.