7 Reasons Why Marinduque is Perfect for Solo Trips

As I squint my eyes due to the bright midday sun and the strong gust of wind produced by the motion of the boat, I glanced back at the small, beautiful island I just left and thought about how fateful the last two days have been here in Marinduque.

1) Alluring and quiet

Marinduque is perfect for a first time (accidental) solo traveler like me. Its fantastic views and serene atmosphere are so relaxing it made me forget I don’t have any idea what I’m going to do. It has kissed away the fears I’ve always had about visiting an unknown place alone.

I am a much braver wanderer now.

I have always fantasized about going on a trip somewhere. But it has always been just that: a fantasy. I had too many concerns back then and they kept me from exploring the world outside the city. I’ve always known deep inside me was a guy with so much wanderlust. But I was too scared to get out of my comfort zone.

It all changed one day.

One unexpected hike to the mountains unleashed the hungry traveler in me. It was the start of a series of exciting adventures that satisfied my starving soul. And it led me to this breathtaking island in the heart of the Philippines.

Marinduque’s Maniwaya Island is paradise. Perfect for a first time solo trip.

Around this time a year ago, I was adjusting to a new work environment and needed a change of scenery. I decided to tag along a friend and some office mates to this province. Since I haven’t been in Marinduque I thought it was the perfect time to get some Vitamin Sea and meet new people. But the plan crumbled at the last minute so I ended up going alone.

I almost didn’t go but because I already have the bus ticket, I decided to take a chance and go–even when I have no idea what I was doing.

I’m glad I did because it became one of my most memorable trips.

If you’re thinking of going on a trip alone, this is one place I highly suggest because of the following reasons:

2) Very accessible

It’s easy to get to Marinduque. Just board a JAC Liner bus bound for the town of Sta. Cruz. If you depart at night, you’ll be in Sta. Cruz in the morning. My travel time took about 12 hours but that’s only because there was a 3-hour delay at the RORO ferry. It wasn’t much of a hassle since I was dozing off most of the trip.

Even the least experienced traveler will find it easy to get to Maniwaya. Once you alight the bus, ride a trike that’ll take you to Buyabod port. Then board a boat from there.

3) Sceneries to die for

Marinduque is blessed with some of the most beautiful views. The water is so clear it doesn’t seem real. Its rich blue color is enchanting. The promontories are impressive and look like landscape portraits.

The boat ride is very relaxing. After the long trip by land, I was grateful for the cool breeze that ran through my face as the small boat chugged its way towards the beautiful patch of land ahead, sending foams of water on my limbs.

The beaches are no different. They can rival any of the popular tourist destinations like Boracay. The sand is immaculate–fine and white. The neat outline of the coconut trees on the shore made it look like a postcard image.

I am very in love with beaches, so imagine the huge smile on my face once I got to the island. It was way more than what I had pictured in mind.

4) Not crowded at all

One of the takeaways of travelling solo is having a genuine “me time” and that’s exactly what I got in Maniwaya. Yes, there were several groups when I got there but, for some reason, the island felt peaceful, devoid of any noise. No annoying crowds anywhere.

You can literally take a towel, lay it on the sand, and just lie down and relax.

You can take a walk along the beach while collecting your thoughts.

You can simply gaze out to the open sea.

Or just sit under the shade of one of the many coconut trees and watch as people pass by. You can also talk to the very polite and friendly locals.

5) Palad Sandbar

The one thing I’ve heard tourists mention over and over when I got on the island is the Palad Sandbar. I figured it must be something really special so I decided to go visit. But our boatmen got to the spot early so the sandbar wasn’t visible yet.

But the water is only knee-deep so you can jump out of the boat and explore the cute piece of land. I really didn’t care if I can’t see the sandbar in its full glory because the water is enough for me. It’s so enthralling it might be the clearest and the most beautiful I’ve seen so far.

6) Ungab Rock Formation

A few minutes away from Palad Sandbar is this impressive rock formation. I doubt if tourists are allowed to climb it but you can swim directly below it. Beneath the arc is a cool, shaded area where you can take a dip and, of course, take selfies.

7) Get that much-needed “me time”

Part of the beauty of traveling solo is discovering a part of yourself.

It’s like Survivor in a way. You’re taken out of your comfort zone and forced to thrive in a new environment. And in moments like this, when you’re stripped of some of the luxuries you’re used to, somehow, a real-er you comes out.

You start to assess yourself. You reflect and ask questions.

Are you living up to your potential?

Are you in the right job?

Do you really like what you’re doing?

Are you surrounded by the right people?

Why are you here?

What other places are you willing to travel to?

Or you could start plotting the path you really want to take. That Aha! moment might come to you while mindlessly wading your feet in the crystal blue waters as you sit on the side of the boat or while watching the bright orange sky slowly disappear on the horizon.

As the boat neared Buyabod port on the day of my return, I took one last look at the small speck of land on the horizon that had a huge impact on me. It was a generally quiet weekend but a lot was happening inside my head.

I’ve come a lot more alive sitting idly on its white, powdery beach.

As the waves rhythmically rippled on my bare feet, the faint voices in my head felt a lot louder.

And each time I turned my head, only stunning images came to view. It was a feast for the eyes. Marinduque’s Maniwaya Island is alluring. Suddenly, it made everything clear, as clear as its turquoise waters: I want to keep doing this.

Beautiful moments like this are gentle reminders that there is more to our daily grind. And that we owe it to ourselves to leave everything behind, even just for a couple of days, and go on trips.

Trips are all about moments. And these moments where you get to enjoy yourself, lost in thoughts, are the ones that can ultimately shape you.

So if you haven’t done it yet, pack an overnight bag and travel solo. There’s a lot more to learn about the world and yourself.

Have you gone solo backpacking? What do you love about it?
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About Romeo Mataac, Jr.

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