DIY Guide to Gaspar Island

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

gaspar island marinduque
It has been five years since I’ve first been to Marinduque. The island province has been one of the first places I’ve traveled to, and one of the spots I got to check out back then was Gaspar Island.

The first time, I tagged along with my MBA classmate Ate May and she took care of everything, so, basically, I knew nothing. This time, I went with my husbandand Myong of Marinduque News, and DIY’ed our way to the island.

We came from Boac, and it was already late in the afternoon when we set sail – around 3PM, I think. This turned out great as we got to witness a marvelous sunset on the way back. However, we had to rent a tricycle to take us to Torrijos where we’ll be staying the night – no more jeepneys by 5PM.
tres reyes island sunset

At any rate, in case you want to visit the island, especially now that getting to Marinduque has never been easier thanks to Cebu Pacific’s thrice-per-week flights from Manila, here is a quick guide.

But first, the Leave No Trace Principles:


BACKGROUND
To understand how Gaspar got its name, we must go back to how the island of Marinduque itself came to be – at least according to local folklore.

There was once a princess named Marina who fell in love with a commoner – Duque – who returned her feelings. Her father, the king, disapproved of the pairing and went to great lengths to break them apart. The couple eventually eloped, and the king tasked three princes to pursue the lovers. Tired of running away, Marina and Duque chained themselves together and dived into the ocean where they both perished. From the spot where they sank rose the island of Marinduque. The three princes also died in pursuit of the lovers and their deaths also birthed three smaller islands.


Tres Reyes – “Three Kings” – represent the three princes. I used to think they were named after the Three Wise Men of biblical origins. Turns out the names Gaspar, Melchor, and Baltazar were relatively new ones. The old names for the islands were Pulo, Mannga, and Pangikug, respectively.
gaspar island diy guide

Pulo is inhabited while the other two are not. There is an old American lighthouse on the furthest one – Pangikug aka Baltazar. A gorge in the ground that looked suspiciously like a giant's footprint can also be found on the said island.

THE BEACH
Gaspar’s beach is made of bits of corals. This is where the town of Gasan – where the three islands are located – got its name: “gasang-gasang” which is the local word for corals.

On the main beach, there are plenty of cottages. The waters are clear and turquoise, and the swimmable area are defined with buoys – the water here gets deep abruptly. A sandbar also appears when the tide is low.

If the main beach is too crowded for your liking, you may request your boatman to take you around the island and look for a “secret” cove. There’s a good chance you can have one to yourself.
where to stay in gaspar island

tres reyes islands gaspar




GETTING HERE
From Manila, Cebu Pacific flies every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday to the Gasan Airport in Marinduque. One-way regular fare is around Ph3,000 to Php4,500. Travel time is just under an hour. Get on a jeepney and ask to be dropped of at the docks going to Gaspar Island. Alternatively, you may also rent a tricycle to here.

There’s also a direct bus/RORO trip from Cubao. Jac Liner serves this route.


You can also get on a bus in Cubao bound for the Dalahican Port in Lucena (Php280). Jac Liner plies this route. Travel time is 3 to 5 hours, depending on traffic. Once in Dalahican, get on a ferry to Balanacan Port (Php290). It takes about three hours to get there. From Balanacan Port, get on a jeepney or tricycle to Gasan and alight at the docks to Gaspar Island.

Once at the docks, ask around for an available boatman.

SAMPLE ITINERARY
2:30PM to 2:50PM - Balar Hotel in Boac to Gasan (Dock to Gaspar Island)
2:50PM to 3:00PM - Arrange boat
3:00PM to 3:30PM - Gaspar Main Beach
3:30PM to 3:50PM - “Secret” Cove
3:50PM to 4:30PM - Chill
4:30PM to 5:10PM - Back to dock

EXPENSES
Per person unless otherwise stated
Jeepney Fare (Boac to Gasan) - Php25
Boat Fare (Dock to Gaspar, rountrip) - Php1,000, good for 3-4, including trip to Secret Cove
Tricycle Fare to Torrijos - Php300, good for 3-4

OTHER DETAILS AND CONCERNS
Practice the LNT Principles at all times (Read: 8 Basic Etiquette Rules Every Modern Traveler Should Know)
- Public transportation in Marinduque is scarce and are non-existent by 4PM – 5PM at the latest.
- There’s a toilet at the main beach.
- A few sari-sari stores can be found at the main beach. You may bring your own food.

Check out more Travel Guides.

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