Marinduque: The Heart of the Philippines

Santa-Cruz7I walked through a rusty gate and stepped down the rocks onto the chalk-white shore. Two bleating goats, white as the sand, scurried by. Down the bay I could see children making playhouses of bangkas – outrigger canoes that are ubiquitous in the Philippines.

“Helloooo!” they yelled at me, laughing and radiating with the geniality I’d come to associate with Filipino island folk.

In the distance, the cylindrical rim of the island’s tallest volcano, Mount Malindig served as the backcloth to nature’s soft theatre. Notwithstanding the fishing boat bearing the designation No Woman, No Cry, there were few suggestions of a human world in my viewfinder.

Behind the treeline I came upon a line of makeshift shacks and ordered a coconut. If I’d had the skill, I might have picked one myself. After quenching my thirst, I endeavoured to explore Poctoy White Beach, a coastal strip of Torrijos municipality developed for tourism. It proved a humble affair. There were two ragtag eateries, a few thatch beach huts, and a bar hawking Red Horse beer.

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