Marinduque is one of the best islands to start your bike exploration. Though Mindoro is the nearest to Manila, its huge size warrants a minimum of 4 days to do an entire loop (unless you will just do sections of Mindoro). In the case of Marinduque, the entire circumferential roads only totals to about 127 kms, ideal for beginners who would like to try out the experience of doing an island loop ride. The entire Marinduque loop can actually be done in a day but the best is to do it in two days- giving you a 60 kms a day ride.
Going to Marinduque is via Dalahican port in Lucena. You can actually bring a car with you and park it at the port parking facilities for 130+ Php per overnight stay. If taking bus, Jam liner goes directly to the port. From Dalahican, there are several shipping lines that goes to Balanacan Port in Mogpog (i.e. Montenegro, Starhorse etc). Choosing a Ro-ro and a fast-craft is not a big issue as the time difference between the two is only 30 minutes. There is another port, Cawit in Boac which is farther away and is not usually used by tourist. The ferry ride is around 230 Php plus 30 Php terminal fee. Unlike the other islands, the ferry services here doesn’t charge for bicycles which may change when there is already volume of bikers coming in. In our case, due to our number (13 riders) they tried to charge us with the same fee they charge with motorcycles which is 450 Php. They immediately realized it’s not reasonable so they just told us it’s for free, but just try not to occupy a lot of space reserved for motor vehicles. So again, in the future, they may start implementing fees for bicycles.
Travel time is around 2.5 to 3 hours depending on the winds/waves/season. First trip leaves Dalahican at around 4AM and last trip is around 4PM.
From Balanacan port, its 10 kms to go to Mogpog to access the circumferential road that goes around Marinduque. From Balacanan, you will immediately experience a short 2km climb to Mogpog. From Mogpog, the best day 1 destination is Torijjos which has good white beaches and resorts. It is also almost halfway the circumferential road so it’s the most obvious place to spend the first day. Now the question is- to do a clockwise or counter clockwise. According to local bikers, its best to do it counter clockwise- Mogpog-Boac-Gasan-Buenavista then Torrijos as there will be lesser climbs. But in our case, we did the counter clockwise- Mogpog-Sta Cruz then Torijjos. I don’t think there is a big difference between the two routes.
From Mogpog, the route to Sta Cruz is the most challenging (unless you will take the interior from Torrijos to Buenavista- more on this later). It has long climbs but of course, equal exhilarating descent. You will reach Sta Cruz by lunch time. From Sta Cruz to Torrijos- it’s a rolling terrain which is equally challenging especially after being battered by the climb to Sta Cruz. As mentioned, Torrijos- especially in Poctoy White Beach is the best place to spend your first day as it has a couple of resorts for rent at reasonable prices (some houses rents out the house or a room within the house depending on the number of occupants).
From Torrijos, the route is relatively flat with just a few portions that has short but steep climbs. There is an unmarked junction a few kilometers after Torrijos that is a big decision point. To the left is a coastal road which is only less than 5 kilometers longer than via the interior road which has climbs much more difficult than the one in Sta Cruz. The best is to do the coastal which also offers a great view to the popular resort- Bella Roca (formerly Elephant Island). But as mentioned, this is still unmarked so you might miss it. According to locals, it is still being developed so there are no markers on it. Lunch time will be at Buena Vista. From Buena Vista, you can go straight to Boac for another night before leaving or go straight to the port if you only need to do it in two days. From Gasan to Boac- its relatively flat. But of course, going back to the port will be a reverse climb to the hills near the port.
There are no fast food restaurant in the island but there are ample stores and restaurants. The entire route is already paved so no issues with type of bike or tire to use.