In April this year, the island celebrated Holy Week—and in particular, the annual Moriones Festival—with the unveiling of its rehabilitated Marinduque Airport. The island’s sole commercial airbase, which opened in 2010, halted operations in 2013. The break turned into a six-year hiatus that left the building in a dismal state. Without the one-hour air travel option, travelers from Manila had no choice but to endure eight-hour-long journeys by land and ferry, to the island province in the Southwestern Tagalog Region.
New lease on life
According to The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and the Department of Transportation, the project cost a total of about ₱21.9 million.
The runway in particular was upgraded for ₱12.8 million, with improvements being completed in November 2018.From 1,400m, the asphalt runway now stretches 1,533m—which means that the improved concrete track can accommodate ATR and Q400 turboprop aircraft. Refurbishment of the 560m2 Passenger Terminal Building, in the meantime, includes improvements to the glass walls, air-conditioning units, security cameras and X-ray machines.
More than just festivals
The government hopes that the rehabilitated airport will help boost the island’s economy and tourism. Marinduque’s heritage sites, caves and beaches will be more easily accessible thanks to the improved airport. The island is also a jumping-off point to nearby islands and sandbars including Palad Sandbar, Maniwaya Island and Mongpong Island. It’s also famous for its Moriones Festival, which is held during Holy Week.
For now, Cebu Pacific is the only carrier to operate the Manila-Marinduque-Manila route. Flights are operated three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Fly with CEB to see more of what Marinduque has to offer. fb.com/dotrph
This article first appeared in the August 2019 issue of Smile magazine.