Wednesday, April 27, 2011


View of Sta. Cruz, Marinduque from Maniwaya Island.

The town became a Spanish settlement more than four hundred years ago, where the oldest church in Marinduque was constructed with a mix of lime and coral stones This town was the site of one of the worst episodes during the Philippine-American War when hundreds of local prisoners were taken to one of its islands, Polo.

After rounding up some 600 men and releasing 140 due to illness, the Americans transferred the remaining prisoners to Polo Island for internment. One American account read: "The friends and familys [sic] of the captured Gugus were allowed to bid them good-by before we loaded them on the boat ... You could not hear your own ears for the women and children crying and groaning. Just before we started them to the boat one woman who had no doubt come dressed for the occasion threw her dress over her husband and sat down on him. The sentry saw it though and so her ruse did not work. Just as we got them to the beach several tried by making a sudden rush to get away. Two were shot dead and several wounded right before their familys [sic] eyes..."

Polo Island is only one of several islands with fine white sand in Sta. Cruz. Not far away from it are Mongpong and Maniwaya, the latter being touted as "the next Boracay" due to its proximity to the Luzon mainland.

Today, this town of 55 barangays (population is about 61,300 in 2007), is going for tourism under the stewardship of Mayor Percival Morales. White sand beaches, islands, caves, waterfalls, rich marine resources, and much talked-about local hospitality (the French naturalist A. Marche had an impressive account of the local treatment as far back as 1881), await travelers here.

Recently a 'Moriones Run', sponnsored by Cong. Allan Velasco, was held here. It attracted quite a number of participants surprisingly including runners from Kenya, as shown in these photos.