Luzon Datum, Station Balacanan, Mompog, Marinduque
Do these before reading the post:
1. Get your Philippines map.
2. Point your finger on the very center of the Philippines
3. Bonus: Count how many times I used the word “heart.”
The place you are pointing to is called Station Balacanan or Luzon Datum as called by the Mariduquenos. Latitude 13° 33′ 42″ N; Longitude 121° 52′ 03″ E. This place should be in every Geodetic Engineer’s dream destination.
I’m no geodetic engineer (what’s that?!!) but going to the very heart of the Philippines was an accomplishment because its kinda hard to reach this place- yep, its not like the rail breaks vacation that you just sit back and relax. It’s a breath-taking hike, you catch your breath every single step. But its a must-visit because the Station Balacanan or Luzon Datum is an important geodetic point marker used as point number one for all map makers of the country.
But because I don’t want to give you just mental food, I’m sharing a story which really touch my heart.
Going at Station Balacanan is really a journey to the heart of the Philippines because in Mogpog and Marinduque I found the warmest and most hospitable locals in the whole Philippines. Everyone I met along the way just wanted to offer some help.
Kagawad Lito Leal brought me to the Brgy. Hall so I can have some sleep before going up the mountain (I don’t have a decent sleep the other night because I took the 11pm ferry to Cawit). When I woke up, I was met by Sir Louie Leal, the caretaker. Then when we went down I was invited to drink some tuba with Ex-Kapitan Lauro Jalac, then dinner with Kagawad Lito and Nanay Marife whom later on became my “parents” in Mogpog, Marinduque. Now I have a family in Marinduque, how sweet!
Before I pass out because of too much tuba, I went into Kuya Louie’s bahay bubo that night and the next morning, Ate Edita Lamar, the owner of the big sari-sari store in Hinanggayon prepared me some breakfast before I continue my journey to Mompong island. How sweet!
That’s Marinduque hospitality- in the very heart of the Philippines are locals with the warmest of hearts. Shout out to all Marinduquenos out there- I heart you all!
Oh btw, can you look t your map again? Did you noticed that Marinduque is a heart-shaped province? Astig!
But before I end this post, watch the video I did at the very center of the Philippines
How to get here to Luzon Datum/Station Balacanan?
Unless you want to hire a motorcycle to Balacanan, Mompog for Php400 (roads are really tough and rough) coming from Mompog town proper, you better take notes of the schedule.
1. From Sta. Cruz or Boac, take the jeepney to Mogpog. (Fare: Boac to Mogpog- Php10, 15mins; Sta.Cruz to Mogpog- Php40, 30mins)
2. There are only 2 trips to Balacanan/Hinggayon- one at 9am and the other at 12nn. So be sure to be there at least an hour. The jeepney to Balacanan/Hinanggayon can be found near the market or parked in the basketball court near it, just ask around, Marinduquenos are the kindest people I met. (Fare: Mogpog to Hinanggayon- Php35, 30mins)
3. Tell the driver that you are going to Luzon Datum.
4. You will be brought to Hinanggayon Brgy. Hall, please register. Look for Brgy. Captain Jalac or any Kagawad aroound. He would be able to provide you a guide. If there is none, don’t worry, again, just ask around.
5. The trek to Station Balacanan will take you 40mins-1hour (approximately 3.5Kms) depending on how fast you hike, route is being developed when I went there, you will not be lost.
If you took the ferry to Balacanan (from Lucena City) just wait for the jeepney that will pass thru the crossing, about 10:20am and 12:20pm. Again, its good to ask around.
Contact the caretaker of Station Balacanan, Sir Louie Leal (He calls himself Chon Lee and doesn’t wear t-shirt because according to him, he would get sick if he did) Please say my regards to him too. Contact number: 0947-421-4804
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During Day 28 and 29 of my #ISANGDAAN Journey I experienced Filipino hospitality at its best in the very heart of the Philippines- Marinduque. I heart you all, Marinduquenos.
#ISANGDAAN is a personal journey and challenge to backpack around the Philippines the cheapest way possible for 100 days. “Isang Daan” is a Filipino term that can mean either “one way” or “one hundred.”
If you want to follow my steps, I have an interactive map- ISANGDAAN Journey map.