Ultimate Guide | 11 Best Things to DO in Occidental Mindoro

From the virgin forest, white sand beaches to the world-class Island; just imagine how wonderful the Mindoro Island. Mindoro is also known as the 7th largest Island in the Philippines with respected indigenous ancestors and distinctly identified as Mangyan Tribes spoke 8 different languages and cultural identity. Mindoro Island is divided into 2 provinces, Occidental and Oriental where the Mount Halcon and mountain ranges served as the boundaries. Occidental Mindoro is divided into 11 municipalities with total inhabitants of  487,414 according to NSA 2015. 




The Tagalog language is widely spoken in the province while Ilonggo, Ilocano, and other languages in used by some villages in communicating their neighbors and peers. If you're a foreigner, nothing to worry about your journey to this island since MindoreƱos can speak and understand basic English and the people are born friendly.


Oriental Mindoro is said to be more advanced when it comes to the economic realm. However, Occidental Mindoro is optimistic in economic prosperity in the field of commerce, agriculture, and tourism. Mamburao town served as the capital of the province while the commercial development, on the other hand, is observable in the town of San Jose while Agriculture is the main source livelihood by most villages. Meanwhile, the fishing industry in the past years getting stronger, in fact, the province is gaining recognition as an alternative source of Tuna and other kinds of seafood. 

When it comes to Tourism,  the province will not be overthrown because the province has a world-class attraction from natural attractions to the stunning beauty of of the Islands. Check out this lists of must-see places when visiting Occidental Mindoro.

1. Apo Reef Natural Park (Sablayan)



Apo Reef is an Island covered by the municipality of Sablayan,  well-known as the second contagious coral reef and world-class diving site situated in Mindoro Strait, in between Coron, Palawan, and Mindoro Island with a total of 34 square kilometers size connecting with an atoll-like coral and separated by a deep water channel. 

Apo Reef Natural Park is also the home of more than 350 marine species, 480 coral species, and the platitudes with abundant marine life.  You will also encounter groups of fishes, rays, sharks, and barracudas patrolling in the ocean water. Aside from diving, This Park has a lagoon which you can also explore by boating.  Also, explore the mangroves insets and experience the 360-degree views of the island by reaching the lighthouse tower surface. 

2. Sablayan Zipline and the Parola Park (Sablayan) 




Another World-class attraction that you may explore in Sablayan is the Longest Island to Island Zipline in Asia and the world located in the highest peak (Parola Park) in Barangay Poblacion or currently known as the Sablayan Adventure Park. This zip line has 1.7 kilometers length that connects to the small island called Pandan Pequeno with a motorized trolley pulling system that can tour you down and back. 

Aside from Ziplining, this Park has enjoyable activities like wall climbing and abseiling installed in the Zipline tower. Afraid of heights? no worries, you can complete your extraordinary journey in this place by relaxing and mesmerizing the breathtaking views of Parola Park with a 360 degrees view from the Zipline Tower surface. If you wish to dip into seawater, the stairs leading to the coast will be found before you reach the Parola gate entrance. The rock formation there is perfect for photography and Instagram shots

This coral coast and old mangrove trees is one of several spots can be found in the slope of Parola. 

3. Pandan Island (Sablayan)


Pandan Island is the best island-hopping option in Sablayan town if you don't have much time to visit the Apo Reef. This tropical island voted several times as one of the top island resort in the Philippines in the category of quality life and peaceful environment especially for those who are pacing from the city's hustle-bustle life. Pandan island is known for its white sand, clear waters, beautiful underwater corals and friendly sea turtles which you can explore by snorkeling or diving. 

To get here, you may contact the Pandan Island management office online or hire a tricycle going the riverside beside the Public market then hire a boat. Going there just takes 30-40 minutes boat ride.    

4. Inasakan Beach (San Jose)


Inasakan Beach is formerly known as Mina De Oro Beach Resort located in Ilin Island, a town of San Jose. During arrival at the beach, you will be greeted by its crystal clear water and fine white sand coastline. Entrance fee is P20 pesos ( $.50) while the cottage rental cost 600 pesos (but optional), however, this place is less crowded from tourist.

Inasakan is a less developed beach considering the types of cottages built with light materials while the other beach facilities are very basic. If you're planning for an overnight stay, the best way to rest and end your day is by Tent. Buy fresh food from the market before you went here since food stalls are limited in the Island.

It is suggested to bring an extra battery to recharge your gadgets since the Island has a limited source of power. To get here, rent a motorized boat from the Caminawin Port for P2,000 pesos ($39) good for 10-15 person.  

5. Grace Island (San Jose)


If you wish to have Maldives types of vacation experienced with an affordable price then, head on to  Grace island Resorts located in Buri Island in Barangay Ambulong in the town of San Jose. This exclusive beach resort has impressive floating cottage designs surrounded by natural vegetation and a great venue for the retreat, group activities, and gatherings. 

Watch out the "Limbo Rock" as you see during your boat ride. This rock symbolizing the life and beauty of the Island according to locals. Grace Island Resort offers affordable Day and Night Tour package with lots of enjoyable activities like Kayaking, Biking, Jetskiing, Frenzy Ride, Snorkeling, Ballistic ride and more. 

6. Calawagan Resort (Paluan)


The Calawagan Mountain River Resorts is located in the municipality of Paluan. This natural resort is a known place for family gatherings, group activities, and workshops in an affordable package deal.  

Calawagan has a lap pool with an overflowing of spring water that most likely a reason why this resort is gaining popularity among local tourists. Another interesting spot is the hanging bridge that connects the entrance and the other side of the resort. The large rocks and a natural pool gives an overwhelming view while passing through the connecting bridge. Aside from Calawagan Resort, there are more than 67 exotic waterfalls can be explored in the municipality of PaluanLove Trails? hike at Calavite Natural Park summit.

Alitao Waterfall located in Barangay Marikit, municipality of Paluan: one of the 67 waterfalls can be explored in this town

7. Agbalala Falls (Abra de Ilog)


Agbabala Waterfall is a frontier attraction in Abra de Ilog, and this town is also the gateway of Occidental Mindoro.  This waterfall is 115 feet high while the refreshing water plunges into the natural pool with a 15 feet profundity. Although needs certain improvement in terms of the road accessibility,  this place still considered as the picnic ground and one of the most visited place by locals.

To get here, you can reach the pebbled beach in Casay by boat then take a 15 minutes mountain trails going to the main point, then, have an extra walk going to the waterfall slope.

8. Paradise Resorts (Mamburao)


Paradise Beach Resort is the best option if your planning to stay in Mamburao. Located in the airport road extension this resort has poolside, affordable room rates and clean beach coastline. Since Mamburao lies in between Abra De Ilog and Paluan, you can easily explore these two (2) municipalities. Resort staffs is very accommodating; you can buy fresh seafood in the market then ask permission to the resort management and they will help you to cook it.

9. Mount Iglit and the Tamaraw Reservoir (Sablayan, Calintaan, Rizal)


Mount Iglit-Baco National Park is the home of more outnumbered endangered Tamaraw (Babalus Mindorensis) covered by numerous municipalities of Occidental Mindoro. This protected Park is a declared area by the ASEAN Heritage Park and managed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) which tasks the conservation and protection of the 75,445 hectares of Mount Iglit and Mount Baco in the center of Mindoro Island.
 
If you wish to encounter with this dwarf buffalo, the best spot with the highest number of sightings is in the Tamaraw Plaza and the ideal time is in the early morning. Going there needs extra sweat to wrestle a more than 7 hours trails going to the Peak.  Bring a camera with a long-range lens as possible if you want to document the sightings however, watch out for our actions since the tamaraws are very conservative to human activities.

For those who just love an immediate encounter, you can visit the Tamaraw Gene Pool Station (Tamaraw breeding station) located in Barangay Manoot, in the town of Rizal.

10. Visit the Libuao Lake, Siburan Forest, and the Penal Farm (Sablayan)


For an ultimate side trip in Sablayan, visit the Libuao lake located inside the Sablayan Penal Farm and Siburan Forest Park. Libuao lake is considered as one of the cleanest inland body of water in the Philippines with a relaxing view and refreshing climate. Try the best Tilapia in town that serves grilled and ginataan (cook in coconut milk) combined with fresh vegetables that commonly served in the lake cottage. Best time to visit before lunch.  

After the Lake tour, have time to interferes with the Prisons who usually work inside the Penal Farm; mostly with a minimum sentence who works for farming or making handmade products. Visitors can talk with them and listen for their interesting stories, and of course, buy their product as you can.

Lastly, the Siburan Forest - from the smallest insect to the large trees, this protected area is the remaining forest in the province with old-growth trees can be found. If you're from the big city, spend time here and appreciate the beauty of natures, do birds watching and explore the natural spring.   

11. Aroma Beach (San Jose)


Aroma Beach is the most visited beach and the meeting spot by locals located in the municipality of San Jose. This beach has a long stretch of grayish sand coastline which is great for walking in the afternoon and witnessing the sunset. There are food stalls, restaurants and bars built along beachfront and as expected, this place is a bit busy after the dark. Entrance is free and very close to the Aiport.

HOW TO GET THERE

Occidental Mindoro is accessible through air travel with a regular schedule of flight from Manila/Clark going to San Jose (SJI) Airport. From San Jose, you can easily travel town-by-town using the Jeepney, public utility buses, and Van, and; each municipality has its own terminals and resting place.

Daily Schedule of Ferry from Batangas - Abra de Ilog - Batangas
(schedule of trip may vary)
source: portsandferries
For land travel, several bus liners offer direct trip schedule from Manila, Marikina, Alabang, Cubao, and Pasay going to San Jose, Occidental Mindoro (Partas, RORObus, Ceres). Ticket will be paid including Bus fare, Ferry and terminal Fees. Book in advance especially during the long weekend.

You can also reach Occidental Mindoro by reaching Batangas Port
At Batangas Port, purchase a ferry ticket (online or on the spot) going to Abra de Ilog then wait for your boarding announcement. The ferry journey will take 3-4 hours going to the port of  Abra de Ilog. Upon docked, s short walk going to the terminal then, catch up a Bus or Van going to your first destination. For those arriving early, you can first explore the Abra de Ilog town then stay in Mamburao following the Calawagan Resort. Then after, spend days in Sablayan before you visit/exit to San Jose. 

Recommended Hotel/ Homestay in Sablayan
After visiting Sablayan, head on to San Jose, the last place you can visit before the end of your journey in the province. San Jose is the exit point if your planning to go back to Manila by Air travel or by land passing the Oriental Mindoro Route. If your planning to explore more, you can also reach Coron Palawan by Ferry or Antique via Bulalacao Port.  

Schedule of Ferry from San Jose - Coron - San Jose
Montenegro Shipping Lines -2019

Recommended Hotel/ Homestay is you wish to stay in San Jose
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