Occidental Mindoro is located in the MIMAROPA region originally known to the ancients as Ma-i
Occidental Mindoro is a province in the Philippines located in the MIMAROPA region. The province occupies the western half of the island of Mindoro. Its capital is Mamburao but the largest municipality is San Jose. The province is bordered on the east by the province of Oriental Mindoro, and on the south by the Mindoro Strait. The South China Sea is to the west of the province and Palawan is located to the southwest, across the Mindoro Strait. Batangas is to the north, separated by the Verde Island Passage, a protected marine area and the center of the center of the world’s marine biodiversity. Mindoro Island was originally known to the ancients as Ma-i. It was formally called Mait, and known to the Chinese traders before the coming of the Spanish. Its existence was mentioned in the old Chinese chronicles in 775 A.D. and more elaborately in 1225. It was a major anchorage in the Southeast Asia trade route during the pre-Philippines period. Chinese, Arab and Indian merchants traded with the natives. In 1570, the Spanish began to explore the island and named it Mina de Oro (“mine of gold”) after finding some of the precious metal, though no major gold discoveries were ever made.
Mindoro is an island in the Philippines located in the MIMAROPA region just off the southwestern coast of Luzon and northeast of Palawan. Mindoro is one of the largest islands of the Philippines with over 480 km (almost complete) circumferential road. For riders based in Manila who want to bring their own motorcycles, it’s a matter of boarding a ferry from Batangas Port (roughly 2 to 5 hours from Manila depending on the traffic) to cross to the island. The ferry ride itself lasts 1to 3 hours. Mindoro is divided in the middle by beautiful mountain ranges, giving riders both coastal and mountain views. You can choose to start and end the loop in different provinces as your entry or exit points. Unlike riding in the mainland of Luzon where you have to go through Metro Manila and major cities, there’s virtually no traffic here, especially on the Occidental side. You get lots of wide open roads and flat highways where you can just go full throttle, passing rice fields and rural views and a bit of fun mountain twisties in the Southern end of the island. It’s a little busier in and around the major port town of Calapan on the Oriental side, but still very manageable. Apart from Puerto Galera, the rest of Mindoro hardly gets visited by tourists so you can enjoy a quality road trip and vacation away from the crowds. Most roads in the Poblacion area and nearby barangays are either paved with concrete or asphalt. The major thoroughfares are Rizal Street, Liboro Street, Bonifacio Street, Mabini Street, and the streets in and around the public market. Motored tricycles are the common mode of transportation around town. Jeepneys provide the main mode of public transportation between San Jose and other towns of the province. Pump boats can be chartered to provide access to nearby island resorts and diving spots. There are other destinations in the area like the extraordinary landscape and rugged peaks of the Chocolate Mountains (more popularly known as the Devil’s Mountain), the Linaw Baboy Falls in Brgy. Murtha and Mangarin Ruins. Cultural events in San Jose include Indak Pandurukan, a street-dancing festival, and other activities during the town fiesta which is celebrated on May 1.
Acitivies in Occidental Mindoro. 1st activity visit Ambulong Island. Ambulong Island is a 30-km² island with fine beaches, cliffs and abundant coral formations. It is characterized by white sand beaches, cliffs along pillars jutting out of the water, and underwater caves. Coral gardens and tropical fish are abundant in several coves. An islet called Grace Island is located at a limestone cove at the southern tip of Ambulong. A fisherman’s village is located at the sheltered side of the island. Ambulong Island is also a jump-off point to some of the dive spots in the area, such as the Iling Point, Baniaga Reef, Ambulong Bank, Dungan Reef, Sardines Reef, Apo Reef, and Manadi Island. These dive sites are about an hour away by pumpboat from the Caminawit Port. 2nd activity visit Ilin Island. Ilin Island has a village of shell divers, being abundant in shells and coral reefs. There are ancient burial caves of early Chinese traders, ethnic fishing villages, and numerous dive sites from which to view many tropical fishes. Lush foliage encircle the clear blue waters of the South China Sea. There are scuba diving facilities, a 6.8 CTM compressor, seaport facilities, diveboats, and PADI and NAUI-certified instructors. Kweba Cansubong is a popular destination in the island apart from its white beaches, estuaries, rock formations, etc. Inasakan Beach, located at the far side of Ilin, is a small stretch of powdery white sand. Recently, the island’s timberland is being proposed to be declared a conservation area for its natural fauna and flora. The Philippine teak, an endangered Philippine tree, is found only in Ilin and Batangas. Meanwhile, an endangered fauna called the cloud rat (or cloud runner/Ilin Island cloud runner) is found only in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro particularly in the island of Ilin. The cloud rat is the biggest and one of the most beautiful rats in the world. 3nd activity visit White Island (15 minutes pumboat from Camanawit Port). White Island has a long powdery beach where buried turtle eggs are occasionally found. It has an almost mile-long beach with smooth and powdery white sand. The tranquil and peaceful island is an ideal place for swimming, scuba diving and fishing. Turtle eggs are occasionally found buried in the sand, and visitors are cautioned to keep them undisturbed. Mt. Iglit National Park. Mounts Iglit-Baco National Park is located in an area shared by the municipalities of Sablayan, Calintaan, Rizal and San Jose. The latter is also the main gateway there. It is a sanctuary for the ‘tamaraw’ (Bubalus mindorensis), an endemic species of buffalo found only in Mindoro. It provides a nice eco-tourism, trekking, or mountaineering alternative to beach/dive resorts. However, a part of the tamaraw genepool which is also a part of the national park is situated at the boundaries of Rizal and San Jose, more or less 50 hectares are in the territorial jurisdiction of the municipality. 4th activity visit Aroma Beach, Bubog Rd.. A favorite sport for local residents near San Jose Airport. The beach is named after aroma trees in the area. 5th activity visit Second Landing Marker, Bugbog Rd.. World War II Marker commemorating the second landing of Gen. Douglas MacArthur in the Philippines in December 15, 1944 which led to the Liberation of Manila and mainland Luzon from occupying Japanese forces. The granite marker is complemented by three murals. 6th activity visit San Jose Municipal Plaza, Rizal St.. The town center and the destination, locals and tourist alike. Also has a park. Town festivities and events are also held in this area especially in the grandstand area. A handful of souvenirs and merchandise can be bought here especially during the annual town fiesta in May or Christmas season.
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