Mindoro came from the Spanish term “Mina de Oro” or Mine of Gold. It is an island in the Southwestern part of Luzon and facing the West Philippine Sea. Chinese merchants used to engage the barter trades with the natives before the Spaniards colonized the country.
During the early years of civilization, gold was the prime commodity of the place. Nowadays, the government and environmental groups discouraged the gold mining and other forms of excavating activity on the island. The residents of the area are known as Mindoreneos.
The mountainous interior of Mindoro rises to 8, 500 ft at Mount Halcon. The primary source of livelihood for the Mindoreneos devoted mainly to subsistence farming. The major industry of the island is coal mining and lumbering. Puerto Galera is the well-known beach resort found in Mindoro.
The largest Philippine wild animal, the tamaraw, is a species of the buffalo that is similar to the carabao is found only in the island of Mindoro. The Verde Island Passage passage houses 2,983 individual species of algae, corals, crustaceans, mollusks, fishes, marine reptiles, and marine mammals based on a study conducted by scientists Carpenter and Springer in 2005.
The Island of Mindoro
1. Puerto Galera
In Mindoro’s entire tourist destination, Puerto Galera is the most popular. The Verde Island Passage is the world class diving spots where the abundance of corals and marine life can captivate the heart of the divers. In fact, this place has been thought to be the center of the center of marine biodiversity with almost perfect beaches, astonishing waterfalls, and thrilling water sports. Puerto Galera has a fulfilling nightlife for all visitors.
The Puerto Galera
Going to the southernmost end of Mindoro is Bulalaco, which is popular because the place is the cultural hotspot. Bulalacao is the home of a greater number of Hanunuo tribe which is one of the seven ethnic groups of the Mangyans in Mindoro. The Hanunuos preserved their old ways of life including their form of writing.
The town of Bulalacao is rapidly gaining popularity for swimming and picnic gatherings because of its many islands that are surrounded by gorgeous beaches. The main island attractions include Tambaron Island, Suguicay Island, and Aslom Island.
3. Mount Calavite Wildlife Sanctuary
At the northwestern tip of Mindoro lies the Calavite Wildlife Sanctuary, a well-protected area serving as home to endemic animal species including the Tamaraws of Mindoro. Hornbill, and the Bleeding Heart Bird. In the Mount Calavite Wildlife Sanctuary, the Tamaraws are foraging through the forests and grasslands of the mountain. They live harmoniously with the deer and the wild boars. A visitor of the place can have a 360-degree view of the West Philippines, Verde Island Passage, Lubang Island, and the mountain ranges of northern Mindoro.
The Mount Calavite Wildlife Sanctuary
4. Apo Reef National Park
Apo Reef National Park is a marine protected area located off the coast of the town of Sablayan in Occidental Mindoro. It Covers an area of about 34 square kilometers and the largest contiguous coral reef system in the country and among the most important in the world, making it a popular dive site for scuba divers.
A lighthouse stands on Apo Island to warn passing ships of the nearby shallow coral reefs. The double triangle-shaped Apo Reef is separated from Apo Island by a deep narrow channel. This reef is the location of hundreds of marine species.
The Apo Reef National Park
5. Devil’s Mountain
This mountain lies on the outskirts of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. It is a rugged circular mountain after the vast rice fields. It has dozens of sharp and pointed triangular peaks which is a fascinating sight to see. The mountain is covered with tropical trees dotting along its lower incline. I t is called Devil’s Mountain because of its rough Mordor-like appearance resembling the realm of demons depicted in the movies.
The Devil's Mountain
6. Grace Island
Grace Island is an unadulterated abode for meditation. Several floating cottages off the coast provide the magnificent view of the nearby Ambulong Island. The turquoise waters surround this tiny island.
A mini zoo and a narrow concrete walkway are perfect for touring the entire island during sunrise and sunset. The vigorous coral reefs surrounding the island provide amazing spots for diving and snorkeling.
The Grace island
7. Naujan Lake
This lake is considered the fifth largest lake in the Philippines. The Naujan Lake and the surrounding marshes and lands host a healthy population of flora and fauna that are endemic to Mindoro. The Philippine hardwood trees such as Ipil-ipil and Acacia served as fences around the lake. The presence of durian and lanzones makes the place worth a whole day thrill and relaxation. The Naujan Lake provides shelter to hundreds of wild ducks, hawks, and herons. On the lake’s marshes, a diminishing population of freshwater crocodiles freely roams around in search of prey. Beside the lake is an encompassing forest that shelters fruit bats, deer, and chivet.
The Naujan Lake
8. Mangyans of Mindoro
For generations, the dense tropical rainforests of Mindoro have been home to seven different tribes of indigenous people collectively called as the Mangyan. Mangyan is the generic name for the eight indigenous groups found on the island of Mindoro.
The ethnic groups of the island, from north to south, are: Iraya, Alangan, Tadyawan, Tawbuid knows as Batangan by the lowlanders on the west of Mindoro, Buhid, and Hanunoo. An additional group on the south coast is called Ratagnon where they intermarried with lowlanders. The group known on the east of Mindoro as Bangon may be a subgroup of Tawbuid as they speak the western dialect of that language. They also have an alphabet called the Ambahan.
9. Tamaraws of Mindoro
The Tamaraw can be found all over the island of Mindoro during the early days. They thrived from sea level ground up to the mountains. However, human habitation, logging, and hunting forced the animals into the deepest interior of Mindoro. They also graze to only afew remote grassy plains. Sadly, the Tamaraws are now endangered species.
10. Mount Halcon
Mt. Halcon serves as a natural borderline between the provinces of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro. The mountain climbers found Mount Halcon as one of the most difficult to climb in the entire country, and they spend at least four days to reach the summit.