Rich, mysterious Oriental Mindoro

Orrinetal Mindoro - Copy

Recent news says that an ambitious energy project would transform Oriental Mindoro as the next Asia’s “green energy hub.”

But even if this will not push through, the island-province, situated 140 kilometers south of Manila, still enjoys titles it being touted as the country’s emerging tourist destination.

It is known for Mangyans, Mount Halcon and the tamaraw buffalo. It has been called and, rightly so, as a mountain of gold. Spaniards gave the island a name “Mina de Oro” (Mine of Gold) as rumors then circulated among Chinese traders who made business with the locales that the place was home to bars of gold.

But one thing is for sure, there is no truth to that story of gold, according to the province’s tourism portal. “The real gold rests in its countryside, in the golden rice fields and thick coconut plantations, in the glowing white sand beaches, abundant marine life, lush rainforests and colorful cultures and traditions. From Puerto Galera to Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro gives you the best of both worlds — from a psychedelic beach bum lifestyle to a simple, back to basics adventure in the heartlands.”

Oriental Mindoro, the country’s 7th largest island, is primarily famous of the beach scene at Puerto Galera (“port of galleon” in Spanish), a town cited for its amazing natural harbor and a destination dotted with pockets of the finest white sand. UNESCO declared the town a biosphere reserve.

Untapped and yet to be discovered tourist attractions lie along the province’s eastern coast, from Calapan City to Bulalacao town. Calapan City, the province’s capital and only city,  hosts the annual Sanduguan Festival every May, which commemorates the prehistoric trade relations between the natives of the island and Chinese merchants, and the Mahalta Festival, a revelry which represents the entire personality of the province as symbolized by the Mangyans, Mount Halcon and the Tamaraw buffalo.

Mt. Halcon, the country’s 18th highest mountain, is every Filipino mountain climber’s dream challenge. Lake Naujan, the 5th largest lake is a protected wildlife reserve area.

The province is composed of  14 municipalities, namely: Baco, Bansud, Bongabong, Bulalacao, Gloria, Mansalay, Naujan, Pinamalayan, Pola, Puerto Galera, Roxas, San Teodoro, Socorro and Victoria with Calapan City in the north as the only city and provincial capital. All these areas offer their best mardi gras to be presented to local and foreign tourists alike which according to tourism experts is a reflection of the provincial government’s efforts to develop the province into the next big destination in the Philippines.

There’s so much to say about Oriental Mindoro. Its mysterious and rich countryside waits for you to discover and embrace.– Migrant Pen

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IMG_3984THE BLOGGER. Ulysses Espartero is a journalist, speechwriter and publicist who traces his roots from two Philippine jewels – Laguna and Antique.  While in Dubai, he enjoyed his expat life documenting the struggles and victories of migrant workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council states. In 2014, he released Precious Gems in a Desert of Gold, the first and only coffee table book about Filipino achievers in the United Arab Emirates. Connect with him on facebook.

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