What Occidental Mindoro has to offer
The province is located in the western section of Mindoro. You will find the Verde Island Passage in the north of the province. Mindoro Strait which bounds the province in the south part and west section; and Oriental Mindoro in the east. The province has a total land area of 5,865.71 square kilometer.
The province consist of eleven municipalities namely Santa Cruz, Paluan, Mamburao, San Jose, Lubang, Magsaysay, Looc, Sablayan, Rizal, Calintaan and Abra de Ilog. The whole province is composed of one hundred sixty-two Barangays with its capital in Mamburao.
Major inhabitants are Tagalogs but remote areas are occupied by the Mangyans. Mangyans are simple people, they once live along coastal areas but they were force to live in the mountains to avoid religious conversions by the Spaniards, to avoid the increasing migrants and of course to avoid the raids by Moro pirates.
According to 2000 survey by the National Statistics Office, the province has a total population of 380,250 which ranks them eight in population size in southern Luzon. The language widely spoken by the locals is Tagalog although other dialects is also in use like Ilokano, Kinaray-a and Hiligaynon. The average and working population can speak and read English and Filipino.
The province has two marked seasons – dry and wet season. Rainy or wet season usually starts in late May which usually intensifies in months of June till October which slowly subsides at the start of November. The wettest time of the year are months of August and September where usually storms come their way. Dry season usually begins in November to April. The driest month of the year is March and April.
Major industry is agriculture. Their most important products are abaca, peanut, coconut and rice. The locals are also in to poultry and cattle raising; fishing and logging. They have coastal areas and these areas are good fishing grounds in the country. Hunting is also best especially along the river banks of Busuanga where you can hunt for wild boars, deer and Tamaraw.
Economy is definitely booming in the region with the presence of four airports and five seaports and also the province is the heart of trading in the Visayas region. The opening of the Batangas International Airport will again open doors for more trading linkages in the province. Indeed the province is open to investors.
Health and Nutrition
At Barangay level their leading health care facilities is their Barangay Health Stations or BHS where they delivered basic health care services. According to 2003 records, there are about 124 Barangay Health Station, 8 government hospitals and 3 private hospitals in the province.
Base in the survey done in year 1994 titled Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey which is done by the Department of Education Culture and Sports; and the National Statistics Office, the result showed that 97.9% of men and 93% of women are simple literate. It also showed that 85.3% of women and 81% of men are found to be functional literate.
Simple literacy means a person can write or read and understand an uncomplicated message in any dialect while functional literacy means reading and writing skills as well as numeric skills. This only shows that literacy rate in the province is high. This is no surprise with the increase of schools both private and public in the province. In fact in year 2004, there are already a total of three hundred elementary schools and fifty-six secondary schools in the province.
There are all major banks operating in the province, private commercial banks, rural banks, savings and mortgage banks as well as government banks.
Roads and Bridges
The province is in the western section of Mindoro and it is about twenty-five kilometers of Batangas. Its close proximity to Manila and Batangas is of the province advantage. The road stretches up to 1,633 kilometers for the whole province and is mostly concrete along the coastal areas. The roads are a combination of concrete, earth, gravel and asphalt. There are about two hundred bridges in the province which is built by steel and concrete.
Island Power Corporation and the National Power Corporation supplied electric power through OMECO. The supply is still not enough thus plans are undergoing to increase supply through private capital intervention.
There are four seaports in Abra de Ilog, San Jose, Sablayan and Mamburao. When it comes to land transportation the province has over three thousand public utility vehicles ranging from buses, jeepneys to tricycles. The province also has three airports in San Jose, Lubang and Mamburao. San Jose airport can accommodate jets while Lubang and Mamburao airports are for commercial planes, military aircraft and Fokker 50s.
Major telecommunication companies like Digitel, PT&T, RCPI and Globe Telecom offers fax and telephone services. In major municipalities, direct dial telephone system is installed for fast communication with other provinces and even abroad.
There are two local radio stations and twenty-three television channels which are easily accessed through five cable networks operating in the province. There are also four local newspapers present and national newspaper arrives daily. Mail handling is provided by Aboitiz, JRS. LBC, Philippine Airlines and of course the local post office in the eleven municipalities.
Real Estate property ranges from residential, commercial and agricultural properties. The present market value of commercial properties range from 2,000.00 php to 5,000.00 php per square meter while the residential properties range from 220.00 php to 1,500.00 php per square meter. As for agricultural land, value ranges from 150,000.00 php to 250,000.00 per hectare.
Things to Stay Away
- Tap Water
If you are use to drinking in Tap water then avoid it in Mindoro because their water source is underground and they are pumping water out. You can see the water is not clear and has different smell. Some of the locals filter the water and the smell is gone but still it is not safe to drink unless you boil it for a long time.
- Avoid Small Boats
If you travel to this sea then make sure you ride a big ship or Ferry. Small boats in this side of the ocean are not safe at all and there has been reported accidents using this small boat. If not you can always check the flight schedules.
Historical and Man-made Attractions
Historical places are often preserved for this places tells of the history. Parola Park has been preserved for that reason. The parks leading attraction is the watchtower which lets the natives spy on Muslim vintas. The park is located in Lumang Bayan at Sablayan.
There are also man-made attractions in the province like the Presing Park, Calawagan River Resort, Mamburao Beach Resort, and Mina de Oro Beach Resort.
Aside from man-made and historical attractions you will find that the province is blessed with so much natural attractions. They have beautiful islands and beaches, mountains ad springs. Some of the most popular tourist destination in the province includes Ambulong Island in San Jose, Apo Reef National Park in Sablayan, Ilin Island in San Jose, Lubang Island, Ambil Island in north coast of Lubang, Cabra Island in southwest Lubang, Mt. Iglit in San Jose, Tayamaan Beach in Mamburao, White Island and many more.
There are not much festivals to celebrate but they have one which shows off Mindoro’s cultural heritage. It is a three day celebration and it happens every April 25-27. The festival is called Saknungan.
There are regular domestic flights from Manila to San Jose and lands at McGuire Field or the domestic airport of San Jose.
By Sea and Land
From Batangas port you can take a roll-on-roll-off (RORO) to Abra de Ilog. At the port of Abra de Ilog you will find shuttle vans and other public transport to take you to other destination in the province.
By Sea you can take a Ferry from Pier 6 in South Harbor Manila to San Jose Port.