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MAHAL TANA: A Sneak Peek to Oriental Mindoro

Text by Charlyn Manalo Catapang

Photos courtesy of the Oriental Mindoro Provincial Tourism Office

San Rafael Cave, Roxas

Hop in and explore the province of Oriental Mindoro with its infinite biodiversity, unsophisticated beauty, and influential culture and tradition. Waste no time, “MAHAL TANA!”

From Metro Manila, drive to Batangas Port and ride a fast craft or Roll-on-Roll-off vessel to reach our island. Travel time ranges from four to six hours, depending on the type of ferry ride you will take.

Charlyn Manalo Catapang, Leigh Anne Dimagiba, Katie Castillo and the Barkada

In Mindoro, we often welcome our guests with our tagline, “MaHal Ta’Na,” which sounds like “Mahal, tara na!” but actually stands for the four icons of the province: the indigenous Mangyans, majestic Mount Halcon, well-preserved Tamaraws, and the breath-taking Naujan Lake. But, we have more to offer so, here’s a glimpse of the tropical paradise hidden in our city and municipalities.

Puerto Galera, the Heart of Asia

It offers the best water sports and beach parties. It is an internationally recognized diving site located at the center of marine biodiversity; hence, it is a perfect destination for diving and snorkeling. Muelle Bay is also a must-visit tourist spot.

Muelle Bay, Puerto Galera

San Teodoro, the land of cascading waters

You will surely be blown away by the cold rapids and enchanting caves here. One of its well-known places is the Botolan Falls or the “Twin Falls of San Teodoro,” a two-tiered waterfall that can be reached after a 15-minute trek.

Mount Halcon

Baco, the home of Halcon

The mountain stands at 2,586 meters above sea level and is the highest peak on the island. You shouldn’t miss hiking the mountain’s steep and treacherous trails and taking a luxurious dip in the cool and refreshing mountain rivers.

Calapan City, the City of Golden Grains & the Acropolis of the South

It is the capital of Oriental Mindoro and the main gateway to the province. Worthy places to visit are Infinity Farm (a paradise filled with boardwalks and riverside cottages) and Silonay Mangrove Conservation and Ecopark (home to a wide variety of mangroves, birds, bats, reptiles, and amphibians).

Lake Naujan

Simbahang Bato

Naujan, the town for every Juan

It is known for the Simbahang Bato, a church built with corals and lime mortar during the 16th century of Augustinian Friars. Aside from being a historical site, it also offers Dao Water Lily Mini Park, a floating cottage with creative handicrafts and souvenirs made from dried water lilies.

Victoria, the original fruit basket town

Make sure to take a walk around Victoria Nature Park, the first integrated Permaculture Farm in the province, with a soothing ambiance. It is a perfect place for farm tours and educational demonstrations.

Boardwalk and a bicycle lane at edge of Naujan Lake, Batong Dalig

Socorro, the place of floating cottages

It offers spectacular sceneries, including the Naujan Lake Viewpoint (a boardwalk and a bicycle lane at the edge of Naujan Lake in Batong Dalig). Also, try out dining in the Vista Pilar Floating Deck!

Pola, the quaint coastal town

You’ll know you’re in Pola when the soil is distinctly “pula” (English: red), hence its name. A time travel to the early 19th century can be experienced with the view of its ancestral houses in the town center. For beach-goers, you may also try Bihiya Beach, known for its white sand and crystal clear waters.

Pinamalayan, the province’s rainbow town

It celebrates the joyous Bahaghari Festival. Alongside, one of their best assets is their mouth-watering local cuisines, which are definitely a must-try!

Gloria, the province’s bamboo capital

Its unspoiled beauty roots in the abundance of bamboo and marine protected areas. You may enjoy bamboo shoots dishes at the municipal bamboo plantation. It also has its own natural waterfalls called “Walang Langit.”

The Mangyans - the original inhabitants of Mindoro, the seventh largest island in the Philippines, Botolan Falls in San Totolan Faeodoro, and the Tamaraw - endemic to the island of Mindoro in the Philippines, and is the only endemic Philippine bovine

Bansud, a town for quiet unwinding

It is the perfect view of the Rosacara rolling hills and Manihala Falls. Plaza de Bansud is also worth visiting for paddle boating and fishing.

Bongabong, the province’s organic capital

It is famous for its Gabutero Organic Farm, where several crops and plants are grown. Their sunflower garden and butterfly farms will bring you closer to nature.

Roxas, the place of ancient caves

The San Rafael Cave, about the size of a cathedral, is safe for tourism activity and suited for those looking for adventure. You may allot approximately two hours to explore the cave’s ten chambers.

Mansalay, the home of Buhid and Hanunuo Mangyan

Experience the Mindoro culture with its historical and cultural pride, such as the rock formations south of the Mansalay Bay, Buktot Beach, and La Sersita Casitas and water spa beach resort.

Buyayao Island

Bulalacao, the hidden paradise

Be sure to check out here the Buyayao Island, which caters to 500 forest species with thick vegetation and ornamental plants. Its rich marine biodiversity entices tourists to try snorkeling and diving.

With all these must-see attractions and must-try activities in Oriental Mindoro, are you now ready to hop in and explore its wonders? Waste no time, “MAHAL TANA!”


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