Traveling to Occidental Mindoro by air is possible because of the airport in the town of San Jose. Currently, only Cebu Pacific offers flights to San Jose Airport from Manila or Cebu.
Batangas Port is the main jumping off point for boats going to Puerto Galera and Calapan City in Oriental Mindoro. From Manila, a JAM Liner bus offers less than three-hour trips to Batangas Port.
Meanwhile, Montenegro Shipping Lines also offers ferry trips from Batangas City to Calapan City and Abra De Ilog in Occidental Mindoro.
Philtranco Bus line serves direct 13-hour bus rides from Manila to the town of Bulalacao in Oriental Mindoro. Meanwhile, Dimple Star Transport offers trips to the town of San Jose in Occidental Mindoro. From Manila, the journey is around 16 hours.
How to Get Around
Jeepneys are the primary means of getting around Mindoro. These vehicles can take you from town to town.
For shorter distances, tricycles are also available.
What to See
Muelle Cross is Puerto Galera's most prized landmark. The marble cross was erected at Muelle Pier in memory of the sinking of the battleship Canonero Mariveles in November 18, 1879.
The lighthouse at Apo Reef National Park is another of Mindoro's notable landmarks. The first version of the lighthouse was said to have been completed in 1903. To this day, the lighthouse serves as a viewpoint where tourists can see an amazing view of the island.
Mindoro is blessed with a gorgeous coastline. It is home to countless beautiful beaches where tourists can relax, unwind, and forget about the metro's hustle and bustle for a while.
Puerto Galera is perhaps Oriental Mindoro's most famous tourist destination. With its many beaches and islands, this town is a haven for beach lovers. You can frolic on the sands or wade in the refreshing waters of White Beach, Sabang Beach, and the Big and Small La Laguna beaches. You can also go on an island hopping tour and explore other hidden beaches like Haligi Beach, Bayanan Beach, and snorkeling spots like Coral Garden in San Antonio Island. Apart from beaches, Puerto Galera also has hidden waterfall wonders like Tamaraw Falls and Tukuran Falls.
But even though Oriental Mindoro is known mostly for Puerto Galera, it still has much more to offer: Calapan City, the provincial capital, boasts some gorgeous beaches like Suqui Beach, Parang Beach, and Balite Beach. Calapan Nature Park, on the other hand, lets you unwind amongst its breathtaking lush green surroundings. The nearby Caluangan Lake is also worth a visit. Make sure to also visit Calapan City's secluded islands like the Baco-Chico Islets and the Aganhao Islet. The town of Bulalacao is also a rising tourist destination because of its beautiful islands such as Target Island, Tambaron Island, Maasin Island, and Aslom Island to name a few. An island hopping tour is the best way to explore the town’s beautiful coastline.
Meanwhile, Occidental Mindoro's most famous offering is Apo Reef National Park, a world-class dive site. It is hailed as the world's second largest contiguous coral reef system. The jumping off point for Apo Reef is the town of Sablayan, which is also the home of Pandan Island, another must-see attraction. Less than two hours away from Sablayan is the town of San Jose. Its White Island, Ilin Island, and Aroma Beach also offer a secluded beach hideaway for beach bums.
For adventurers out there, a hike at Mt. Falcon of Oriental Mindoro or Mt. Iglit and Mt. Baco of Occidental Mindoro is definitely a must.
There are many watersports and activities you can try in Puerto Galera, such as kayaking, banana boating, snorkeling, scuba diving, water skiing, and parasailing to name a few. Meanwhile, you can tee off at Ponderosa Golf & Country Club or ride its zip-line, which is said to be the longest island-to-island zip-line in the world.
If you want to be exposed to the culture of the natives of Mindoro, make sure to visit the Mangyan Village in Puerto Galera where they sell handicrafts for their livelihood.
Events and Festivals
The town fiesta celebrations are a must-see for tourists in Mindoro. Some of the well-known feasts include Sablayan's Sugoy Festival every January, Calapan City's Kalap Festival every March, San Jose's Saknungan Festival every April, and Puerto Galera's De Galera Festival every May.
Where to Eat
Fast Food Chains
Fast food chains can also be found in some places in Mindoro. In Calapan City, particularly, there are branches of Jollibee, Chowking, and Shakey's.
Puerto Galera's food scene is famous for its variety. Tourists can enjoy all sorts of cuisines on their vacation. You can enjoy delicious seafood meals made from the freshest catch at Verandah Restaurant, Le Dan Seafood Restaurant, or Amami Beach Resort's restaurant. For carnivores, the steaks at Papa Fred's Steakhouse are definitely worth the calories. Lastly, guests craving for Italian meals will love the pizzas and pastas at La Cucina Italiana Restaurant.
Meanwhile, Sablayan's gastronomic scene is dominated by native dishes as well as seafood fare. Two of the best known restaurants that serve sumptuous Filipino meals are Camalig Restaurant and GVD Restaurant.
Bars and Clubs
White Beach and Sabang Beach are the hottest night spots in Puerto Galera. You can go bar hopping or dance the night away at any of their many bars and clubs. When ordering drinks, make sure to try the local cocktail called Mindoro Swing.
Where to Shop
Calapan City is the only place in Mindoro that has malls: Citimart Island Mall, Xentromall, and Gaisano Capital Mall.
There are many shops, particularly in Puerto Galera, that sell souvenir items such as keychains and T-shirts.
ATMs and Money Changers
Banks and ATMs are available in several spots in Mindoro.
Fare: PHP 500.00 (By ferry); PHP 500.00 to PHP 1,200.00 (By bus); PHP 2,000.00 ++ (By plane)
A bus ride from Manila to Batangas Port via JAM Liner costs PHP 175.00. At the port, there are several shipping lines that offer trips to Puerto Galera via lantsas or motorboats. On the other hand, a boat ride to Calapan City is priced at PHP 200.00, while a trip to Abra De Ilog is PHP 260.00 via Montenegro Shipping Lines.
The 16-hour bus trip from Manila to San Jose via Dimple Star Transport would cost about PHP 1,200.00 one way. On the other hand, the 13-hour trip to Bulalacao via Philtranco ranges from PHP 400.00 to PHP 500.00.
One-way airfare for Manila-San Jose trips via Cebu Pacific Air start at PHP 2,000.00.
Food: PHP 100.00 to PHP 300.00
There are many affordable options when it comes to food in Mindoro like restaurants, eateries, and even food stalls along the beaches.
Shopping: PHP 100.00 to PHP 300.00
In Puerto Galera, a budget of PHP 300.00 can already buy you a simple souvenir shirt plus some trinkets like keychains and fridge magnets for pasalubong.
Accommodation: PHP 400.00 to PHP 5,000.00
There are inns and lodges offering PHP 300.00 to PHP 500.00 per night stays for backpackers. Meanwhile, midrange hotels and resorts go for PHP 1,000.00 to PHP 2,000.00. For upscale hotels and resorts, expect to pay PHP 3,000.00 to PHP 5,000.00 per stay.
Activities: PHP 300.00++
The prices for watersports at Puerto Galera range from PHP 300.00 to PHP 1,500.00 per person. Meanwhile, boat rentals for Apo Reef are from PHP 9,000.00 to PHP 15,000 and can be split among 10 to 15 persons.
Other Fees and Taxes: PHP 300.00++
Tourists who wish to visit Apo Reef Natural Park are required to pay a PHP 300.00 environmental fee at Sablayan's Municipal Tourism Office. Hiring a tour guide is also mandatory. Five persons can share the PHP 1,000.00 guide fee.
(One-day Itinerary for Puerto Galera)
||Arrive in Batangas Port. Board a lantsa to White Beach port.
||Arrive in White Beach from Batangas Port.
||Have breakfast at Verandah Restaurant.
||Check in at your chosen accommodation.
||Try some of the watersports offered like parasailing and banana boat rides.
||Feast on the sumptuous steaks at Papa Fred's Steakhouse for lunch.
||Avail of the island hopping tour. See marvelous beaches like Haligi Beach and Bayanan Beach and snorkel at Coral Garden in San Antonio Island.
||Arrive back in White Beach. Use your free time to swim in the sea or frolic on the sands. While you're at it, have a massage or a henna tattoo by the beachfront. Stay and watch the beautiful Puerto Galera Sunset.
||Enjoy some pastas and pizzas for dinner at La Cucina Italiana Restaurant.
||After dinner, go bar hopping or dance the night away in any of the clubs. Don't forget to order the famous cocktail, Mindoro Sling.
(One-day Itinerary for Apo Reef)
||Arrive in Batangas Port. Board a boat bound to Abra de Ilog.
||Arrive in Abra de Ilog Port. Catch a bus bound for Sablayan.
||Arrive in Sablayan. Visit the Municipal Tourism Office to register and pay the necessary eco-tourism fees. You can also charter a boat to Apo Reef.
||Have breakfast at a carinderia. After your meal, gather food and supplies for your Apo Reef trip.
||Depart for Apo Reef.
||Arrive in Apo Reef. Set up camp and have your lunch.
||Climb up the lighthouse to get a good view of the island.
||Go beach bumming and enjoy swimming and snorkeling.
||Arrive back at camp. Prepare and eat your dinner.
||Socialize with your fellow campers over a bonfire.
Mindoro, just like the rest of the Philippines, only has two seasons: the dry season which runs from December until May, and the wet season from June to November. Aim for the dry season when visiting since boat trips tend to get cancelled during bad weather.
Safety and Security
Mindoro sees its share of tourists daily so make sure to be mindful of your surroundings and keep your valuables in a safe place, especially when visiting crowded areas.