Off the larger island of Luzon, Mindoro is a beautiful island that is one of the great attractions of the Philippines, and has a coast that faces on to the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea at different points on the island. Broadly split into the eastern and western portion for administrative purposes after the Second World War, the eastern part of the island, known as Oriental Mindoro faces on to the Verde Island Passage, which is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. The western part of the island, known as Occidental Mindoro, is the less populated half of the island and is famed for its agriculture and the series of beautiful sites along the coast.
Apo Reef Natural Park
This is one of the best protected areas of coral reef in the Philippines, with the reef being maintained and monitored to ensure that the activities of visitors or fishing do not harm the reef itself. Because of the spectacular clear waters and the good visibility, it has become one of the most popular scuba diving locations in the Philippines. The marine life around the area is particularly good, with most trips that explore this spectacular departing from the town of Puerto Galera.
One of the most popular destinations that is to be found on the north east coast of Mindoro, Puerto Galera is surrounded by some lovely beaches and amazing scenery. White Beach is one of the most popular places in the city to relax and enjoy the waters of the ocean, while there are plenty of alternatives up and down the coast from the city center itself. A very interesting attraction near the city is the Mangyan village, which is home to a cultural group that have historically been nomadic people living in the mountains of Mindoro, and a local guide can usually arrange a visit to see these people and to experience their culture.
The highest peak on the island stands at 2,586 meters above sea level, and this mountain is traditionally a part of the territory of the nomadic Mangyan people. It is generally only open to those who have a permit to climb the mountain who are going with an organized group. The mountain is the traditional watershed that divides Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, and offers views over both sides of the island from the narrow ridge where the peak of the mountain is located. The trek up Mount Halcon is certainly one to enjoy if it is available, and takes visitors through some stunning terrain and enjoys wonderful views back over the island.
This site is a popular scenic site and swimming area where the water comes cascading down the steep slopes of a forest valley before forming two pools in the rock below, with the water then trickling on into the river. Visiting the falls is usually done as a day trip from Puerto Galera, and it usually takes around 45 minutes by jeepney to get to the falls. The falls are certainly more spectacular when there has been some rain, but it is still worth taking time to cool off in the river water in one of the pools below the falls.
Malasimbo Music Festival
This wonderful festival is a celebration of all types of Filipino music, from rock and pop music to dance and hip hop, and it is a festival that regularly draws thousands of people every year. The spectacular natural surroundings make for a magical music experience, as the lights are temporarily fixed to the palm trees that are found around the stage and festival area. The local cuisine on offer is also very good, and the party atmosphere is maintained with plenty of Tanduay Rhum, the local spirit that is certainly quite potent.