Oriental Mindoro

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Oriental Mindoro
Flag of Oriental Mindoro
Official seal of Oriental Mindoro
Map of the Philippines with Oriental Mindoro highlighted
Map of the Philippines with Oriental Mindoro highlighted
Coordinates: 13°00′N 121°05′E / 13.000°N 121.083°E / 13.000; 121.083Coordinates: 13°00′N 121°05′E / 13.000°N 121.083°E / 13.000; 121.083
Country Philippines
Region MIMAROPA (Region IV-B)
Founded 1955
Capital Calapan City
 • Type Province of the Philippines
 • Governor Alfonso Umali, Jr. (Liberal)
 • Vice Governor Humerlito "Bonz" Dolor (Liberal)
 • Total 4,238.38 km2 (1,636.45 sq mi)
Area rank 30th out of 81
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 785,602
 • Rank 34th out of 81
 • Density 190/km2 (480/sq mi)
 • Density rank 49th out of 81
 • Independent cities 0
 • Component cities 1
 • Municipalities 14
 • Barangays 426
 • Districts 1st and 2nd districts of Oriental Mindoro
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP code 5200 to 5014
Dialing code 43
ISO 3166 code PH-MDR
Spoken languages Tagalog, Mangyan, English
Website www.ormindoro.gov.ph

Oriental Mindoro (Tagalog: Silangang Mindoro, Spanish: Mindoro Oriental) is a province of the Philippines located in the island of Mindoro under MIMAROPA region in Luzon, about 140 km southwest of Manila. The province is bordered by the Verde Island Passage and the rest of Batangas to the north, by Marinduque, Maestre de Campo (or known as Sibale but official name is Concepcion) Island, Tablas Strait and the rest of Romblon to the east, by Semirara and the rest of Caluya Islands, Antique to the south, and by Occidental Mindoro to the west. Calapan City, the only city in the island, is the provincial capital.

Oriental Mindoro is touted as the country's emerging eco-tourism destination. In 2005, the Philippines was found to be the center of marine fish biodiversity and the home of the most diverse marine ecosystem in the world,[3] by American biologists Kent Carpenter and Victor Springer. Most of the endemic species in the Philippines are found in the Verde Island Passage between Mindoro island and the main island of Luzon. The passage houses 2,983 individual species of algae, corals, crustaceans, mollusks, fishes, marine reptiles, and marine mammals, based on a study conducted by scientists Carpenter and Springer in 2005.

Our study indicates, however, that there is a higher concentration of species per unit area in the Philippines than anywhere in Indonesia, including Wallacea... Special attention to marine conservation efforts in the Philippines is justified because of the identification of it as an epicenter of biodiversity and evolution.

UNESCO, declared Puerto Galera a biosphere reserve[4] under its Man and the Biosphere Programme in the 1970s. The Verde Island Passage is at the apex of the so-called Coral Triangle – the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia – which has the distinction of being the "global center of marine biodiversity".


Further information: Mindoro (province)


World War II wrought heavy damages, death and pain to the people of Mindoro. However, social conditions continued to exist without any definitive changes. After the war, reconstruction and rehabilitation of infrastructure and economy took place which ended with the division of the island into two provinces of Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro on June 13, 1950, by virtue of the Republic Act No. 505.

In the decades after the war, the island continued to become one of the preferred areas of new settlers coming from the overpopulated provinces in the Philippines in search of the new land. Apart from the hope to become landowners or to have better tenancy conditions, the guerrilla war (Huk rebellion) in Central Luzon was an important factor for migration. Under the settlement program of the National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Administration (NARRA) which was founded on June 18, 1954, families from Central Luzon were settled in the Bongabong-Pinamalayan area. This project ended in 1956 after the settlement of 606 families (3,636 people) on 8,600 hectares of public land. Since then new settlers have incessantly migrated to Mindoro until today.

Armed conflict[edit]

There is currently a conflict going on between the Military and insurgents. On March 6, 2010, eleven soldiers were killed and seven were hurt in a gunbattle with New People's Army in Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro.[5]


Political map of Oriental Mindoro

The province has a total land area of 4,238.4 km²; with the western portion of the province being mountainous or rugged, hills and flood plains are widely distributed in the eastern portion. Mount Halcon, standing 2582 m above sea level, is the 18th highest mountain in the country and is the province's and island's highest peak. Lake Naujan, the fifth largest lake in the country with an area of approximately 8,125 ha of open water, is located at the northeastern part of the island and the province.

Oriental Mindoro's rich and arable land is suitable for agriculture. It is producing large quantities of rice, corn, coconut, vegetables and fruits like calamansi, banana, rambutan, marang or uloy, lanzones and durian. For that, Oriental Mindoro is also known as the Rice Granary and Fruit Basket of Southern Tagalog. It still is the Banana King and Calamansi King of the region. Its total agricultural area is 169,603.34 hectares. Based on agricultural statistics, 85,244 hectares are devoted to palay production while 21,671 hectares to coconut plantation. The province, for the past years, registered an average of 1 to 2 million cavans as surplus in rice production.


Oriental Mindoro has no distinct wet or dry seasons. Average temperature ranges from 26 to 32 °C (79 to 90 °F). The province experiences maximum rainfall during the months of June to October. Relative humidity is registered at 81%.


Oriental Mindoro is composed of 14 municipalities, with one city, Calapan City serving as the provincial capital.




Population census of Oriental Mindoro
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 550,049 —    
1995 608,616 +1.91%
2000 681,818 +2.46%
2007 735,769 +1.06%
2010 785.41 −91.71%
Source: National Statistics Office[2]

Based on the 2007 Census of Population, Oriental Mindoro had a population of 735,769, which is higher by 53,951 from the year 2000, resulting in an annual population growth rate of 1.06% during the seven-year period.[6] It increased to 785,602 in the 2010 census, making it the most populous province in the region.

The province is largely rural, with 70% of the population engaged in agriculture and fishing and with only 30% living in urban centers. Tagalog is widely spoken in the province. Other languages spoken are Ilocano and Cebuano. Dialects of the Mangyan language are Arayan, Alagnan, Buhid, Hanunoo, and Tadyawan.[7] Most of the population are of Roman Catholic conviction.

Indigenous People[edit]

Main article: Mangyan

The indigenous people of Oriental Mindoro are the Mangyans (Manguianes in Spanish, Mañguianes in Old Tagalog), consisting of 7 distinct tribes. They occupy the interior, specially the highlands. Mangyans have inhabited the island since pre-history. They are believed to have originally traveled from Indonesia and settled down for good in the island.

Tourist attractions[edit]

Calapan City in the northeast of Mindoro Island is the capital and largest city of the province of Oriental Mindoro.

Oriental Mindoro evokes images of a genuine tropical paradise – white sand, crystal clear water, lush green forests covering majestic mountains and splendid waterfalls. With its largely unspoiled natural beauty, the province has much to offer in terms of tourism and other economic opportunities. Special interest tours such as mountain climbing, trekking, camping, caving, bird watching, island exploration, adventure trips, windsurfing, scuba diving, tek diving, scuba macro photography, snorkeling, keelboat and dinghy sailing are among the exciting recreational activities possible.

Access from Luzon thru the Batangas ports mostly goes thru the Verde Island Passage to reach the key entry point of Oriental Mindoro - Puerto Galera. In November 2004, Puerto Galera was voted a member of the UNESCO affiliated ‘The Club of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World. PG is blessed with one of the world's most beautiful natural harbors which also protects ships, yachts and bancas from strong typhoons sweeping in from the Pacific during the rainy season. The Puerto Galera Yacht Club is likewise based here, and runs the Sailing Scholarship Fund, financed by donations and the proceeds from regattas, for the training of more than 100 local children who have brought in medals and awards in the yearly yacht and small boat events. PGYC runs yearly yachting and national dinghy events open to the local and international sailing community to promote the sport of sailing and responsible sailing tourism in the islands.

Puerto Galera, known for lovely white sand beaches and the unfortunate accompanying honky tonk bar scene on some key beaches, is more famous for its exquisite dive sites with a biodiversity of marine life in and around the coral reefs. Interesting UW rock formations and coral gardens are home to colorful marine life, like the numerous species of nudibranch, mantis shrimp, sea anemone, moray and sea fan sea horses. The seas off the coast boast passing dolphin pods, the rarer whaleshark and is part of the migratory small whale route from the Visayas.

Towering 8,488 feet (2,587 m) above sea level, Mount Halcon in Baco, is the country's third highest peak. It is a favorite mountain climbing destination for ecologically aware groups. Oriental Mindoro is also perfect for birdwatching activities of local and migratory species, and is home to mammals like the Tamaraw, an endemic straight-horned water buffalo, reptiles and plant species found nowhere else. Oriental Mindoro is also called and known now as the Lupain ng mahalta. Tamaraw, various flora and fauna found on slopes of Mount Halcon and the native Mangyans, all together add vibrancy to the colors and the richness of nature and culture of the province.

Other tourist destinations include:

Hidden Paradise
The attraction consists of a natural spring with a swimming pool and picnic cottages. It is located in Baco, and can be reached in 45 minutes by taking a jeepney bound for the Calapan market.
Alibatan Island
The island measures five hectares and is noted for its white sand. The place serves as the breeding place of seagulls and turtles. Corals and oysters can be found all around the area. The island is also called "Target Island" because Americans who stayed in San Jose used this place for bombing practices in 1946. It is located in Baco, and can be reached in an hour through a motorized banca from the market square bound for Alibatan Island.
Buyayao Island
It is a rocky island, except for the area facing Buyayao Peninsula. Big snakes called "sobre kama" are found in the mountains. The water around the island is suited for deep-sea fishing. It is located off the coast of Mansalay, and can be reached in 30 minutes by motorized banca from Mansalay market.
Suqui Beach
This is a public beach with cottages and other facilities. It is a favorite place for the local people, especially during the summer. It is located in Suqui, Calapan, and can be reached in 15 minutes by taking a tricycle from the town proper.
Banilad Beach
The place is a good spot for picnicking and swimming, especially during the summer. It is located in Pili, Pinamalayan, and can be reached by taking a jeepney to the port of Barangay Wawa, then an hour’s ride by motorized banca to the beach.
Bongol Beach
It is a secluded beach, with a two-kilometer white sand beach. It is located in Bongol, Pinamalayan, and can be reached in two hours by boarding a Bongol-bound jeepney from the town proper of Pinamalayan and then a tricycle to the beach area.
Tamaraw Falls
The 423 feet (129 m) waterfalls, situated alongside the road, is actually a series of asymmetrical falls, leading to the grand one, dropping to a frothy waterbed below. The cascading waterfalls is a great attraction to passers-by. Tamaraw Falls is located in Barangay Villaflor, Puerto Galera. It can be reached in two hours by taking a jeepney bound for Barangay Villaflor from Puerto Galera, or Calapan.
La Laguna Beach
This an ideal place for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. There are a number of resorts that offer accommodation and other travel and aqua sports facilities to both domestic and international tourists. It is located in La Laguna, Puerto Galera, and can be reached in 30 minutes from the town proper of Puerto Galera by taking a jeepney bound for La Laguna.
Sabang Beach
This area is ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. A cluster of nightspots abound in this area, which make it popular for evening socials. Cottages with entertainment facilities stand close to each other. Low-budget accommodations are available. It is located east of Puerto Galera, and can be reached in 15 minutes from the Puerto Galera pier by taking a jeepney or an outrigger banca.
Small La Laguna
Contrary to its name, Small La Laguna is bigger than La Laguna, and has more facilities. It has coral reefs, and its water is ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving. There are diving equipment for rent at nearby dive shops. It is located beside Sabang Beach, and can be reached in 20 minutes from the pier by taking a jeepney bound for Sabang.
Talipanan Beach
This area is not as busy as the other beaches in Puerto Galera. Thus, it is an ideal site for private swimming. It is located in Puerto Galera, and can be reached in 40 minutes by taking a jeepney or an outrigger boat from the town pier.
White Sand Beach
The white sandy strips of this beach offer excellent opportunities for swimming. Resorts in this area provide entertainment facilities for tourists' greater amusement and leisure. It is located in Barangay San Isidro, Puerto Galera, and is accessible in 30 minutes from the town proper by a jeepney or a boat.
Punta Guarda Beach
This beach is far from the busy areas of Puerto Galera; thus, it is ideal for those who seek privacy and retreat. It is located in Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro, and can be reached by taking a 10 minutes' jeepney ride from the town proper, to about one kilometer on the beach mark. The distance left will have to be covered on foot.
Melco Beach
It is a beige-colored sandy beach with cottages for rent. It is located in Roxas, Oriental Mindoro, and can be reached in 10 minutes by a banca from the pier.


Higher education institutions in the province:[8]


External links[edit]