San Jose, Occidental Mindoro

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San Jose
(From top, counterclockwise):The municipality's skyline, San Jose Municipal Hall, San Jose Municipal Park, Aroma Beach, White Island, St. Joseph Cathedral
(From top, counterclockwise):The municipality's skyline, San Jose Municipal Hall, San Jose Municipal Park, Aroma Beach, White Island, St. Joseph Cathedral
Official seal of San Jose
Map of Occidental Mindoro showing the location of San Jose
Map of Occidental Mindoro showing the location of San Jose
San Jose is located in Philippines
San Jose
San Jose
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 12°21′N 121°04′E / 12.350°N 121.067°E / 12.350; 121.067Coordinates: 12°21′N 121°04′E / 12.350°N 121.067°E / 12.350; 121.067
Country Philippines
Region MIMAROPA (Region IV-B)
Province Occidental Mindoro
District Lone District of Occidental Mindoro
Barangays 38
 • Mayor Romulo "Muloy" Festina
 • Total 446.70 km2 (172.47 sq mi)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 131,188
 • Density 290/km2 (760/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 5100
Dialing code 43
Income class 1st class municipality; Partially Urban
a: Jose Tapeles Villarosa, Romulo Festin's opponent during the 2013 elections, was declared the winner of the said elections after Villarosa filed an election protest before a trial court. The court declared Villarosa the winner after he won by a plurality of 806 votes after a recount. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) issued a desist order 20 days after the lapse of period to appeal the decision. Due to the desist order by the election body, the instatement of Villarosa to office had been delayed. The Supreme Court ruled Festin to be the duly elected mayor of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro in September 2014. [4] [5]

San Jose is a first-class municipality in the province of Occidental Mindoro, Philippines. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 131,188 people.[3] San Jose is the economic, financial, cultural, and educational center of the province of Occidental Mindoro. It has the largest commercial port and airport in the province. It is named after its patron saint, St. Joseph, the husband of Mary. Most of the people are Visayans, Batangueños and Ilocanos.

Mamburao to the north is the official capital of the province, but most provincial government offices have satellite offices in San Jose. The town also has the most number of business and commercial establishments in the province, and is either the major market or transit point for agricultural and commercial products. Major banks include Philippine National Bank (PNB), United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Allied Bank, Metrobank, Landbank, and Philippine Veterans Bank.

Telecommunication services are provided by Digital Telecommunications (Digitel), Smart Communications, and Globe. Cable and satellite television operators provide access to local and international broadcasts. Broadband Internet services are likewise available through the numerous internet cafes located in the poblacion area.

Large public and private elementary and high schools provide basic education in the town proper and smaller barangays. Major educational institutions in the province include Occidental Mindoro State College (OMSC), Divine Word College (DWC), Montessori de San Jose, Philippine Central Islands College (PCIC), I-NET Asia Technological School, Inc., Southwest Philippines Ecumenical School Inc., and Abeleda Technical School.

The population growth currently experienced by San Jose is attributed to a growing number of migrants from Palawan, Southern Luzon, and Visayan provinces.


It is located at the southern part of the province with a total land area of 44,670 hectares (110,400 acres).[2] Climatic condition is classified under Type A category and slope is generally flat. Soil composition developed from recent alluvial deposits which are silty-loam to clay loam and landforms consist of limestone and sedimentary rocks. All types of erosion are present: slight, moderate and severe erosion. Eleven (11) rivers and creeks serve as natural drainage. Mineral deposits includes copper and limestone.


San Jose is politically subdivided into 38 barangays.[2]

  • Ambulong
  • Ansiray
  • Bagong Sikat
  • Bangkal
  • Barangay 1 (Pob.)
  • Barangay 2 (Pob.)
  • Barangay 3 (Pob.)
  • Barangay 4 (Pob.)
  • Barangay 5 (Pob.)
  • Barangay 6 (Pob.)
  • Barangay 7 (Pob.)
  • Barangay 8 (Pob.)
  • Batasan
  • Bayotbot
  • Bubog
  • Buri
  • Camburay
  • Caminawit
  • Catayungan
  • Central
  • Ilin Proper
  • Inasakan
  • Ipil
  • La Curva
  • Labangan Iling
  • Labangan Poblacion
  • Mabini
  • Magbay
  • Mangarin
  • Mapaya
  • Murtha
  • Monte Claro
  • Natandol
  • Pag-Asa
  • Pawican
  • San Agustin
  • San Isidro
  • San Roque


The Liberation Monument in the municipal park commemorating the Filipinos who fought against the Japanese forces in the Second World War

Historical records show that in the 14th century, Chinese traders anchored to trade at the shores of Mangarin, the oldest settlement in the southern portion of Occidental Mindoro. Its name was derived from the word “Mandarin”, an official Chinese Palace, the remains of which can still be found in the old barrio of Mangarin. When the Spanish took possession of the Island in the 18th century, the first site of the Presidencia was built in sitio of Sinaoga[citation needed], on the western side of Barrio Sta. Teresa, now part of the municipality of Magsaysay. A year later, it was again transferred to Caminawit. On May 1, 1910,[6] Pandurucan, which was renamed San Jose, became the seat of the Civil Government with Don German Ramirez as its first appointed leader up to 1915. When the Japanese Imperial Forces occupied the town, Bonifacio Gomez was appointed as Mayor from 1941-1942 followed by Pedro Cuden, 1942–1943 and finally Isabelo Abeleda in 1944 until 1946. During the American reoccupation Bibiano Gaudiel replaced Isabelo Abeleda who regained his position in 1955.

San Jose figures prominently in Philippine history for its role during World War II. American forces led by General Douglas MacArthur with the Filipino soldiers staged a so-called "Second Landing" in the beaches of San Jose (the "First" being the famous Leyte Landing) on December 15, 1944, to retake the Philippine islands from the Japanese (the Battle of Mindoro). Securing San Jose and the whole Mindoro island proved decisive in the goal to recapture Manila and Luzon, and the eventual defeat of the Japanese Imperial forces by Filipino and American troops.

The Philippine government split Mindoro into two provinces, Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro in 1950. San Jose became the temporary capitol but was transferred to Mamburao on January 1950. Migration to Mindoro in the years after the war boosted population growth and spurred development. The Philippine Sugar Mill plantation in the northern Barangay Central helped San Jose become the center of commerce in those years. The economic base has since widened to include rice, corn, tobacco, salt, and aquaculture production.

Conversion to Cityhood[edit]

The Municipality of San Jose passed Resolution No. 0023 in 2001, seeking conversion to city status. To date, this resolution has not been acted upon or pursued by Congress of the Philippines.


Population census of San Jose
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 87,520 —    
1995 101,411 +2.80%
2000 111,009 +1.96%
2007 118,807 +0.94%
2010 131,188 +3.67%
Source: National Statistics Office[3]

It is the most densely populated area in the province which continuously grows at 2.38% annually. Out of the total population of 131,188, about 42% resides in urban area while 58% are situated in rural barangays. Some 2% of its population to belong to the indigenous Mangyan peoples. Mangyans are further divided into tribes like Ratagnon, Hanunuo, Gubatnon, and others.

Average household size is recorded at 5 with an urban density of 6500 persons per km². About 69% are dependents, resulting to a dependency ratio of 1:2. On the other hand, male-female ratio is computed at 108:100.

Tagalog is the most outspoken dialect and 83.97% are practicing Roman Catholicism.


San Jose poblacion

The municipality has diverse economic activities. However, the majority of the working force which is estimated at 76%, are still engaged in agriculture. Like the rest of the province, other industries in San Jose are tied to the town's agricultural base. A substantial majority of palay and rice of Occidental Mindoro, a major supplier of rice for Manila and elsewhere, are delivered, milled, traded and sold in San Jose.

Other major agricultural products include corn, garlic, onions, and root crops. Aquaculture is well-developed in San Jose which is known for its export quality lapu-lapu, bangus (milkfish), and sugpo (prawn). The town has abundant coastal and marine resources which provide an ample supply of fish and marine products for local consumption and exports.

Commercial livestock and poultry farms producing layers, broilers and meat products also exist. San Jose has a large number of agricultural support facilities such as rice mills, warehouses, solar dryers, and the like.

Registered commercial establishments number around 1,030 and the public market, the center of commercial activities, is the largest in the province. Other industries include hollow blocks making, handicrafts, furniture, sweet goods, and other small-scale processing and manufacturing plants.

Challenges and Difficulties

Of the many reasons that hinder San Jose's growth, the unending political turmoil serves as the greatest factor why this town fails to achieve the eventual realization of its progress. Corrupt political clans have monopolized the town's government and it so happen that these clans are rivals since time immemorial. The effects of such governance branch out to many forms of other challenges that burden the town such as a very unstable power supply, retreat of many could-have-been business investors, problem regarding peace and order and numbers of unfinished government projects.


Aroma Beach

Known tourism facilities are beach resorts, hotels, bars, and restaurants.

Even with its considerable tourism potential, San Jose has yet to turn into a more popular destination at par with other parts of the Philippines. Among the challenges the town faces are coastal pollution, illegal settlers, and a lack of an effective ecotourism plan. Brownouts caused by a lingering power supply dispute has negatively affected local businesses and tourism.

However, a modest number of visitors continue to explore this quaint town on the southwestern tip of Mindoro. San Jose offers an off-the-beaten-path charm for local and foreign tourists alike who shun the crowded and over-commercialized spots in the country. The major attractions of San Jose are its three offshore islands - Ambulong, Ilin, and White Island (also called Manadi). San Jose is also a favorite jump-off point to the world-class diving site - Apo Reef Marine Park.

Ambulong Island 
Ambulong Island is a 30 km² island with fine beaches, cliffs and abundant coral formations. It is characterized by white sand beaches, cliffs along pillars jutting out of the water, and underwater caves. Coral gardens and tropical fish are abundant in several coves. An islet called Grace Island is located at a limestone cove at the southern tip of Ambulong. A fisherman's village is located at the sheltered side of the island. Ambulong Island is also a jump-off point to some of the dive spots in the area, such as the Iling Point, Baniaga Reef, Ambulong Bank, Dungan Reef, Sardines Reef, Apo Reef, and Manadi Island. These dive sites are about an hour away by pumpboat from the Caminawit Port.
Ilin Island 
Ilin Island has a village of shell divers, being abundant in shells and coral reefs. There are ancient burial caves of early Chinese traders, ethnic fishing villages, and numerous dive sites from which to view many tropical fishes. Lush foliage encircle the clear blue waters of the South China Sea. There are scuba diving facilities, a 6.8 CTM compressor, seaport facilities, diveboats, and PADI and NAUI-certified instructors. KWEBA CANSUBONG is a popular destination in the island apart from its white beaches, estuaries, rock formations, etc. Inasakan Beach, located at the far side of Ilin, is a small stretch of powdery white sand. Recently, the island's timberland is being proposed to be declared a conservation area for its natural fauna and flora. The PHILIPPINE TEAK, an endangered Philippine tree is found only in Ilin and Batangas. Meanwhile, an endangered fauna called the CLOUD RAT (or cloud runner/Ilin Island Cloud Runner) is found only in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro particularly in the island of Ilin. Cloud rat is the biggest and one of the most beautiful rat in the world.
White Island (Manadi, Barrio Ilin, San Jose; 15 minutes by pumpboat from Caminawit Port) 
White Island has a long powdery beach where buried turtle eggs are occasionally found. It has an almost mile-long beach with smooth and powdery white sand. The tranquil and peaceful island is an ideal place for swimming, scuba diving and fishing. Turtle eggs are occasionally found buried in the sand, and visitors are cautioned to keep them undisturbed.
San Jose Municipal Park
Mt. Iglit National Park 
Mounts Iglit-Baco National Park is located in an area shared by the municipalities of Sablayan, Calintaan, Rizal and San Jose. The latter is also the main gateway there. It is a sanctuary for the 'tamaraw' (Bubalus mindorensis), an endemic species of buffalo found only in Mindoro. It provides a nice eco-tourism, trekking, or mountaineering alternative to beach/dive resorts. However, recent developments has cited that a part the TAMARAW GENEPOOL which is also a part of the aforesaid national park is situated at the boundaries of Rizal and San Jose, more or less 50 hectares are in the territorial jurisdiction of the Municipality.
Other Destinations 
There are other destinations in the area like the extraordinary landscape and rugged peaks of the Chocolate Mountains (more popularly known as the Devil's Mountain), the Linaw Baboy Falls in Brgy. Murtha, Mangarin Ruins, and the Second Landing Marker of the troops of Gen. MacArthur during the World War II near Aroma Beach (about 2 km from Poblacion), which is itself a favorite spot for local residents. St. Joseph Cathedral and San Jose Municipal Park, just across the municipal hall, are also hubs of religious and recreational activities.

Cultural events in San Jose include Indak Pandurukan, a street-dancing festival, and other activities during the town fiesta which is celebrated on May 1.


The entrance to the San Jose Airport

Most roads in the poblacion area and nearby barangays are concrete and/or asphalted. The major thoroughfares are Rizal Street, Liboro Street, Bonifacio Street, Mabini Street, and the streets in and around the public market. Tricycles are the common mode of transportation around town. Jeepneys provide the main mode of public transportation between San Jose and other towns of the province. Vans and sports utility vehicles (SUVs) are likewise numerous. The number of land vehicles in San Jose has grown because of the population boom starting in the early 2000s. Pump boats can be chartered to provide access to nearby island resorts and diving spots.

The town is served by the San Jose Airport, with regular scheduled flights to Manila by Cebu Pacific. Flights take approximately 30 minutes.

Dimple Star, RORO Transport, and Philtranco has a direct bus route from Cubao (in Quezon City), Sampaloc (in Manila) and Alabang (in Muntinlupa City) to San Jose that includes a roll-on/roll-off ferry that operates between Abra de Ilog and Batangas City (a three-hour trip across the Verde Island Passage).

San Jose is linked to all towns of Occidental Mindoro via a mostly-dusty provincial highway that runs from north to south. Roads in and around San Jose are well-paved on mostly flat terrain. Local bus and jeepney operators ply the route from the northernmost town of Abra de Ilog all the way south to San Jose. From the San Jose Bus Terminal, travelers can ride a jeepney to Magsaysay, the last town of the province of Occidental Mindoro, and further across the mountains to Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro via the newly constructed Roxas-Bulalacao-San Jose Road.


  1. ^ "Official City/Municipal 2013 Election Results". Intramuros, Manila, Philippines: Commission on Elections (COMELEC). 11 September 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "Province: OCCIDENTAL MINDORO". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 1 November 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010". 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 1 November 2012. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ By virtue of Executive Order 31, signed by Governor General Cameroon Forbes on April 18, 1910.

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