The seventh-largest island in the Philippines, Mindoro Island is just a few hours away from the bustling metropolis of Manila, but could not be more different from the busy capital city. A wild, rugged and undeveloped island, Mindoro Island consists of two provinces; Mindoro Occidental and Mindoro Oriental, the latter of which is home to the picturesque town of Puerto Galera.
Spanish for “Port of the Galleons”, Puerto Galera not only has a deep natural harbor, but is also home to a collection of beautiful bays and coves, resulting in some of the best, and most diverse, diving spots in all of Asia. While diving is usually the most popular activity here, Puerto Galera’s pocket beaches are well worth visiting, feature stretches of white sand sandwiched between rugged cliffs and sparkling emerald water. White Beach is the best for water sports, with plenty of rental companies for equipment, and visitors can try everything from a banana boat ride to snorkelling to touring an underwater cave. Each of Puerto Galera’s resort areas have their own distinct character, from lively and entertaining to secluded and serene, so be sure to thoroughly research each one when choosing accommodation.
Access to Mindoro Occidental used to be quite difficult, but the new roads being built are making it more convenient to visit Mindoro’s most remote and rugged province. This is one of the few remaining areas of the world that remain largely undiscovered, and those that choose to visit will be greatly rewarded with wild, jungle-filled mountains, secluded beaches, and the Apo Reef Marine Natural Park, which is a vast and complex reef that provides some of the finest diving in the world.
Just a short drive from Puerto Galera lie the Tamaraw Falls, a majestic waterfall composed of several asymmetrical layers that join into one before crashing down into the water bed. While it is possible to hike to the falls, there is also a bridge road that passes by it, making access extremely easy. While the falls can get quite busy during the weekends, you are likely to have them all to yourself on a weekday.
Mounts Iglit-Baco National Park
While Puerto Galera and its incredible diving opportunities may be the first and only point of call on Mindoro for the majority of visitors, the island is home to some areas of truly outstanding natural beauty, which even many of the locals are not aware of. Mindoro’s Mounts Iglit-Baco National Park is a great way to experience some of this, whether you actually want to climb to the twin peaks or not. The climb itself usually takes a couple of days, but there are a number of other trails that you can take around the foothills.
Mindoro Island is simply packed with natural beauty, both below the water as well as above ground. From its network of coral reefs and one-of-a-kind diving spots, to its untouched beaches and wild jungles, Mindoro will allow you to experience a part of the Philippines that time has not touched.