The island of Mindoro lies just two and a half hours away from Batangas Port by Ferry. It is mostly known for Puerto Galera, situated in the northeastern coast and popular as a destination to party and also for it’s diving spots. Puerto galera is accessible by ferry from Batangas, although if you are riding, these ferries won’t take vehicles and you will have to take the roro to Calapan instead. Mindoro features a main road that covers almost all its coastal perimeter, although at the time of writing, the northern cities of Puerto Galera and Abra de Ilog are not connected. There are roros that go to Abra de Ilog from Batangas, which are a great starting point for anyone planning a roadtrip through the region of Mimaropa as you will find a considerable amount of less traffic than if you were to drive through Calapan.
We find Mindoro to be one of those hidden gems in the Philippines, where one can venture into a real off-the-beaten-path experience without getting to far from its capital, Manila.
The road from Abra de Ilog will take you to the western coast to Occidental Mindoro’s provincial capital, Mamburao. If you take the morning roro (highly recommended) you could be here by lunch and on your way to some beautiful destination before dusk.
From Mamburao one can head northwest towards Paluan and Mt. Calavite Wildlife Sanctuary, which is high up on our to do list. Alternatively, head south. The road heading south from Mamburao to Sablayan is the perfect introduction to someone riding in the Philippines for the first time, slowly and gradually unveiling more and more beautiful views, rice padies, the sea and some gracious twisties before arriving in Sablayan.
We try to stay a minimum of two nights in Sablayan, which allows us to at least either dive or snorkel in Apo Reef. This amazing dive site (or group of dive sites, rather) is located almost half way in between Mindoro and Palawan and if you enjoy the sea and the creatures that swim in it, this is definitely the place for you.
Alternatively, from Sablayan one can visit Pandan Island, go trecking in the nearby mountains or explore Cabacungan Falls. All in all, Sablayan is the perfect base from which one can explore Occidental Mindoro, but do note that a lot of your lodging options will be closed during rainy season.
Next up after Sablayan is another road worth mentioning for any rider. The South of Mindoro offers some great views, virtually no traffic and between San Jose (Where you can find a roro service connecting Mindoro and Palawan) and Roxas (with Roro seervice to Caticlan), some of the most enjoyable twisties we have ridden in the Philippines. For the most part, the road is in great condition, although it disappears and turns into a dirt track here and there. Bulalacao is usually our port of choice to jump off to Caticlan and explore Panay Island, and also has some great options to go island hopping.
So far, after Roxas, the closer you get to Calapan, it is likely one will be complaining about traffic getting heavier and heavier, but nonetheless, Mindoro is still one island we love to visit and explore, especially when we are trying to avoid the most popular tourist spots.
Travel with us to Mindoro in our Island Ride, Visayas Loop or our Ride n’ Dive ::: Apo Reef