White sand beaches, world-class dive sites, wonderful food and diverse flora and fauna are what await every visitor in the island of Mindoro. The island is one of the largest in the Philippines, located close to the southern end of Luzon. Mindoro is surrounded by the deep waters that separate it from Batangas to its north and Palawan to its southwest.
The island is divided into two provinces by almost impassable mountains: Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro. Both sides of the island have distinct features that lure visitors in but Oriental Mindoro is in the lead due to its beaches that are some of the best in the world. Most tourist activity in the island is in Puerto Galera, a township located in the northwestern shores of Oriental Mindoro. However, for the traveler who is looking for perfect place just relax and soak in the exuberant beauty of nature, Occidental Mindoro is where he should be.
The eastern portion of the island is well-visited by both domestic and foreign tourists. Its main attraction, the beaches of Puerto Galera, welcomes millions of visitors annually, with Holy Week being the peak season. It is a popular getaway for beachgoers and divers from Luzon, being only about four hours from Metro Manila.
Puerto Galera has been listed as one of the Most Beautiful Bays of the World and its pocket beaches, Sabang and White Beach are the most popular among visitors. There is no shortage of things to do in Puerto Galera, water sports of any kind are available through several vendors along the beach. It is also not hard to find a place to stay as there are numerous resorts and hotels in almost all corners of Puerto Galera.
Sabang is very popular among foreigners, especially those who are avid observers of the underwater world. The marine reserves off the coast are teeming with fish, corals and other fascinating life forms. Also, there are four wrecks which can be explored just minutes away from the shore. Diving in Sabang is available almost year-round, save for some days when the weather simply does not permit it.
Occidental Mindoro is a less-traveled part of the island. Nevertheless, the attractions it offers are something well worth the trip. One of them is the Apo Reef, a popular dive site that encompasses 34 square kilometers of coral reefs. The atoll-reef is within the Sulu Sea and it is an integral part of the Apo Reef National Park protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
North Pandan Island is an emerging tourist destination that is frequented by people looking for seclusion. This isolated beach destination is located off the coast of Sablayan, an hour away from the famous Apo Reef. The white sands and warm waters of the island rival that of Boracay minus the raging crowds and large hotels. There is no electricity in the island, the only source of entertainment are the stars, the sea and the forests. North Pandan Island Resort is the only resort in the island.
Ambulong Island in San Jose is another beach community of rustic beauty and amazing peacefulness. The island has underwater caves, white sand beaches and cliffs overlooking the water. Tropical fish thrive in coral gardens in several coves in the island. Ambulong is an ideal jump-off point for divers headed to Apo Reef, Sardines Island, Dungan Reef, Iling Point and other dive sites in the area. There are several low-cost accommodations in the island and there is a fishing village in a sheltered area along the shore.
Mindoro is only one of the 7,107 islands of the Philippines. Although the province is known to the world as the home of Puerto Galera and the beautiful creatures that live within its waters, the island is also a haven for nature lovers. Natural springs, waterfalls, curious land formations, lush forests, unique fauna species and friendly people also call Mindoro their home. Come to Mindoro and see for yourself what a blessed paradise this island in south Luzon is!
A useful site for finding hotels and other accommodations in the area is HotelsCombined.com. Hotels Combined makes it easy to search over 30 of the world's leading hotel reservation sites at the same time.