If Mindoro isn’t on your bucket list it should be. Forget the congested beaches of Boracay, and overflowing tour boats of Palawan. If you’re after a truly authentic experience; one where hoards of local children excitedly greet you into their village, you’re the only group at a pristine waterfall and dodging rice collections drying out on the roads becomes a part of the daily routine – Mindoro is the destination for you.
Just a short 40-minute plane ride from the hustle and bustle of Manila brings you to San Jose, Mindoro’s only airport. We headed to Mindoro with kitesurfing intentions so went straight to Bislig Beach to stay at Amansinaya Resort. From the quaint San Jose terminal, a one-hour 30-minute drive will lead you to kiters paradise. Whilst our main intentions were to kitesurf, there are plenty of other non-kiting options.
Even if you’ve never touched a kite before Bislig Beach would sure be a memorable way to learn – just remember booties! The small bay is crystal clear with constant wind from November to February. We visited in early November and kited 7 out of 8 days, around 18 knots blows through each day. It’s not butter flat but the surrounding reef smooths out the windblown ocean. Whilst the kiting is great, the atmosphere makes it even better. Idyllic bungalows sit on the edge of the property and rows of palm trees form perfect lines on the beach. The welcoming environment of the team at Amanisnaya has guaranteed we will return for another trip. A note of caution; stay away from the shoreline where spiky bushes and palm trees linger, ready to destroy your kite.
There are so many unspoiled islands to discover in Mindoro, Aslom is just one of them. A sand spit protrudes out of land lathered with palm trees. The most heavenly gradient of blues colour the water around the island – not a single other tourist in sight. We went here for kitesurfing which offered butter flat water on the offshore sand spit. To reach it you’ll have to catch a boat from one of the local fishing villages which will cost you around 100php, depending on numbers. Excited Filipino children came out to watch us kiting, and we even halted the work of local fishermen.
This is one from the postcards; white sand beaches and alluring blue waters. We only passed through here quickly on our way to a kiting downwinder, but we could have easily stayed much longer. The island is far bigger than that of Aslom, and is home to a sleepy village. Like most places in the Philippines, there is an entrance fee if you wish to stay the day, around 100php. Don’t forget your snorkel, the marine life here is plentiful.
Again, dazzling blue waters. Noticing a theme here? We packed the standup paddleboards and snorkels for a relaxing day in the sun. We caught a fishing boat from Balatasan – a 15-minute boat ride later and we arrived at the marine life sanctuary. The action is all under the water here; coral reefs, giant blue starfish, colourful fish, and even a bandit sea snake sighting – their mouths are so small they can only bite the thinnest points of your body! You can enter the island by foot too, again a 60php entrance fee. There is a small resort here where you can enjoy an ice cold beer. There is also an option for a jungle walk, but we were too content with our beers and beach huts to do so.
Whilst a little bit tricky to find, this waterfall is perfect for those scorching hot days. Follow the road past the hospital until you reach a very easy to miss sign on your right, proceed to the path through the village where you will pay a 50php entrance fee. From here, a scenic walk through rice fields and a crossing of a slightly dodgy bridge will lead you to the falls. The rock formation means footholds are conveniently placed for you to climb the waterfall and jump from the top. You can also continue up the river into a jungle oasis where you will find more pools and falls.
These options are barely scratching the surface of what Mindoro has to offer. There are other activities such as hiking Mount Baco and Pandan island, we just didn’t get the chance to do them. A fast ferry has been put in place which means a three-hour ride to Boracay is on the cards. Coron is a little harder to get to, but plans are in place to set up a fast ferry there too. Currently, the ferry’s run every second day from San Jose which will take over 5hrs. Its proximity to Manila and ease of access to places like Boracay could make Mindoro one to add to your travel plans. Check out the Crazy Tourists posts for things to do in Northen Mindoro.