Just a few hours south of Manila, the capital city on the main island of Luzon, lies the beguiling island of Mindoro - a lush, exotic haven for the truly adventurous. Tropical rainforests, white-sand beaches with clear calm waters, coral reef gardens, natural springs, waterfalls – these are just some of Mindoro’s attractions which make the island a mecca for eco-tourism enthusiasts. Hikers, mountaineers, divers, snorkellers, beach bums and foodies will feel right at home in Mindoro.
Off the coast of western Mindoro lies the Apo Reef Marine Sanctuary, acclaimed as the best dive site in Asia and the second largest reef eco-system in the world. Also off-shore western Mindoro, the tranquil and peaceful Pandan Isle will calm the weary traveller’s spirits with its mile-long powdery white-sand beach, turquoise waters and its spectacular sunsets. Upland on the coast, the Calawagan Mountain Resort offers cooling natural springs, waterfalls, rock formations, a hanging bridge, cottages, a campsite – all underneath a rainforest canopy. Oh, and there’s monkeys, exotic birds and butterflies too.
For the traveller who cannot be away from creature comforts and some semblance of nightlife, there is Puerto Galera – a town in eastern Mindoro that is the center of tourism on the island. Puerto Galera has maintained a native and rustic simplicity (there are no multi-storied hotels here), while offering a bit of nightlife for those so inclined. The bars along Sabang beach should be ample enough for the inveterate party animal. However, if you are looking to swim and lay on a quiet beach, forget Sabang. Go instead to Big Laguna Beach (there’s a Small Laguna too), Coco Beach, White Beach or Tamaraw Beach.
Nestled in a sheltered cove and secluded within a rainforest and lush tropical gardens, the Encenada Beach Resort has beachfront (white sand) cottages and ample amenities including island-hopping cruises, fishing trips, beach barbecue dinners, a PADI dive shop, free shuttle service into town, to name a few.
Franklyn Highlands is a bucolic native-style resort just five minutes from the Muelle Bay pier in Puerto Galera. This peaceful hillside oasis welcomes the traveler with comfortable cottages, balconies with spectacular views and savory home-cooked local cuisine!
Feeling a bit upscale? The plush Marco Vincent Resort Hotel, located at White Beach, is the crème de la crème of accommodations on the island. With 38 Mediterranean-style rooms offering complete first-class amenities, the Marco Vincent conjures images of seaside villas in Monaco at a fraction of the European rate.
Our personal favorite place to stay in Mindoro is the Moorings. High up on a hill overlooking the beautiful bay of Puerto Galera, Moorings has 16 suites and villas, all the creature comforts you want, plus great home cooking! It is definitely a home away from home where you can chill to your heart’s content after all those Mindoro adventures.