Backpacking to Mindoro

When we hear the word “Mindoro”, we think of Puerto Galera and its beaches. While Puerto Galera’s a popular tourist destination in Mindoro, there’s still so much to see in both Oriental and Occidental Mindoro.

Here are 8 Mindoro attractions for a backpacking trip from hiking to the top of Mount Halcon to exploring the mysterious White Island.

– Going to Mindoro from Metro Manila –

Whether you’re following a fixed schedule or traveling leisurely, it’ll take at least eight hours to travel from Metro Manila to Mindoro.

Despite the time it takes, Mindoro is a worthwhile visit for its beaches, coral reefs, and diving sites as well as agricultural produce such as rice, coconut, and fruits such as calamansi, rambutan, and lanzones.

Traveling from Manila to Calapan, Oriental Mindoro

Mindoro Attractions - going to Mindoro from ManilaImage credit: Drake Hogestyn

You can take a jeepney, taxi, or a UV Express ride to the bus terminal – there is one in Buendia – that’ll take you straight to the Port of Batangas. From there, you can choose among the ferries (starting at P400, ~USD7.27) – such as FastCat, Montenegro, or Starlite – that’ll take you to Calapan Port, Oriental Mindoro.

Depending on the ferry, it can take you up to three hours to arrive at the port. Upon arrival, you can begin your journey by riding a van service and have yourself dropped off at your destination.

Other ways to travel include a door-to-door van – a pick-up service from your home all the way to Oriental Mindoro –, private vehicle, and plane. Since door-to-door and private vehicles may not be applicable for tourists, you can go ahead and book a domestic flight for a more convenient travel experience.

Feel free to take the bus if you want a more spontaneous way to travel. It’ll give you the chance to take in your surroundings and know more about the different places you stop at.

– Getting around Mindoro –

Mindoro Attractions - getting aroun mindoro - UV Express
Image credit: edward paul aguilar 

There are only two modes of public transportation within Mindoro: UV Express – a door-to-door van service – and tricycle. Ride a UV Express (starts at P100, ~USD1.82) if you’re planning to travel from town to town.

Mindoro Attractions - getting aroun mindoro - tricycle
Image credit: Sidecar Pinamalayan

Riding a tricycle is useful for getting around the location you’re in as there’s a vast amount of them on stand-by ready to take you anywhere.

A tricycle ride costs P12-P30 (~USD0.22-USD0.55) depending on the distance.

– Oriental Mindoro –

As you set foot in Calapan Port, you can now start venturing through the island of Mindoro starting with Oriental Mindoro, from Tamaraw Falls in Puerto Galera to hiking at Mount Halcon in Baco.

1. Tamaraw Falls in Puerto Galera – a serene attraction leading to a refreshing pool area

Mindoro Attractions - Tamaraw Falls
Image credit: Jaya Fanoga 

Make your first stop at the famous Tamaraw Falls, located in between Calapan and Puerto Galera, that you can easily spot along the road. At a glance, you’ll see the steady stream of the water falling down that makes it look serene.

mini arc and roadside
Image adapted from: Jaya Fanoga and Jaya Fanoga 

Along with the falls, there’s a mini arc where you can take photos as well as a big sign as you walk further down the road. Always walk on the side as vehicles and trucks drive by.

pool areas
Image adapted from: Vincent Josh Bandong and Jamih Custodio

What’s even more exciting is that as you go further down the rocky formation of steps, you’ll see two pool areas where you can take a refreshing swim in nature.

Address: Western Nautical Highway, Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro

2. Bikini Floating Bar in Sabang Bay – swim alongside turtles and enjoy happy hour

Mindoro Attractions - Bikini Floating Bar
Image credit: 박수영

If you enjoy happy hours, floating bars, and diving, the Bikini Floating Bar in Sabang Bay offers all three. Located 100 km from the shore, the two-story floating bar is the perfect way to spend your vacation with drinks in hand, a beach where you can lie back, and a beautiful sunset to end the day.

You can even go diving or snorkeling while you’re there. Chances are you might swim alongside turtles if they happen to pass by.

lights at night
Image credit: @wongderermom

Feel free to take photos as well, especially during night time when the colorful lights are turned on.

While the floating bar is available throughout the week, it tends to change positions depending on the tide. It’ll be in near the Slydogs Bar & Restaurant during  high tide. If it’s low tide, it’ll be near S – One Restaurant, where the restaurant Eddie’s Place used to stand.

Address: Sabang, 5203 Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro
Opening hours: Mon–Sat 9am–11pm | Sun 9am–9pm
Telephone: 0915 283 7244
Email: [email protected]

Bikini Floating Bar’s Facebook

3. Suguicay Island Beach Resort in Bulalacao – white sand, crystal clear waters, and sunbathing

Mindoro Attractions - Suguicay Island Beach Resort
Image credit: Lakbay Oriental Mindoro

Suguicay Island is another sought-out attraction due to its fine white sand and crystal-clear waters that’ll make you want to take a refreshing swim. Go to Suguicay Island Beach Resort for day trips and overnight stays at the beach.

Image credit: @nadz_cajiligjr

Aside from swimming or diving, you can go kayaking with friends and family and see marine life from above.

Image credit: @cakedfacesnowwy

Alternately, you can sunbathe as you lie on the sand or have a picnic at one of the open cottages offered around the beach.

Feel free to go camping too as tents are offered for both day trips and overnight stays starting at P300 (~USD5.48) per tent. Cottages are also welcome for overnight stays at P1,500 (~USD27.42) per night. As some may prefer to sleep on a bed, lodgings are available for P2,000 (~USD36.57) per night.

Address: Suguicay, San Juan, Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro
Telephone: 0929 495 0051 | 0945 559 3118
Email: [email protected]

Suguicay Island Beach Resort’s Facebook

4. Mount Halcon in Baco – challenging climb with a worthwhile view

Mindoro Attractions - Mount Halcon
Image credit: Gem Valenzuela Portillas

Mount Halcon is the highest mountain in the entire Mindoro island. The mountain is 2,586 meters high, so bear in mind that reaching summit and the climb down will take three to four days overall depending on possible delays and break times.

forests, rocks, and rivers
Image adapted from: Jay Masauring and Gem Valenzuela Portillas

While people are encouraged to take a look at the mountain, it may not be suited for hikers who are just starting out. The majestic mountain is said to be quite a challenging climb with the dense forests, rocky ridges, and river crossings that even experienced hikers need to prepare for months prior to the hike for safety purposes.

Previous hikers who successfully reached the mountain’s peak have commented that the climb was worthwhile and that it was a test of endurance and appreciation of nature with the scenic clouds surrounding the mountain.

Mount Halcon

Address: Baco, Oriental Mindoro

– Occidental Mindoro –

Now that you’ve seen some of Oriental Mindoro’s must-see attractions, it’s time to travel further and visit attractions in Occidental Mindoro from the Apo Reef Natural Park to visiting the White Island.

5. Apo Reef Natural Park in Sablayan – the country’s largest reef with a vast amount of marine life

Mindoro Attractions - Apo Reef Natural Park
Image credit: Apo Reef Natural Park

Begin your visit at the largest atoll-like coral reef in the country that’s in Apo Reef Natural Park. Fun fact, it’s also one of the largest coral reef systems in the world.

diving and marine life
Image adapted from: @paulenergic and @naizadefrancia

The park is divided into three islands: Apo Island, Apo Menor, and Cayos del Bajo where at least 285 species of marine life reside apart from the fine sand and crystal clear waters perfect for diving.

Other than that, you can also engage in other activities such as dolphin-watching, reef-cruising, and turtle-monitoring. Rest assured that everything here is taken care of properly as it’s considered a protected area.

Address: West Coastal Road 5104 Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro
Email: [email protected]

Apo Reef

Apo Reef Natural Park’s Facebook | Instagram

6. Mount Iglit-Baco National Park in Sablayan – tamaraws, bird species, and unique flora

Mindoro Attractions - Mount Iglit-Baco National Park
Image credit: Bob Natural

Mount Iglit-Baco National Park is another must-visit attraction during your travel in Sablayan. The park’s scope is within the two mountains, Mount Iglit and Mount Baco, that you can hike and admire the magnificent view from as you reach the top.

mangyans and tamaraws
Image adapted from: Pandan Island Resort and Pandan Island Resort

Fun fact, it’s also one of the few places left where a number of tamaraws (Mindoro dwarf buffalos) roam freely. As you hike further, you may also come across indigenous Mangyans who reside in the mountains. Feel free to give them a wave or say “hello”.

bird watching
Image credit: @laaatsssss

You can also go bird-watching while you’re there as the mountains possess over 104 bird species that you may be lucky to find.

Remember to keep safe as well due to the mountains containing unique biological species as well as reptiles, amphibians, and insects.

Address: Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro

7. White Island a.k.a. Manadi Island in San Jose – the island that is said to have suddenly appeared

Mindoro Attractions - White Island aka Manadi Island
Image credit: Alberto Oleotti

If you want to go somewhere secluded and small, but also serene, go to White Island, also known as Manadi Island – that’s known to have come out of nowhere. Located in the middle of Mindoro Strait, the island was believed to have suddenly appeared decades ago.

crushed coral reefs
Image credit: @deewanagonzaga

However, some think that washed-up and crushed coral reefs over the years may have caused the island’s formation.

The island is so small that you’ll able to walk around it in minutes. Despite its size, it’s still a worthwhile visit with the white sand and crystal clear waters great for snorkeling, scuba diving, and fishing.

While camping and overnight stays are allowed, keep in mind to bring your own necessities such as food and drinks as there’s no source of electricity on the island.

White Island 

Address: San Jose, Occidental Mindoro

8. Presing Park a.k.a. Parola Park in Sablayan – historical site with a rock climbing & rappelling tower

Mindoro Attractions - Presing Park aka Parola Park
Image credit: Joon Mier da Mienta

End your trip with Presing Park – also known as Parola Park – in Sablayan as your last destination. The mountain park has a historical watchtower you can climb up to for photos and sightseeing.

cannon and watch tower
Image adapted from: Joseph Purisima Vlogs and Don Bustria

Besides that, you can freely stroll around the grounds and see an old lighthouse and cannon from the 1860s used in the past when Muslim pirates raided the location.

Image credit: Don Bustria

Before you leave, wait until golden hour to witness a scenic sunset view.

Address: IV B – Southern Tagalog, Sablayan, 5104 Occidental Mindoro
Opening hours: 4.10am–8pm, Daily
Telephone: 0946 650 1143

Mindoro attractions for a backpacking trip

Pack your bags and explore the entire island of Mindoro where you’ll find every town or city with its own history and culture.

You’ll have a memorable experience with the relaxing beaches, natural parks, and challenging mountains by the end of your trip.

Safe travels!

Also check out:

Cover image adapted from: 박수영, Apo Reef Natural Park, and Pandan Island Resort


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