Occidental Mindoro is the 17th largest province in the Country and lies on the western part of the island of Mindoro. It is located south of the province of Batangas in Southern Luzon and Northwest of the Visayas. The Province is bounded on the north by the Verde Island Passage, on the west by South China Sea on the south by Sulu Sea and on the east by its sister province, Oriental Mindoro.
Dubbed as “Marine Wonderland,” the fantastic land that is Occidental Mindoro is endowed with marine beauty from its virgin forests, beautiful white sand beaches, islands and islets rich in marine life, coral gardens, mysterious caves, and cascading waterfalls.
It has one of the country’s wondrous secret hideaways, the Apo Reef, which is regarded as the second largest in the world. This 34-kilometer reef in Sablayan, which is located in Apo Island, is acclaimed as the best in Asia and as the diving mecca of the Philippines. The Apo Reef Marine Park includes the fascinating bird-populated islands of Binangaan and Cajos del Bajo, which are surrounded by waters with over 500 species of marine life and luxuriant coral growth represented by approximately 400 to 500 kaleidoscopic coral species.
Mt. Iglit in San Jose is a game sanctuary for the tamaraw, a wild animal found nowhere else in the world, bearing a resemblance to the Philippine buffalo, commonly known as carabao. Mamburao boasts of an elongated strip of beach with natural and rustic surroundings. In Lumang Bayan, Sablayan, a five-hectare park overlooking the sea, known as Presing Park, is frequented by promenaders.
Occidental Mindoro is a diving paradise with so much to offer divers out to discover several unexplored shoals and atolls. The areas around Ambulong Island, Ilin Island, White Island, and Pandan Grande offer a fertile diving ground surrounded by exquisite coral reefs and colorful marine life, ranging from exotic fish to exquisite seashells.
Every 25th to 27th of April, residents of San Jose celebrate the Saknungan, a 3-day thanksgiving festival highlighted by streetdances and parades. Saknungan is a Mangyan term which means “”bayanihan”” or the spirit of cooperation, brotherhood, and unity at work – the spirit portrayed by the Mindoreños day-to-day, especially during the planting and the harvesting seasons.
Occidental Mindoro is accessible to other provinces by boat and some airplane service. It is located on the backside of the large island facing the China Sea and away from mainstream traffic.
Abra de Ilog on its northern tip is two hours by boat from Batangas; San Jose, the principal town, is some 50 minutes by plane from Manila; and Mamburao, the capital town, is only 45 minutes by plane from mainland Luzon.
Occidental Mindoro has five seaports and four airports, and is a trading center for the Visayas region. The operation of the Batangas International Port will hopefully be a breakthrough for the province and will open doors for more forward and backward linkages. Still in the infancy stage of agro-industrialization, Occidental Mindoro is wide open for investors and offers less competition. Beside the China Sea, the province is at positioned to take advantage of national and international shipping routes.
Above all, Occidental Mindoro is a believeing for a booming economy. At the threshold of increasing industrialization and urbanization, investors have a wider option to choose from a variety of attractive-investment packages. Ably portraying the calabarzon spirit, Occidental Mindoro is a major player in the MIMAROPA, a designated growth area that includes the provinces of Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan. MIMAROPA aims to complement the tourism, food and agri-based requirements of the Southern Tagalog, Southern Visayas and the National Capital Region.