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Mindoro Mountain Road to Link Mindoro Oriental and Mindoro Occidental, Cuts Travel Time From 6 To 2 Hours

Mindoro Mountain Road to Link Mindoro Oriental and Mindoro Occidental, Cuts Travel Time From 6 To 2 Hours

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Mindoro, Philippines - As soon as one mentions the province of Mindoro, most people will immediately think of no other than Puerto Galera. Known for its powdery white sand and stunning waters ideal for beach bumming and diving, as well as its vibrant nightlife, Puerto Galera is easily accessible by sea travel from Batangas Port and is one of the most well-loved weekend destinations for foreigners and locals based in the metro.

The thing is, Puerto Galera is, literally, just the tip of the island. The rest of Mindoro has plenty to offer.

Mindoro, the country’s seventh-largest island, is composed of two provinces: Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro. Notably, though, Oriental Mindoro is much busier and well-known among tourists as opposed to Mindoro Occidental which has remained quite laid back and rather unexplored.

However, it looks like that’s going to change soon. As the completion of the Mindoro Island Circumferential Road (MICR) draws near, it will only be a matter of time before more tourists discover the charming and promising attractions of the Occidental side of Mindoro waiting to be explored.

New 18-km Road to Reduce Calapan-Mamburao Travel Time

As an island province located just a few hours from the Philippine capital Manila, the island of Mindoro is a popular tourist destination for both local and foreign visitors, who are seeking the sun, sea, and sand. With both Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro having so much to offer, one thing that visitors will have to prepare when wanting to visit the gems of Mindoro is the long travel time. Traveling between the cities of Calapan and Mamburao takes an average of grueling 6 - even up to 7 - hours.

But, great news for tourists, and especially the residents of the beautiful Mindoro province, traveling to the mountainous and coastal areas of Mindoro will soon be much easier and quicker. The two capital provinces of Mindoro will soon be connected through a mountain road that would drastically cut the travel time from Calapan City to Mamburao by more than 60 percent.

The 1.8 billion road infrastructure project, which was started by the previous administration in 2014, traverses the northern part of Puerto Galera (Talipanan Section), 2.9 kilometers in Oriental Mindoro, and 15.2 kilometers in Abra de Ilog (Camurong Section) in Occidental Mindoro, and has a combined length of 18.2 kilometers.

When completed, the Mindoro Island Circumferential Road, also known as the Puerto Galera-Abra de Ilog Road that crosses from the coastal through the mountainous areas of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro will greatly reduce travel time from Calapan City (capital of Oriental Mindoro) to Mamburao (capital of Occidental Mindoro) from six hours to just two hours.

Aside from the construction of the road itself, the Mindoro Circumferential Road Project will also be equipped with provisions that include drainage, lined canals, slope protection, and road safety requirements.

According to Public Works Regional Director Wilfredo Mallari, the completion of the said road is critical to improve access to coastal and mountainous areas of Mindoro, adding that the project will “also pave the way for the socio-economic development projects and programs of the provinces of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro with a significant impact of alleviating poverty in the influence areas.”

“The road will surely generate jobs that will provide means of livelihood and access to basic services such as schools, hospitals and markets will also be easier,” DPWH Regional Director Engineer Mallari stated.

Additionally, once the new highway starts serving the public, the tourism industry that is flourishing in the oriental side such as in Puerto Galera, which is undoubtedly the most popular destination on Mindoro island, is expected to open the floodgates of tourism into the obscure Western half of the island province and make its rich ecotourism destinations accessible and widely-known across the world.

MICR - A Primary Road Project that Will Catapult Mindoro’s Economic Development

The mango shaped-island of Mindoro is endowed with abundant natural resources. Considered as one of the key food bases in the Luzon and Visayas areas, the main part of its economy is comprised of agriculture and fishery with the island province supplying a variety of produce that include rice, corn, camote, coconut, banana, rambutan, lanzones, calamansi, and various green vegetables, as well as different kinds of seafoods.

The new MICR road is seen to play a crucial role in bolstering the economy of Mindoro as it will provide better access to basic services. The trading of agricultural products and other goods within the two provinces should become much quicker and more convenient. Residents in remote areas of Occidental Mindoro will mostly benefit once the ongoing major road construction project is finished as access to basic products and services including market, health, and school facilities will be much easier, safer, and faster.

Besides providing enhanced access to basic products and services and generating jobs and livelihood opportunities, the completion of the MICR project will usher in the socio-economic development programs and projects in the eastern and western parts of Mindoro, which will bolster the overall economic status of the entire region.

Mindoro Island Province - A Promising Sustainable Tourism Hub

Mindoro is part of MIMAROPA (which stands for Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan) Region IV-B and lies 45 kilometers south of Batangas and 237 kilometers south of Manila. Compared to some other provinces in the country, Mindoro is pretty much near Metro Manila and is relatively easy to get to.

It’s no wonder why Mindoro is an emerging destination among local and international visitors. Oriental and Occidental Mindoro are among the most visited provinces in the region, along with Palawan, which is home for the majestic lagoons and stunning beaches of El Nido and Coron, as well as the world-famous Puerto Princesa Underground River.

Other than Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro offers pristine and stunning beaches away from the chaos and noise of the city that are perfect for a quiet and relaxing vacation. Bulalacao, in particular, has a lot of promising islands worthy of exploration.

Visitors can enjoy island hopping at its finest and get to secluded and stunning islands such as Aslom, Suguicay, Tambaron, and Target to see spectacular sand bar beaches surrounded with crystal clear waters.

Besides island-hopping, diving, and snorkeling, Oriental Mindoro has numerous other destinations and attractions to offer ranging from natural waterfalls, sparkling rivers, spectacular caves, awe-inspiring mountains perfect for trekking adventures particularly Mount Halcon, the highest peak in the island province, along with other captivating scenic views of nature.

Meanwhile, Occidental Mindoro takes pride in its astonishing views of mountain ranges and paddy fields. This remote western portion of Mindoro island is blessed with unspoiled white beaches, beguiling natural wonders, and underwater paradise. Apo Reef, the Philippines’ largest coral reef system can be found here on the western coast of Mindoro province. With reef spanning an area of 106 sq miles, this preserved natural park is considered the center of marine biodiversity in the country and is one of the most popular diving sites in the Philippines.

The island province of Mindoro is also the ancestral home of the Mangyan tribes, composed of eight distinct groups - Iraya, Alangan, Tadyawan, Tau-buid, Bangon, Buhid, Hanunoo and Ratagnon. These indigenous people have their own unique languages, customs, and traditions.

All in all Oriental and Occidental Mindoro are not only beautiful places bestowed with abundant natural landscapes and teeming with floras and faunas but also offer an amazing diversity of culture and rich cultures and traditions.

All these make the island of Mindoro one of the loveliest places to visit at least once in a lifetime - or perhaps even spend your lifetime with, here in the Philippines.

All About Mindoro Island

Mindoro, an island province situated off the southwestern coast of Luzon and northeast of Palawan, has a total land area of 20,244.51 sq. kilometers.

Formerly, Mindoro was a part of the Province of Bonbon (Batangas), and along with Marinduque, was made into a separate province at the start of the seventeenth century.

Later on, in June 1950, the island province was split into two, namely, Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro. Spanning 4,238.38 sq. km. Oriental Mindoro, occupies the eastern portion of the island of Mindoro. Oriental Mindoro is made up of 15 municipalities, with Calapan City as the province’s capital. Occidental Mindoro, on the other hand, covers the western section of Mindoro province and has a total land area of 5,865.71 sq. km. It is composed of 11 municipalities, with Mamburao as the capital of the province.

For most visitors in the Mindoro province, the most preferred transport option is via the regular ferries from the Southern Luzon province of Batangas. Batangas Port is only two to three hours by land away from Manila. From Batangas Port, you can ride a RORO that will take you to Abra de Ilog, Puerto Galera, and Calapan.

The world-famous destinations of Coron in Palawan and Caticlan (for Boracay) are also linked to Mindoro island via ferries. For those who wish to visit the island province by air, there are regular commercial flights from Manila to San Jose Airport in the southern part of Occidental Mindoro.

Buses and minivans ply to the various towns along the coast of the island.

Photo Credit: DPWH

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