Considering its close proximity to the island of Luzon, Mindoro is one of the popular destinations for quick getaway from the country’s capital. It is separated from Luzon by Verde Island Passage and is most known for Puerto Galera, a town flocked by tourists for its white sand beaches as well as several diving and snorkeling sites with extensive marine life.
But there’s more to Mindoro Island than just Puerto Galera and white sand beaches. It has waterfalls, mountains, rivers, and caves for every adventure-seeker to explore and enjoy.
This brief guide to Mindoro Island will help you plan your trip. It contains information on what to do, eat, and drink as well as the must-see spots and the best hotels.
Best Time to Visit
It’s best to visit the Philippines during the dry season. Dry season in the Philippines spans from November through April. These are the summer months in this country.
Be aware that temperatures and humidity levels are particularly high in April and May.
The best time to be a beach bum and explore the islands is from March to May.
TIP: This guide recommends that booking for Mindoro Island summer trips should be done as early as possible, at least a month before your travel dates, since resorts get fully booked early.
The period from June to October is the rainy (wet) season and is best avoided due to the high possibility of typhoons. The typhoons can not only be destructive, but most tours and activities are cancelled under such circumstances. Transportation via plane and boat is also seriously impacted as well. This happens frequently so beware!
This guide recommends traveling to Mindoro Island in April-May or in November-December, just before and just after the rainy season. This will likely bring fewer crowds, yet pleasant weather, and is also a great time to score a travel deal.
Plug commonly used is Type A but Types B and C are used as well. Bring A to B adapter(s).
There are many ways to get here depending on your starting point. This guide recommends using the following online tools to identify all the available options and cost for each while on Mindoro Island: Rome2Rio and PHBUS. The following are the major ports of entry for this destination.
The following are the modes of transportation available on Mindoro Island …
SEE & DO
The following is your guide to places to see and activities to enjoy while on Mindoro Island.
1 | Spend the weekend in Puerto Galera
In addition to the natural resources mentioned above, Puerto Galera has active nightlife and offers extreme sports to indulge that adventurous spirit of yours. While it may not be as popular as Boracay, El Nido, or Coron, Puerto Galera possesses its own charm that attracts thousands of tourists every year.
2 | Explore Apo Reef Natural Park
One of the best diving sites in the country, Apo Reef Natural Park is the world’s second largest and the country’s largest contiguous coral reef system. It has approximately 34 km. of diverse coral reef which is home to over 500 marine species including Giant Napoleon wrasse, barracudas, sea cucumbers, sharks, turtles, and many more. The clear water and white sand make it an exceptional spot for diving and snorkelling.
3 | Climb Mount Halcon
Mount Halcon is the highest peak on the island and the 18th highest in the country. With an elevation of 2,586 masl, it is known among mountain climbing enthusiasts as one of the most difficult mountains to climb due to its steep slope and rocky ridges. Nevertheless, the effort is worth it as you will get to enjoy the dense forests and pristine brooks and rivers along with flora and fauna inhabiting the area.
Mount Halcon stands between the two provinces on the island – Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro.
4 | See the beaches on the island
For the best beaches on the island, Puerto Galera is, no doubt, the best destination. Sabang Beach and White Beach not only have pristine waters and long stretches of white sand. They are also lined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, and shops to accommodate the thousands of tourists especially during hot summer days. Talipanan Beach and Aninuan Beach, also with white sand and clear waters, are less crowded compared to the first two. To enjoy the peace and unspoilt beauty of nature, the best option is Haligi Beach as it is located on a cove.
Other beaches to enjoy in Oriental Mindoro are Suqui Beach, Pebble Beach, and Big Lalaguna Beach. Occidental Mindoro has Talipanan Beach, Inasakan Beach, and Tayamaan Beach – all have whitesand but less crowd compared to those in Puerto Galera.
5 | Visit the waterfalls
Mindoro Island is blessed with at least five waterfalls, one of which is the Tamaraw Falls, a multi-layered beauty with the main layer measuring about 423 feet high and is easily seen on the road. The water flows down the rock covered greenery and falls into natural pools where you can enjoy a refreshing dip. Tukuran Falls and Aninuan Falls, both in Puerto Galera and Talon falls in Bulalacao may not be as high as Tamaraw Falls but are great off-the-beaten-path destinations. There’s another waterfall on the island, Walang Langit Falls, but it’s permanently closed.
6 | Have fun in the rivers
Aside from beaches and waterfalls, you can have more water adventures in the rivers, particularly in Arigoy River where you can experience whitewater rafting. Fast-becoming one of the most popular activities in Mindoro, you will enjoy not only the thrill but also the amazing views of dense vegetation and clear water. Another river worth exploring is Kalong River in Abra de Ilog. It is known for its white-sand river bank and clear water where you can swim after hiking for an hour or so to reach the place.
7 | Mounts Iglit-Baco National Park
A protected area, the national park covers the area surrounding two mountains – Mount Iglit and Mount Baco. It is one of the four heritage parks in the country and has been nominated in the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The park is home to the endemic tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis), a small bovine that looks like a carabao but is not a subspecies of a local carabao or common water buffalo. Their population is critically endangered with less than a thousand in the area. Other animals inhabiting the park that are found only in Mindoro are Mindoro climbing rat, Mindoro stripe-faced fruit bat, Mindoro imperial pigeon, Mindoro scops owl, black-hooded coucal, and scarlet-collared flowerpecker.
8 | Santo Niño Cathedral
For Catholic devotees, Santo Niño Cathedral, also known as Calapan Cathedral, is a must-place to visit. The present church structure may not be as old as the others in the country but it is considered a historical structure by the Philippine National Commission for Culture and Arts for its role during Philippine-American War and World War II.
The church is of modern architecture that features high vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows.
9 | Visit Bancuro Church Ruins
Locally known as Simbahang Bato (Stone Church), Bancuro Church Ruins was built in the 1600s using coralline stones and lime mortar. It was originally built as a convent but later became a parish and later on a fort and refuge when Moros raided the island in 1842. The raid resulted in the structure being burned with only the stone walls standing. Despite the ruins, the church is actually an active one as there exists a small chapel within the original walls.
10 | Nearby destinations
Apart from the big Luzon Island, several other islands including Marinduque, Tablas, and Busuanga surround Mindoro. Verde Island along with Verde Island Passage is less than 10 kilometers from the coast of Puerto Galera. Verde Island Passage is known for its extremely rich marine biodiversity and the richest area in the entire Coral Triangle.
NOTE: The Pandang Gitab Festival occurs annually in Oriental Mindoro every February. The Arawatan Festival occurs annually in Occidental Mindoro every 11th November.
EAT & DRINK
The following is your guide to the flavorful food to enjoy and restaurants to try while on Mindoro Island.
1 | Papa Fred’s Steakhouse
Looking forward to enjoying tasty dishes by the beach? Head over to Papa Fred’s Steakhouse. The restaurant serves German, European, Filipino, and international cuisine and is known for its steak using angus beef. Their bestsellers include CAB Rib Eye Steak and Chateaubriand Steak. The price is a bit high for local standards but with the quality of food, good service, and fantastic location, it is definitely worth it.
2 | Bella Napoli Pizzeria Ristorante
Located in Sabang Beach, Bella Napoli Pizzeria Ristorante offers the best Italian pizza and pasta in town. With both indoor and outdoor seating, the restaurant is a hidden gem serving quality Italian food, excellent customer service, and great location.
3 | Jack Daniel’s Apartments Restaurants
Great food in large portions, that is what you’ll get when you dine at Jack Daniel’s. This top-rated restaurant serves a wide variety of international dishes and ice cold drinks. Must-try includes pork ribs, tuna steak, curry, and ocean pie. For drinks, don’t miss the mango daiquiri.
4 | The Verandah Restaurant
One of the top-rated restaurants in Puerto Galera, The Verandah is a favorite among tourists for its delicious foods, beautiful ambience, stunning view, and great service. It has a higher price point compared to some other restaurants in the area but that doesn’t stop the guests from coming back to eat. Try their Greek salad, steak, chicken roulade and seafood pizza.
5 | Resto Veranda
Not to be confused with The Verandah Restaurant, Resto Veranda serves European, Mediterranean, and International dishes. Located on an elevated property by the beach, the restaurant is a perfect location to have a quiet moment and relax over good food. They are known for their sashimi salad, Thai pomelo salad, pork tenderloin, and veranda blanca.
6 | Relax Restaurant
Even on a limited budget, you can still enjoy fresh and tasty dishes at Relax Restaurant. This hole-in-the-wall restaurant serves Thai and local favorites with vegetarian and vegan options. Try their Katsu curry, spring rolls, and prawn stir fry.
7 | El Galleon Restaurant
With scenic outdoor seating in Sabang, El Galleon serves a variety of international dishes with vegetarian options. It boasts of reasonably priced yet high quality food made of fresh ingredients. Try their filet mignon, roast lamb, and calamansi shake.
8 | Capt’n Gregg’s
Capt’n Gregg’s a popular go-to place for Western comfort food such as steak, roasts, and pizza. The restaurant offers great views of the bay as it stands at the coastline of Sabang. Apart from being a restaurant, the place is also an accommodation and dive shop.
9 | Casa Mia Ristorante Italiano
Satisfy your Italian food cravings at Casa Mia Ristorante Italiano. The restaurant overlooks the White Beach and has a lovely ambience great for romantic date nights. It also serves seafood and has an impressive drinks selection.
10 | Toko’s Restaurant
Toko’s Restaurant boasts of using fresh local ingredients and flavors to come up with satisfying dishes for guests to enjoy. It’s daily specials vary depending on the availability of ingredients. Located in Atlantis Resort, their must-try includes seafood sinigang and prawn cocktail.
KNOWN FOR: Ginataang puso ng saging, a delicacy made of banana blossom cooked in coconut milk.
WHERE TO STAY
There are many different types of accommodations available in this destination ranging from hostels to luxurious resorts. The following is your guide to our top choices for each range on Mindoro Island.
1 | Tamaraw Beach Resort (Budget)
2 | Lalaguna Villas Luxury Dive Resort & Spa (Mid-Range)
3 | Sunset at Aninuan Beach Resort (Luxury | Resort)
This guide recommends using the following sites to conduct research online of where to stay on Mindoro Island or for a specific destination:
Book your room with these trusted online booking sites. Booking online in the Philippines almost always guarantees the best price and a room when you arrive. We use these sites frequently to get the best prices and enjoy convenient bookings. Click each of the buttons below to find the best place for you at the lowest rates:
TIP: Lalaguna Villas Luxury Dive Resort & Spa is the best property to experience this destination.
Use the chart below to get an idea of how much to budget daily. Actual amounts will depend on YOUR travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages … some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less. Prices are in USD.
A bed in a hostel dorm costs from 350 PHP ($7 USD), but smaller dorms can cost from 500 PHP ($10 USD). For a private double, prices start around 700 PHP ($14 USD).
Most budget hotels begin at 700 PHP ($14 USD) per night for a double room and usually include free wifi and breakfast. For a three-star hotel, prices begin around 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) per night. AirBnB is also widespread throughout the country, with private rooms starting from as little as 500 PHP ($10 USD) per night. For entire apartments, expect to pay at least 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) per night.
Resorts and luxury accommodations vary greatly from 1,400 PHP ($28 USD) to 5,000+ PHP ($100+ USD). However, there are some really nice resorts and luxury accommodations which are surprisingly affordable.
Local food is extremely cheap, with street food costing under 50 PHP ($1USD). For an inexpensive meal at a local restaurant, prices start around 100 PHP ($2 USD). For a meal at a mid-range restaurant with drinks and table service, expect to pay from 200 PHP ($4 USD). Knowing that their target customers are primarily tourists, Western food venues can be pricey compared to Filipino food. Also, some of the ingredients need to be imported, which contributes to the higher cost. Western food (burgers, pizza, pasta, etc.) is much more expensive but is still relatively affordable at around 200 PHP ($4 USD) for a meal and drink.
Fast food like McDonalds will cost around 200 PHP ($4 USD). A beer at the bar will cost around 50-100 PHP ($1–2 USD).
A week’s worth of groceries will cost between 300-600 PHP ($6-12 USD) per person. However, food in this country is so inexpensive, and kitchens & refrigerators are hard to come by, I don’t recommend cooking your meals here since there is plenty of delicious street food to eat at very cheap prices. You won’t make it as good as they do and the food is too delicious to miss!
There are many modes of transportation available in the Philippines and each varies greatly.
Public Transportation is cheap. Bus services on the islands are inexpensive. Local buses (called jeepneys) are the most common type of transportation in towns and cities. The fare is usually between 7-25 PHP ($.20–.50 USD).
On islands without a bus system, a taxi or tricycle is the only form of transport with fares starting at 50-500 PHP ($1-$10) USD for short trips.
Taxis are everywhere, and they’re very cheap. Most fares shouldn’t cost you more than 500 PHP ($10 USD) around town.
To get between islands, you’ll need to take a boat or to fly. There are ferries that connect the island together since they aren’t too far apart but, generally speaking, flights are the most realistic option.
Flights between islands usually cost about 2,000-3500 PHP ($40-70 USD). However, this isn’t the cheapest way to travel. It’s only recommended if you have limited time.
Attractions & Activities
Most attractions and activities in the Philippines are pretty cheap. Most attractions throughout the area are FREE to enter, though some of the more well known and popular ones cost 5-100 PHP ($.10-$2 USD) to enter.
Depending on the activity, most day tours only cost around 1,000-1,500 PHP ($20-30 USD), oftentimes less. You have more bargaining power if you go with a group. If you are expecting to do some climbing, remember to pack some warm layers. It gets cold at the top!
Other activities such as Island Hopping, scuba diving, helmet diving, swimming with whale sharks, jungle trekking, canyoning, ATVs, jet skis, wakeboarding, cruises, parasailing, horseback riding, cultural experiences, and tours can cost as much as 1,250-5,000+ PHP ($25-100+ USD).
The Philippines is one of the least expensive places to learn how to scuba dive. Learning to scuba dive usually costs about 15,000-20,000 PHP ($300-400 USD), but often includes FREE accommodation for the duration of the course, which lasts three or four days.
Always book your tours and activities when you arrive. Stick to travel agents who are selling on the ground. If a travel agent won’t negotiate with you, move on to the next until you find one that will. Booking tours online is almost always more expensive.
Typical Costs on Mindoro Island in 2021:
- Hostel Dorm Bed: 250-350 PHP ($5–7 USD) night
- Budget Hotel: 700 PHP ($14 USD) night
- Mid-Range Hotel: 1500 PHP ($31 USD) night
- Street Food: 50-150 PHP ($1–3 USD) meal
- Restaurant Meals: 200-300 PHP ($4–6 USD) meal
- Local Beer: 50-100 PHP ($1–2 USD) bottle
- 1.5L Bottle of Water: 38 PHP ($.75 USD) bottle
- Jeepney Ride: 7-25 PHP ($.20–.50 USD) ride
- Tricycle Ride: 20-100 PHP ($.5-2 USD) ride
- Long-Distance Bus Ride: 400-500 PHP ($8–10 USD) ride
- Public Ferry Ride: 200-300 PHP ($4–6 USD) ride
- Domestic Flight: 2,000-3,500 PHP ($40–70 USD) flight
- Island-Hopping: 1,000-1,500 PHP ($20-30 USD) trip
BEST NO-FEE INTERNATIONAL DEBIT & CREDIT CARDS
The following is some of our best advice on traveling to Mindoro Island. Learn what you need to know BEFORE you go!
Tips & Hacks
he following are our Top 10 Tips when visiting this destination in the Philippines:
- Be aware that a tourist VISA is only 30 days. You can extend it upon arrival, or within the first 30 days, for an additional 30 days for a fee of approximately 3,000 pesos.
- Don’t buy into the fear factor. The Philippines has an unjustified reputation of being a dangerous place. It’s true there are security guards everywhere, but that is to deter theft.
- Manila is NOT the Philippines. Get outside of the cities to see the real Philippines.
- Don’t over plan. Boats, buses, and even airplane schedules are notoriously unreliable. Be flexible.
- Check the weather. The weather varies greatly throughout the Philippines daily.
- Typhoons can have a huge impact on your plans. Account for this when planning your trip.
- It’s not cool to raise your voice or show outward frustration in public.
- Be polite at all times. Realize that your country’s sense of humor may be different from Filipino humor and take this into account when interacting with Filipinos and while in public places.
- Things move at a slower pace. Accept it … don’t get frustrated … but do account for it.
- Don’t drink the tap water… but stay hydrated! Save money by buying large bottles (6-10 liters) of water and using it to fill your water bottle or hydration bladder in your backpack.
For a complete list of our travel tips & hacks, check out the following guide and be sure to download a FREE copy for yourself.
The Philippines has its own currency called the Philippine Peso. Banks, ATMs, and money-changers can be found on the island. If you are exploring the neighboring islands or provinces, make sure to bring enough cash that will last until the next time you get to an ATM or bank since most tours, transportation, and budget accommodations only accept cash.
Health & Safety
While overall the Philippines is a safe country to visit, as is Mindoro Island, you need to use common sense just as you would in any country, especially when traveling, and in a city, town, or area you are unfamiliar with.
Consult your hotel or resort front desk as they are more likely to give you reliable information than a random stranger on the street. Be careful when approaching strangers and selective about who you approach. Always pay attention to your gut feeling and follow it.
There are many things to consider when traveling in order to stay safe … things that we may not be accustomed to during our normal everyday lives. The following are articles about tips on how to stay safe while traveling in the Philippines:
- 6 Common Accidents to Avoid
- How to Beat the Heat in the Philippines
- Taxi Safety Tips: Dos and Don’ts
- Motorbike Safety Tips
- Beach & Ocean Safety Tips
- Sun Safety Tips
Staying fit & healthy can be challenging when traveling in the Philippines.
The tropical Philippines climate requires you to prepare for illnesses that you may not normally be accustomed to.
The following are our Top 10 Tips for Staying Healthy while Traveling in the Philippines:
- Maintain a Balanced Diet
- Stay Hydrated but Only Drink Bottled Water
- Get Plenty of Rest
- Allow Your Body Time to Adjust
- Keep Active
- Sanitize Often
- Be Aware of Food Safety Concerns
- Take Your Vitamins
- Practice Safe Sex
- Be Prepared Should You Get Sick
You need to have a local-based SIM card in order to stay connected when in the Philippines. Network giants such as Globe and Smart have SIM cards you can use to make calls, send text messages, and also to connect to the Internet. A SIM card costs around 50 PHP ($1 USD) and usually comes with a FREE load worth 50 PHP ($1 USD). You can buy a card containing a code you can enter on your phone to replenish your load or buy an electronic load that is available almost anywhere in the city.
While you may not have problems with signal strength when in the city, it is not always the case when on islands or in remote areas of a province. So when arranging for transportation pick up, say when renting a boat to take you to and pick you up from the island, it would be best that you make it clear what time you need to be picked up before the boatman leaves.
Recommended Travel Apps
Apps for smartphones and tablets can be useful both before you leave and while you’re traveling. Most are available for iPhones and Android phones.
- Grab (taxis/ride shares)
- Angkas (motorbike ride-hailing)
- WhatsApp (phone calls)
- Skyscanner (flights)
- Rome2Rio (transportation)
- Agoda (accomodations)
- Booking.com (accomodations)
- AirBnB (accomodations)
- Traveloka (flights, accomodations, activities)
- Klook (attractions & activities )
Be certain to download and set up apps BEFORE leaving on your trip to make certain each is installed and working properly.
For our complete list of travel apps that we use and recommend while traveling in the Philippines, checkout our checklist below. Download a FREE copy for yourself as a PDF.
Trying to decide what to do when traveling to a destination for the first time can be a bit overwhelming given your lack of familiarity with the place along with all of the available options.
We’ve created the following itinerary to help simplify the process and ensure that you get the most out of your trip. Although we provide a 7 day itinerary for this destination, it can always be adjusted to fit the length of your trip.
The secret to a successful and stress-free trip is to start by using a packing list. This will reduce anxiety from the start and ensure that nothing important is forgotten when packing. To make this process easy for you, we’ve created a detailed packing list. Click the link below to download it for FREE now.
Carrying your checklist with you during your travels can be useful when repacking, by helping to ensure that you do not leave anything behind.
Things to Remember
This guide recommends to take note of the following while traveling on Mindoro Island or in the Philippines in general.
There is a nationwide ban which prohibits smoking in public places including indoors, the streets, on sidewalks, in restaurants , and on public transportation, requiring smokers to use designated smoking areas. Selling tobacco to and purchasing from or for minors is also prohibited. Violators are subject to fines (up to 5,000 PHP | $100 USD) and even 4 months in prison.
The minimum legal drinking age is 18. Alcohol such as beer and hard drinks can easily be bought in grocery and convenience stores. The most common alcoholic beverage is beer, generally served cold. Local alcoholic drinks include tuba (coconut wine which is usually very strong) and potent moonshine-like clear liquors made from sugar or fruit. Imported beer, wine, and name brand hard alcohol are available but expensive.
Drugs are illegal in the Philippines. Don’t use, buy, or sell any non-prescription drugs while in the Philippines … not even marijuana. It is considered an especially heinous crime to buy from, for, or sell drugs to children. The penalties are severe … up to and including death.
Public nudity is illegal in the Philippines and is not tolerated. Most locals consider it offensive. There are laws which prohibit provocative and erotic clothing and swimwear, therefore carefully consider your clothings and swimwear choices to make certain they are not too revealing.
Foreigners & Expats
If you are not a Filipino citizen, remember that you are a guest when visiting this country … be certain to act accordingly. Respect the people, their customs, and the environment and wlidlife. You can be deported and banned … so behave … but have fun and enjoy all that this wonderful destination has to offer.
Don’t Forget …
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