The extraordinary gold mine of the Philippines ;)

Woot! A 4-day holiday coming up! Where to go? What to do? Well, it will all depend on the weather. Right now, we have cloudy skies with rain showers from time to time, and when the weather’s like that, I prefer hiding under my bubble blanket (dyne) and pretending I don’t exist. But the Danish weather is unpredictable. So, I guess I’ll be as spontaneous as I can get. 😉 What’s the occasion? Denmark is not really very religious, but they still observe public holidays like Lent (Påske), Christmas (Jul), and tomorrow, the Ascension of Christ (Kristi Himmelfartsdag). So.. hurrah!

For now, I’ll make another entry and will tell you about my visit to the golden isle of Mindoro. The 7th largest island of the Philippine archipelago, Mindoro got its name from the Spanish Mina de Oro (meaning “gold mine”). But hey, there’s no literal gold in the island. What you will see are stretches of golden rice fields! Which makes no difference for a nature-lover like me. *wink*

Taking the ferry from Batangas port to Mindoro
Taking the ferry from Batangas port to Mindoro

The island is a member-province of Region IV-B Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan). It was a single province from 1920 to 1950 until it was divided into two: Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro. The island is known for the tamaraw or Mindoro dwarf buffalo, a bovine which can only be found in the island. Mindoro is also home to indigenous tribes called the Mangyan peoples.

Among the favorite spots in the island are: Puerto Galera, a UNESCO-designated Man and Biosphere Reserve and home to white-sand beaches and diving and snorkeling areas; Mt. Halcon, the country’s third highest peak and home to tamaraws; 423-feet Tamaraw Falls; Sabang and other beaches; Alibatan and other smaller islands.

For today’s post, I will share some things to see when you travel to Oriental Mindoro, the eastern side of the island. The easiest and cheapest way to get to Calapan City, the capital, which I really like because of its cleanliness, is to take a ferry boat from Batangas Port. The ferries are small and and would take around an hour of sailing.

But if your destination is Puerto Galera, then there is also a combined tourist bus and boat service from Manila. Visit this site for more infos about Si-Kat Ferries: http://www.si-katferrybus.com/schedules_rates.php

While it is true that animism is an existing religion in the island, Catholicism still exists and is very much alive. Here are some churches you may visit during your stay:

San Nicolas de Tolentino Church

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The Good Shepherd

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San Isidro Church

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San Agustin Church

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As you may have noticed, the Catholic churches in the province share almost the same design and architecture. But what caught my interest really is this ancient Bancuro Church Ruins in the town of Naujan. The church, they say, was built in the 17th century by Augustinian priests to serve as a place of worship for native converts as a fort against the Moro invaders. Unfortunately, the Moros conquered the town in 1824 and burned the Church.

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Bancuro Church Ruins

The Ruins is more popularly known as Simbahang Bato or Church of Stone, and what makes it really popular aside from its history is that the walls are made of adobe and sea corals! I’ve seen it myself and I was really awed! The Church now houses a chapel where priests hold Masses.

Moving on.. Here’s your gold:

Rice grains being dried out.. or eaten by chickens XD
Rice grains being dried out.. or eaten by chickens XD
Rice fields
Rice fields

Say ‘Hi’ to hard-working Filipino farmers! 😉

Magtanim ay 'di biro...
Magtanim ay ‘di biro…

As evidenced by the pictures, the province is mainly agricultural, a rice haven! One thing to admire about the locals is that they are pretty content with what they have. And they are happy to share the wealth of their lands to visitors like you and me. 🙂

Not far from the town proper is Benilda Resort. Aah.. you’ll enjoy the nice, cool ambiance in this place. You can read about the resort, their rates and facilities, on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Benilda-ng-Bancuro-Resort-Restaurant/128000013936542

Here are some pictures in the resort:

Children's pool
Children’s pool

The resort got some nice statues for photo shoots. Here’s me and the Blind, and the Mute, and the Deaf Monkeys!

Heh!
Heh!

Going back to what’s natural, Naujan offers a black-sand beach with pretty strong tide and beautiful sunrise. 😉

Sunrise
Sunrise
Morning dip
Morning dip
Who says a spa should be expensive?
Free sand spa!
Cedie babes <3
Cedie babes ❤

I had an absolutely fun vacation in Mindoro, thanks to my aunt and uncle, whose picture you can see below. XD They got busy playing badminton! 😀

Playing badminton amidst the strong winds
Playing badminton amidst the strong winds

The province with its breath-taking scenery and hospitable locals is something to remember. A great reminder that gold isn’t necessarily a piece of metal. 🙂

Baranggay Naujan
Baranggay Naujan

And if you enjoy sailing, then you shouldn’t miss the ferry back to the city. You’ll pass by numerous islands and appreciate the Philippines even more!

Mindoro's port
Mindoro’s port
It looks like a peeping blue whale!
It looks like a peeping blue whale!
Beautiful islands!
Beautiful islands and scenery!

Getting nearer Batangas port in Southern Luzon, we caught a glimpse of this huge statue of Mama Mary. I wonder if they have finished constructing it.. *googles* Well, looks like they haven’t yet.

Statue of Mama Mary
Statue of Mama Mary

And we’re here.

Batangas port
Batangas port

Hope you enjoyed reading this post and will consider visiting Mindoro on your island-hopping escapade in PH. Darn, I miss PH so much. 😉

My nickname in college <3
My nickname in college ❤

See you!

 

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