Within a few hours of Manila, yet worlds away, Mindoro remains undeveloped even by Philippine provincial standards. Much of the island is wild and rugged, with some near-impenetrable hinterlands and an often desolate coastline of wide bays and basic fishing villges. The island, seventh largest in the archipelago, is divided lengthways into two provinces, Mindoro Occidental and Mindoro Oriental; the latter is the more developed and visited. Most travellers head this way only for the beaches, scuba diving and nightlife around the picturesque town of Puerto Galera on Mindoro Oriental’s northern coast, a short ferry trip from Batangas, but there is much more to Mindoro than this. Few people, Filipinos included, realize that the island is home to several areas of outstanding natural beauty, all protected to some degree by local or international decree. As well as the incredible marine environments of Puerta Galera, and the world-class Apo Reef on the west coast, Mindoro’s interior offers the chance to experience genuine Mangyan culture, visit pristine wilderness, and maybe see endangered species such as the Mindoro dwarf buffalo, the tamaraw at the Mounts Iglit-Baco National Park.
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