It’s estimated that there are around 100,000 of Mindoro’s original inhabitants, the Mangyan left on the island, their way of life not much changed since they fought against the invading Spanish in the sixteenth century. With little role in the mainstream Philippine economy, they subsist through slash-and-burn farming, a practice the elders insist on retaining as part of their culture, despite the destruction it causes to forests.

You may well see Mangyan as you travel around the island, often wearing only a loincloth and machete and carrying produce for market, but if you want to actually visit them in their villages, it‘s best to go with a guide who can act as an interpreter. You can break the ice with a few treats such as cigarettes, sweets and matches, but if you want to take photographs, make sure you have their permission. Treks to Mangyan villages are possible in several parts of the island.

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