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Overview

After touring the famous rice terraces north of Manila, most travelers head south to sand-circled Mindoro island for the Philippines triad of sun, sand and scuba. Founded as a safe haven for Spanish galleons, the resort of Puerto Galera is crammed with beach hotels, dive centers and bars, making it a rival to Boracay for the palm beach experience. The sand is gleaming white and the dives off-shore are impressive — particularly around Apo Reef — but some parts of the beach strip are overdeveloped and the girlie bar scene at Sabang may put off some visitors. Idyllic North Pandan island, offshore from Sablayan, offers all the coconuts and coral ...

After touring the famous rice terraces north of Manila, most travelers head south to sand-circled Mindoro island for the Philippines triad of sun, sand and scuba. Founded as a safe haven for Spanish galleons, the resort of Puerto Galera is crammed with beach hotels, dive centers and bars, making it a rival to Boracay for the palm beach experience. The sand is gleaming white and the dives off-shore are impressive — particularly around Apo Reef — but some parts of the beach strip are overdeveloped and the girlie bar scene at Sabang may put off some visitors. Idyllic North Pandan island, offshore from Sablayan, offers all the coconuts and coral without the crowds. Visiting the rest of the island is a much more cultural experience. Tribal villages abound, and the island capital, Calapan, bursts into life for the Sanduguan festival each April. The interior is something else again — trekking trails climb from Calapan high up the forested slopes of 8,219-foot Mt. Halcon. Flights run to San Jose, but the easiest way to reach Mindoro is by bus or taxi from Manila, followed by a pumpboat ride across the channel from Batangas.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    October to May, for clear skies and good underwater visibility