April 2014 – Occidental Mindoro (Day 1)

MindoroYay! A travel post! 🙂 Needless to say, after about a couple of months without travel to any new place whatsoever, I was starting to feel a little restless. So that is what the travelling bug does to you – oh man, I think I’ve been bitten. 😀

This time, we explore more of our own beautiful country, the Philippines! Come Holy Week, or any vacation week for that matter, people think of Boracay, Palawan, Sagada or any other famous/hyped getaway to go to. Compared to them, the name “Mindoro” seems to not hold that same allure, that same magic as when the other names are uttered.

However, as we soon found out, Mindoro had a charm of its own. 🙂 Do take note that what we went to was Occidental Mindoro; there is another part called Oriental Mindoro.

MindoroFirst of all, how was our trip? Unlike Siargao where we were with more privileged people, here we were with family and the Luna family, who proved to be every inch as cowboy as we can be, and more. We’ve travelled with them before as well, so the whole trip was really enjoyable.

MindoroMindoroWe stayed at the Sablayan prison and penal farm, this being our second time to be living inside an actual prison compound, the first being Palawan. As I have said before, this gives a totally different vibe as opposed to staying in just another hotel. Here, our beds weren’t plush, our restrooms definitely weren’t up to our simplest standards, and the food was not five-star; however, the moments spent on those beds just laughing, talking, and bonding over TV, the cold water on those restrooms made for healthier baths (that’s the positive thing I could think of! Haha), and the food was fresher and healthier than any hotel food out there.

MindoroMindoroBelieve me when I say that the prison compound is HUGE. Acres and acres of undeveloped land (this penal farm isn’t as developed as the Palawan one), it took us nearly TWO HOURS to drive from the entrance to the inside where we were living. TWO freakin’ hours, that’s how huge it is. Of course, being that huge, there are bound to be hidden treasures inside – like Libuao Lake, the lake that isn’t the cleanest or most stunning in the world, but had a charm of its own.

MindoroMindoroMindoroMindoroWe decided to settle down here for a while and enjoy the fresh, cool mountain air, while waiting for our lunch. With minimal gadgets and a lot of people & undiscovered places around, it was definitely adventure time!

MindoroMindoroMindoroYes, what you just saw was one of the most picturesque views I have ever shot so far. Completely unexpected! This was the Luna’s eldest son, Maru, demonstrating his boating skills as he ferried my aunt and his sisters across the water. (No oh, narrow bancas are not for me!)

MindoroMindoroMindoroMindoroPretty soon, we got a bit tired waiting for our lunch, so the adults took the time to fix up their itineraries for the next few days with a relative of the Luna’s, who used to live in Mindoro. We decided to hop over to another lake to swim in, because it was reportedly very clear. Off we went!

MindoroMindoroThe 10-minute ride took me for a bit of a loop. I thought we were out of the compound, but apparently, we just reached the edge of it! What a huge penal compound this truly was.

MindoroUpon getting to the lake, we were disappointed to see it murky and cloudy, because it had rained the night before. However, there were two carabaos practically begging to have their picture taken, with all sorts of set-ups:

MindoroMindoroLook at these photogenic creatures! They even gave me different posings to shoot! How cute!

MindoroMindoroMindoroJust some of the set-ups I was talking about earlier… I kept a safe distance shooting this, just in case the carabaos got annoyed and decided to charge at us. LOL

MindoroThis black pig was so cute. My godmother, who loves pigs, kept calling out to him, but he would just grunt and shake his legs around in reply. Kind of how you would twitch a little and grunt when your mother calls you to wake up, but you don’t want to yet. Funny pig!

MindoroMindoroAfter wandering about a little because we couldn’t swim, we went back to the lake to wait a little more for our lunch.

MindoroMindoroMindoroI like to call this picture “ang tatlong sawi“, roughly translating to “the three guys who haven’t had the best day” or something like that. LOL!

MindoroMindoroMindoroSee that focused part? That’s just the fin attached to the biggest fish head I have ever seen. Man, it was just humongous. Of course, the meat was a bit tough, because that’s usually what happens when you let fish grow to a huge size.

MindoroNext, we went to this beach named Ligaya (literally meaning “joy” in Filipino). At first look, it doesn’t look like much, since it’s not white sand, azure waters and all. But you’ve heard of the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”, right? Well, more like, don’t judge a beach by your first look at it.


The black you see is actually pebbles. Smooth stones that soothe your skin when you touch it. My mom went crazy collecting stones to use for exfoliating and massaging at home! And according to our companions who jumped in the water, the water is super clear as well. So it may not be as blue as Boracay, but it holds its own in the clarity department. Apparently, the stones play a part in that purification process.

MindoroMindoroMindoroMindoroOur day ended with chatting by the beach, feeling the fresh sea air (which I shall never get sick of), collecting more pebbles, and watching the younger kids in our travelling group squeal in delight as wave after wave hit them and tossed them around. Not a bad way to spend your vacation, eh?




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