18 people forced to fit in a 10-seater van — Yes! That’s possible! I have witnessed that on my way to Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro.
It was supposed to be a “catching-up” trip with my best friend I haven’t talked to for years. But the protective dad didn’t allow us to travel alone especially on that part or Mindoro where the raging NPAs are seen.
Bulalacao is the southernmost town in Oriental Mindoro and is the haven for Hanunuo, the most civilized tribe of stone age primitive Mangyans. I was expecting to see Mangyans dressed on their traditional G-strings and accessorized in their colorful beadworks, but what I saw was new age Mangyans wearing normal shorts, pants and shirts. Their sense of fashion has evolved, I thought.
Bulalacao is a small town on the coastline of Mindoro. Island hopping is one activity that most tourists enjoy. We’ve asked around and rented a boat. There were, I think almost 10 islands in the vicinity, but due to rough sea condition we have decided to visit Tambaron and Maasin Island which are the nearest islands from Bulalacao Bay – where we started the boat ride. The boat cost us 1k.
Tambaron Island is a rocky-mountainous island about 30-45 minutes from Bulalacao Bay depending on sea conditions. There are two houses in the Island, the caretaker’s and the other house for the overnighters. Coconut trees can be found at the back. You can ask the caretakers to get some buko and suha. There are 3 cottages and four couches on the white sandy beach. The water is clear you can see the fishes swimming with you. But you have to be careful of the sea urchins camouflaging on the sea grasses and sticking on the white rocks. The island is ideal for those who need a quiet place for vacay.
You have 3 options to get there:
1. Plane from the domestic airport to San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. From San Jose ride a shuttle to Bulalacao.
2. Take a RORO Bus from Cubao. These busses go directly to Bulalacao via Batangas Port. Fare is ranging from 700-800 pesos (including boat ride from Batangas Port to Calapan Port in Mindoro, the whole trip takes 8-10hrs)
3. or take a bus going to Batangas Pier/Port (136.00 pesos from Alabang Terminal. Then ride a ferry boat from Batangas (275.00 pesos – 45minute ride on Supercat, that’s the fastest ferry, RoRo ship takes 2 hours to get to Calapan Port). From Calapan Port, you’ll see vans going directly to Bulalacao. (270 pesos – 2-3 hours)
Bulalacao: 0929.237.0604 / 0921.328.9261/ 0921.306.7642 / 0928.253.2684
Manila: 02.781.2306 / 0919.249.5270 / 0919.656.1321 / 0920.841.3965