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Mindoro Occidental

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Aside from a few intrepid wildlife enthusiasts and divers around Sablayan, Mindoro Occidental remains wonderfully undiscovered, and travellers with flexible travel plans and a penchant for bumpy jeepney rides will have their efforts rewarded with wild jungly mountains, remote beaches, and maybe meeting a few of the local Mangyan people along the way.

San José on the southwest coast has the only functioning airport on Mindoro and makes a logical starting point for trips north to the Mounts Iglit-Baco National Park, home to the tamaraw, a dwarf buffalo endemic to Mindoro and in acute danger of extinction. Further north, the fishing town of Sablayan is the jumping-off point for a sight no scuba diver should miss, the Apo Reef Marine Natural Park, a vast reef complex offering some of the best diving in the world. As well as organizing a trip from Sablayan, you can also do so in advance at a dive shop in Manila or Busuanga. Sablayan is also a base for a visit to Mounts Iglit-Baco or the Sablayan Watershed Forest Reserve, a lowland forest with beautiful Lake Libao at its centre. The northwest of the island is little visited, though there are some unspoilt beaches around the town of Mamburao, the low-key capital of Mindoro Occidental.

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