San Jose (Occidental Mindoro)Occidental Mindoro, Philippines.
However, a modest number of visitors continue to explore this quaint town on the southwestern tip of Mindoro. San Jose offers an off-the-beaten-path charm for local and foreign tourists alike who shun the crowded and over-commercialized spots in the country. The major attractions of San Jose are its three offshore islands - Ambulong, Ilin, and White Island (also called Manadi). San Jose is also a favorite jump-off point to the world-class diving site - Apo Reef Marine Park.
San Jose AirportWith regular scheduled flights to Manila by Cebu Pacific. Flights take approximately 30 minutes from Manila.
By landDimple Star, RORO Bus, and Philtranco has a direct bus route from Cubao in Quezon City, Sampaloc in Manila and Alabang in Muntinlupa) to San Jose that includes a roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ferry that operates between Abra de Ilog and Batangas City which passes through Verde Island Passage which takes about three hours. Only RORO Bus and Philtranco served this route as of 2018, after Dimple Star's operations were suspended after a deadly crash on the winding roads to this town.
San Jose is linked to all towns of Occidental Mindoro via a mostly-dusty provincial highway that runs from north to south. Roads in and around San Jose are well-paved on mostly flat terrain. Local bus and jeepney operators ply the route from the northernmost town of Abra de Ilog all the way south to San Jose.
Vans run from the bus terminal all the way to Calapan (6 hr, ) along the eastern coast of Mindoro.
By seahas boats to and from Coron three times a week (, 8 hr). You can book tickets or find out about the schedule on biyaheroes.com.
Pump boats can be chartered to provide access to nearby island resorts and diving spots.
Ambulong IslandAmbulong Island is a 30-km² island with fine beaches, cliffs and abundant coral formations. It is characterized by white sand beaches, cliffs along pillars jutting out of the water, and underwater caves. Coral gardens and tropical fish are abundant in several coves. An islet called Grace Island is located at a limestone cove at the southern tip of Ambulong. A fisherman's village is located at the sheltered side of the island. Ambulong Island is also a jump-off point to some of the dive spots in the area, such as the Iling Point, Baniaga Reef, Ambulong Bank, Dungan Reef, Sardines Reef, Apo Reef, and Manadi Island. These dive sites are about an hour away by pumpboat from the Caminawit Port.
Ilin IslandIlin Island has a village of shell divers, being abundant in shells and coral reefs. There are ancient burial caves of early Chinese traders, ethnic fishing villages, and numerous dive sites from which to view many tropical fishes. Lush foliage encircle the clear blue waters of the South China Sea. There are scuba diving facilities, a 6.8 CTM compressor, seaport facilities, diveboats, and PADI and NAUI-certified instructors. Kweba Cansubong is a popular destination in the island apart from its white beaches, estuaries, rock formations, etc. Inasakan Beach, located at the far side of Ilin, is a small stretch of powdery white sand. Recently, the island's timberland is being proposed to be declared a conservation area for its natural fauna and flora. The Philippine teak, an endangered Philippine tree, is found only in Ilin and Batangas. Meanwhile, an endangered fauna called the cloud rat (or cloud runner/Ilin Island cloud runner) is found only in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro particularly in the island of Ilin. The cloud rat is the biggest and one of the most beautiful rats in the world.
White IslandWhite Island has a long powdery beach where buried turtle eggs are occasionally found. It has an almost mile-long beach with smooth and powdery white sand. The tranquil and peaceful island is an ideal place for swimming, scuba diving and fishing. Turtle eggs are occasionally found buried in the sand, and visitors are cautioned to keep them undisturbed.
Mt. Iglit National ParkMounts Iglit-Baco National Park is located in an area shared by the municipalities of Sablayan, Calintaan, Rizal and San Jose. The latter is also the main gateway there. It is a sanctuary for the 'tamaraw' (Bubalus mindorensis), an endemic species of buffalo found only in Mindoro. It provides a nice eco-tourism, trekking, or mountaineering alternative to beach/dive resorts. However, a part of the tamaraw genepool which is also a part of the national park is situated at the boundaries of Rizal and San Jose, more or less 50 hectares are in the territorial jurisdiction of the municipality.
Aroma Beachaddress: Bubog Rd.A favorite sport for local residents near San Jose Airport. The beach is named after aroma trees in the area.
Second Landing Markeraddress: Bugbog Rd.World War II Marker commemorating the second landing of Gen. Douglas MacArthur in the Philippines in December 15, 1944 which led to the Liberation of Manila and mainland Luzon from occupying Japanese forces. The granite marker is complemented by three murals.
San Jose Municipal Plazaaddress: Rizal St.The town center and the destination, locals and tourist alike. Also has a park. Town festivities and events are also held in this area especially in the grandstand area. A handful of souvenirs and merchandise can be bought here especially during the annual town fiesta in May or Christmas season.
Other DestinationsThere are other destinations in the area like the extraordinary landscape and rugged peaks of the Chocolate Mountains (more popularly known as the Devil's Mountain), the Linaw Baboy Falls in Brgy. Murtha and Mangarin Ruins.
Cultural events in San Jose include Indak Pandurukan, a street-dancing festival, and other activities during the town fiesta which is celebrated on May 1.
address: Calderon Street.Has a Gaisano supermarket
Metro Bankaddress: C Liboro StreetHas a Master Card/Visa Card ATM.
PNB Bankaddress: National RoadHas a Visa Card ATM.
Grandiya Restobaraddress: Bugbog Rd., Aroma Family Hotel and Resort ComplexRestaurant and bar near Aroma beach. Opens only at night.
phone: +63 43 457-0442address: Sikatuna St., Brgy. 1Casual dining.
Baybees Coffee Shopphone: +63 946 155 5559address: Aroma Beach, San Roque 1, Brgy. San RoqueA local coffee shop along near the beach
Grace Island Resortaddress: Ambulong IslandA beach resort in a secluded pristine cove in Ambulong Island. About 2 hours boat ride from the San Jose town center.
phone: +63 43 491-4108address: Airport Road Brgy. San RoqueA.c. double room with own bathroom and cable TV.
Sikatuna Town Hotelphone: +63 4911274address: Sikatuna StreetFan single/double rooms with own bathroom.
Four Ace Lodgephone: +63 9942390address: P Bugus Street.Single/double room with own bathroom.
Jazmine Royale Hoteladdress: Sikatuna StreetSingle/double rooms with own bathroom.
Mindoro Plaza Hotelphone: +63 4914661address: P Zamora StreetSimple rooms with fan or AC and private bathrooms, WiFi in the lobby. Nothing fancy but probably good enough if you are waiting for the boat to Coron.
phone: +639156852585address: Airport Road San Roque 1Rooms include a private bathroom with a bath, bidet and free toiletries provided. Standard room & deluxe room rates include breakfast. Guests can dine at an on-site Pan Asian restaurant with free Wi-Fi and parking. Free shuttle service at the property. Seasons Cafe serves breakfast (6-10AM), lunch (10AM-2PM) and dinner from 6-10PM. Lobby Lounge serves light snacks and beverage from 2-6PM.