After finishing all the things we need to do in Sta. Cruz, we took an ordinary bus bound for San Jose. It took us around 2 hours before we reached the town of Sablayan. One of the biggest towns of Occidental Mindoro and boasts to be the top "tourist destination" in the province.
Seated at the heart of Occidental Mindoro, Sablayan is a town gifted with nature's blessings. It is home to Apo reef - the largest atoll-like reef in the country and probably in Asia. They are also proud to have fine beaches and shorelines ideal for swimming, kayaking and snorkelling; they also offer activities such as picnicking, bird-watching, trekking, camping, tamaraw herd-watching and more.
The 2-hour bus ride from Sta. Cruz is bumpy but fun! You'll get to see beautiful landscape of mountains, hills and rice fields.
You can also get a chance to interact with some Mangyans along the way. The roads are not so good, some are paved but mostly rough. I believe, something has to be done here to improve the roads to encourage more tourists to come.
Upon reaching Sablayan, you'll certainly feel that this is a first class municipality, maybe because of its booming tourism industry. We got off at the bus stop in barangay Buenavista near the town proper. From there we walked towards the Sablayan Astrodome where we found the Sablayan Museum.
Established in January 16, 2007, it houses some of Sablayan's rich cultural, historical and biological treasures. Some of the artifacts were donated or lent out from personal collections and heirlooms of the residents. It also has a unique section where one can experience the town's forest and spectacular marine life.
Since we don't have any prepared itinerary, we went to the municipal tourism office located just a few steps from the museum. The staffs were very accommodating in assisting us. They even got us a reservation for a room in Pandan Island, so that we're assured to have an accommodation when we get there. Thanks to tourism officer Ms. Minda Alto for patiently assisting us.
After discussing with the tourism officers, we decided to spend the night in Pandan island. It is one of the well-known resorts in the province. A 15-minute boat ride brought us to this island paradise. More of Pandan island on my next post.
For the mean time, here's a sneak peak on how I spent a day in the island.
On our 2nd day, we went back to the Sablayan mainland and visited some interesting landmarks around town. From Funta Sablayan - where boats from Pandan island docks, we took a tricycle and went to Presing Park. It is a 5-hectare park overlooking the sea, here stands a historic lighthouse used during the early times. The park also has an old cannon on display, a grotto and some cottages where visitors can rest. From here, you'll have a very nice view of the mangroves near the bay walk as well as Pandan island from afar.
We had our lunch at Asian Refreshment Restaurant in the public market, it is also where the hanging bridge is located. This hanging bridge is popularly known as San Francisco Bridge as it resembles the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco California. =D
We continued walking around until we reached the municipal complex. Comparing it with Sta. Cruz, they have a better municipal building. It is somehow a reflection of how progressive this town is.
The most compelling experience in this trip is the warmth and hospitality of the Sablayeños that truly made our stay worthwhile. This town feels like home. True to their word, the experience is Amazing Sablayan!
We then decided to proceed to our next destination, the capital town of Mamburao.
For inquiries, you can reach the Sablayan Tourism Office at:
Contact No.: 09284659585
This 3-day escape to the land of Tamaraws and Mangyans happened last January 14-16, 2011. Here is a series of posts on our trip to one of the most underrated tourist destinations in our country, Occidental Mindoro. Discover the places we've been to, the people we met, the food we tasted and the experience we gained in this remarkable escapade.
"A 3-day Escape to the Land of Mangyans and Tamaraws" | The Quaint Town of Sta. Cruz | Amazing Sablayan! | Pandan Island, a Simple yet Comfortable Hideaway | The Capital Municipality of Mamburao
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