Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro

The biggest municipality and the top ecotourism destination of Mindoro province, Sablayan offers different activities specially to those adventure driven individuals who want to enjoy the refreshing beauty of nature.

Blessed with amazing and world class wonders, the heart of Occidental Mindoro, guarantees everyone with unforgettable rendezvous with its warm people, rich culture and diverse nature – let’s wonder the beauty of Sablayan!

The mountains and forests of Sablayan are home to diverse flora and fauna, some of which are endemic to the island, and harbor great rivers, lakes, caves and waterfalls. Its museum and parks offer a historical and recreational experience. Its surrounding islands shine with their white sand on waters teeming with vivid and superb marine life.

But more than its marvelous scenery, both inland and underwater, Sablayan takes pride of its people with the rich culture of the indigenous Mangyans and the inborn hospitality of Sablayeños.

Paradise to enjoy

Apo Reef: Good for Diving and Snorkelling

Sablayan also owned the world-famous Apo Reef National Marine Park, which is considered as Asia’s largest atoll-like reef, the second largest in the world next only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. It is a 34 square kilometer reef  that has a thin channel separating the reef into two lagoon systems and serves as habitat of more than 350 marine species such as sharks, sea hawks, manta rays, stingrays and other tropical fishes and invertebrates.Divers and tourists both take delight in this sight to behold. Beneath the clear waters, divers can indulge the pristine white sand bottom with a vibrant array of 400 -500 coral species have been recorded to live there.

It is composed of a 29 hectare of white sand island and is the favorite nesting grounds of hawksbill and green sea turtles. There are other two islets which are favorite spots for migrating birds. But for wanderers, it is the favorite destination for diving and snorkelling.
Pandan Island: Good for Inner Peace
Pandan Island is an emerging tourist destination. It is sought out by people wanting seclusion, rest and relaxation. The clear waters and beautiful white sand comparable of what Boracay offers, but without the massive, overcrowded and huge hotels and restaurants. There is no electricity available in the island, truly connecting you back to mother nature.The vast forests, wide sea and the lush white sands are the only source of entertainment.
It is the exact place when you want to wake up to harmony of colorful singing birds where there is only a palm tree between you and the sea where you exactly know who your neighboors are and can even grab the chance of meeting a sea turtle before having  your  delicious breakfast.
The island offers a wide range of activities to choose. Scuba Diving in the coral gardens around the island or around the nearby Apo Reef is the most popular and exciting activity to engage in but it also offer the possibility to explore the jungle rivers of nearby Mindoro via kayak or visit the small coastal town of Sablayan and meet its friendly inhabitants.

How to Get There

By Air

San Jose, Occidental Mindoro is the gateway to Sablayan by air. AirPhil Express, Cebu Pacific and Zest Air have regular flights to San Jose from Manila, travel time takes 45 minutes. From San Jose airport, take a short ride by tricycle to bus terminal, then hop to a bus going to Sablayan, fare is a little over P100.00, for a travel time of two-and-a-half to three hours. There are also air-conditioned vans that can be rented from the airport although it costs higher at P3500.00 and up.

By Land/Sea

From Sampaloc, Manila, there are air-conditioned Dimple Star Buses that go to San Jose, Occidental Mindoro passing in Sablayan, fare to Sablayan is P800.00 inclusive of the ferry and terminal fee in Batangas Port, last trip is 8PM from Sampaloc. They also have terminal in Alabang. Contact No: +639086315495 and +639086964803.

From Cubao, RoRo buses going to San Jose also stop at Sablayan.

For budget travelers, the cheapest way to get to Sablayan from Manila by land and sea is to go to Batangas Port for P167.00 fare (as of February 2012 , cheaper on DLTB buses at P133 ) for a travel time of  two-and-a-half to three hours, then catch a ferry to Abra de Ilog at P260.00 plus P30.00 terminal fee (as of February 2012), a two to two-and-a-half hours boat ride, and hop on to a Roro Bus or a Dimple Star Bus from Abra de Ilog at P220.00 (as of February 2012) for another three hours ride by bus. If there are still available bus from Batangas Port better arranged your seats from there as the buses are usually get filled even before reaching Abra de Ilog. Alternatively there are vans from Abra de Ilog to Sablayan though rare, charging at least P250.00 per passenger.

Montenegro and Besta are the ferry operators in Batangas Port to Abra de Ilog. Please verify the schedule if you are taking a ferry, their sites are not updated, you may call Montenegro at (043)723-6980 / (043)723-8294 or the Port of Batangas hotline at (043)7238243.

Going to Apo Reef, tours are managed and controlled by the local government of Sablayan, Contact No: Ate Norie/Ate Helen +639284659585, Email: amazingsablayan[at]yahoo[dot]com or ecotourism_sablayan_occmdo[at]yahoo[dot]com[dot]ph . Boat rental as of February 2012 is fixed at 7,500 (good for 10-12 persons) for 36 hours (payable in eco-tourism office). Entrance fee in Apo Reef is P225 per person for Filipinos and P450 for foreigners (payable in eco-tourism office). Tour guide is optional, but in case you need one (which I think not), it is P750.00. Snorkel and mask set can be rented also at the tourism office for 100.00/set, so as the tents at P150.00 that is good for two persons and P300.00 good for 4-5.

courtesy of:discovermimaropa.blogspot.com
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