Ambulong, San Jose Occidental Mindoro

Philippines' flag
Asia » Philippines » Mindoro
April 13th 2009
Published: April 13th 2009EDIT THIS ENTRY

Finding solace in Ambulong.
My trip to Occidental Mindoro was a bit unplanned. When I heard that a budget airline has released its new promo fares, I immediately grab this opportunity to book a flight to Occidental Mindoro without even knowing the places of interests. By searching the internet, I found some helpful tips enough to let me discover the beautiful white beaches of Occidental Mindoro. The inadequacy of infos on the Net has encouraged me to do this blog hoping that in my own little way, I'd be able to share some useful infos on how to explore the seemingly undiscovered paradise of Occidental Mindoro.

Day 1, April 7
I took the first flight going to San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. The flight was about 45 minutes.
The lady who sat beside me on the plane was a policewoman of San Jose name Tess Penaflor. She patiently waited for me until I collected my checked-in baggage. Together with the tricycle driver, they helped me find a decent place to stay. The name of the tricyle driver is Allan (09104449897). After checking out three hotels or should I say inns, I settled staying at Sikatuna Hotel. The room is Php400.00/night twin sharing. This is just an ordinary room since most of the time I'll be out of the hotel. The nearby restaurant, Kusina ni Lea is a bliss since eating is something that I don't want to deprive myself of. After taking a quick shower I asked Allan to fetch me at around 8:00 AM so I can check the boat schedule bound to Ambulong. I discovered that they only have one trip going to the island. So I decided to hire the boat to bring me to and from the island. Allan helped me find a boatman and I was so lucky that Mang Jose Bukid, not only owns that boat but is also the barangay's head councilor or kagawad. He also is the caretaker of the Vice Mayor's resort in Ambulong. This has made my travel much easier and safer. I was on the boat together with a group Mang Jose is going to bring to Iling island. These locals asked me a lot of questions and voila! they all loved my company. And in a snap I gained new friends. You can contact Mang Jose thru his mobile number (+639294654691).

Jerson, the son of Mang Jose was
Harabata ResortHarabata ResortHarabata Resort

Harabata Resort, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro
so insistent that I visit the cave. We just paid PhP50 entrance fee. This actually goes to the owner of the land.

Although Mang Jose was so kind in offering me to stay in the resort, I requested if the family would allow me to stay on their place since I don't have any companion in the resort and the barangay's electrical supply is shut off every 9PM since they just solely rely on the generator.

Day 2
I woke up early and took some shots of the beautiful sunrise. I left Ambulong for White Beach Island at around 8:30AM after having a breakfast with the family. A middle-aged lady is attending the island and the charge is PhP30 for the entrance and cottage rental is PhP100.00. I only stayed for 2 hours on this island. I could have stayed longer if I brought with me some food and drinks.

When I arrived in San Jose, Glen who's part of the group I rode with on the boat to Ambulong contacted me and invited me to stroll around the town proper. As a local, Glen knows every place in the community. He helped me explore San Jose. Glen is a local elementary teacher. Before hitting the sack, Glen and I went to a karaoke bar for a much-needed drink of icy cold beer.

Day 3
Glen suggested that I should go to Sablayan where the famous Pandan Island is located. We woke up at 3am to catch the 4am bus bound for Sablayan. We arrived in Sablayan at around 8am and immediately proceeded to the wharf for a 15-minute boat ride to Pandan Island. The fare is PhP200 per person. The magnificent white beach of Pandan took my breath away. The water is so clear and you can even see the corals, star fish and various fish even in shallow waters.

(Should you wish to see my other photos of my Respite to Occidental Mindoro, please visit my friendster or my facebook account:

Additional photos below
Photos: 18, Displayed: 18


3rd May 2009

very informative
thanks for the detailed account of your trip to san jose. My family is planning to go this week. Thanks again
4th May 2009

you're most welcome. Enjoy the trip :-). Btw, Glen visited me a week after my trip and unfortunately he left his mobile on the cab.
15th June 2009

maurice,, i'm so flattered about your good comments to my hometown. honestly, i have not gone to that ambulong and iling islands..i heard from my brother that indeed it is worth visiting...hope u have the chance again to explore more san jose.
28th July 2009

nice blog, maurice
Thanks, Maurice. It's always a pleasure to read blogs about our own country. I really hope you keep them coming.
29th July 2009

thank you
Maurice, Thank you very much for promoting San Jose and helping us san josenos promote our undiscovered ,wonderful and extra ordinary places like caves,white beaches and hoping that you can visit our very sentimental and historical 2nd Landing site after Leyte landing(as of this writing, The San Jose Centennial Commission is planning to restore the place for our next year celebration on May 1, 2010, again thank you
30th July 2009

San Jose
Hi Councilor, Thanks a lot for visiting my blog. I am so pleased with my travel so I decided to share my positive experience here. I'd say this blog has been an instrument in helping me promote San Jose and in fact I have received a number of email regarding their planned trip to your town. Likewise, Mang Jose has been contacted by a number of people already :-). I'm still in contact with them. I'm planning to go back and visit your town this August. Rgds, Maurice Altar
10th August 2009

thanks for promoting the ambulong island in san jose, occidental mindoro phippines, nice and beautiful place.
7th September 2009

Perfect shots!
Hi dear, am overjoyed to see my name in your blog. Your shots are perfect!Hopefully I can visit you again in your wonderful place the moment I have a chance to conduct training in other part of the country.Join me again ha.Miss you guys.
10th November 2009

great vlog, nice pics
Hi Maurice, Thanks a lot for sharing your travel experiences at San Jose. I'm now thinking of visiting the place. San Jose is where my mother was born, and up to now, i haven't been there. Good bless you.
26th November 2009

beauty of ambulong
the place is very very beautiful
17th December 2009

Did you try going to Grace Island at Ambulong? At Ilin Island, you could have stayed more and enjoyed the fresh sea breeze. The island is pollution-free and from the Montesa Haus balcony you could see clearly the sea during the day and watch the stars and the fishermen's lights fishing during night! At Ilin, you will meet the people, though poorest among the poor, they are so courteous and very respectful especially to foreigners. Net time when you got the chance, go back to San Jose and spend more of your time at Ilin Island.
5th February 2010

i miss d place!!!!
hi! Maurice! i was so touch when i saw some pics of mindoro....some memories turning back of my teen age life...i never been there for almost 20 years...i really miss to visit mindoro with my children..ur blog really appreciated!!
19th March 2010

Hi Jedy, I love the your hometown (if i may call it). Thanks a lot for visiting my blog. It's been awhile since I have updated it. My work is just catching up on me. I hope, in my own little way, I'd be able to really entice more of our kababayans to really appreciate our own paradise. Rgds, Maurice
31st March 2010

Hi! I hope you still read this every now and then. (= A couple of friends and I are interested in going to San Jose but we have no idea how to make a DIY trip. I'm hoping I can ask for your help. (= I left my email address. I hope you can write back.
1st April 2010

8th April 2010

Hi Ronna, Many thanks. Rgds, maurice
8th April 2010

thank you
Thanks, this was one of the photos and blogs I checked out before I also flew to San Jose Mindoro due to the promo airfare being offered. My officemate and I just actually bought the tickets and didn't plan on the rest of where to stay and what to see except for the part in thinking we wanted to see a Tamaraw :-) I wasn't even keen on thinking about island-hopping but due to your post above, I found out there was a lot more to Mindoro and I am not telling other friends not to underestimate this other side of the island...since they just go to Puerto Galera usually they do not have the opportunity to also see how it is in San Jose, Ambulong, and the other islands.
9th April 2010

Hi Cat, Thanks a lot for reading my blog. Apo Reef is in Mindoro. You should go there. Tamaraw is in Sablayan...2 hours travel from San Jose. Good Luck and Enjoy.
11th April 2010

nice shots! love the photos... i like to go to ambulong cave but it is too expensive... T.T
24th April 2010

trip experience/comfort
How was the trip in terms of 'convenience'? (ex. road conditions, total travel time etc). What other 'improvements' do you want to see ? What sort of 'convenience' you still want to add in your experience so that international visitors will experience a sort of first class service. You know..sort of wish list.. contact: Dinez at: facebook:
29th April 2010

I love your detail account of your travel to Ambulong Is.
Hello Murice love your detail account of your travel for I myself a traveller, I will be back to the Phil. soon and bringing with me my daughter for this exciting trip so, I started searching places and bump in to your blog. Mostly helpful and thank You ! I always believe word by mouth is always the best advertising ever. I will used the information for my travel soon, by the way I would really like to own a small patch of land if the price is not overly inflated somewhere of this Island. Is there anyone you know I can talk to ?Thanks in advance if anything comes up ok ?.
30th April 2010

Hi Mylene, I have some good friends now in San Jose,Mindoro and am pretty sure we'd be able to help you find that "patch" you're looking for. Please keep in touch. Take Care.
19th May 2010

it is so amazing, i have not that this part of mindoro is so great. i was born in mindoro but i am spending most of my time in manila and laguna. now i want to explore mindoro. thanks for this site.
10th June 2010

time to discover Ambulong
Maurice, thanks to the attention you have given our tiny island ambulong. On your next visit, please drop by ambulong bluewater. Construction is still going on and will be finish by november this year. We encourage ecotourism and will stick to the old ways of life, no aircon, television, generator. Our power comes from the sun and fresh water from free flowing source. I'm hoping more people will discover ambulong our "tiny island paradise".
11th June 2010

i and my boyfriend booked a tiket to san jose this coming september. like you, we dont know the place and still searching in the net about the place. luckily, i found this site. thanks.
29th June 2010

Im planning to visit my hometown again, its been 18 years the last time i was there, and i want to see the ambulong cave... please let me know if there is certain person to contact and be our travel guide/tour thanks
7th July 2010

On my vacation
Can you tell how to get there in white beach?
15th July 2010

pandan expenses
can you give details on you expenses and activities at pandan island please. this is a very informative blog. thanks for writing it.
19th July 2010

ganda ng pilipinas
22nd July 2010

created a link
Hi, Maurice, Thank you so much for taking time to write good things about my hometown. I'm partly a stranger already. I left the place when I pursued college studies in Manila. Stayed away for a decade, came back to work there for 3 years, then left again. I am now based in Batangas. I created a webpage for our house which I'm selling. I hope you don't mind me creating a link from my page to this blog of yours so people who may be interested on our house can get a glimpse of the town. Godspeed!
11th August 2010

visit grace island
its my first time here in this beautiful and blessed province of mindoro,i am working here in grace island as guest officer and i am inviting every nature enthusiasts to please drop by and experience the serenity of the place as we offer our accommodation at a very reasonable price...just check it out...have fun...u can reach me on 09997541551,the place is in ambulong island.
11th August 2010

visit grace island
its my first time here in this beautiful and blessed province of mindoro,i am working here in grace island as guest officer and i am inviting every nature enthusiasts to please drop by and experience the serenity of the place as we offer our accommodation at a very reasonable price...just check it out...have fun...u can reach me on 09997541551,the place is in ambulong island.
11th August 2010

please pay a visit to grace island
the place is nice...experience the serenity of the place @ very affordable accommodation... check- out the destination! please contact me on -09997541551
2nd September 2010

Can u HeLp Me Ate Maurice
Gud pm. Ate Maurice .. Ako po pala si Mary Jean u can call me "JEAN" for short :) taga Cavite po ako @ Nagaaral po kami sa Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU). Meron po kasi kaming Group Tour,8 po kami .. wala po kaming kakilala sa occidental mindoro .. matutlungan niyo po ba kami ?? ask ko na din po magkano po ang budget namin pag dating sa occidental mindoro .. @ meron po ba mga resort na kayang-kaya namin ang budget?? Sana po matulungan niyo po ako .. Marming Salamat po :)
10th October 2010

Very Useful Blog
I have always wanted to visit Mindoro since I was a kid. I cannot find any info on the net since everyone's looking for "famous" places like boracay, palawan and others. I know there are good things to see in Mindoro but I too don't know anyone there or know anyone whose been there. This blog is so so so helpful! Thanks for promoting it. My boyfriend and I look forward to going here this December.
19th November 2010

I'm coming to San Jose next year
Hello Maurice. i got cheap flight going to San Jose this coming Feb. 18 - 20, 2011. I got a problem like yours. I don't know what specific place i can go there. I read and see your pictures, and i find it interesting to see it too. Would you help me? Are the numbers posted in your blog are still the same? like the Driver ALlan and mang Jose? Hopefully i can hear something from you. Thank you so much.
3rd December 2010

someday soon..i will visit this place
16th December 2010

i am from sarmiento clan of san jose
i was born at san jose occidental mindoro but my parents decided to live on the other side of mindoro (oriental mindoro). last time i was there is when i was in 2nd grade to visit my aunts and other relatives. i am planning to go back philippines on april 2011 for vacation and this is a good blog to find out that there are nice places to visit in san jose. i don't know a lot of my relatives in san jose, but if someone here on this blog is from the sarmiento clan, you might be related to me. thank you very much and this is really a nice blog.
27th January 2011

blessing in disguise..
I booked a flight to mindoro and i'm looking for places t0 stay and visit... thanks for this blog...
4th February 2011

just booked 2day d cheapest piso lucky san jose mindoro is still available i grab it without hesitations got 4 happy i stumle ds blogs of least this kind a great help for us first timer in san jose mindoro...
8th February 2011

MORE about san jose
you can visit the website of municipal govt of san jose
25th February 2011

i do not have an idea of san jose not until i catched your blog. it's really an informative one. i am now looking forward to visit the place.
23rd March 2011

nice Island
i like much Pandan Island so quite and cool. sana lang po mag karoon talaga ng koryente sa ambulong at hire regular ng bangka papunta dun kc medyo mahal ang hire ng boat.
19th June 2011

hi, i would like to ask how far that place in san jose mindoro airport? is there any website for this beach? i just want to know the rates and route on how to get there from san jose mindoro airport. thank you. just email me, on the given email above.
22nd June 2011

Hi Maurice, just want to know how much your budget was for your trip in San Jose Occidental Mindoro. Hope to hear from you. Thanks!
28th June 2011

re. budget
Hi, I really can't remember anymore. I understand the local government is quite active now in promoting its local tourism. Please feel free to get in touch with them so you'd be better guided on how much should your budget be. Don't worry accommodation, travel are just cheap except for the boat ride as you really have to hire one boat for island hopping in San Jose. But when you go to Sablayan, you can share the boat with other tourists. Btw, thanks a lot for sending me a note. My apologies for the delayed reply. TC.
5th July 2011

ganda poh talaga sa ambulong.......gusto ku na uli pumunta jan....mis ku na ..
10th January 2012

Hi! Thanks for this article. Just want to ask, how much is the bus fare from San Jose to Sablayan? Is it included in the 200Php you indicated or is that just the boat ride fare from the wharf of Sablayan to Pandan Island? Thanks! :)
24th January 2012

Hi, Sorry I can't remember anymore as it's been awhile since I've done the trip. However, I can check it for you as I still have friends who are from San Jose. Please advise if you're interested. Glen, who is a teacher is based in San Jose.
31st January 2012

Do you know a place where we can stay for the night in Ambulong Island?
31st January 2012

Grace Island
Nice article. You definitely visited some nice places! However, I saw a comment on this article that promoted Grace Island and feel that it is important to spread some awareness and call foul on that business and why nobody should put a peso into their island. First off, Grace Island Resort is owned by a \"Christian\" corporation(the Christian part conveniantly making all their enterprises tax free, I assume), and this corporation isn\'t just local to San Jose but across the country and even in the USA. They own, as far as I know, mostly schools around the Philippines and of course the resort as well as a huge rice mill in San Jose. First off, they have been rumoured to cheat illiterate rice farmers by having them sign documents they don\'t understand and basically give their rice away for free... I\'ve heard of this from an alarmingly number of different sources, so there is obviously some sort of truth to this. Secondly, their elementary/high school in San Jose is run by a bunch of teachers who seem to be mostly concerned about earning money for their corporation. There are several examples of this but the most absurd is how they pressure(force is probably the better word) parents into paying thousands of pesos for a field trip to Manila (for older kids) and Grace Island Resort (for younger children). They make parents believe their children are REQUIRED to go on these trips that are an astounding 3000 pesos per child- to put in perspective at how absurd this is, their yearly tuition is 5,000 pesos- an amount some of the parents struggle to pay for. Quite a few families have more than one child, so you can do the math and see how this could all add up if you have 2 or more children. Parents were billed 3,000 per child and told that they HAD TO PAY even if the child does NOT go on the field trip. THIS IS EXTORTION. By the way, the Philippines Department of Education has even put out memorandums against this sort of practice. It is against regulations for a school to earn money under the disguise of filed trips. The audacity of these people to not only scare struggling parents into thinking they HAD to go on these \"educational\" field trips, but one of those trips was to THEIR OWN GRACE ISLAND which they could have obviously offered for free. This doesn\'t seem very Christian-like to me. Moving on, Grace Island Resort itself is full of its own corruption. The people who work on the island and built the resort are, in my opinion, modern day slaves. Not because they have low wages but because they have NO wages. This corporation is run by \"volunteers\" who are under the impression that they are doing it for God in the name of Christianity. They are paid an \"allowance\" (enough for basic needs such as food) and maybe a pat on the back. This is the same arrangement for the school teachers who are also volunteers. But a resort and a school are very different things. These people are working for free for a money-making corporation that does not give them the benefits or salaries they are entitled to. The island is also quickly losing its charm. What was once a natural, beautiful place is now becoming cramped and unsustainable due to the many unplanned structures they keep building, often directly over their reefs. Besides, I\'m pretty sure they won\'t be able to keep up the maintenance simply by the fact they have a BIG pile of trash that they leave on San Jose\'s beachfront, often incosiderately littering their unused sacks of cement etc in front of Sikatuna and White House Beach Resort. Lastly, Grace Island has illegaly cordoned off fishing areas and have used intimidation to keep local fishermen out of these areas so they can use it for their own water sports. I imagine that the same crazy nonsensical reasoning that are used on parents are used as scare tactics towards these fishermen. Grace Island doesn\'t have the right to do this and have not cut a monetary deal with the locals. They truly put Christianity in a bad light- surely God wouldn\'t approve of this? So tourists, don\'t be fooled. It\'s a dirty business run by corrupt businessmen who use and abuse people who don\'t know any better. It would go against my own conscience to contribute a single cent to this corporation, as it should yours.
10th February 2012

nice place
i been their with my friends last feb 08, 2012 and we stayed in sikatuna beach resort the price is reasonable, and affordable i love the foods,, although we just stayed for 1 day but i can say we love the place and we enjoyed our stay in san jose mindoro,,, nice, clean, and the people is so mabait... and were planning to go back and stay their for a week this summer... simple and relaxing place good for those nature lovers
10th February 2012

nice place
i been their with my friends last feb 08, 2012 and we stayed in sikatuna beach resort the price is reasonable, and affordable i love the foods,, although we just stayed for 1 day but i can say we love the place and we enjoyed our stay in san jose mindoro,,, nice, clean, and the people is so mabait... and were planning to go back and stay their for a week this summer... simple and relaxing place good for those nature lovers
17th February 2012

mag tatanong lang po mga friends
itatanong ko lang saan saan magandang puntahan sa san jose mindoro kasi po pupunta kami sa april nag hahanap na po ako ng mapapasyalan dun at saan safe mag stay o baka may alam po kayo sa mga inaaarkilang boat dun sa magandang puntahan sa san jose salamat friends patulong na lang po GOD BLESS
1st March 2012
White Beach Island

Beautiny Island
This island is tiny yet so beautiful. I am so proud that I am part of this place. I miss this place, sooo much. I promise i would pay a visit next time i come home. Thank you Maurice for sharing this picture. God Bless you!!!
1st March 2012
White Beach Island

Beautiny Island
This island is tiny yet so beautiful. I am so proud that I am part of this place. I miss this place, sooo much. I promise i would pay a visit next time i come home. Thank you Maurice for sharing this picture. God Bless you!!!
2nd March 2012
White Beach Island

Thanks for visiting my blog.
14th March 2012

I and friends are booked to San Jose Mindoro this coming 27th of July and we have ZERO idea on where to stay, where to eat and where to go. I hope you could suggest an itinerary for our visit and please include cheap hotels(contact #s if u have) where we can stay.We'll stay there until the 29th. Thank you very much!
19th March 2012

San Jose Trip
Hi Jheanne, Please check my reply on a separate email. Thanks. Rgds, Maurice
19th March 2012

San Jose Trip
Hi Jheanne, Please check my reply on a separate email. Thanks. Rgds, Maurice
6th April 2012

Itinerary/Cost Inquiry
Hi Maurice! I need your help too. I have booked a flight to San Jose, Mindoro scheduled on June 1 to June 3. I just took advantage of the promo airfare. Basically my plan is to visit the same islands/places that you have mentioned but I am kind of worried with my budget since this trip is my first \"backpacker\" stint and I have to shoulder all expenses. I will be arriving in San Jose at about 7am and for Day 1, I am planning to visit Ambulong, White Island, Ilin and Inasakan Beach. For Day 2, I am planning to allot the whole day tour in Pandacan Island. I am hoping that you can give me an idea of how much would the bus/boat fares cost and where to stay. I just want to make sure I have enough money during this trip. Thanks in advance for your tips. :)
28th April 2012

About Ambulong.
1st May 2012

St jose, Mindoro
Might try the three day trip out. Actually wanted to go to Boracay again, but airfares so high. For a one-off two/three day with low hotel/airfare is St jose the best bet. Incidentally, enjoyed reading your blog about Siem Reap. I live there with my Philippine partner. Check out The Cockatoo Resort and restaurant. Since you're interested in photography, check out This was my one man show at the Angkor National Museum - November 2011 - March 2012 When I get back to Siem Reap, will start running photo tours in and around iem reap to the temples, floating village, the countryside - Incidentally, now there are direct flights to Se reap on cebu pacific
9th May 2012

San Jose Tourism
Hi Maurice. I am really happy that a lot of people are interested to visit our wonderful town of San Jose. We are very proud of how much our town has changed in the last 2 years. I want to invite you again and see for yourself the big difference. As for everyone who wants to get infos re San Jose, just text me at this number: 09225376366 or call us at (043)-4911301. By the way, please drop by the tourism office so we could assist you in case you are already in San Jose. Hope to see everyone here. tnx
24th June 2012

Thanks for promoting Ambulong Island on this site..... It's really more fun in the Philippines..... right?

Tot: 0.129s; Tpl: 0.017s; cc: 13; qc: 52; dbt: 0.0626s; 1; m:jupiter w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.7mb