The Wonders Of Mimaropa

Mimaropa today has become an economic and tourism powerhouse in the Philippines. The region’s high production of rice, corn, and other crops, fishery, and livestock increased the growth in the agriculture and fishery sector. Its industry sector, meanwhile, contributed 38.3 percent to the region’s total economy. 

The output of its domestic industries and cross-border migration also made Mimaropa one of the fastest growing region in the country. As of 2015, the whole population of the Mimaropa region is 2.9 percent of the country’s population, with Palawan having 849,000; followed by Oriental Mindoro with 844,000; Occidental Mindoro with 487,000; Romblon with 293,000; the only urbanized city of Puerto Princesa with 255,000; and Marinduque with 235,000 for a total of 2,963,360.

Innovative Thinking
Danilo Intong, Mimaropa’s newly-appointed tourism director, said he wants to increase their contribution to the total Philippine tourist arrival chart. Palawan had already contributed one million, but he wishes the number would soar as they tap into new markets abroad through promotions.

Intong has a discerning and creative mind. He aims on developing new tourism products throughout his term as part of his development plan for the region.

“We should think out of the box,” he said in an article by Roger Pe of Business Mirror. “We should think, creatively, of other things because there are other ways of creating new products.”

Right now, he is focused on Romblon since it is an emerging tourist destination that is easily accessible from Manila and South Luzon provinces.

A Piece Of Heaven
Situated 15km off the southwest coast of Luzon is Oriental Mindoro. With its unspoiled scenic beauty and bountiful resources, this province offers a myriad of opportunities for nature-lovers, adventurers, and culture enthusiasts alike.

Mindoro’s most famous tourist attraction, Puerto Galera (port of galleons), is the oldest settlement on the island. Boasting of breathtaking landscapes, pristine beaches, and thriving undersea gardens, they continue to attract tourists and travelers into exploring this beautiful town.

You can find Mt. Halcon, the third highest peak in the country, and Lake Naujan, the fifth largest lake in the country, in this province as well.

The island of Mindoro is also home to the Mangyan, one of the major ethnic groups in the Philippines.

Dive Into Paradise
A province that glimmers with natural luster, Occidental Mindoro lies beyond the southwest coast of Batangas. It is the home to the endangered Tamaraw.

The town of Mamburao is the province’s capital and seat of government; meanwhile, San Jose is the center of commerce and entertainment. Lubang Island, along with islands of Ambil, Golo, and Cabra, boasts of fine white sand beaches.

Located at the center of the province is Sablayan, the largest municipality, which has its own municipal fish port where the trading and shipping of produce to surrounding areas happen. A haven of biodiversity, Sablayan is the jump-off point to Apo Reef Marine Park which is dubbed as the diving mecca of the Philippines.

Declared as a national park and forest reservation, Mt. Iglit can also be found in Mindoro.

Rich In Culture
Blessed with fertile soil, rich waters, and precious mineral deposits, the province of Marinduque sits at the center of the Philippine archipelago. It is best known for its unique and colorful cultural traditions such as the Moriones, a colorful tableau that depicts the life and death of Christ during the Lenten season.

Marinduque also stages other festivities that include Kalesayahan sa Gasan every August, Haring Kalabaw Festival in Sta. Cruz, and the Bila-bila in Boac where street dancers represent butterflies.

Aside from its heritage sites and old churches like the Boac and Sta. Cruz Catholic Church, Marinduque has its own share of natural attractions as well. Its underwater haven presents shipwrecks, excellent coral formations, and fringing reefs for snorkeling. The province also possesses many caves that are yet to be documented and fully explored. Bathala Caves, the most famous cave system in the province, are multi-tiered and complex network of seven mostly uncharted caves.

Nature’s Great Wealth
Touted as the Marble Capital of the Philippines, Romblon offers marble products on par with the best in the world.

But Romblon isn’t just about marbles, it also boasts of natural resources and unspoiled beaches. Its lush lands and seascapes also offer travelers opportunities for adventure such as scuba diving, snorkeling, and trekking.

The province is also known for its Biniray Festival celebrated every January. Famed for its carnival atmosphere, merrymaking, dancing, and parade of exceptional costumes. There’s also a flotilla of vessels that circle around Romblon Bay seven times, depicting the Spaniard’s attempts of leaving the shores with the commissioned Sto. Nino statue on board.

World’s Best Island
For a province with numerous accolades as the country’s cleanest and greenest city, Palawan, which means “The Land of Beautiful Safe Harbor,” certainly lives up to its name. Its pristine islands, forests, and clear waters provide a beautiful haven for visitors seeking repose in nature. It has also been dubbed as the “Last Ecological Frontier” in honor of its one-of-a-kind ecological balance.

Its natural wonders, outstanding biodiversity of marine life, and unique flora and fauna are the main attractions in the province. Its sanctuaries, hidden lagoons, limestone cliffs, and beaches which include (but are not limited to) El Nido, Coron, Malampaya Sound, and Tabon caves offer visitors an indelible experience.

Palawan is also the home to two UNSECO World Heritage Sites: the Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park, a marine park that has such a rich marine life, and Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, which was also declared as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Vibrant Festivities
The provinces of Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan came together to celebrate the annual Mimaropa festival, this time in Odiongan, Romblon, last November 20-25, 2017.

Locals, guests, and visitors witnessed the street parade, colorful street dances, and the dance showdown held at the Odiongan Sports Complex.

The participants of Calapan City for the dance showdown were awarded third place, meanwhile the participants of Puerto Princesa got the second place. The grand winner for this year’s dance showdown were from Occidental Mindoro.

Ritchel Mendiola
Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a feature writer based in the Philippines. In addition to writing for Balikbayan Magazine, she is a news correspondent for Asian Journal News-Manila.

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Spotlighting the growth, development, and progression of the Philippines since 2009. Balikbayan Magazine is a publication of the Asian Journal Media Group.