Sunday, March 06, 2011

Occidental Mindoro: White Island and Ambulong Island in San Jose

I got to visit San Jose, Oriental Mindoro early last year. It was a really quick trip and I only had time to go island-hopping off the coast of San Jose. On the list of islands to visit is White Island which is about 15 minutes by pump boat from Caminawit Port.

I'm quite amused how the local government promotional material describes the beach as made of smooth and powdery white sand even though it's far from powdery. In fact, the sand is quite rough and most of the island is made of pieces of coral. But it's definitely better than the beach where I boarded the pump boat which has darker sand and was littered with plastic.

I also got to visit Ambulong Island which could have had really stunning beaches. But unfortunately, the local government did not control the development of the barangay there. So the houses are on the long stretch of beach itself, right by the water. For a beach as beautiful as Ambulong, the houses should have been built even just a few meters further back so that the community could have benefited from tourist arrivals. I was told that the community only sprouted a few years ago. Such a pity!

But the good thing is that there was a small patch of land further down the beach which had been fenced off to prevent settlers from building there. I was told by the caretaker that it belonged to a foreigner who was married to a local, and that they planned to build a beach resort there. Ironically, it's a foreigner who saw the potential of the beach.

When I fly to San Jose, Occidental Mindoro again, I'll make sure to visit Pandan Island in the town of Sablayan which is the beach resort to visit when you are in Occidental Mindoro.
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