Travel Diary: Wandering in San Jose Occidental Mindoro [Throwback]

Have it ever crossed your mind that one day you’re going to travel alone in unfamiliar place? Just the thought of it scares me, being alone and stranger to a certain place oblivious to what lies ahead but at the same time it excites me as well to wander alone and experience some things all by myself.  Though for some people, travelling alone means boring, lonely and weird.
But anyway, when an opportunity turns up, I seized it right away (though I am skeptic and terrified) and flew to the quiet town of San Jose Occidental Mindoro. Maybe, my adventurous side kicks in and beat my skepticism.

Tucked away from the southern tip of the province of Occidental Mindorro, San Jose is a perfect get away vacation spot for those wanting solitary and avoiding the hustle and bustle of city life. It is by far the least popular destination among tourists however, a fairly number of travellers both local and foreign continues to explore they mystery of this quaint town. In fact, it is the jump-off point to the word-class diving site – Apo Reef Marine Park. Honestly, I have no knowledge of this town, though my mother is born and raised in Mindoro but she was from the Oriental side. Besides, only little information about San Jose can be found in the internet.  Perhaps, this makes me interested to find out what this town has to offer.

Arriving at San Jose Airport, I have no definite plan. It was like I’m going to a war unprepared. I have no accommodation, no itinerary, everything is rather spontaneous. This is due to the fact that at the last minute I was still uncertain if I’m going or not. The moment I stepped out of the airport terminal, I took a tricycle, telling the driver to take me to the nearest hotel. Luckily I was able to find a room in Sikatuna Beach Hotel. Situated near Caminawit Port, the hotel offers a budgeted room for P900.00/night with breakfast included and free airport transfer. The room is spacious and clean, good enough for its rate. They also have restaurants which I heard that their seafood cuisine is a must try.

Several beautiful islands to visit here in Occidental and yet the only one I visited is the Manadi Island or better known as White Island. It is a 15 minute boat ride from Caminawit Port. What makes it very attracting and inviting to the tourist is the backdrop view of the island. It is very visible from the hotel where I am staying. Manadi Island is a small island where you can explore the entirety of it in just half an hour (or maybe because it was high tide that time). It has a powdery beach, picturesque view, peaceful and very relaxing setting. It looks like a deserted island but actually, there are locals living there taking care of the place. According to locals, some tourist choose to spend the night in the island probably to experience the serenity and low key life in the island or perhaps, just to enjoy being faraway from the noise pollution in a short while. 

What I enjoyed most during my stay is the sunset at the Caminawit Port. Twice I had the opportunity to enjoy and immersed myself watching the fleeting of sunrise, basking in its glorious shades of warm colours while it gives me the feeling of contentment.

I haven’t explored much of this town. If only I have a better plan, maybe I was able to go to see most of their beautiful islands. But the experience of travelling alone is quite liberating. This is my first time and I learned so much from it. The next time I plan to travel alone again, I will make sure to be equip with better planning and itinerary. I’ll definitely go back here in the future.

**Airphil Express and Cebu Pacific has daily flights going to San Jose Mindoro.