Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sablayan | About the Town

Municipal Profile
A 1st class municipality in the province of Occidental Mindoro, Philippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 63,685 people in 12,533 households.

Sablayan is located in the central part of Occidental Mindoro. It is bounded to the north by the municipality of Santa Cruz and the municipalities of Baco, Naujan, Victoria and Socorro all in Oriental Mindoro province; to the east by the municipalities of Pinamalayan, Gloria, Bansud, Bongabong and Mansalay also in Oriental Mindoro; to the south by the municipality of Calintaan; and to the west by the Mindoro Strait.

Sablayan is politically subdivided into 22 barangays:
· Batong Buhay · San Agustin · Buenavista · San Francisco · Burgos · San Nicolas · Claudio Salgado · San Vicente · General Emilio Aguinaldo · Santa Lucia · Ibud · Santo Niño · Ilvita · Tagumpay · Ligaya · Victoria · Poblacion (Lumangbayan) · Lagnas · Paetan · Malisbong · Pag-Asa · Tuban

Historical Background
SABLAYAN was derived from the word Sablay, a Visayan term meaning wave convergence. In the early times, the very location of the town was where the waves from North and South China Sea meet, hence, the name Sablay that later became Sablayan.

Mangyans were the ancient aborigines of Mindoro. They were believed to be of Malayan origin. They were joined in by natives from neighboring islandsmostly Panayeños led by the TANUNGAN during the second Spanish settlement established by Legaspi. Years later, more arrived who, unlike the first migrants, were already converted Christians; and sometime in 1861 migrants increased in population.

The means of livelihood was agriculture, fishing and hunting. Women though were engaged in weaving sigurang, a fiber derived from buri/nipa leaves.

Sablayan then was often subject to raids by Muslim pirates and slave traders so a wooden tower was built--watched round the clock to guard against approaching raiders. This alarm system was augmented in 1896, when four bells of varied sizesbelieved to have been manufactured in Spainarrived from Manila. These bells rang musical chimes.

Upon the arrival of a Spanish priest, a church had to be built. Men, women and children were conscripted to work on it. After ten years of backbreaking arduous toil, the church was made functional sometime in 1896. This church is now in ruins, its bells gone but the biggest cannon standstill atop a small hill near the lighthouse of Parola. The church was abandoned when the town proper was moved to Buenavista.

In 1901, the first American arrived in Sablayan. Due to the outbreak of Fil-American war, Americans burned the town in 1903. It took years before Sablayan was rebuilt.

Sablayan was already a pueblo (town) under the Spaniards when the Americans came. However, when the American Government took overowing perhaps to its proximity and accessibility to the National Governmentit was converted into a full pledge municipality on January 04, 1906 by virtue of Act No. 1820 of the Philippine Commission.

NoteWrite-up was essentially taken from the official Local Government Unit Profile of Sablayan. For further details you may visit the following URL: Another good source of information can be found in

Monday, February 12, 2007

Sablayan | Tourist Attractions

The tourist attractions mainly featured here are the ones we already visited specifically those with photographs. But of course there are other attractive tourist spots aside from those I featured here. I will simply mentioned them here for purposes of information. I have provided no photos since we have not yet visited these places (hopefully soon!).

UNVISITED: Mt. Iglit-Baco Natural Park
Home of the Mangyans and the Tamaraws

The Park is the habitat of the endemic Tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis), which is one of the most seriously endangered large mammals. Because of the endangered Tamaraw, the Park was initially established as "game refuge and bird sanctuary". The Park has been declared as an ASEAN Heritage site. Other forms of wildlife can also be found in the Park like the Phil. Deer, Wild Pig and Mindoro Cloud Rat as well as a number of bird species which are endemic to the island such as Mindoro Imperial Pigeon, Mindoro Scops Owl, Black-hooped Coucal, Scarlet-collared Flowerpecker and Heart Pigeon.

Mount Iglit-Baco National Park covers large areas of the central part of the island of Mindoro on the Philippines. It is situated near Mt. Baco (2,488 m a.s.l.) and Mt. Iglit, the latter reaching 2,364 m a.s.l. Unfortunately, the island is among the most deforested parts of the archipelago. Less than 3% of primary forests have been preserved there. Remnants of lowland rain, mountain and cloud forests with critically threatened endemic animal species are protected in the national park. Article Source:

UNVISITED: Cabacungan Lake & Falls
The Curtain Shower

Cabacungan Lake and Falls will enthrall you with its curtain- like shower gushing from the sides of rock formation into a stairways mini- fall and towards the still lake. Article Source:

UNVISITED: Malatung-tong River & Falls
Sablayan's Twenty-Foot Falls

Malatong-tong Falls is a 20-ft. falls with scenic verdant forest backdrop rushes into a natural crystal clear pool towards more mini-falls flowing into the famous river. Article Source: Discover the Wonders of Sablayan Brochure.

UNVISITED: Hanging Bridge of San Agustin
Bridge that Takes Your Breath Away

You can also experience the thrill of crossing the hanging bridge in Barangay San Agustin, a really breath-taking experience. Article Source:

UNVISITED: Mindoro Pines
Sablayan's Litte Baguio

Mindoro pine is a tree that used to grow abundantly only in Mindoro Island. Different sectors in the province including the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) through the DBP Forest Project, local communities especially the Alangan Mangyans, local government units, non-government agencies, and people's organizations continue to take part in conserving, protecting and restoring the native Mindoro pine in its natural forest.

Several years ago, Mindoro pine thrived sporadically in the mountain ranges of Abra de Ilog, Mamburao, Sta. Cruz, Sablayan, and Calintaan in Occidental Mindoro. It used to cover 5,000 ha. But the latest Philippine Forestry Statistics revealed that only 695 hectares remain. And it continues to diminish due to grass fires. Article Source:

The Town Bridge
The 'San Francisco Bridge' of Sablayan

The term 'San Francisco' bridge is a common misnomer given by the Filipinos to the 'Golden Gate' Bridge of San Francisco. Nevertheless, the Town Bridge is indeed really look like the famous bridge. Only people, bicycle, and motorbikes may pass the bridge.

Bagong Sabang River (a.k.a. Sablayan River)
Where the Earth and Sky Meet

The small town of Sablayan is built along and around this river whose banks are lined with fishing boats (locally termed ‘bancas') and clustered houses, including a very neat wet market, which is named Sablayan Mall.

This is the same river the flows under the Town Bridge (Sablayan's 'San Francisco' Bridge, see the previous Tourist Attraction before this). The picturesque sceneries along and on top of the river can sometimes be very beautiful.

Poblacion Mangrove
A 105th Philippine Protected Area (PA)

The Mangrove areas along the banks of Sablayan Point up to the mouth of Bagong Sabang River is listed as 105th in the 2002 List of Protected Areas in the Philippines through the effort of PAWB-ARCBC, based under the Wildlife Act of 2001, the areas included in this list are considered critical habitats.

The enactment of R.A. 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act
(NIPAS) in June 1992 was the result of a major review of the park system in
the late 1980’s, when it became increasingly clear that the country’s National Park
system failed to protect biodiversity.

The NIPAS recognises the importance of an integrated protected areas system as an effective and efficient mechanism for the conservation of the country’s biodiversity. Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) was mandated to implement the NIPAS Law in coordination with the ASEAN Regional Center for Biodiversity Conservation (ARCBC).

Note · These information was taken from the technical report of Dr. Perry S. Ong (Ph.D.), Fellow, Center for Applied Biodiversity Science; CI Science Director, Conservation International Philippines; and Associate Professor, Institute of Biology, UP Diliman. For further reading about Protected Areas (PA) under this report, go to

Presing Park (a.k.a. PAROLA)
An Historic Watchtower Against Pirates

Presing Park is a 5-hectare park overlooking the sea, here stands the historic watchtower (Parola) that was used by the early natives to prey on Muslim Vintas. In the middle of the park near the Parola is a 15th century cannon that used to defend the town against the Moro pirates.

Note · This short description was taken from

Karung-Kaban Cave (formerly k.a. Agsuli Cave)
The Famous Cave of Barangay Santo Niño

The Karung-Kaban Cave experience was cool! It won't take long for you to go to the cave's back entrance from its front entrance (approximately 30 minutes). The way inside is often low and narrow but not like other caves, this one was specially not muddy. You will have to crawl from cavern to cavern just to get to the other side. Halfway to the back entrance, you will see a very wide cavern with large, thick, and long roots coming from above. One important thing you really have to rememberbring good flashlights to light your way since it is completely dark inside.

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Siburan Rain Forest
An Important Bird Area (IBA) in the Philippines

Siburan is the largest tract of lowland forest known on Mindoro. This forest is contiguous with the patchy forests on the limestone ridge running north from Malpalon. In 1991, it was estimated that about 1,500 ha of lowland forest remain, with a similar area of unvisited montane forest further east. The lowland forest is generally a closed canopy with trees of up to 25 m or more and a relatively open forest floor.

Mt. Siburan could be the last frontier for the elusive and endemic Tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis) and many beautiful yet endangered birds. This could also be the last refuge for the highly marginalized Mangyans, the indigenous peoples of Mindoro.

Note · Description was partially taken from

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Libuao Lake
Where White Lotus Flourish

A 24-hectare inland lake, Libuao is known for its cool, clear water and for the abundant white lotus (water lily) on its surface, called Libua, after which is was named. A floating kiosk allows visitors a quiet, special commune with nature. Libuao Lake is nestled by the lowland forest of Siburan and the Sablayan Watershed Forest Reserve.

Libuao Lake is situated inside the Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm. It is one of the most pictureques inland water in the country where one can catch fish or just simply relax as you glide along on a raft.

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Pandan Island Resort
The Pristine Island Resort of Sablayan

Pandan Island is a private island with a small resort on the West coast of Occidental Mindoro, Central Philippines. Facing the South China Sea, halfway on the coastal road between Mamburao and San Jose, lays the small fishing town of Sablayan. Off its coast, only a twenty minutes boat ride away, is Pandan Island, a 12 ha big tropical island. Having been uninhabited for many years, this paradise was "discovered" by a French adventurer, who established Pandan Island Resort in 1986.
After the island was 'discovered' and the resort established, this tropical island retreat has been voted time and again as one of the top resorts in the Philippines, not in terms of luxury but for it's quality of life and it's personalised atmosphere.

Note · Description was derived from the official website. For further enquiries as to how you may visit and make arrangements (including their room rates) kindly visit the official site:

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Apo Reef Natural Park
The Second Largest Coral Reef in the World

If there is one dive site which is frequently visited by divers who go to Occidental Mindoro, it is none other than Apo Reef Natural Park. Acclaimed as: [1.] Asia’s Best; [2.] The Second Largest Coral Reef in the World; and [3.] The Diving Mecca of the Philippines.

It is located 20 miles west of mainland Mindoro. The Reef offers a good drift-diving opportunity with crystalline blue water covering an area of 35 square kilometres of coral reefs teeming with a wide variety of marine life. This atoll-like reef is divided by a narrow channel into two lagoon systems (north and south). The channel runs east to west from 1.80 and 27.00 metres deep with a fine white sand bottom, numerous mounds and patches of branching corals under the deep blue water.

The reef water abound with 385 species of colourful marine fishes live in the general area, including families of sharks, stingrays, mantas, school of jacks and snappers, swarms of tropical aquarium fish and the crevice-dwelling morays, blennies and gobies. It has no less than 500 species of corals which includes soft corals and branching types of hard corals. All of these conspire to give divers a rewarding experience that should never be missed.

The Reef has three islands namely Apo Island, Apo Menor also known as Binangaan Island, and Caios del Bajo. The white beaches and the physical attributes of these islands offers tourists a wholesome place for rest and recreation. The islands are accessible by outrigger boats.

The Reef encompasses 15,792 hectares of both land (29 hectares) and water (15,763 hectares). The buffer zone surrounding the protected area has a marine area of 11,677 hectares. It is located within the municipality of Sablayan.

Note · Most these information were taken from the official website of the Local Government of Sablayan. For further information about the province and its other tourist attractions, please visit: You may also visit Philippine Tourism's official website:

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