Division of Oriental Mindoro
ORIENTAL MINDORO Oriental Mindoro (Filipino: Silangang Mindoro; Spanish: Mindoro Oriental) is a province of the Philippines located in the island of Mindoro under MIMAROPA region in Luzon, about 140 km southwest of Manila. The province is bordered by the Verde Island Passage and the rest of Batangas to the north, by Marinduque, Maestro del Ocampo Island, Tablas Strait and the rest of Romblon to the east, by Semirara and the rest of Caluya Islands, Antique to the south, and by Occidental Mindoro to the west. Calapan City, the only city in the island, is the provincial capital.
The indigenous people in the province are the Mangyans (Manguianes in Spanish, Ma˝guianes in Old Tagalog), consisting of 7 distinct tribes. They occupy the interior, specially the highlands. Mangyans have inhabited the island since pre-history. They are believed to have originally traveled from Indonesia and settled down for good in the island.
Based on the 2007 Census of Population, Oriental Mindoro has a population of 735,769 which makes it the most populous province in the region. This is higher by 53,951 from the year 2000, resulting in an annual population growth rate of 1.06% during the seven-year period. The province is largely rural, with 70% of the population engaged in agriculture and fishing and with only 30% living in urban centers. Tagalog is widely spoken in the province. Other dialects spoken are Ilocano and Cebuano. Strains of the Mangyan dialect spoken are Arayan, Alagnan, Buhid, Hanunoo, and Tadyawan. Most of the population is of Roman Catholic stock.
Oriental Mindoro is composed of 14 municipalities, with one component city, Calapan City serving as the provincial capital.
The province has a total land area of 4,238.4 km▓; with the western portion of the province being mountainous or rugged, hills and flood plains are widely distributed in the eastern portion.Mount Halcon, standing 2582 m above sea level, is the 18th highest mountain in the country and is the province's and island's highest peak. Lake Naujan, the fifth largest lake in the country with an area of approximately 8,125 ha of open water, is located at the northeastern part of the island and the province.
Oriental Mindoro has no distinct wet or dry seasons. Average temperature ranges from 26 to 32 degrees celsius. The province experiences maximum rainfall during the months of June to October. Relative humidity is registered at 81%.
Legend has it that long before the Spaniards discovered the Philippines, Mindoro was already among the islands that enchanted pilgrims from other countries. It was said that vast wealth was buried in the area, and mystic temples of gold and images of anitos bedecked the sacred grounds of this relatively unknown land. The Spaniards even named the island Mina de Oro, believing it had large deposits of gold. The history of Mindoro dates back before the Spanish time. Records have it that Chinese traders were known to be trading with Mindoro merchants. Trade relations with China where Mindoro was known as Mai started when certain traders from "Mai" brought valuable merchandise to Canton in 892 A.D. The geographic proximity of the island to China Sea had made possible the establishment of such relations with Chinese merchantmen long before the first Europeans came to the Philippines. Historians claimed that China-Mindoro relations must have been earlier than 892 A.D., the year when the first ship from Mindoro was recorded to have sailed for China. Historians believed that the first inhabitants of Mindoro were the Indonesians who came to the island 8,000 to 3,000 years ago. After the Indonesians, the Malays came from Southeast Asia around 200 B.C. The Malays were believed to have extensive cultural contact with India, China and Arabia long before they settled in Philippine Archipelago.
Oriental Mindoro is touted as the country's emerging eco-tourism destination. It evokes images of a genuine tropical paradise --- white sands, crystal clear water, lush green forests covering majestic mountains and splendid waterfalls. With its largely unspoiled natural beauty, the province has much to offer in terms of tourism and other economic opportunities. Special interest tours such as mountain climbing, trekking, hiking, camping, game fishing, adventure trips, natural caves, island hopping, scuba diving, snorkeling are among the exciting activities for recreation. Oriental Mindoro is also called and known now as the LUPAIN NG MAHALTA. Tamaraw (TA), an endemic and or indigenous specie of the water buffalo, various flora and fauna found on slopes of Mount Halcon (HAL) and the native Mangyans (MA), all together add vibrancy to the colors and the richness of nature and culture of the province. Oriental Mindoro's rich and arable land is suitable for agriculture. It is producing large quantities of rice, corn, coconut, vegetables and fruits like calamansi, banana, rambutan, marang or uloy, lanzones and durian. For that, Oriental Mindoro is also known as the Rice Granary and Fruit Basket of Southern Tagalog. It still is the Banana King and Calamansi King of the region. Its total agricultural area is 169, 603.34 hectares. Based on agricultural statistics, 85, 244 hectares are devoted to palay production while 21, 671 hectares to coconut plantation. The province, for the past years, registered an average of 1 to 2 million cavans as surplus in rice production. .