Occidental Mindoro: Bato-Ili Mangyan Community + Season's Hotel San Jose

Monday, March 06, 2023

One of my favorite stops for this trip was our cultural immersion with the Bato-Ili Mangyan Community of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. 

It was totally unexpected. We came from a long morning of island hopping in Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro, and already feeling the exhaustion for being on the road for hours. It was late in the afternoon when we arrived in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. The perfect golden hour. The view of the mountains and the greeneries were entrancing. 

Passed by the Devil’s Mountain of San Jose, Mindoro

We passed by the Devil's Mountain on our way to the community. The sun hits one side of the mountain, giving it an interesting reddish color. The Devil's Mountain name came from its sharp edges and unique shape similar to horns. We had to stop the van to take pictures, but we were already facing the other side of the mountain (still beautiful though!).

When we reached the village, I was so amused that there were kids on top of the hills as if welcoming us. 

Bato-ili Mangyan Community Immersion

When we went out of the van, we were indeed welcomed by the community and the LGU of San Jose with bright smiles and sashes. Rolling hills sprawled the landscape, it was such a sight to behold. We were directed to one of the hills that served as a fitting stage where we watched traditional performances of the Mangyans. The LGU of San Jose proudly protects their indigenous community with appropriate programs. 

A traditional dance tayuk performed with a traditional wooden instrument as music

Captivated by the indigenous culture and art we were witnessing

They also performed a touching song, and wearing skirts they weaved themselves

A quick photo before we headed to the nearby elementary school

Ang ganda noh! A contrast to being in the sea for the past days...

Bato Ili Elementary School

Sun was setting when we drove to the nearby local elementary school, where we were once again welcomed with refreshments and wonderful performances. Sir Marvy handed each of us fresh  buko juice, while we listened to introductions and watched the kids performed. It was really heartwarming, by this time, I was so overwhelmed already by how beautiful this community welcomed us.

Thank you for warmly welcoming us 

Crafts by the Bato-Ili Mangyan community

The students performed traditional dances

While the elders of the Bato Ili community (or the gurangon) were also present

The school teachers were also introduced to us, one being a volunteer teacher who serves the community without getting a single penny. It was all for the love, which really touched my heart on how there are still people living selflessly for their community. Sometimes you'll meet these beautiful human beings in far-off places who will remind you of true service. 

Bato-Ili Elementary School Teachers

They even served merienda for us, yummy! Enjoyed the malunggay chips and kutsinta with my drip coffee

The hospitality did not end, we also received gifts! The tag says: "Maraming Salamat Po! Balik po kayo sa San Jose!" Will definitely be back 

Before heading to our vans, we passed by one of the classrooms. 

They need a little help with the floorings and other renovations

In case you have a little to spare and would like to donate to the Bato-Ili Elementary School, please contact Sir Marvy at +63945-440-5628.

More group pictures from the Tourism San Jose Facebook page

Thank you for such a memorable experience!

San Jose Pasalubong Center

Final final stop before heading to our hotel for the night was at the San Jose Pasalubong Center. I wonder what tourists usually bring home from Mindoro? I only know of the Rich Blitz Cheezy Cake Bar after receiving a box earlier at the elementary school, and masarap sya! I recommend it.

Anyway, I got my parents' favorite treats after spotting some in the store (a bottle of honey for dad, banana chips for mom, and some packs of sampaloc for me). The San Jose Pasalubong Center is proudly operated by a group of small and medium local enterprises of Mindoro.

Support local! Shopping time!

The pasalubong center is located at the entrance of the San Jose Municipal Town Plaza

Seasons Hotel and Convention Center

And finally, dinner and check-in! We stayed at the Seasons Hotel and Convention Center, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro till our last day. Place is nice, but a notable thing about staying here is that the San Jose Airport is just a stone throw away. No worries of being late na for your flight.

Table pic before we got our dinner from the buffet set-up

I had some yummy fried tofu, vegetables, rice, and buchi

Ruth and I stayed in their Deluxe Room with two single beds. It is a basic room that is spacious enough to open our luggages, and was one of our most comfortable stays while in Mindoro.

Our room for two nights

The toilet and bath

We stayed here for 2 nights before heading early morning during our last day at the airport. But before that, we still had one full day in Occidental Mindoro to experience the "longest zipline in Asia"!

Read my Mindoro Adventures: 



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