Puerto Galera is a quick getaway for people in Manila, but it does not only offer tourists white beaches. There is also something else worth seeing, the Mangyan Village.
The white beach of Mindoro sure is popular, but never have I heard of anyone talking about Mangyan Village.
I planned to stay in the island for five days, and aside from snorkeling and night life, I did not know what else there was to do, so I asked around.
And what I got is, a few kilometers away is a village where Iraya-Mangyans, the indigenous people of Mindoro, live. I hired a motorcycle for Php50 to take me to the village and from there, there were Mangyans already waiting for a tourist guide job. The tour guide agreed to receive Php150 for like a half-day tour.
As soon as I arrived, I felt excitement as I saw the entrance. It was like going into a Scandinavian city back in the times of Vikings.
The village is located at the foot of Mt. Malasimbo and is definitely a place for nature tripping.
The structures were stilt and not of modern architecture, but they looked as strong as ever. The floors were made of stones, and the walls and roofs were thatched.
They also put up small shops where tourists could buy their hand woven products and rare shells as souvenirs. I also got to see some locals actually making these handicrafts. They were willing to let me try it too. The people were welcoming with their warm smiles, and the elders were the most interesting with their traditional clothes.
Aside from the village and the people, there was adventure too going to the hidden falls of the village.
My tour guide took me farther in till we reached the river streaming with fresh cold water. It was like a picture from desktop backgrounds, only 5D.
We scaled big rocks to reach the falls. The rocks were covered with moss making it slippery to step on. This is when the challenge began.
Since I was wearing slippers (I did not know I’d go hiking), my tour guide was very careful and helped with literally every step. The trail went steep and got narrower. And from my left side, I could see the deep ravine. One wrong step, I’d fall and bash my brains out.
We hiked for almost half an hour, I was tired and sweating but I could already feel the temperature getting cold and I could hear water streaming.
We were near to the first falls. Finally,the moment I laid eyes on the falls, I was ecstatic.
I quickly dipped myself in the chilling waters. It was like a private falls for myself. The water was too cold to stay in for too long, and the sun was about to set. It was time to go.
Going to Mangyan Village was really worth it. It is one experience I have that is truly reminiscing. If you are reading this because you would like to see Mangyan Village, please consider the following:
1. Hire a Mangyan tour guide. They know the place better, and this is also extra income for the men.
2. Bring some cash to spend on souvenirs, this is a way to support their source of income, or if you would like to try making their handicrafts, you may give the ladies a token of appreciation.
3. If you could bring school supplies for children in this small community, that would be awesome! They let tourists see the school.