Mindoro is the seventh largest and eighth-most populous island in the Philippines. With a total land area of 10,571 km2 ( 4,082 sq.mi ) and has a population of 1,408,454 as of 2020 census. It is located off the southwestern coast of Luzon and northeast of Palawan. Mindoro is divided into two provinces: Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro. San Jose is the largest settlement on the island with a total population of 143,430 inhabitants as of 2015. The southern coast of Mindoro forms the northeastern extremum of the Sulu Sea.[3] Mount Halcon is the highest point on the island, standing at 8,484 feet (2,586 m) above sea level located in Oriental Mindoro. Mount Baco is the island's second highest mountain with an elevation of 8,163 feet (2,488 m), located in the province of Occidental Mindoro.

2020 satellite image of Mindoro
Location of Mindoro in the Philippines
LocationSouth East Asia
Coordinates12°55′49″N 121°5′40″E
Adjacent to
Area10,571.8 km2 (4,081.8 sq mi)[1]
Area rank73rd
Coastline618.8 km (384.5 mi)
Highest elevation2,616 m (8583 ft)
Highest pointMount Halcon
Largest settlementSan Jose (pop. 153,267)
Population1,408,454 (2020)[2]
Pop. density117.2/km2 (303.5/sq mi)
Ethnic groups


Mindoro is seventh (7th) largest island in the Philippines. It is divided by two provinces Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro. Mindoro Mountain Range is the largest and longest mountain range in the island with a total length of 200 km (120 mi) north-south and 58 km (36 mi) width east–west. Mount Halcon is a 8,484 feet (2,586 meters) is the island highest point located in Oriental Mindoro.


Mindoro Mountain Range List of highest Peaks by elevation.

  • Mount Halcon 8,583 ft (2,616 m)
  • Mount Baco 8,163 ft (2,488 m)
  • Mount Wood 6,640 ft (2,020 m)
  • Mount Sinclair 6,135 ft (1,870 m)
  • Mount Patrick 5,515 ft (1,681 m)
  • Mount Indie 5,472 ft (1,668 m)
  • Mount Merril 5,151 ft (1,570 m)
  • Mount Calavite 4,990 ft (1,520 m)
  • Mount Tallulah 4,882 ft (1,488 m)
  • Babuy Peak 4,757 ft (1,450 m)
  • Mount Iglit 4,698 ft (1,432 m)
  • Mount Roosevelt 4,567 ft (1,392 m)
  • Mount Burburungan 4,255 ft (1,297 m)
  • Mount Malasimbo 3,957 ft (1,206 m)
  • Mount Balatic 3,934 ft (1,199 m)
  • Mount Talipanan 3,812 ft (1,162 m)
  • Mt. Abra de Ilog 3,533 ft (1,077 m)
  • Mount Mearns 3,274 ft (998 m)
  • Mount Alinyaban 3,008 ft (917 m)

River System

List of major river in Mindoro by length.

  • Bucayao River 82 km (51 mi)
  • Lumintao River 80 km (50 mi)
  • Bongabong River 76 km (47 mi)
  • Busuanga River 70 km (43 mi)
  • Mantangcob River 65.2 km (40.5 mi)
  • Balingkawing River 56.7 km (35.2 mi)
  • Amnay River 56 km (35 mi)
  • Mongpong River 48.2 km (30.0 mi)
  • Mag-asawang Tubig 48.2 km (30.0 mi)
  • Pagbahan River 48 km (30 mi)
  • Arigoy River 48 km (30 mi)
  • Lantuyan River 44.5 km (27.7 mi)
  • Pandurucan River 43.5 km (27.0 mi)
  • Pameyas River 38.8 km (24.1 mi)
  • Santa Cruz River 34.2 km (21.3 mi)
  • Anahawin River 31.4 km (19.5 mi)
  • Abra de Ilog River 27.4 km (17.0 mi)
  • Naujan River 19.2 km (11.9 mi)
  • Calapan River 15.2 km (9.4 mi)


The name Mindoro was likely a corruption of the native name "Minolo". Domingo Navarette ('Tratados...', 1676) wrote "The island which the natives call Minolo is named Mindoro by the Spaniards..." (trans. by Blair and Robertson).[4]


1900 map of Mindoro Island

In past times, it has been called Ma-i or Mait by Han Chinese traders. Indigenous groups are called Mangyans. The Spaniards called the place as Mina de Oro (meaning "gold mine") from where the island got its current name. According to the late historian William Henry Scott, an entry in the official history of the Sung Dynasty for the year 972 mentions Ma-i as a state which traded with China. Other Chinese records referring to Ma-i or Mindoro appear in the years that follow.[5]

The products that Mindoro traders exchanged with the Chinese included "beeswax, cotton, true pearls, tortoiseshell, medicinal betelnuts and yu-ta [jute?] cloth" for Chinese porcelain, trade gold, iron pots, lead, copper, colored glass beads and iron needles.[5]

The island was invaded and conquered by the Sultanate of Brunei and housed Moro settlements[6] before the Spanish invaded and Christianized the population. Afterward, the area was depopulated due to wars between the Spaniards and the Moros from Mindanao who sought to enslave the Hispanized people and to re-Islamize the island.[7][8] Consequently, most of the population fled to nearby Batangas and the once rich towns of Mindoro fell to ruin.[7] In the seventeenth century, Giovanni Francesco Gemelli Careri visited the island.[9] In 1898, Mindoro joined in the Philippine Revolution against Spain due to the influx of rebels settling into the island from Cavite and Bataan. Local patriotism died down however during the American occupation of the Philippines and the Japanese era.

The island was the location of the Battle of Mindoro in World War II.

Nevertheless, upon Philippine independence, the area recovered and from 1920 to 1950, the island was a single province with Calapan as the provincial capital. In 1950, it was partitioned into its two present-day provinces, Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro,[10] following a referendum.


Beach in Northern Mindoro

The economy of Mindoro is largely based on agriculture. Products consist of a wide variety of fruits, such as citrus, bananas, lanzones, rambutan and coconuts, grains (rice and corn), sugarcane, peanuts, fish (catfish, milkfish and tilapia), livestock and poultry. Logging and the mining of marble and copper also thrive. Only 5% of the original forest remains as a result of extensive logging, prevalent agricultural practices, and population growth.[11]

Tourism is a lucrative business as well, with locations such as Apo Reef National Park, Lubang Island, Puerto Galera, Sabang Beach and Mount Halcon. Puerto Galera's beaches are the island's most known tourist attraction and are widely visited.

An important aspect of the economy in Mindoro is mining, mostly performed by outside companies owned by foreign countries. While the foreign countries make most of the money from these mines, the Philippine government still receives some economic and financial benefit from allowing them to mine on their lands. These companies include Pitkin Petroleum, a US-based company which is looking for nickel, oil, and gas in Mindoro,[12] Crew Development Corporation, a Canada-based corporation mining nickel and other precious metals,[13] and Intex, a Norwegian-based company operating the Mindoro Nickel Project. This project is supposed to last 15 years and should produce over 100 million tons of ore by the end of the project.[14] Unfortunately, while the mines might be profitable for the national government, they have caused problems to the environment and the indigenous tribes living in Mindoro.


Resource Rich Devil's Mountain

Mining in Mindoro poses a significant risk to the island's environment. Local and international mining interests have disregarded the island's ecology to gain access to the rich tungsten veins that exist below the surface.[15] Intex, a Norwegian Mining Company attempted to begin prospecting for tungsten deposits, but was halted by a regional environmental protection ordinance.[16] Small scale, legal and illegal, environmentally degrading mining operations still persist throughout the island due to a lack of enforcement by the local police.[17]


The principal language in Mindoro is Tagalog, although in some parts it has been greatly influenced by the native Mangyan and Visayan languages. Visayan and Mangyan languages, too, are spoken on the island, as are Ilocano, Bicolano, and some foreign languages – e.g., English, Hokkien (a national dialect of Chinese), and to a lesser extent, Spanish.

The following indigenous languages (all of them being part of the Philippine branch of the Malayo-Polynesian languages family, like also like Ilocano, Bicolano, and the nationally designated official Filipino dialect of Tagalog) are spoken in Mindoro:

Only the indigenous Mangyan language spoken in the southern part of the island is not part of the Philippine branch, but it is still a Malayo-Polynesian languages, historically developed separately from a common Proto-Malay substrate but under the influence of very ancient and more extensive contacts with Sino-Tibetan languages and cultures (from which a significant part of the native tribes seem to originate), and to a lesser extent with Indo-Aryan languages. Today, however, their local language is under strong influence of other Philippines languages (and notably with dominant Tagalog) and the more recent influence of English.

The common religions on the island fall under Christianity. The religion of the indigenous Mangyan population is animism. Though they are into animism as a principal religion, the Roman Catholic Church in some of Mindoro's parts is also active, so are a few independent subdivisions, like Iglesia ni Cristo and Philippine Independent Church, as well as the Baptist Church.


Mindoro is also home to the tamaraw or Mindoro dwarf buffalo (Bubalus mindorensis), which is endemic to the island. The tamaraw is a bovine related to the water buffalo (carabao) and is an endangered species.



  1. "Islands of Philippines". Island Directory. United Nations Environment Programme. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  2. "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 March 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  3. C.Michael Hogan. 2011. Sulu Sea
  4. Blair, Emma (1906). The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898 Vol. 38. Arthur H. Clark Company. p. 72.
  5. Scott, William Henry. (1984). "Societies in Prehispanic Philippines". Prehispanic Source Materials for the Study of Philippine History. Quezon City: New Day Publishers. p. 70. ISBN 971-10-0226-4.
  6. Prof. Cesar A. Majul attests to the existence of Bornean settlements in Manila and construes that some of the rulers found by the Spaniards were themselves Borneans. He in fact cites that as late as 1574, the Borneans and their allies, the Sulus, continued to extract tribute from the natives of Mindoro, thus this practice must have been going on for quite some time. Cf. Muslims in the Philippines, (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1973), pp. 72.,78; ·
  7. Lopez, Violeta B. (April 1974). "Culture Contact and Ethnogenesis in Mindoro up to the End of the Spanish Rule" (PDF). Asian Studies, Volume XII, Number 1. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  8. Majul, op. cit., p. 108.
  9. Mirabeau, Honoré (1867). Erotika Biblion. Chevalier de Pierrugues. Chez Tous Les Libraries.
  10. "Republic Act No. 505 – An Act to Create the Provinces of Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro". Chan Robles Virtual Law Library. 13 June 1950. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  11. Heaney, Lawrence; Balete, Danilo (Fall 2015). "Documenting and Conserving Biodiversity in the Philippines" (PDF). p. 9. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
  12. Welle (www.dw.com), Deutsche. "Mining expansion threatens indigenous tribes in Philippines | DW | 19.01.2011". DW.COM. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  13. "Mining developments suspended in Mindoro region". www.culturalsurvival.org. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  14. Inquirer, Philippine Daily (12 June 2015). "Mindoro governor leads rally vs mining company". INQUIRER.net. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  15. "Gov. Umali opposes mining activity in Oriental Mindoro | Politiko Bicol Region". 26 April 2019. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  16. "Mining developments suspended in Mindoro region". www.culturalsurvival.org. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  17. Cinco, Maricar (30 December 2014). "Small-scale mining alive in Mindoro". INQUIRER.net. Retrieved 2 May 2022.
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