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Treasures of Oriental Mindoro

Mangyans, Mt. Halcon, Tamaraw and Naujan Lake: The Icons of Oriental Mindoro

Oriental Mindoro has four icons that represent the province like no other: the Mangyans, Mt. Halcon, Tamaraw, and Naujan Lake. These gems, when combined, form the word MaHalTa Na which signifies the Mindoreño identity. It connotes how a Mindoreño would greet its visitors; Mahal Kita, welcome, I love you. An annual week-long festival showcase, Mahalta Na Festival, is held to commemorate the founding of Oriental Mindoro and bring together the treasures of Oriental Mindoro.

Mangyan

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Mansalay Hanunuo Mangyan Women wearing beaded accessories

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Mangyan man, Mindoro island by Dari Ingal By Vsemoguchi – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, cc

Mangyan is the collective name of different ethnolinguistic indigenous groups that reside on the island of Mindoro. These communities are Iraya, Alangan, Batangan, Tadyawan, Buhid, Tao Buid, Hanunoo, Ratagnon. The term “Mangyan” means “people” and is used to distinguish the communities from the lowland settlers.

Centuries of foreign influence, discrimination, and exploitation have changed the culture and traditions of the Mangyans; from the hostility of the Spaniards and racist tribal policies of Americans.

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And against all odds, the Mangyans showed resilience and pride in their culture and tradition. Their resoluteness has preserved traditional crafts, ways of dressing, and syllabic writing that have survived up to this day.

Mt. Halcon

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View of Mt. Halcon from Barangay Dulangan II, Baco, Oriental Mindoro By Mil Del – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, cc

Standing at 8,484 feet and the eighteenth highest mountain in the Philippines, Mt. Halcon is a natural dividing barrier between Oriental and Occidental Mindoro. The majestic mountain is one of the best-hiking destinations and one of the toughest mountains to climb because of the steep trails through dense jungle, ridges, waterfalls, and river crossings. However, its value is not limited to the summit with the view of a breathtaking sea of clouds.

Mt. Halcon is home to a diverse flora and fauna species, most of which are endemic and endangered. Some of the protected animals in the mountain are the Mindoro bleeding-heart and Conlephasma enigma. The lush vegetation and fragile ecosystem of Mt. Halcon are threatened by corporations looking to extract the rich deposits of valuable minerals the mountain is known for.

Tamaraw

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Meet the Tamaraw named Kalibasib

Bubalus mindorensis, otherwise known as Tamaraw, are endemic to the island of Mindoro, preferring tropical highland forested areas near sources of water and moist areas like grasslands.

Tamaraws are critically endangered and their biggest threats are habitat loss due to infrastructure development, logging and agriculture, and poaching for food and sustenance. It is important to save their population to protect the province’s wildlife and ecosystem.

Naujan Lake

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Naujan Lake National Park by Orlan Rovira Frane via Wikipedia cc

Naujan Lake is bordered by the Municipalities of Naujan, Victoria, Socorro and Pola. Home to a large variety of local fish and water birds and migratory species from China and neighboring countries looking to warmer locations to breed. It is the fifth-largest lake in the Philippines and the largest freshwater lake in Oriental Mindoro. It was declared by the Ramsar Convention as a “wetland of international importance” in 1999.

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