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San Jose, Mindoro–July 24, 2010

As I have said in the past, not every Lakwatsa turns out as one expects. Then again, since I didn’t exactly have any plans made out for this trip, expectation was low. Simply put, it rained throughout the entire weekend. Not as strong as it did in Manila, but it rained nonetheless. Every now and then there were splotches of sun peering though the cloudy sky… but these moments would last an hour at most. Oh well… at least I made it to San Jose and escaped the downpour in Manila.


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Probably the most known “touristy” spot in Mindoro is Puerto Gallera which one takes a ferry from the Batangas Port to travel to. This trip takes me to the southern end of the island of Mindoro.
 
The town of San Jose, Mindoro is a small town with a very decent sized airport. The airport used be the Thomas Mcguire Airstrip during World War II and used to be home to B-24 bombers. After the war, the airport became the hub of air flight into Mindoro.
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Just outside the airport is a monument to the Tamaraw (aka Mindoro Dwarf Buffalo). One of the trips I wanted to make while in Mindoro was to visit the Tamaraw sanctuary.
 
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I got to my hotel for the night. The El Mora Hotel. I had attempted to book myself in other hotels but didn’t get a very welcoming experience when I called them. Then I accidentally found this hotel in another travel blog on Virtual Tourist, as such… that is how I got to stay here. It was very a very nice place and seemed out of place for such a small town. It actually resembled one of those new zen-style homes one would see in Makati.
 
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Nice design. It had a pool. But no water. It had a restaurant called Pilot’s Lounge. Good food.
 
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As you can see from the architecture and the room décor… it certainly does not look like a small town hotel.
 
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Even had an LCD and a split-type air conditioner.
 
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I walked around the beach late that afternoon going up and down the beach at dusk. Looked quite interesting. After walking around for around 45min I went back to the hotel to take a nap. When I woke up, I was ready for some dinner when I realized…
 
It was raining.
 
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Sigh…
The next morning I took a walk along the beach to appreciate the beach during daylight.
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Don’t be to deceived by the pictures I took above… because 30 min later. It rained.
 
I had planned to do some Island hoping to investigate the many Islets within visual range of the beach. But when discussing with the local boatmen, the trip would not be smooth due to the weather. And it was raining in the far islands (you can see some of the rain in the picture above)… alas scrap that idea.
 
Fellow Travel Blogger Ivan Henares suggested I go to Apo Reef… which I hear is really great. Again, under normal circumstances maybe… but the rains literally put a damper on things.
So I decided on a short trip to the town for a look around.
First, a stop at the town square…
 
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Then a visit to St. Joseph’s Cathedral next to the town square (every major town has the town square, City Hall, and main Church next to each other)
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We went out of the town and stopped by the local port.
 
 
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It was at this time that I was supposed to head for the Tamaraw Sanctuary. And then… it rained. And rained. Then it rained some more.
 
I decided to abandon my quest and head back to the hotel. Where it rained. And rained. And rained a little more.
 
I took advantage of the rain and had another great nap. I had lunch then proceeded back to the airport to catch my flight.
 
It was a relaxing stay in this interesting little town where life was slow. And despite my island hoping and tamaraw adventures were rained out. It was still quite an in interesting lakwatsa.
 
Note: I know my pictures don’t seem to show it. It was actually quite cloudy and wet the whole weekend.

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El Mora Hotel Contact: +63 (43) 491-4869