When we say Occidental Mindoro, most may likely associate the province with the famous Apo Reef and Pandan Island in Sablayan, when it comes to tourist spots. To get there–and in different towns in the province—is the unassuming yet promising town of Abra de Ilog.
Abra de Ilog, which simply means “opening of a river,” is a serene and quiet town that serves as the only gateway to Occidental Mindoro. Probably what makes the town busy and noisy in a day is when a RORO ship docks in its port, carrying with it hundreds of locals and tourists alike eager to visit what Occidental Mindoro has to offer.
But one needs not to look farther. Abra de Ilog is an emerging destination tourist can add to their travel destinations.
What To Do in Abra de Ilog?
1. Bike Around Town
Abra de Ilog is an emerging place for bike enthusiasts. Recently, it has opened trails around town, through the initiative Padyak Tamaraw Bike Ride, where locals and visiting bikers can marvel at the raw beauty of the town in two wheels. Indeed, what more could be more enjoying than biking around town and getting fit while being in a place so scenic and peaceful?
There are the two trails that are now open for mountain biking for beginners and intermediate bikers. The first one will lead you towards the Puerto Galera side, consisting of uphill and downhill ride. However, the road to Oriental Mindoro is still not yet finished. Cemented pavements good for biking is only within Abra de Ilog. Nevertheless, bikers still get a pleasant view of the town’s array of mountains, its port, and the sea, as well as get to pass by Mangyan villages located on the hillside.
The second trail, meanwhile, showcases three waterfalls that can be explored in a day—Papali, Agbalala, and Apyas Falls. See below for sample Day Trip Itinerary.
2. Chase Waterfalls, Explore Rivers, and Dip in the Seas
Abra de Ilog boasts of several waterfalls that surround the town. As written earlier, the most popular of which are Papali, Agbalala, and Apyas.
According to locals, there are still unexplored falls which are yet to be opened to the public.
As for the sea, Abra de Ilog has Munting Buhangin Beach in Barangay Udalo, which is a 20-minute boat ride away from the port. Pick-ups from the port to the beach need to be pre-arranged. There is an array of resorts to choose from there.
This white beach boasts of rock formations displayed by the seaside that is partnered with the vibrant calmness that is offered by the sun, the sand and the waves, and the sea.
You can also arrange for a tour in the nearby Kalong River.
3. Visit Communities of Iraya-Mangyans
It has been said that 40 percent of the population of Abra de Ilog are the Mangyan, specifically the Iraya group.
Iraya-Mangyans have adopted the lowland people’s way of living, especially through the way they dress. They are also skilled in weaving and handicrafts.
In the town, one of the most evident villages of the ethnic group is located in Barangay Lumang Bayan, located near the port.
Aside from Abra de Ilog, Iraya-Mangyans live in other towns in Occidental Mindoro like Palaun, Sta. Cruz, and Mamburao, as well as in some places in Oriental Mindoro.
Where to Stay in Abra de Ilog?
Iraya Hotel, named to pay tribute to Iraya-Mangyans, is the only hotel in Abra de Ilog. A 24-hour stay costs PHP 1,500.00. Rooms are clean and comfortable with a single bed, good for two persons only. It also has TV, built-in telephone and side table. Bathrooms have a heater.
Where to Eat in Abra de Ilog?
At the port, there are a bunch of eateries to choose from. But I suggest you try Iraya Restaurant for its big lomi serving as well as other food options like bulalo, silog orders, and pancit at a very affordable price.
How to Get There?
1. From Manila, ride a bus going to Batangas Port. Travel time is two hours.
2. Book a ticket via Montenegro Shipping Lines Inc (MSLI) going to Abra de Ilog. Travel time is three hours.
3. From the port of Abra de Ilog, walk a little further to go to Iraya Hotel.
Tricks and Tips
1.Do not opt for the 2 am RORO Schedule bound to Abra de Ilog. During the wee hours up to morning, it is low tide in Abra de Ilog. Chances are your itinerary will be affected because of the delay of the RORO.
2. If you are coming from Puerto Galera, you may take a boat ride going to Abra de Ilog in Balatero Port. From White Beach, ride a tricycle going to Balatero Port. Fare costs PHP 120.00. The boat ride from Balatero Port to Abra de Ilog Port is PHP 250.00 each. Estimated travel time is two hours.
3. Coordinate with the local tourism office of Abra de Ilog if you are going on a bike trail. Contact Mr. Geoffrey Panganiban, local tourism designates and email him at
Travel Budget Breakdown
Manila to Batangas Port- PHP 175.00
Batangas Port to Abra de Ilog Port: PHP 260. 00
Batangas Port Terminal Fee: PHP 30.00
Tricycle Fare: Php 30.00
Room Accommodation: PhP 1,500.00
Food Per Meal: PHP 120.000
Abra de Ilog Port to Batangas Port: PHP 260. 00
Abra de Ilog Terminal Fee: PhP 10.00
Batangas Port to Manila- Php 175.00
Day Trip Bike Ride
6pm-8pm Manila to Batangas Port
10am-1am Travel Batangas to Abra de Ilog
2am-5am Rest/ check in at Iraya Hotel
6am-7am Start bike trail to Papali
7am ETA Papali
8am-8:30am Bike to Agbalala Falls up to registration area
8:30-9:00 Trek to Agbalala Falls
11:30am-11:45am Travel to Apyas Falls
11:45am-12:30pm Rest/Dip in Apyas Falls
12:30pm-1pm Travel back to hotel
4 pm- 7 pm Travel back to Batangas Port
7pm-10pm Back to Manila
Two Day Sample Itinerary
6pm-8pm Travel to Batangas Port from Manila
10pm-1am Travel time from Batangas Port to Abra de Ilog
2 am Rest/ Check in to Hotel
6am-7am Breakfast at restaurant
7am-3pm Tour Papali, Agbalala, and Apyas Falls
3pm-4pm Go back to hotel or visit an Iraya-Mangyan community
8am-10am Trek to Kalong River
10am-1pm Rest and Lunch
1pm-2pm Travel to Munting Buhangin Beach
2pm-5pm Rest by the beach
5-6pm Travel back to hotel
7pm-9pm Rest/ Prepare for Departure
10pm-1am Travel from Abra de Ilog Port to Batangas Port
1 am- 3pm Travel back to Manila
About the Writer
Gelyka is a wild heart, free-spirited, 20-something Filipina who lives life traveling, writing, and meeting people. When not on the road, she is either beating deadlines for an article assignment or babysitting her one-year old nephew. She lives in Makati City. E-mail her at [email protected] or check her thoughts on travel, life, and love at Musings and Pathways.