Tabuk Beach, BulalacaoTabuk Beach is the closest beach to the town of Bulalacao (boo-la-la-cow) and this webcam sits atop the municipal offices in the barangay of Poblacion. Bulalacao is located in the extreme southeast of Mindoro Island in the province of Oriental Mindoro (Or. Mindoro). Bulalacao is beautiful and offers an extreme variety of environments for sports, water sports and eco tours. Bulalacao has thirteen outlying islands and too many beaches to count in a day, each beach has its own unique colour of sand. The whitest sand beaches around Bulalacao are on Buyayao Island, Tambaron Island, Target Island and Aslum Island.
Tabuk Beach is a barrier between the southwest-monsoon-driven waves and the extensive areas of fertile mangroves beyond. The original town of Bulalacao was situated on Tabuk Beach until devastating storms, coincident with an earthquake, in 1844, flooded the settlement and it was relocated to its present position on higher ground, to the West of the Tabuk Beach.
Within the municipality of Bulalacao lies Buyayao Island, like a virgin Boracay - with powder soft, white sand beaches to melt into; all of Buyayao Island's seven beaches are palm fringed fronting large expanses of crystal clear waters. Off the beach scuba diving and snorkelling are must-do water sports at Buyayao Island.
Where Bulalacao differs from Boracay Island is that it is as yet undiscovered by the majority of pleasure seeking tourists, Bulalacao offers a diverse range of island and beach environments with forests, wild animals, flora and fauna long since ejected from the more famous Boracay Island.
Bulalacao also offers: hiking in rain forests, waterfalls, birdwatching and wildlife photography opportunities that include rare tropical plants, birds, bats and animals.
All water sports are possible in Bulalacao, including: scuba diving, windsurfing, snorkelling, kiteboarding, sailing and kayaking. Bulalacao adventure sports include hiking, climbing and mountain biking. If visiting Bulalacao for water sports then (at the time of writing) you must be prepared to bring your own equipment. The first Bulalacao scuba diving dive shop is planned for later in 2009/early 2010 and windsurfing has already caught the imagination with the first Bulalacao invitational windsurfing competition taking place off Tabuk Beach in April 2009.
Bulalacao is only a couple of hours by boat from Boracay Beach and a couple of hours from Manila by plane and road; Bulalacao is 45kms from San Jose airport.
The only challenge with Bulalacao in 2009 is that, like Boracay Island 25 years ago, the infrastructure to support large numbers of tourists is only just being established. Bulalacao is therefore currently most popular for the backpacker tourist and bring-your-own sports enthusiasts. Significant investment is already in place for the concreting of roads (ongoing) from Bulalacao to San Jose airport (to the West) and Calapan (to the North), which will make Bulalacao a prime tourist destination, within 30 minutes of San Jose airport. If you want to see the virgin Boracay of Bulalacao before it is too popular then travel now.
There are no "hotels" in Bulalacao but there are inns and houses where spare rooms have been converted to cater for a steadily growing number of visitors, eager to explore this gem of Mindoro before the World arrives. The most often recommended place to stay in Bulalacao town is the South Drive Inn & Grill (+63 928 503-3327 Engr. Ching) where clean, well serviced, air conditioned rooms (each good for 2-4 persons) are available. Other places in Bulalacao town, offering similar accommodation, are the San Rosa Inn (+63 918 385-1433 - Marilou) and the Felipa Lodge (+63 928 705-7035 - Marie). Prices range from Php800-1000 per room per night.
Bulalacao has a handful of small beach resorts currently in operation, the most popular of which are: Tambaron Island Green Beach Resort (+63 920 339-2595 - Jimmy), Tambaron Island; and, Thelma's Paradise (+63 907 440-1299) on Bulalacao's Long Beach at Maujao (ma-oo-how), they call it a "farm resort" because you can also participate in the Bulalacao farming lifestyle when you are not on the beach; on two of the thirteen islands of Bulalacao there are other beach resorts but we have no qualified reports about their accommodations or facilities.
Bulalacao is still virtually untouched and a must-visit for the adventurous tourist; especially visit Bulalacao today for island hopping, scuba diving, snorkelling and windsurfing.
Aslom Beach is perhaps the most ideal tropical getaway. The unspoiled beauty of the island is ideal for jungle trekking and coral-hunting. I was informed that celebrities and famous Philippine cagers have visited the island, stayed for a few days and came back for more experience and adventure. The beautiful beach, shady cool trees and clear waters add sparkle and mystic to this gorgeous paradise. As I run my fingers on the powdery white sand, I felt that the whole place has a way of hugging you tight, comforting you and making you let go of whatever emotional baggage you’re carrying. In contrast with the blue sky and deep blue sea, Aslom Island is truly a sight to behold.
How to get there
About 1.5 kilometers south of Barangay Milagrosa lies the 12 hectares Aslom Island. The island is an ideal place for ships to anchor during storms. Half of it is planted with coconuts. Bulalacao is the southernmost municipality of Oriental Mindoro. From Calapan City, board a van going to Mansalay. From Mansalay town proper, ride on a passenger jeepney going to Bulalacao. From Bulalacao Bay, there are motor boats that can be rented from P1,000-P1,500 for a day’s travel to the islands of Aslom, Target and Tambaron. However, it is worthy to note that public vehicles going out of the municipality stays only up to 1:00 in the afternoon. There are no available vehicles afterwards. You can hire a motorcycle going to Mansalay or Roxas or spend the night over in town and wait for the first trip instead in the morning.
Name: Mayor Ernilo C. Villas
Bulalacao can be found at the Southernmost tip of Mindoro Oriental, about six to seven hours away from Calapan City (capital).
The paved roads of Mindoro Oriental end at Roxas, the municipality before Bulalacao, which is about four hours from Calapan City. From Roxas, the road to Bulalacao is unpaved, dusty, and winding. The heat can be stifling and almost punishing. During the drive, you get a feeling that you're stuck in the middle of nowhere because for a long time, you only see dried cogon grass by the mountainside, and sprinkling of trees here and there. Nothing else. No house, no people.
You know you are getting to the Bulalacao poblacion when you pass by the Mangyan Village. The Mangyans are the indigenous peoples of Mindoro. It is the Hanunuo tribe that can be found in Bulalacao, one of the more advanced Mangyan tribes. They still have their own form of writing, and many still proudly wear their native attire for their everyday activities.
Mangyans are known to be peace-loving and kindly people. Stories of their honesty are often heard. A friend of mine relayed his own. He left his wallet while conversing with the Mangyans. When he remembered and went back for it, it remained untouched. A rare breed at this time and age.
The main Bulalacao poblacion is unimpressive, looking just like any other town in the Philippines. But it is really their islands that has the exotic charm backpackers would delight in.Quick Tips: People can speak Tagalog. But the southern part of Mindoro Oriental has some mix of Cebuano since it is near Romblon and Roxas which are Cebuano-speaking areas.
Going on a trip to Bulalacao is best with a big bunch of friends or a pocket heavy with cash because it is not a route common to public transportation. (More on this in next section.)
It is best that you know someone from Bulalacao, or at least get a contact. Getting around would be easier that way. There are only a few places to stay there. You can find it here. But my friends and I actually stayed in a local resident's place.
Do not forget to bring sunblock. The sun is very strong in this place that most of the mountainside are brown rather than green. And expect to get dark unless you are faithful in re-applying.
A swimsuit is a must. Because the fun in this trip is taking a dip from island to island. With the pristine clear waters and white sands, you just can't resist.
Bring food as well. Though it would be easy to get fresh fish, it would be better if you have snacks and water because they only have small stores and no big marts.
Of course, camera and batteries. It's hard to look for good kind batteries so better have a spare ready.Best Way To Get Around: Hiring a van to Bulalacao is best. But it can be quite expensive (P1500 to P2000) depending on your negotiation skills. You can also take the Bulalacao mini-bus from Roxas, whose last trip is 3pm. That would be more convenient for single or small group travelers.
Prepare another P2000 to P2500 for hiring a boat to take you to the islands. Best to go early in the morning and leave around 2-3pm to avoid the big waves. The waves are big enough as it is going there. But nothing to worry about.
If you get dizzy easily, better drink Bonamine, just in case.