The Unadulterated Paradise Called Bulalacao (Part 1)

Aslom Island
Oriental Mindoro may be famous for the beach destination known as Puerto Galera. I remember back when I was still in college, Puerto Galera is one of our favorite weekend escapes as it is only a few hours away from Manila via Batangas port. Back then, we could already imagine that the place would later lose its serenity in exchange for a loud and wild ambiance that is now known for. Sigh.

But the good news is, Oriental Mindoro is not just about Puerto Galera. Off the southernmost tip of the province is a quiet town called Bulalacao, which hosts a number of pristine, unspoiled islands and natural wonders.

Bulalacao may not be as popular as Puerto Galera or Apo Reef, but its array of destination offerings is sure to satiate your wanderlust.

How to go to Bulalacao:

From Manila 
by Air

Cebu Pacific flies daily to San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. From the airport's arrival area you may opt to take a tricycle (Php 50 per trip) or walk to the highway where you can hail a regular tricycle  at Php 15 per person. Tell the driver to bring you to the van or bus terminal going to Bulalacao. Vans going to Roxas or Calapan will pass through Bulalacao. Fare is Php 150 and travel time is around an hour and a half.

by Sea

Montenegro Shipping Lines and FastCat have daily trips from Batangas port to Calapan, Oriental Mindoro. Ferries leave every two hours. From Calapan port, you may take a bus or van bound to San Jose. This will pass by the town of Bulalacao.

From Caticlan
by Sea

Just recently, the Bulalacao port opened its doors to FastCat, which plies the Bulalacao-Caticlan route. There are several regular trips daily, and travel time is around two and a half hours. Economy fare starts at Php 375.


Rainy landing at San Jose Airport
 Where to stay in Bulalacao:
While there are a number of accommodations in Bulalacao, we opted to stay at South Drive Farm Beach Resort in Tulali Beach. An offshoot of the original South Drive Grill and Homestay (located at the Bulalacao town proper), the resort is owned and developed by Engr. Ching Jano and her husband, and serves as their quick beach getaway during weekends. If you're coming from San Jose, you will see this resort first before the van or bus go all the way down to the town proper.


At present, the resort has two air-conditioned rooms, which are priced at Php 1,500 per night. The well-appointed rooms have a hot and cold shower, comfortable beds with crisp and clean linens, a flatscreen cable TV, electric fan, and emergency lights. The two rooms share a veranda where you can enjoy the panoramic views of the sea or have cozy dinners and breakfasts.

Our home for the weekend
The room can comfortably fit two to four people 
Spacious and clean bathroom with hot and cold shower
A nice spot to read a book or just chill out
The other room which can also fit a family of four
 On a good weather, meals are served at a native al fresco hut just across the rooms. The hut, according to Tita Ching, was created out of old hardwood planks from the original South Drive Grill, which was somehow ruined by a typhoon. They added colorful capiz window panels to have an illusion of enclosure. Her husband also added giant rocks at the back of the hut for added structure.
A hut where meals are usually served
Since South Drive Grill started as a restaurant, you are assured to have scrumptious meals during your stay here. Just a note though, the resort does not have a restaurant yet in Tulali Beach, so all food and beverage orders come from the main branch at the town proper. With this, it is advisable that you order your meals with ample lead time.

Upon arrival, Tita Ching welcomed us with a warm serving of dinuguan (pork blood stew) and puto (rice cake). Not usually included in the package but Tita Ching was just so sweet enough to treat us to a welcome "merienda."
Dinuguan
The resort is nestled on cliff that leads to a secluded cove called Tulali Beach. The cove, which can be all yours during off-peak season, has a nice stretch of fine brown sand. During summer months, guests can actually pitch their tents here to camp the night. They also said that during summer, the water is clear and snorkeling is another activity to enjoy here.

Tulali Beach




There are also huts and cottages for day trips, as well as a function hall which can host seminars and intimate gatherings. The place has become a favorite among the locals of Bulalacao as well as the neighboring provinces of Occidental Mindoro and Aklan.

A hut

The function hall
Beef sukiyaki

Chicken afritada

Spicy crabs
What to do in Bulalacao:

We spent our first day listening to the waves of the sea and taking well-deserved naps in between. Our room was such a cocoon that we didn't mind staying in for the whole day. I actually think I overslept! While we chose to rest on our first day, you might consider going around Bulalacao as soon as you arrive at the resort.

Depending on the season, you can check out many islands and other spots in Bulalacao. During the summer months, it is recommended that you check out the islands of Target, Aslom, Silad, and Tambaron, where you can indulge in beautiful white sand beaches and teeming marine life. During the southwest monsoon months of July-October, seas can get rough and going to Target, Silad, and Tambaron islands may be quite risky. Buyayao and Suguicay islands are generally safe during the southwest monsoon months as long as you take off from San Roque (for Buyayao) and from Bangkal (for Suguicay). However, if you are like us who went from Suguicay to Buyayao from Bangkal, expect the biggest waves you can imagine during the rainy season especially at the point where you would enter a channel that separates Buyayao Island from mainland Bulalacao.

There is also a falls called Talon in Bagong Sikat. The trail is pretty easy during dry months but not during the rainy season as it gets muddy and slippery. The views are worth it though.

I shall be posting a detailed story about these destinations in my next entry. For the meantime, I included here some of our photos for your viewing pleasure.

Aslom Island

Talon Falls

Buyayao Island

Suguicay Island


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South Drive Grill Farm Resort
Tulali, Maujao, Oriental Mindoro
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/South-Drive-Grill-and-Homestay


offers tours to Bulalacao. 
To learn more our packages, 
you may email travel dates and number of persons 
at thetriprepublic@gmail.com, 
or through mobile at 09988644143. 


Comments

  1. Wow, nasa Oriental Mindoro to? I haven't heard of this. Thanks for sharing. Super nice beach din ah. We went last time via Roro to Ambuklao beach but sayang, could have passed by here din :)

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