Occidental Mindoro lies on the western part of the island of Mindoro. It is located south of the province of Batangas in Southern Luzon and Northwest of the Visayas. The province is bounded on the north by the Verde Island Passage, on the west and south by Mindoro Strait and China Sea, and on the East by its sister province, Oriental Mindoro.
Size and Political Subdivision
The Province has a land area of 588,350 hectares, the 17th largest province in the country. The Province comprises 12.5 percent of the entire area of Region IV, the Southern Tagalog Region. Eleven (11) municipalities comprise the province. Nine (9) of them located in the mainland. San Jose, Sablayan, and Mamburao are the key towns; each considered a center of progress in the three growth areas of the province. The municipalities of Lubang and Looc are located in the Northern Island of Lubang. There is only one Congressional District.
The town of Sablayan is the largest town, second is Sta. Cruz, and the third, the town of Paluan.
Land Area by Town
The topography of Occidental Mindoro is generally rugged, with narrow strips of coastal lowlands. Its terrain is characterized by successive mountains ranges, valleys, and elongated plateaus, with rolling lands along the coastal region.
Areas with slope gradient of 30% and above represent 57% of the total land area while those with gradient of 0-18% account for 42% and 18-30% gradient is only 1%. The preceding table shows the slope distribution by municipalities.
The province’s climate is generally characterized by two pronounced seasons: dry during the month of November to April and wet during the rest of the year. The warmer months are experienced in December.
From June to October, rain prevailing in the eastern part is the rainy, low altitude, and the coastal plains suffer excess heat and humidity, while the extensive mountains ranges receive cool climate. During the northwest monsoon, the moist air coming from the Northwest side becomes dry after crossing the mountains. This accounts for the dry season during the months of northeast monsoon. Also from June to October, the province is affected by the southeast monsoon. The average annual volume of rainfall is 2,000 mm. Temperature ranges from 30.7 to 16.4 degrees celcius.
According to the Bureau of Soils, the following are soil type present in the province:
a. Guiguia silt loam– The surface soil is silt loam, light brown, yellowish brown, loose and structureless. Root penetration is easy. External and internal drainage is fair to good. The average depth is 30 centimeters. The subsoil is silty clay loam, dark brown, light brown to reddish brown, loose and friable to slightly compact. The depth ranges from 30 to 100 cms. The substratum is silt loam to silty loam, brown, brownish yellow to reddish brown, loose and slightly friable. The principal crop grown in this type of soil is rice. Coconut, citrus, tobacco and vegetables are grown to some extent.
b. San Miguel clay loam– The clay loam surface is 25-30 cms deep. It has a granular structure and friable. The soil is well drained. The principal crop grown is rice. Both upland and lowland rice are planted. Corn and coconut also grow well in this type of soil.
c. San Fabian clay loam– The clay loam surface is dark to dark gray, nutty to cloddy structure, slightly friable when dry and plastic when wet. Gravels are present. The subsoil is clay loam to clay, grayish brown, granular to nutty structure, slightly compact to compact. This soil type is not suited for agricultural purposes.
d. San Miguel loamy soil– Its profile characteristics, except for the texture of the soil are similar to those of the other soil types under the San Miguel series. Coconut and some fruit trees are planted in this type of soil.
e. San Miguel sandy loam– The profile characteristics of this soil type, except from the texture of the surface soil are similar to those of the San Miguel clay loam. The principal crops grown are upland rice and coconut. Some root crops and vegetables are also grown.
f. Banto Malalag Complex– This soil complex is an association of Banto clay loam and Malalag clay loam. These two soils are mixed in intricate pattern that they cannot be separated on a small-scale map. This soil complex has a rolling to hilly and mountainous relief. The principal vegetation is secondary forest.
g. Beach Sand– This land type occupies the low level areas. The sand consists of quartz, limestone and finely triturated marine shells, which have been accumulated in the beach through wave action. Beach sand is well drained. Crops are grown on this soil type to a certain extent. Coconuts are usually planted. Depending upon the coarseness of the sand availability of irrigation water, this land type can utilized for vegetables and some fruit trees.
h. Hydrosol– Slat marshes along coastal region are classified as hydrosol. Such areas are usually flat and under most of the time. The vegetation is made up of mangroves, nipa palms, bakauan, and pagatpat. Hydrosol areas are converted into fishponds.
i. River wash– This land type is brought about when a river or stream changes its course or when it runs dry. The resultant barren strip, which is usually covered with sand, gravels, and stone is classified as river wash. Banks of live streams, which are covered with stones, gravels, and boulders, are also considered as river wash.
j. Rough mountainous– The mountain ranges are classified as rough mountainous land. A large part of this land type is not suitable for agriculture because of its very steep stone.
Inland Water Bodies
Abundant inland water bodies such as rivers, lakes, water falls and springs are among the province’s natural wealth. The famous Calawagan Mountain River and Falls which is found in the town of Paluan was awarded in 1996 and 1997 as the cleanest inland body of water. The Kalong River located in Abra de Ilog is said to be the only inland body of crystal clear water with a distinct white sand riverbank. Also found in the said town is the Tuan-Masaklay River Rapids, and the Lanas Lake which was once a home of Mindoro’s crocodile. Found in the town of Sablayan are: Balatong-tong River and Falls, Cabacungan Lake and Falls, Tabtaban Lakes and the Libuao Lake, the cleanest lake in the province. The Carindan and Lanas Lake in Sta. Cruz are good sources of Tilapia, Carpa and other fish varieties. Local and foreign guests enjoy the Mainit Spring in Paluan.
Aside from these well-known inland water bodies, there are other rivers and springs found in almost all the towns.
Occidental Mindoro is rich with mineral deposits, metallic and non-metallic. Copper, nickel chromites, feldstar, talc asbestos, quartz, limestone, isle and ornamental stone, marble, building materials such as gravel and sand, and guano are some of the mineral deposits found in the mountains of the province. The province is also known with its famous Mindoro Jade. With proper exploration, regulation and support from the government, these mineral deposits are expected to bring economic and social development to the province.