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Officially the Municipality of Bongabong, is a 1st class municipality in the province of Oriental Mindoro, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 72,073 people.

Bongabong is 104 kilometres (65 mi) from Calapan, the provincial capital. The town is home to Kuta Bongabong (Fuerza de Bongabong), one of the oldest Spanish colonial fortifications in the Philippines. The fort is in dire need of proper conservation. The only agency with the proper capabilities to restore the fort is the National Museum of the Philippines.



Bongabong is politically subdivided into 36 barangays.

BarangayPopulation (2016)
San Isidro2,082
San Jose1,115
San Juan467
Santa Cruz1,215
Bagumbayan I2,323
Bagumbayan II1,465
Mina de Oro1,807



Population census of Bongabong
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority


Brief History  

Bongabong was established in the 16th century as Binagao, a Mangyan word meaning “big and dangerous river.” The Spaniards erected a fort and church at Sucol (now Brgy. Anilao), a area near the Bongabong River. It was first administered by Jesuits from Naujan and later by the Recollects from Mangarin. The town was moved to Sitio Mararog and later to its present site. After the revolution, it was renamed Sumilang (“born”) by Juan Naguit. It got its present name during the American era. It is said that an American soldier shot the fruit of a beetlenut locally called bunga. The bunga and the sound of the gun (bong) were combined into one word and came to be associated with the place. In 1901, many residents were garrisoned at the kuta as the town was burned by American soldiers after an uprising led by Antonio Jalos. After civil government was organized in 1902, the town was downgraded to a barrio of Pinamalayan. It became a separate municipality again on November 7, 1927 by virtue of Philippine Legislative Act No. 3415. On January 1, 1941, it was the first town liberated by American forces in Eastern Mindoro.

Kuta Shrine

Now overgrown with humongous balete trees (strangler tree), Kuta Shrine is a relic of the 400-year-old Kuta Church. The church was built from corals and limestone by Augustinian Recollects in the early 17th century. At that time, the church served as a place of worship and a walled fortress against Moro invaders. While legends have it that the church was constructed overnight, studies from the UP Archaeological Studies Program show that the church was constructed over time, through many years of constant renovations. In 1737, however, the church was abandoned due to the Moro's constant attacks. The church is believed to have been burned down. Today, the shrine merely serves as the town's symbolic feature. Local visitors light candles on the spot where the church altar used to stand.


Tangisan Falls


Tangisan Falls takes its name from the old Tagalog word "tangis", which means "to cry". From afar, the waterfall vaguely looks like a flood of tears from someone crying. But according to the local residents of Bongabong, the waterfall was named such because the steep trek to the waterfalls could make you cry. The steep trek to Tangisan Falls takes about 45 minutes. 40 minutes into the trek, you'll find a clearing which could serve as a camping ground for about three tents, or a parking area for mountain bikers. From here, you'll take a 5-minute steep descent to reach Tangisan Falls. Visitors can hire a guide (P300/group) from the Barangay Hall in Barangay Formon.


Paladjungen Cave

Paladjungen Cave is the collective name for the seven caves found in the forested area of Sitio Palahungan. To reach the caves, you'd have to hire a guide (P200/group) at the Brangay Hall of Morente and trek for about 30 minutes, which includes crossing Batangan River and Palahungan Creek. All the seven caves of Paladjungen takes at least four hours to explore, depending on the weather. The seven caves of Paladjungen, which vary in size and characteristics, have not yet been named. The largest and most accessible among the Paladjungen Caves has been vandalized. The seven caves are facing deterioration due to soil erosion, causing some parts of the caves to collapse. On rainy days, the caves turn muddy and are filled with limatik, an aggressive kind of leech, making the exploration arduous, overwhelming, and time-consuming.

Planning a Trip

Pre-departure planning is important. Here are certain things you should watch for and plan for.


Check with the appropriate consulate or embassy in your country to find out if you will need a visa to visit the country of your destination, especially for an extended period of time. Some countries have extremely detailed and complicated entry/departure laws, and treat visits of a week or two very differently from longer stays.


If you’re traveling to one area, check the cost of living there. If it’s high you’ll probably want to budget more carefully and save some money before leaving. The lower the cost of living the less you’ll have to save, but be sure to have a back up reserve in emergency cases.

General Tips

Talk to other people who have done a similar trip.

If you don’t know anyone personally, try any of the dozens of online travel web sites full of first-person travel stories covering every possible type of trip.

Plan big and loose. Read everything you can about the area.

There may be sights and attractions you didn’t know about. A rough outline of your trip might have three or four target points and a variety of ways to get between them.

You don’t want to find out that the weather isn’t what you thought, or the guide book was incorrect, after committing to 6 weeks in a specific spot.

Some trips will allow you more leeway than others. Travel plans in Asia can often be made day-by-day while summer travel in Europe should be organized at least a few weeks ahead, unless you’re prepared to hunt around for hotel rooms and train seats.

Set up a pre-trip time-line so you don’t end up with a full todo list your last week of work or school.

Things to consider are doctor’s visits for a check up, inoculations, and prescription refills; purchasing plane tickets; renewing passports and obtaining visas and other documents.

Check your insurance coverage abroad and purchasing additional travel insurance if needed. Don’t forget visiting friends and family members!

The longer the trip, the lighter you should pack. This might seem strange, but it’s true you can afford to lug a heavy bag around for a week or two, but do you want to have anything extra for a year?

Stick to the absolute basics and know what you can and cannot buy at your destination(s). There’s no point in bringing 6 months of toothpaste to Europe or buying a sarong at home to take to the tropics. If you are visiting several climates, try to arrange it so you visit the warmer places first and coldest last. That way you can purchase sweaters and long pants and not have to carry them any more than needed. Alternately, visit cold climates first and then ship unneeded layers home — or sell them off.

A good rule of thumb is to bring one outfit for the hottest day you’re likely to encounter, one for an average day, and one for the coldest.

Make sure everything goes with everything else (if that’s important to you), and remember that layers are always best.

Be prepared for uncomfortable trips. You will often find yourself in a busy, cramped, economy class environment and it could be for many hours – especially long plane trips.

If you want to arrive at your destination refreshed and able to enjoy the sights, then try a good quality travel pillow to support your head, some ear plugs to block out the screaming babies, and an eye cover to block out the sun or cabin lights.

Just avoid those cheap U-shaped pillows from airport shops – your head drops forward and you wake up with a stiff neck.

Make contact with the locals before you go.

Maybe you have a friend-of-a-friend or a foreign exchange student from high school you remember, or just found a friend through a travel web site; almost everyone is happy to welcome a foreign visitor to their home town. This might be as elaborate as a home-stay for a few weeks, or just coffee in their home town or dinner at a locals restaurant.

Sulyog Festival

Sulyog Festival is located in Bongabong, Mindoro Oriental, held every 19th of March. A religious festival in honor of St. Joseph celebrated by way of a Sulyog (Suli and Niyog) Festival done through dances, flats and cultural showsSulyog Festival is located in Bongabong, Mindoro Oriental, held every 19th of March. A religious festival in honor of St. Joseph celebrated by way of a Sulyog (Suli and Niyog) Festival done through dances, flats and cultural shows.


Travel Resources

Travel planning is about more than just knowing where you're going. Prepares to navigate, take control and be ready for anything. This section helps you steer clear of disaster and stay open enjoy the unexpected.

Quick Tips

  1. Banks– Open Monday to Friday 9am to 2pm. Some banks are closed for lunch.
  2. Emergencies– For police, dial a local phone number; for ambulance call a hospital.
  3. Internet Access– Wifi is standard in most hotels and free in many coffee shops.
  4. Mail– Buy stamps at the Post Office. Convenient post offices are located all cities. Most are open Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.
  5. Safety– Pickpocketing can be a common problem. It is suggested for men to keep wallets in their front pocket. Purse snatching also occurs at times.


Getting in from the airport and other arrival locations. Travel planning is about more than just knowing where you’re going. Prepares to navigate, take control and be ready for anything. This section helps you steer clear of disaster and stay open enjoy the unexpected.

  1. Plane– Flights arrive at the main airport near city center. If flying from European cities, you might land at a connecting airport. There is a tourist information office at the Terminal E, international arrivals, open 8am to 6pm.
  2. Train– A train station is on the lower level of the airport. To get into the city, follow the marked signs.
  3. Taxi– From the airport there is a flat-rate for the 1-hour trip, depending on traffic. Hotels charge up to $80 for shuttle service.
  4. Train & Bus– Trains and buses arrive a city center. This is the transportation hub for the city and is surrounded hotels.

A perfect place for exploring on foot, with local shops around every corner. You will eventually walk somewhere, it’s just going to happen. If you don’t like crowds, uneven cobblestones, heavy traffic or narrow sidewalks, take a taxi or rent a scooter.

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