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The Iraya Mangyan Village in Puerto Galera

The Iraya Mangyan Village is one of my top reasons why I want to go to Puerto Galera. To be honest, I am more of a culture and heritage buff than a beach bum. I really want our trip a mix of everything so ticking this off our itinerary would be great. I know I will be doing a travel guide to Puerto Galera when I go home that's why I want the one I am going to do would be something that will be interesting to readers from all walks of life. 


Introduction to Iraya Mangyan Village 
First of all, we did not do any further research about the Mangyan people of Puerto Galera. I only started googling about this place while killing the time on the way to this part of Mindoro via the RDI Genesis ferry. In between fading data signal, I was trying to know if the Mangyan Village is all worth it to devote at least an hour of our time.

The Mangyans are indigenous group who used to live by the sea but moved to the mountain during the colonization period. When our country finally gained independence, it was also the best time for the Mangyans to move down the lowland. Jaime Zobel de Ayala, one of the richest businessmen in the country persuaded them to embrace the changing world. It's a win-win situation: their children will be able to go to school and all of them will have access to the most basic necessities of life like clean water, electricity and more. They moved to a huge piece of land owned by de Ayala which is located at the foot of Mount Malasimbo. It is not going to be a major, major transfer of location - from the top of Mount Malasimbo to the foot of the same mountain. 


From the Muelle port, we first tried to hire a tricycle to get us there but they charged us Php 400 for a roundtrip. With this amount, we can rent a motorcycle and so this is what we did. This is our second time renting a motorcycle to travel around Puerto Galera. It is one of the best choices we have made looking back for all the time and money we saved.

One thing I noticed from the laminated photos of the local tour guides and motorcycle drivers showcasing tourist destination of Puerto Galera they usually show to tourists is that  Mangyan Village is not there. 

mangyan village brgy talipanan puerto galera

What to see in Mangyan Village Puerto Galera
We had to keep on asking a few locals because there's no major signboard from the major road if we are already near the Mangyan Village. Even right at the narrow road leading to the village there's none and even at the grand entrance, we could not fine anything that says we have arrived to our desired destination.

We were expecting that the Mangyan Village is not 100% open since we went there on the 28th of December. It is holiday season and yes we were right.  The house where the locals weave their baskets and other local crafts is empty. We were also told that the very first house that is closed is where they sell souvenirs.

In front of that closed house is another house that has sari sari store. K really wants to drink his second cup of coffee so we dropped by here first. The one hot cup of water costs Php 10! He does not drink 3-n-1- coffee that's why he always have a few sachets of black coffee and his Splenda sugar. 

mangyan village puerto galera itinerary tour package

There were three guys there all living inside the Mangyan Village. One of them is from Quezon province. He married a woman from the Mangyan community so he lives here more than a decade already. The other two are uncle and nephew to each other. The uncle has mentioned they are selling the land where that store is which is a total of 4, 000 square meters. At the back, there are plenty of trees and ample spaces for whatever the new owner can do.  He said he is selling this lot for Php 2, 500 per square meters. I did the math and voila, this lot costs Php 10, 000, 000. I joked that he can already travel the world with that money but he said this is one of his parents' properties. He has 11 other siblings so ten million divided by 12, their share each is not even going to reach one million!

I asked him why not sell this property to de Ayala, he said they tried already but the billionaire philanthropist said he has too much of properties already. After 30 minutes of chitchatting with them, the millennial nephew walked us around the village. 

The uncle also offered us to guide us to Talipanan Falls while showing a video of this on his mobile phone. We said no since we are not really fans of waterfalls. We also have seen one the day before. You can click HERE my travel guide to Tamaraw Falls.

mangyan village puerto galera opening hours

The Native Houses of the Mangyan Village
The houses in Mangyan Village all look the same - 80% made of wood, nipa and cogon materials.  While for others, a house like this is a symbol of poverty in Mangyan Village it is not. The owner, de Ayala requires them to build a wooden house. The lot where they built their house is NOT their own. They are just borrowing it. Regarding the question - for how long? No one knows. I think the reason why de Ayala wants them to build a house made of native materials is that it would be very easy to tear it down when the time comes that he gets the land back.

For me, these houses are beautiful. The most luxurious resorts I have seen around the Philippines are made of huts like these in a nutshell. There's a basketball area and a school inside. We also saw a narrow path going to the Talipanan falls. We had to cross a river that is almost empty before we reach the part where the majority of the local houses of Mangyan Village are located.

These houses do NOT have comfort rooms. There is a communal bathroom somewhere, I was told. Some of the houses sell chichiryas and other basic grocery items. I even saw one with a small satellite dish to get connected online! 

mangyan village community puerto galera



The handicrafts of Mangyan Village
We also passed by a long open stall of all sorts of local products made by the Mangyan people. We did not asked how much are those and quickly continued walking since we are not in the mood to buy one. Also, if they have price tags I think I could have stayed longer. I think I may have bought one specially that cute buri circular bag if I knew the price is affordable according to my budget standards.

Most of these products are made of nito (nito vine). They sell native plates, bottle holders, baskets, place mats,  trinkets and more. I learned that a bulk of these orders are sent to Manila and sold in Ayala Malls, a chain of malls that the billionaire philanthropist also own.

mangyan village puerto galera hours of operation schedule



This trip was a humbling experience. It thought me to appreciate the little things I have which is an own room, a bathroom complete with bidet and flush in our house and a wifi connection. However, what I admire the most is that based on their smile and how they talk to us there's no hint that they regret the lifestyle they have. Of course, I know somehow they wish they have more in terms of material things but they are happier in the sense that they are far from greediness and jealousy.

Chickens, dogs, puppies and piglets roam the place. Kids get to enjoy outdoor by playing with fellow kids. They are luckier that they are not the kind of children who spend all the time indoor and playing mobile games.

I wish though we have met an elder Mangyan villager whom we could have asked more questions about this place but we were worrying a rain is going to fall. We had to leave sooner with our rented motorcycle bike.  

What to else to see on the way to Mangyan Village?
The Puerto Galera's wind farm! You can see these 230-foot tall windmills to the left on the way to Mangyan Village.  Located 2, 700 feet above sea leavel, these newest windmills in Puerto Galera are built on top of the mountain overlooking the Verde Island Passage which is considered as the center of the world's marine biodiversity area called the Coral Triangle. We deeply regret our mobile phones aren't good enough to capture these. It was also raining so bad that |our attempt very bad. We asked some locals how to get there, we were told it is far from where we are. It just looks near, well but no it is not.

Mangyan Village address: Sitio Talipanan, Puerto Galera, Mindoro
Mangyan Village hours of operation: They're open every day. However, I suggest to go there during business hours or daytime. You're visiting a "private" property please show some respect.  

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