General Info about Mindoro
Area: 4,364.7 sq. km.
Area Code: 043
Zip Code: 5200
No. Of Municipalities: 15
The history of Mindoro dates back before the Spanish time. Records have it that Chinese traders were known to be trading with Mindoro merchants. Trade relations with China where Mindoro was known as "Mai started when certain traders from "Mai" brought valuable merchandise to Canton in 892 A.D. The geographic proximity of the island to China Sea had made possible the establisment of such relations with Chinese merchantmen long before the first Europeans came to the Philippines.
Historians claimed that China-Mindoro relations must have been earlier than 892 A.D.., the year when the first ship from Mindoro was recorded to have sailed for China. Historians believed that the first inhabitants of Mindoro were the Indonesians who came to the island 8,000 to 3,000 years ago. After the Indonesians, the Malays came from Southeast Asia around 200 B. C. The Malays were believed to have extensive cultural contract with India, China and Arabia long before they settled in Philippine Archipilago
Mindoro, formerly called Mait, was known to Chinese traders even before the coming of the Spanish. In 15 70, the Spanish began to explore the island and named it "Mina de Oro" (mine of gold) after finding some of the precious metal, though no major gold discoveries were ever made. Missionaries became active around Ilin Island off the southern tip, Lubang Island off the northern tip, and Mamburao. Moro raids later forced them to abandon these places. In 1754, the Muslims established strongholds in Mamburao and Balete (near Sablayan). From there, they launched raids against nearby settlements. An expedition sent by Governor Simon de Anda put an end to these raids.
In the early years, Mindoro was administered as part of Bonbon, now Batangas. Early in the 17th century, the island was separated from Bonbon and orga- nized into a corregimiento. In 1902 the island of Lubang, which was formerly a part of Cavite, was annexed to Mindoro. In the same year Mindoro and Lubang were annexed to Marinduque when the latter became a regular province. Mindoro became a regular province in 1921. On June 13, 1950, under Republic Act No. 505, Mindoro was divided into two provinces, Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro.
The plains of Occidental Mindoro are inhabited by the Tagalogs and the remote forested interior by the Mangyans. Extensive tribal settlements of Mangyans in the province belong to such sub-groups as the Iraya, Alangan, Tadyawan, Buhid, Hanunuo, and Bangon. The Mangyans are simple people. They were once coastal dwellers driven into the mountains to avoid religious conversion by the Spaniards, raids by Moro pirates, and the influx of recent migrants. They now lead a semi-nomadic existence. Mangyans live in loose clusters of up to 20 bamboo huts with thatched roofs and raised floors. They sometimes are away from their families for many weeks in search of food. Men wear a loincloth of pounded bark while the women have a coil of woven nito, a sturdy black vine, and rattan around their hips. Mangyans practice animism and are superstitious.