Sunday, December 11, 2011


The Mahalta Festival honors the three most famous landmarks of the province of Oriental Mindoro - Mount Halcon, the Tamaraw and the Mangyans.

With an elevation of 8,488 feet (2,586 meters), Mount Halcon ranks as the third highest mountain in the Philippines. Many mountaineers consider it as one of the most difficult mountains to climb because of its knife edge ridges.

Bahaghari Festival from Pinamalayan
The Tamaraw or Mindoro Dwarf Buffalo is endemic to the island of Mindoro and is the only endemic Philippine bovine. The tamaraw was originally found all over Mindoro, from sea level up to the mountains, but because of human habitation, hunting, and logging, it is now restricted to only a few remote grassy plains and is now an endangered species.

On the other hand, the Mangyans, photographed and featured in local and international publications as well as the beneficiaries of numerous aid groups, are the indigenous people of Mindoro. All eight tribes are scattered all over the island with their own distinct culture and language.

Banana Festival from Baco
Dubbed as the “festival of festivals” the Mahalta Festival is celebrated every year with all the 14 towns and 1 city of Oriental Mindoro gather together in one place for a whole day of merry-making highlighted by a street-dancing competition showcasing the different festivals from each town. These colorful festivals have as its focal point the relation of people to their environment, protection and conservation of forest, marine life and the natural resources.

The town of Mansalay took the grand champion title this year with their Pamugu-an Festival and received Php 300,000. Puerto Galera got the 2nd place and Php 200,000 cash with their De Galera Festival.

Sulyog Festival from Bongabong

Here are some of the different festivals of the towns of Oriental Mindoro:

Pamugu-an Festival or Mangyan Festival. Held every 3rd week of October in the town of Mansalay. It is a festive reunion of different Mangyan tribes. There are sports events such as Palaro ng Lahi, cultural presentations, products demonstrations and “Barakalan” or sale of native products.

De Galera Festival. This is a festival filled with activities and celebrated every May 10 to 13 in the town of Puerto Galera to honor Our Lady of Fatima. All barangays of Puerto Galera showcases their talents and creativity in street dance competition.

Kawayanan Festival from Gloria
Kapakyanan Festival. This is a fruit festival held every 18th of September in Victoria, highlighting the abundance of fruit produce in the town. Kapakyanan is a Mangyan term which means ‘kasaganaan” or abundance.

Pakapya-Agtike Festival. Held every 26th of July in Socorro is a ceremonial tradition practiced by Tadyawan Mangyans as a thanksgiving ritual to praise the Almighty for a bountiful harvest.

Sab-uyan Festival from Pola
Banana Festival. Held every March 18 in Baco, the festival is a celebration of the abundance of bananas.

Coco Festival. Held every 8th of December in San Teodoro. It is a religious festival honoring the Immaculate Conception. It features street dancing, a parade of floats and other activities centered on the town’s main agricultural bounty, the coconut.

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