san jose rolling hills

Cultural Immersion in Mindoro: A Visit To The Bato-Ili Mangyan

San Jose surprised us with such a breathtaking view of the Rolling Hills, the captivating crooked-shape of the Devil’s Mountain from afar and the local kids from the Bato-Ili Mangyan community. Somehow, the experience made me feel like I’m walking back to the beginning of times.

A cultural immersion is one thing that most regular travelers skip on their itinerary. But for me a cultural immersion is always the highlight of my trip whenever I try to visit a particular province. Learning about the culture and actually witnessing the ingenuity of each ethnic group in the country never fails to amaze me.


Bato-Ili Mangyan

About the Bato-Ili Mangyan

To give you a bit of information, the Bato-Ili Mangyan tribe is one of the 7 different tribes of Mangyans in Mindoro. We’ve met the Iraya Mangyan tribe located in Puerto Galera too.

The Bato-Ili Mangyan Community is located in San Jose’s Rolling Hills in Sitio Bato-Ili. Moreover, most of the Bato-Ilis are members of the Buhid Community — meaning “mountain dwellers.”

A Cultural Immersive Experience

Before going to Sitio Bato-Ili, our group came from Bulalacao in Oriental Mindoro which was about 1.5 hours away. We arrived at Bato-Ili late in the afternoon, an hour before sunset. Just in time to get a nice view of the Rolling Hills and the community itself.

The Rolling Hills of Bato-Ili

The Rolling Hills became an exquisite performance stage for the local women to do their traditional dance “tayuk.” In most cases, dances are done indoors. But to witness a traditional dance outdoors from one of the richest cultures in the country is truly one of a kind.

The women were wearing their traditional clothes which made a huge representation of the Mangyans in Mindoro. They were gracefully dancing to the beat of the instrument with wide smiles on their faces. I was actually flying my drone when they started dancing, so I hurriedly took quick shots and got back in time to see them dancing.

rolling hills san jose drone shot
Drone shot by me.
Bato-Ili Mangyan
Bato-Ili Mangyan

Devil’s Mountain

The magnificent Devil’s Mountain did not fail to amaze us and especially me. As we came closer to Sitio Bato Ili, the Devil’s Mountain became such an iconic view from our van’s window. The photos can’t even justify how surreal it really looks.

devil's mountain mindoro
Bato-Ili Mangyan

Bato-Ili Elementary School

Lastly, we also visited the Bato-Ili Mangyan Elementary School. Our group was blessed enough to be welcomed by the kind-hearted elementary students and their amazing Teachers. Thank you so much!

I would also like to use this opportunity to give a big shoutout to the elementary school teachers. Especially to the school principal and to the volunteer teacher who’s been helping out with no monetary exchange. Kudos po!

Bato-Ili elementary school
Thank you so much for welcoming us! 🙂
Bato-Ili Mangyan
Selfie with the kiddos!
Bato-Ili Mangyan
Bato-Ili Elementary Students Performance
Bato-Ili Mangyan
Bato-Ili Ementary School Teachers! Kudos!

After a short presentation and performance from the elementary kids, teachers and local Mangyans, they also prepared a simple snack for us. Thank you and I hope to come back again soon!

Bato-Ili Mangyan
Rich Blitz Sweets from the Mayo’s Office. Thank you so much!

Help me improve my Bato-Ili Mangyan Travel Guide! By commenting suggestions in the comment section below, I am very open to new ideas. 
Huge thanks to DOT MIMAROPA for this trip!
Photo credits to Tourism San Jose Official on Facebook.
Drone shots by me.
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