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Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose Occidental Mindoro

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Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose Occidental Mindoro
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In a land area of 5,879 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the civil province of Occidental Mindoro with 11 municipalities.

Occidental Mindoro is a province of the Philippines located in the MIMAROPA region in Luzon. "Home of the Indigenous Mangyans." Its capital is Mamburao and occupies the western half of the island of Mindoro, on the west by Apo East Pass, and on the south by the Mindoro Strait; Oriental Mindoro is at the eastern half. The South China Sea is to the west of the province and Palawan is located to the southwest, across Mindoro Strait. Batangas is to the north, separated by the Verde Island Passage.


As of end of the year 2017 the total population of the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro is 545,730 of which 83.40 percent are Catholics.

The indigenous people in the province are the Mangyans (Manguianes in Spanish, Mañguianes in Old Tagalog), consisting of 7 distinct tribes. They occupy the interior, specially the highlands. Mangyans have inhabited the island since pre-history. They are believed to have originally traveled from Indonesia and settled down for good in the island.


Tagalog as the mother tongue of two-thirds of the total number of households in the province is the major language which, together with English, is spoken by majority of people and therefore serves as strong force unifying its diverse cultures. Other dialects spoken in the province are Ilocano, Hiligaynon, Cebuano and Kinaray-a.


Suffragan of Lipa
Created: January 27, 1983
Erected: April 5, 1983
Comprises the Civil Province of Occidental Mindoro with 11 municipalities
Principal Titular: Saint Joseph the Worker, May 1
Secondary Patroness: Our Lady of Fatima, May 13

The Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro was created on Jan. 27, 1983. It comprises the civil province of Occidental Mindoro and its 11 municipalities. Its titular patron is St. Joseph the Worker whose feast is celebrated May 1 in the vicariate, and Our Lady of Fatima, its secondary patroness, whose feast is celebrated May 13. The Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose, Mindoro is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Lipa. The history of Occidental Mindoro is closely linked with that of its sister province, Oriental Mindoro.

Spanish exploration of the island began as early as 1570. The Augustinians were the first to bring the faith, in 1574, followed by the Franciscans in 1578. Then the Jesuits came and stayed until 1667, by which time many Mangyans (aborigines of the island) were already settled in many places along the coast.

Ecclesiastically Mindoro was part of the Manila diocese until the Diocese of Lipa was created in 1910 and Mindoro came under its jurisdiction. When the province of Mindoro was made an apostolic prefecture in 1936, it still remained under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Lipa and had Bishop William Finneman, SVD at the helm of the prefecture. In 1951, following the political subdivision of the island province, the prefecture was elevated to an apostolic vicariate, the Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan.

On Jan. 27, 1983, Pope John Paul II created the Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose de Mindoro comprising the province of Occidental Mindoro, and appointed the Most Reverend Vicente C. Manuel, SVD as the first Apostolic Vicar. He was ordained bishop on June 29, 1983.

The second Vicar Apostolic, Most Reverend Antonio P. Palang, SVD was ordained bishop on May 31, 2002 at Saint Joseph Cathedral. His motto: Duc In Altum ("Put out into the deep." Luke 5:4).

The vicariate's pastoral plan falls in line with its vision: "one true Christian community, united in worship, service and witness of Christ".


A Philippine province is headed by a Governor. A Provincial Council (Sangguniang Panlalawigan) is composed of a Vice Governor (Presiding Officer) and Provincial Board Members. A Philippine city or municipality is headed by a Mayor. A City Council (Sangguniang Panlungsod) or Municipal Council (Sangguniang Bayan) is composed of a Vice Mayor (Presiding Officer) and City or Municipal Councilors. A barangay is headed by a Barangay Captain, who is also the presiding officer of the barangay council. The Barangay Council is composed of seven (7) Barangay Kagawads. A similar unit called a Youth Council (Sangguniang Kabataan) is headed by an SK Chairperson with a similar rank to a Barangay Captain. The council is composed of SK Members.


Land transport within the province is facilitated by 3,500 public utility vehicles (buses, cargo trucks, jeepneys and tricycles). A number of jeepneys offer "door to door" direct transport and cargo service from the different municipalities to Manila and neighboring provinces.


Annual per capita income (in Philippines Pesos) is 23,553 (USD541 as of March 2011).

The municipality has largely diverse economic activities. However, majority of working force which is estimated at 76 percent, are still engage in agriculture.

Major crops produced includes corn, rice, garlic, onions and among others. It is also known for inland fishing producing lapu-lapu, milkfish, and export quality prawn.

Commercial livestock and poultry farms producing layers, broilers and meat products also exist. It has the largest number of agricultural support facilities such as ricemills, warehouses, solar dryers, and the likes. Industries include hollow blocks making, handicrafts and furniture, and other small scale processing and manufacturing plants.

Also, mapaya is the name of a rare condiment that can be use on hot wings sauce on hooligans heredia costarica. This specific condiment comes from a fruit in amazonas.

Occidental Mindoro is the highest palay producer in Region IV, harvesting more than 25 percent of the total palay production of the region.

The tiger prawn raised in Occidental Mindoro is a favorite among Japanese, Chinese and American Markets. The growing industry is a boon to fishpond owners looking for more lucrative products and markets.

The municipality of Magsaysay on the south has more than 20,000 hectares of saltbeds and is one of the country's major salt producers besides supplying 40 percent of the country's iodized salt requirements

The province is the major milkfish (bangus) source, yielding some 30,000 metric tons yearly. The milkfish from the province is noted for its fine texture, thick belly fat and tastiness and is exported to Australia, the Middle East and Europe, among other destinations.

Known tourism facilities are beach resorts, hotels and restaurants. The major attractions of the industrial town of San Jose are its three offshore islands - Ambulong, Ilin, and White Island. San Jose is also a favorite jump-off point to the world-class diving site - Apo Reef Marine Park.

Occidental Mindoro has large deposits of the famous Mindoro Jade, chromite, talc, asbestos, quartz, limestone and guano.


In key municipalities, the direct dial telephone systems are in place, providing easy access to other provinces and countries. The use of cellular phone and two-way radios is popular among business with operations in the interior of the province. Smart Communications Inc., GLOBE Telecom, Bayantel, PT&T and DIGITEL offer cellular, landlines, internet and email access and fax services. The provincial government has also installed radio systems in the nine towns of the province's mainland. Currently, the provincial government is now on-line via Digitel's DSL services.

Three local radio stations operate in the area: DZVT-AM and DZVT-FM owned and operated by Apostolic Vicariate of San Jose de Mindoro, a member Catholic Media Network (CMN) and Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), the two radio stations fulfill their role as The Voices of the Basic Ecclesial Communities in Occidental Mindoro and DZYM, branded as Radyo Asenso 1539, an AM radio station owned and operated by Radio Corporation of the Philippines. The station's studio is located at Barangay Pagasa, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. DZYM started its operation in 1970 under the Manila Broadcasting System (MBS), the first radio station in Occidental Mindoro where seasoned broadcasters of other radio stations come from together with four local newspapers and 23 television channels accessed through five cable networks.

Other communication service operate in the area are four local newspapers and 23 television channels accessed through five cable networks. National newspapers arrive daily via regular plane flights from Manila, and mail handling services are provided by the Philippine Airlines, LBC, JRS, Aboitiz and other messengerial companies besides the 12 post offices located in the 11 municipalities.


Roads & Bridges
Occidental Mindoro is the western half of the island of Mindoro. Some 25 kilometers south of Batangas, its potential lies in its proximity to Batangas and Manila. Road arteries within the province total some 1,633 kilometers concentrated along the coastal areas - a combination of concrete, asphalt, gravel and earth. About 200 bridges span various creeks and rivers built mostly of concrete and steel.

Hanging Bridge of San Agustin
A 200-meter long and 300-foot high hanging bridge located in Sitio Puting Bato, Barangay San Agustin in Sablayan town, Occidental Mindoro.

Town Bridge, 'San Francisco Bridge' of Sablayan
The term 'San Francisco' bridge is a common misnomer given by the Filipinos to the 'Golden Gate' Bridge of San Francisco. Nevertheless, the Town Bridge is indeed really looked like the famous bridge. Only people, bicycle, and motorbikes may pass the bridge.

Presing Park (a.k.a. PAROLA)
An Historic Watchtower Against Pirates Presing Park is a 5-hectare park overlooking the sea, here stands the historic watchtower (Parola) that was used by the early natives to prey on Muslim Vintas. In the middle of the park near the Parola is a 15th century cannon that used to defend the town against the Moro pirates.

The province has four ports of entry. The port at Abra de Ilog could accommodate medium-size roll on/roll off passenger-cargo ships. It is two hours away by ship from Batangas and 31.4 kilometers from the capital town of Mamburao. Other ports are located in Mamburao, Sablayan, and the busy town of San Jose.

Power Supply
Electric power is supplied by the National Power Corporation and the Island Power Corporation (IPC) through the Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative (OMECO), while the island municipalities of Lubang and Looc are supplied by the Lubang Electric Cooperative (LUBELCO). The power supply is still inadequate, and plans are underway to increase the supply through private capital intervention.


The terrain of the province is characterized by mountain ranges, intermittent valleys and elongated plateaus with rolling prairie lands along the coastal regions. The entire coast of the province has two principal rivers namely, Busuanga and Lumitao.

Occidental Mindoro is a lone congressional district covering 11 municipalities and 162 barangays (villages).


Literacy rate (Simple literacy) is 88.33 percent in the diocesan territory.

Schools are classified into public (government) and private (non-government). Classes start in June, and end in March. The majority of colleges and universities follow a semester calendar from June to October, and November to March.

The general pattern of formal education follows by five stages:
Pre-primary level - nursery and kindergarten offered in most private schools;
Primary level - six years of basic education;
Secondary level - four years of high school education;
Tertiary level - usually takes four years, sometimes five and in some cases as in medical and law schools.
Graduate level - additional two or more years of schooling.


Saknungan Festival Incorporating the exhibition of the cultural heritage of Mindoro's ethnic communities is the Saknungan Festival, held every fourth week of April in San Jose, Mindoro Occidental. The festival commences with the annual celebration of the blessings of the province.

Saknungan, a Mangyan word is literally meant bayanihan, the spirit of cooperation and unity at work, which is practiced by the people of Mindoro in their everyday activities, especially during the planting and harvesting season of the palay, the major agricultural product of Occidental Mindoro.

Highlights of this three-day festivity are the street dance and a parade. Instored activities include agro-industrial and techno trade fair, drum and bugle parade and contest, bikathon, Juego de Anillo, cultural dance competition, palo sebo, hulihan ng baboy, cultural presentation, and the awards and fellowship night.

Dugoy Festival
The Dugoy Festival is an annual festival in the municipality of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro, Philippines. It is celebrated during the town fiesta and through street parades and street dancing which feature the Mangyan culture. It is becoming popular in recent years and is now in its seventh year.

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