Pandan Island, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro

Around 6:30 AM last Friday, six and a half hours after my journey’s start, I woke up, took off my hot pink eye mask that allowed me a few hours of relatively peaceful sleep (kailangan hot pink pa talaga no? bigay lang yun), sat up and groggily looked outside. Our boat was approaching the Abra de Ilog pier, and the weather was not looking good. I groaned. Is this going to be another rainy Sablayan adventure? What can this island possibly have against me?

My fears were unfounded, however. Barely an hour after our van left the pier (tama ka Harvey, may vans na nga! At isang beses lang sya nagka-flat tire, ha ha), the sun came out, and chased us all the way to Sablayan. As it turned out, the heavy rains were confined to the northern tip of Mindoro island. A friend called us up when we were nearing Sablayan, asking how we were doing because she heard in the news there was already flooding in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro. The next boat trip after the one we took was apparently canceled. In Sablayan, however, the weather was great. Clearly, things went my way this time around.

Anyway, the major implication of the good weather was that we were able to go on a day tip to Pandan Island.

Pandan is a beautiful tiny strip of an island only about 20 minutes by boat from the Sablayan town proper. The website of the island’s lone resort describes it as a “private island.” No such thing, of course, as far as I know, no one can legally own an entire island. But it is definitely “private,” in the non-legal sense of the word. An antidote to the crowded and chaotic atmosphere of Boracay, Pandan is just good, clean beach fun. It’s basically a stretch of fine white sand, good snorkeling/diving areas, a single resort, and beach forest. Should you wish to get intoxicated, the resort’s bar will happily set you up with your beverage of choice wrapped in its very own Pandan Island cloth bottle holder. For a different kind of activity, a trail that starts behind the resort takes you through a half hour’s walk through the woods and out to the lagoon on the other side of the island, where you’ll go, ooohh, so this is where all the rocks are hiding!

The resort is owned by a Frenchman, which explains the fact that the guests were mostly, if not all, French. We were the only local tourists that day, and we couldn’t care less, of course, because we only had a few hours there, and had two spanking new sets of snorkeling gear and fins to test out. I didn’t see the pawikan that Don encountered on a previous visit to Pandan, but there are plenty of other fish to make up for it, and to make me forget the fact that my swimming skills are actually pretty pathetic.

Pandan can also be your base in getting to Apo Reef, one of the country’s top dive sites. For now, I was content with a day trip and a few hours of snorkeling in Pandan, but next time, next time…

More pictures in Multiply

17 thoughts on “Pandan Island, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro

  1. Scarlett March 3, 2008 at 10:56 am Reply

    Huwow! what’s the name of the resort? May website ba siya? I’m so interested in the diving sites!



  2. rina March 3, 2008 at 3:11 pm Reply

    their site is but if you’re going to dive, do make sure that you go to apo reef as well!


  3. Wilbert March 26, 2008 at 5:51 pm Reply

    hi rina,

    How long did you stay on the island? I read on their website that you need to stay for a minimum of 3 nights. Also, would it be possible for you to share your travel itinerary (what time you left Manila, what public transport did you take and what time did you arrive on Pandan Island)


  4. rina March 27, 2008 at 5:53 am Reply

    hi wilbur! going to pandan was just a bonus to a working trip, so we just spent a few hours there, around 9AM-3PM. our base was in Sablayan. However, getting to Sablayan itself is quite a long journey so in that sense, if your trip is just for recreation maybe it really is advisable to spend at least 3 days there.

    The trip consisted of a bus trip from Quezon City to Batangas port, which we did at 12 midnight to around 2:30. The boat to Abra de Ilog, Occ. Mindoro, left at 4AM and reached Abra at around 7AM. From there, we took a van to Sablayan and arrived sometime past 10AM. Sablayan to Pandan is pretty easy, a boat can take you there in about 20 minutes. Just head over to the pandan information office near the public market where you can get your ride.

    If you have enough time I would also recommend that you check out other Sablayan attractions, such as Libuao Lake in the Sablayan Penal Farm, and of course Apo Reef, especially if you’re a diver. Enjoy!


  5. bong May 6, 2008 at 8:46 am Reply

    Pandan Island is like Boracay without the crowd, noise, pollution and strip of bar and resorts. Very nice and peaceful place. I commend the Frenchman who runs the place. Though travel time is quite long, but it’s worth it! Next time I visit I’ll make sure to go to Apo reef!


  6. rina May 6, 2008 at 8:56 am Reply

    i’m glad you had a great time, bong. and yes, apo reef should definitely be on your list 🙂


  7. almichael June 10, 2008 at 9:32 pm Reply

    im from this place.. and 1 info, those frenchmen dont own the place.. theyre just renting it from a sablayan local : )


  8. rina June 10, 2008 at 11:21 pm Reply

    almichael: hi, thanks for the clarification!


  9. joseph August 25, 2008 at 5:13 am Reply

    i luv be back home ,


  10. joseph August 25, 2008 at 5:18 am Reply

    pandan island own by rocky legaspi


  11. florecar March 10, 2009 at 12:08 pm Reply

    ganda ng sablayan ninyo


  12. almichael March 20, 2009 at 4:42 pm Reply

    hu’s joseph? rocky legaspi is my lolo = )


  13. rina March 21, 2009 at 5:43 am Reply

    your lolo owns the land, almichael? swerte naman! 🙂


  14. Rick September 23, 2009 at 8:20 am Reply

    Rockys daughter is my girlfriend


  15. Mary August 14, 2010 at 3:04 pm Reply

    Hi, rina! I’m currently doing some school research about Occ. mindoro… Your article is very interesting and helpful..

    but I still need some info.. can you tell me more about the place?? like, do they have bars.. hotels.. souvenir shops? and the boat fares… and if you have something else you want to share.. thanks in advance!!



  16. rina August 23, 2010 at 11:06 am Reply

    hi mary, it’s been years since i’ve been there so whatever info i have is a bit fuzzy now, not to mention dated 🙂 anyway, at the time, sablayan was a pretty quiet place; there are a few hostels, i’m not sure about bars. the general atmosphere is very rural and peaceful


  17. Johnder Talania Montalban October 1, 2012 at 8:51 am Reply

    wow pandan is wonderful??


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