ORIENTAL Mindoro’s Pandang-Gitab Festival features a lively street dance known as Pandango sa Ilaw. The folk dance is inspired by the old practice of women carrying oil lamps as they send off their husbands to fish at early dawn. — DOT
ORIENTAL MINDORO is best known to outsiders for Puerto Galera, a popular beach and diving destination. But there is more to the province that covers the eastern side of Mindoro island. For one, it lays claim to the origins of the Philippine’s traditional pandango sa ilaw dance, which it celebrates through the Pandang-Gitab or Festival of Lights every end-April. Department of Tourism (DoT) IV-B Regional Director Danilo B. Intong, in a statement, said they are stepping up assistance this year for the province’s promotional campaigns, focusing on cultural sites, farm tourism, and island-hopping. “In the previous years, the Department of Tourism supported financially festival undertakings through prizes for street dance competitions and other tourism related events and activities. This year, to entice more tourists to visit our destinations and tourism sites, we invest on promotion and marketing,” Mr. Intong said. The attractions include Bulalacao, a jump-off point for island tours; the churches of Kuta and Simbahang Bato; and the Mangyan Heritage Center. For farm tourism, the first accredited site is Gabunatero Organic Farm in Bongabong, where visitors can experience planting and harvesting as well as go fishing.