Top 8 Things To Do That Define The City Of Calapan, Philippines

things to do in calapan philippines
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Looking for the best activities in Calapan? Read on to find out about the top things to do below!

Calapan is a small village in Oriental Mindoro and used to be the province’s capital in the late 1800s. When it became part of Marinduque, they changed the capital to Puerto Galera. On November 10, 1902, Mindoro became an independent province so they changed the capital back to Calapan. 96 years later, a once small village has been transformed to a beautiful city and signed into law by the former president Ramos. It is the first and only city in Oriental Mindoro.

There have been significant changes since its transformation. Tourism was boosted and more buildings were built. The list below contains just some of the many reasons why you need to visit Calapan City.

1. Festivals in Calapan

Sto. Nino de Calapan festival usually starts during Christmas but it’s celebrated every 1st of January. Some activities include the lighting of a big Christmas tree, firework displays, and cultural presentations. Kalap Festival, held every 21st of March is Calapan’s official festival. Usually, there are colorful floats and performances. Kalap is a celebration of the city’s history and culture. Another festival is The Mardigras, a colorful and vibrant street party that happens during summer, foundation day, fiesta, and halloween. Most people party the night away after this festival. The Harvest Festival is celebrated to recognize Calapan as the major importer of rice. Sinkaw, taken from the word “sining kalabaw,” is a festival for the farmers. A carabao competition is held during the Sinkaw, and this is to honor the city’s “beast of the burden”.

A week-long festival that includes a barter trading reenactment is another celebration in the city of Calapan. It’s called Sandugo which is a Mangyan word for brotherhood. The festival is celebrated to revive this old tradition. During the reenactment, someone would play the Mangyan while the other one performs as Chinese.

Calapan Festivals

Address: Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro

2. Mangyan Heritage Center

Mangyan children in traditional costume 2
Source: Photo by Flickr user Michael Stout used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

The Mangyans are the indigenous people in Mindoro. They make jewelries, clothing, books, rattan baskets, accessories, and cards which are sold at the Mangyan Heritage Center. The proceeds go to the scholarships of the Mangyan students. Both a library and a museum, the resource center has the largest collection of Mangyan materials in the world. They not only promote their handicrafts, but also conducts activities to celebrate their culture and history.

Mangyan Heritage Center

Address: Bishop Finnemann Compound Calero, Calapan, 5200 Oriental Mindoro

Facebook: Mangyan Heritage Center

3. Cargo: local food bar

Meat Burger
Source: Photo by Flickr user Marco Verch Profe... used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Ever tasted carabao meat? Cargo serves this in different dishes but the most popular is the carabao burger. They have the best carabao beef in Mindoro and you should get one for yourself. The restaurant also serves yummy desserts, pasta, and alcoholic drinks.

Cargo Grill

Address: Bimas Inn Bldg, National Highway, Tawiran Calapan

Facebook: Cargo Grill

4. Sto. Nino Cathedral

Santo Niño Cathedral in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Isolatedpawn used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The cathedral is one of the frequently visited landmarks that’s located at the heart of the city. It’s the center of the religious activities in Calapan. Masses are held every day at 6am and last for about 30 minutes. The cathedral is clean and simple yet elegant, and has an impressive altar.

Sto. Nino Cathedral

Address: A. Bonifacio Street, Calapan, 5200, Mindoro

5. Silonay Mangrove Conservation Area and Ecotourism

Mangrove Ecopark
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user FroyR used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Nature lovers will love the solitude this place has to offer. This is the mangrove forest in Calapan City. The trees have grown to be about 8 feet (2.4 meters) and visitors are advised to bring binoculars so they can better observed them. You may occasionally see some birds here too. There is a 400 meter (125 feet) wooden walkway through the forest with shaded huts. Tourists can rest here while taking their snacks that can be bought at the entrance. Entrance fee to the mangrove forest is 1 USD.

Silonay Mangrove Conservation Area and Ecotourism

Address: Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro

Facebook: Silonay Mangrove Conservation Area and Ecotourism

6. Calapan City Zoological and Recreational Park

Zoar Outdoor / Zip Lining
Source: Photo by Flickr user Massachusetts Off... used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

The recreational park in Bulusan is a family-oriented, 3-hectare (7.41 acre) park shaded with trees. There are two areas: recreation and the zoo. The Recreational Park is where you can find the statues of animals, a playground, fountain, and some benches. The caged animals are on the other side of the park. Other activities include horseback riding for about 2 USD, wall climbing for 1 USD, and ziplining for 3 USD. There is no entrance fee to the park.

Calapan City Zoological and Recreational Park

Address: Sitio Sentro, Bulusan, Calapan City

Facebook: Calapan Recreational Park

7. Caluangan Lake

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Calapan’s hidden gem is at barangay Wawa. Rent a boat for about 30 minutes to take you through the refreshing waters of Caluangan Lake. You’ll see dozens of white birds that rest in the trees before flying back to the mountains. You will also get a good view of Mt. Halcon, the highest peak in Mindoro. Another option is to take a leisurely cruise to the Baruyan River.

Caluangan Lake

Address: Calapan City, Mindoro

8. The fine beaches of Calapan

Baco-Chico islets in Calapan
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Narcissus101185 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

While most beaches have white sands, Calapan also has black. They’re so fine you’ll feel like you’re walking in a soft carpet. Most of their beaches are surrounded with shallow waters so it’s perfect for swimming. And you’ll feel closer to nature as the beaches are surrounded with lots of trees. The Baco-chico islet is also another beach that you need to visit in Calapan. The reefs on the island are ideal for scuba diving.

Beaches in Calapan

Address: Calapan City and Calapan Bay

The City of the Golden Grains

Calapan City goes by many names: The Discipline City and The Acropolis of the South are just two of them. It’s also called The City of the Golden Grains because of the abundant of rice. After your touring, don’t forget to taste the city’s main delicacy: the suman. It’s a rice cake cooked in coconut milk and wrapped in banana leaves. Calapan may be a small city, but it’s definitely worth a visit.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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