Additional info about San Jose in Occidental Mindoro

Friday, August 17, 2012

After 5 trips to San Jose Mindoro for work, I can now share a few things for people thinking of visiting this town. San Jose isn’t exactly known for tourism but it has a fighting chance. There are several islands that you can visit from the town. San Jose also serves as a gateway for people traveling to Sablayan, which is 2 hours away, to visit Pandan Island and Apo Reef.

Where to Stay
I can only vouch for the 2 places I’ve stayed at in San Jose, El Mora Hotel and White House Beach Resort which are right next to each other. Periodic brownouts are still happening in San Jose but both hotels have a generator.

Pilot’s Lounge is a restaurant and Bar adjacent to El Mora Hotel. It was the first business the owner put up. After a couple of years, she converted her vacation house to a hotel. El Mora has 5 rooms ranging from P2,000 – 4,000 that can accommodate 1-2 person/s per room. It also has a pool but you’ll have to pay extra if you’d like to use it. The amenities are modern but sadly not well maintained.

We spent most of our time in San Jose here because of 1 person, Ate Rose. She is the hotel’s everything – cook, housekeeping, receptionist, everything! She is warm and I looked forward to seeing her. Whenever we needed anything, Ate Rose was our answer. I enjoyed many meals at El Mora Hotel because of Ate Rose. Wifi if available in Pilot’s Lounge and sometimes if you’re lucky, you can catch some outside your room.

Oh and be warned, the hotel has a tendency to change numbers. During our visits to San Jose, they changed their number twice! It was a good thing our work contact was able to get the updated number.

White House Beach Resort is really a house. The owners converted the first floor into a hotel and kept the second floor for the family. They have 5 rooms available for occupancy that range from P2,500 – 3,500. The house has been with the family for decades and started operation in the 90s.

The rooms are spacious and the bathrooms are ginormous. I love how big the cut of rooms and houses were before. White House Beach Resort may not have a modern aesthetic but have modern features. All rooms have working hot + cold showers, cable TV and a ref. Their accommodations come with free breakfast and I’m deliriously happy to share that they have Filipino, American and Continental breakfast options. Their servings are generous so take advantage of this perk. They also serve the fluffiest and biggest pancakes I’ve seen for P58! Wifi is available in the dining area and veranda.

Another warning, they only serve breakfast so be ready to head out for other meals. 

If you still want other options, you can check this out.

Where to Eat
Generally speaking, food takes forever to prepare in San Jose. In practically all the places we tried, this was constant. Make sure to pass by Circle Food Center and order their Special Lomi (P100) and Lumpiang Shanghai (P120). Our visit to San Jose is not complete without a meal here. Their Special Lomi is good for 2-3 people and for P100 that’s a steal! Other notable restaurants to try are Cucina ni Lea, Villa Paulina and Biboy’s Café. I think Biboy’s Café has changed its name, it is the restaurant located right next to Aroma Beach. My fave drink there is their Choco Joe!

A special shout out to Akong Bakery which according to locals is the best bakery in town. I love that its 24 hours too! They prepare their breads in small batches so it’s usually fresh but it also means that there are items in their menu that are out of stock from time to time.

The plaza also has food stalls that vary from time to time. I was full when I passed by but I did want to try the halo-halo, sweet corn and the shakes.

How to get there
Cebu Pacific, Airphil and Zest have flights to San Jose. You can also take the land and sea adventure by taking the bus/van and roro to San Jose.

On our last trip to San Jose, our flight back to Manila was cancelled because of the storm Gener and the earliest we could fly out was 4 days later. No freaking way! We were willing to take the land and sea travel as long as it was safe. We had several options (van only + roro, bus with roro, van with roro, etc) with the help of our work contact we settled on taking the door-to-door van of Angelstar Transport. For P1,000 per person, we rode their van from San Jose and were brought home. The bringing you to your doorstep sealed the deal for us. We endured the almost 11 hour road trip and found our way home.

More tips!
- Pray to the gods that you get great weather, the sunset in San Jose is freaking fantastic.
- Someone once mentioned to us that “Sikatuna Hotel, never again.” so we never booked there.
- Bring whatever mosquito repellent works for you. Those mosquitoes are pretty vicious! I’d always go home with bites even if I slathered insect repellent lotion. It came to a point when I’d be using a mosquito patch and insect repellent lotion.
- The people there are genuinely friendly and helpful. They are one of the stars of the town.

San Jose is a typical small town in a province so it is best to have that in mind when visiting in order to adjust your expectations.  I honestly want to go back to San Jose and visit the islands that people keep telling us about. I’ve seen some photos and truly, it is worth a non-work visit!


El Mora Hotel
0929-5084484; 0947-3468874

White House Beach Resort
0919-6167160; 0923-9586167

Angelstar Transport
San Jose Terminal: 0929-8535029
Manila Terminal: 0908-5303318

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  1. Thanks for the info! Interesting yung El Mora pero hindi sya mura. Hehe! Might be traveling solo to San Jose in 2 weeks. I hope to find a cheap place to stay. :)

    1. Hi Gabz, thanks for dropping by. For work kasi kasi medyo pricey yung accommodations. Ang mga narinig namin though "Never again in Sikatuna." Cant wait to see your post about San Jose. =)


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