The Gubatnon Mangyan

The Gubatnon Mangyan live in the South of the Philippines‘ island of Mindoro, just to the west of the Hanunoo Mangyan. They live in tiny villages of thatched huts in the islands interior and a few who live nearer to towns, such as the one pictured below, earn a living by making charcoal from wood.

The quickest way to access the Gubatnon is to go from the town of San Jose (which you can get to by Cebu Pacific flight from Manila or boat from Coron, Palawan) to the village of Naibwan. The jeepneys that run this route are extremely old, overcrowded and irregular and the road appalling. It was my only jeepney ride during six months in the Philippines where by the end I was actually in unbearable pain due to cramps brought on by extreme overcrowding and simply being unable to move my legs for three hours.

It is also possible to trek across Southern Mindoro from the village of Benli (see this website’s Hanunoo Mangyan page) to Naibwan, taking you through some quite isolated Hanunoo and Gubatnon villages. The route does, however, take you just to the south of a camp of the New People’s Army rebels (see main Mindoro page) and their spies and sympathisers in villages may try to trick you into going there with them. Local Mangyans may be too scared to warn you against this. In short, as with everywhere in interior Mindoro, do not attempt this without an absolutely trusted guide who knows the area well and will steer you clear of trouble (see Hanunoo Mangyan page for some ideas on finding such a guide).

Click here for my blog about the Hanunoo and Gubatnon Mangyan. It’s 5318 words and 19 photos.


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