Occidental Mindoro

Arawatan Festival

Arawatan Festival is founding anniversary that is celebrated in the province of Occidental Mindoro, Philippines every November 15th. A week-long celebration, main activities take place in Mamburao, the capital of the province.

History of Arawatan Festival

Arawatan Festival comes from the word arawatan, a Mangyan word that refers to unity. Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Board) issued Resolution No. 124 declaring the festival as the focal point of the annual celebration of the founding of the province in 2010. Vernon Andrew M. Reyes, the winner of the song-making contest in 2012, composed its hymn entitled Makisaya sa Arawatan which was interpreted by Wilson Manuel. Additionally, Republic Act No. 11123 was also approved on October 30, 2018 that declared every November 15 as a special non-working holiday.

Founding of Occidental Mindoro

Arawatan Festival remembers the establishment of the province. Occidental Mindoro is part of Southwestern Tagalog Region which is also known as Mimaropa. Other provinces that make up the region are Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Palawan, and Romblon.

The island of Mindoro was called Mait in the olden times. It current name is derived from Mina de Oro given by the Spaniards that means gold mine due to the presence and extraction of deposits of the said precious metal. Its inhabitants engaged in trading with Chinese merchants and the island had been known to the Chinese centuries before the coming of the Spaniards. In fact, Juan de Salcedo chanced upon two Chinese ships filled with products for trade in his exploration of the island in the 1570s. Later, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi sailed to Mindoro and placed it under Spanish control. It was under the civil government established in Bonbon, the present-day Batangas. In 17th century, it was made into a corregimiento that also included Marinduque and with Puerto Galera as its capital.

Its history in those times is marked by ruin and misery at the hands of Moro raiders who created bases in Balete and Mamburao. From there they ransacked communities and captured people to be sold off as slaves. The attacks were such that settlement areas were destroyed or abandoned by fleeing residents. Only when authorities embarked on concerted campaigns against these seaborne pirates that people returned and population grew towards the end of the 18th century. By 1837, the capital of the island was transferred from Puerto Galera to Calapan.

During the American colonial era, the entire island was annexed to the province of Marinduque through the passage of Act No. 423 of the Philippine Commission on June 23, 1902. And then on November 10, 1902, it became an independent province by virtue of Act No. 500. Finally, the island was split into Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro through Republic Act No. 505 on June 13, 1950. It was signed into law by Elpidio Quirino in November 15 of the same year, and this is the date that Arawatan Festival commemorates.

Arawatan Festival Activities

Kick-off activities of Arawatan Festival occur in November 9, and the culminating programs happen in the 15th. There are photo exhibit, public services, agri-trade fair, job fair, cook fest, film fest, awards and recognition, beauty pageant called Binibining Occidental Mindoro, sporting events like tennis and mountain bike race, talent contests, street dance, and others.

How to reach Occidental Mindoro

You can take a flight to Manila Airport, take a bus for a three-hour trip to Batangas. Then take a ferry ride to Abra de Ilog.


Arawatan Festival Summary

NameArawatan Festival
CelebrationCulture, Founding
DateNovember 15
Duration1 week
LocationOccidental Mindoro
OrganizerProvincial Government of Occidental Mindoro