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12 May 2014

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My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 2: What about Puerto Galera?



The name Puerto Galera is Spanish for “Port of the Galleons.” For centuries, trading vessels would drop anchor of the shores of this place on the northeastern coast of Mindoro Island.


The Place is a soothing vision of shimmering seas surrounded by lush mountains. It is deliberated one of the most beautiful and developed beach resort community in the country.

When walked towards the strewth of Galera's shoreline I noticed these sporty men playing volleyball
A restaurants human-sized figure display
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Starting from "backyard tourism" wherein local residents accept local and foreign tourist as stay-in guest, the island’s tourism has flourished. In the course of time, several hotels, resorts, inns and restaurants have mushroomed within the area.

There are a thousand things one can do here. Landlubbers can pitch tents, light bonfires, play volleyball, toss a Frisbee, go beach-hopping, watch the sunset, gaze at the stars, hike, go rock climbing, carom off on a motorcycle, discover Oriental Mindoro’s other tourist spots or simply live it up.

But water is certainly the main attraction of the island. Crystal clear and shimmering especially during the hot summer months, the sea framing Puerto Galera is ideal for swimming, sailing, surfing, snorkeling and scuba diving. In fact one doesn’t have to go by boat to get to a dive site. Within a kilometer from the coast, schools of Moorish idols, trumpet fish, frog fish, lion fish and leaf fish weave in and out of thriving corals and sea anemones while species of starfish – from the speckled red-and-white to the neon-blue Pacific – rest on the sandy floor.


Gradually sloping beaches – with the terrain ranging from powder white sand to grainy dark sand to smooth stones to rough coral rubble – comprise a large chunk of the island’s 25 thousand hectares. And while the Department of Tourism’s last count pegs the number of resorts at 115, pockets of isolated and virtually resortless coves and beaches are tucked between massive rock formations.


Outside of minor glitches, Puerto Galera is a tropical paradise that is both rustic and thriving. By day it echoes with the soft breeze and the pounding waves. At night, it comes to life with heady laughter and the clink of wine and glasses, only to segue once again to the barest whisper of the elements.


1. Where is Puerto Galera situated?


- Puerto Galera is located on the north shore of Mindoro Island, 130 kilometers south of Manila and 14 nautical miles away from Batangas City. It is the northwestern most municipalities in the province of Oriental Mindoro, Philippines. You can reach Puerto Galera by land transport to Batangas pier and then by sea ferry to Puerto Galera.


2. How long you’re going to travel from Manila to Puerto Galera?


- Land transport to Batangas pier takes 2 to 3 hours depending on the traffic. The fastest route from Manila to Batangas is by SKYWAY, South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) then CALABARZON highway which now traverses all the way to Batangas pier. The ferry boat ride takes 1 hour up to 1 hour and 30 minutes.


3. How much does public transportation cost per person and Accommodations?



- Puerto Galera’s close proximity to Manila, a 4-hour bus and ferry travel worth less than 500 pesos (one-way), make it the cheap alternative to Boracay. One way to get to White Beach is by taking a bus marked "Batangas Pier via Calabarzon" at the bus terminal at the corner of Gil Puyat Ave and Taft Ave in Pasay City. The fare for an aircon bus is less than 200 pesos and it will stop at Batangas pier. At the pier, there are many Puerto-Galera-bound ferries, choose the one which goes directly to White Beach. The one-way fare is 250 pesos. Pay the Environmental User Fee (Entrance Fee to PG) and the Terminal Fee worth 50 and 10 pesos respectively.


Prices can be luxurious, especially during the Holy Week, when the businesses there become opportunists. How expensive, exactly? Well, during off-peak season, accommodation prices can be as low as P500 per night for an air-conditioned room – that inflates to well over P4, 000 during peak season. Solution: when visiting, go with friends so you share the expenses. Many resorts offer group packages for a minimum of 10 persons worth around 1800 pesos per person per day inclusive of ferry, meals and accommodation. Other resorts offer tour packages to Puerto Galera’s numerous tourist spots, like Bayanan Beach, Haligi Beach, Bulabod Beach, Tamaraw Falls and Tukuran Hidden Paradise.  As for the other expenses (e.g. food, drinks), don’t frequent the seaside restos – instead, leave that for the evenings (when you have to see and be seen) and discover the venues inland at other times of the day.
There are many resorts in White Beach which offer rooms with aircon, cable TV and hot/cold shower. The room rates vary according to the season: when it’s normal season (June to October), a room will range from 1000 to 1500 (good for 2 persons), when it’s high season (November to May), the same room will range from 1500 to 400.

4. What time does the ferry leave for Puerto Galera?


- The first ferry trip to Puerto Galera departs at around 7:30 AM. Thereafter, a ferry leaves every 1 hour until 5:00 PM which is normally the last trip to Puerto Galera. But Holy Friday the last trip is 12nn


5. Where should I stay, Sabang or White Beach?

This is how the preparation goes for the Sunset Party
Party Starts 3PM- 5AM non-stop

Sabang and White Beach are the two most popular tourist centers in Puerto Galera. Most of the foreign tourists prefer to stay in Sabang while most of the local (Filipino) tourists go to White Beach.

Sabang boasts of many high-class resorts that offer the best dive education in the country and dive sites are literally a stone’s throw away. Sabang also has a distinct nightlife reminiscent of the old Ermita, former red light district of Metro Manila.
Sabang, they say, is for divers, for the young and adventurous; while White Beach is for families, for the tourist who is content with the sun, sea and sand, for friends who want to escape Manila, recharge their batteries while relaxing in nearby Puerto Galera.
White Beach (Brgy San Isidro) is the most popular of Puerto Galera’s 32 beaches especially among Filipino tourists. Come summer, from March to May, Manila tourists flock to Puerto Galera by the hundreds, and during the Holy Week, by the thousands


White Beach, during this time, is the scene of many concerts and festivals organized by big corporations like San Miguel, Smart and Globe. The beaches are filled with people, relaxing, walking to and fro, sunbathing, playing volleyball, riding jet skis and banana boats. At dawn, people sit at the beach to witness one of the best sunsets in the country. At night, more people come out to enjoy meals at beachfront restaurants. There are several open-air bars with "gay dancers" and serving Puerto Galera’s trademark concoction, "Mindoro Sling". There are also many tattoo shops and souvenir shops along White Beach.


6. Is there an ATM in Puerto Galera?


Yes. There are, at present, 3 ATMs in Puerto Galera; 2 are located in Poblacion and 1 in Sabang. All accept the 3 major ATM networks as well as foreign cards.
If you’re in White Beach, ride a tricycle to Poblacion and tell the driver you are going to Allied Bank- the special trip costs 100 pesos.


My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 1
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 2
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 3
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 4
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 5
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 6
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 7
My Puerto Galera Chronicle Part 8

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