If you are looking for a beach-bum weekend with a pretty interesting nightlife that’s about 3 hours away from Manila – then Puerto Galera is your haven. Tagged as one of the “World’s Most Beautiful Bay” in 2005, it is not surprising that this place has so much to offer. From the fascinating falls to the rich greenery of the rainforest, down to the interesting wildlife under the sea- you will surely never run out of things to do. On the other hand, you can choose to laze off at the beach and be mesmerized by the colorful sunset.
On the average, you’ll need at least 3-4 days to experience all of the land’s best offer but not exhausting yourself with a busy, fast-paced schedule. It is best to plan 2-3 excursions a day and spend the night at Sabang or White Beach before yielding to your hotel of choice.
Read on for the Best Tips for your Puerto Galera Escapade!
HOW TO GET THERE
Located at the north part of Mindoro, Philippines, Puerto Galera has been accessible for tourists thru the Batangas Pier. To reach this paradise, one has to ride a boat which will take you to Sabang, White Beach, or Calapan – depends on when your accommodation is. It is essential to book your boat ahead of time to avoid a long queue especially during the peak season.
The travel from Manila to Batangas Pier via bus is roughly a two-hour ride. If you choose to bring a private vehicle, better call for a Boat Schedule before your trip.
Below is a summary of the bus schedule for ease of reference;
|ROUTE||FARE||1ST TRIP||LAST TRIP|
|CUBAO TO BATANGAS PIER||PHP 175 (USD 3.48/ SGD 4.83)||12:00 AM||10:30 PM|
|LRT BUENDIA TO BATANGAS PIER||PHP 168 (USD 3.34 / SGD 4.64)||12:30 AM||11:00 PM|
|TURBINA TO BATANGAS PIER||PHP 87 (USD 1.73/ SGD 2.40)||3:00 AM||8:00 PM|
|BATANGAS PIER TO CUBAO||PHP 175 (USD 3.48/SGD 4.83)||6:00 AM||11:00 PM|
|BATANGAS PIER TO LRT BUENDIA||PHP 168 (USD 3.34/SGD 4.64)||6:00 AM||6:00 AM|
There is not much to worry about when it comes to accommodation. Puerto Galera’s infamous White Beach is line with Hotels/Inns which can cater to your budget and needs. My personal favorite is the Bamboo Lodge in Aninuan and Sabang. It gives you that tropical vacation feeling because of the authenticity of the food, the ambiance, and of course the breath-taking view. The only downside is that you’ll have some travel time going around places, especially to White Beach, the “center of attraction.”
However, if you prefer the quiet, relaxing vibe – better look for hotels in Aninuan and Sabang. Otherwise, stay at the White Beach to be readily accessible to bars, clubs, and most of the happenings in the area.
You will also love the fact that the place is highly photogenic! You can click wherever and end up being a photographer for a day!
LONG MOTORCYCLE RIDES
Going around is the best part. Since there are no cabs available and tricycles are not easily spotted, the best mode of transportation is renting a motorcycle. It doesn’t matter if you have a driving license or none, I guess it has been part of the tourism effort to attract more visitors. A 24-hour rent will cost around PHP 500 (USD 10) plus fuel of about PHP 100 (USD 2) which can take you miles on end.
We were able to roam the island from Tamaraw Falls down to the city of Puerto Galera. The places we covered are the Virgin Beach, the Mangrove Sanctuary, some hidden Lomi house along the road (the food was heavenly!), Coral Garden View, and the Puerto Galera Church.
*Note: If you choose to visit any churches nearby, make sure to light up a candle. It has been known that your wish upon the first visit to a church will come true. I don’t want to sound overly religious or something but several of my wishes did happen!
The top water activities are banana/dragon boat rides, inflated adventure playground, jet skiing, paragliding, diving, and snorkeling.
I didn’t realize that I was a sea lover until I snorkeled in Galera.
The best snorkeling location EVER!
Home for UNESCO’s protected biosphere, the wildlife under the Puerto Galeran sea is tremendously abundant. Given the shallow feature of the place, snorkeling will feel like you can touch everything (but mind you, it is highly prohibited!)
Ever experienced swimming with colorful sea creatures you only see in Adventure Parks? You got it here! The monumental size of sea turtles that are around 20-80+ years old, clown fishes (maybe Nemo’s here), lionfishes, with a background of colorful sponges and different species of gigantic corals.
Yes, the sea slugs!
At first, you thought it is some coral until it moves its head with (usually) a pair of antennae. Again, as good as it may look, touching them will only hurt you and the ecosystem, so keep your hands to yourself.
Other attractions are the Clam Farm, where the city’s best Pearls are harvested, the shipwreck which is now home to other sweet sea creatures, and the diving spots to get you a closer look.
Of course, the day doesn’t end until you spend the late afternoon by the beach with your favorite person and a bottle of beer on your hand!