Puerto Galera in One Day
What to do in Puerto Galera? There’s a lot of fun activities to be enjoyed there, which is one of the reasons I love going to Mindoro. It is very near Metro Manila; I just hop on a bus, take a one-hour boat ride, and presto, I can already enjoy its white sand beaches before noon. The place is undeniably beautiful, too, with its blue-green waters and a rich marine life.
If you only have one day to spend in Puerto Galera (specifically in White Beach), here are my suggestions to maximize your stay there.
Snorkel, or better yet, dive! A lot of my friends keep going back to Puerto Galera just to dive. It is actually reputed to have the best diving sites in Asia. If the thought of going underwater creeps you out, an excellent alternative is to go snorkeling either at the Coral Garden or in Long Beach. Boat rental is P2,500, but it can be brought down to P1,500 during the off-peak season. If there are only a few of you, ask if you could tag along with another group so that you could only pay P200-250 per person.
The price may also include a brief side trip to what locals call the “underwater” cave, which is actually just a small opening in the rocks which gets filled up by seawater at high tide.
Eat, eat, eat! There are a number of beachside restaurants in White Beach, offering everything from grilled seafood (of course), to Italian, American and other international dishes. One good place is Paul’s Bar; they serve a variety of dishes at an affordable price. If you want to have the best pizza and pasta Mindoro has to offer, go to Luca’s Restaurant in Talipanan. Their choices of pizza flavors are excellent (I love the Romana and the Seafood Pizza) and the view from the restaurant is amazing. In going there, hire a tricycle (which may charge P100) and make sure to ask him to come back for you.
Walk along the beach. It’s very nice to walk from White Beach to Aninuan Beach. You have to go through some boulders, which is a bit of an adventure in itself, but you will find Aninuan Beach on the other side to be worth it. This is the choice of those who want a quieter place. There are no bars here, and there are only two resorts: Tamaraw and the Sunset at Aninuan Beach Resort.
Have a massage by the sea. There are a number of masseuses in both Aninuan and White beaches. You can lie down on the sand and listen to the waves crashing to the shore while a masseuse kneads your tired muscles. At around P250, this is a treat indeed!
Trek to Talipanan Waterfalls. For those who’d like to trek 30-45 minutes to see a smallish falls, the one in Brgy. Talipanan is good enough (the Aninuan Waterfalls is bigger, but it takes a longer time to trek). Just ask the locals how to go there, as, unfortunately, there are no signages to guide you. You will have to go through the Mangyan Village, where they have a display of their handicrafts for sale.
Enjoy the night shows. Every Friday to Sunday night, White Beach comes alive with the nightly shows staged by gay performers in Mikko’s Bar. Their song-and-dance numbers can be funny, too, although they do get repetitive if you go there as often as I do. What I enjoy most are the fire dancers who expertly twirl and spin balls of flame. Their skills can really take your breath away.
There are so much more you can do in Puerto Galera. Stay longer, and you will fully appreciate its charms!
How to go to Puerto Galera (updated as of April 2013):
The Buendia bus terminal in Manila and the Cubao/Kamuning bus terminals in Quezon City have buses going to Batangas (a two to three-hour ride). There are a number of bus liners going there, namely Jam, Ceres, Alps, and Batangas Express. The sign board should say that it is going to Batangas Pier via the Calabarzon/Balagtas/Tambo exit (don’t take the one passing by Lipa, as it is the longer way). Tickets from Quezon City is P175, one way. From Manila, it should be around P168.
Once in Batangas City, there are small boats from the Minolo Shipping Lines and Father and Son Lines going to Muelle (Puerto Galera’s main port, P200, one way), White Beach (P250, one way), and Sabang. It is recommended to arrive in Batangas City in the morning (earliest boat is at 7am), as the sea is a bit choppy later in the day. During peak season, there are boats going to PG as late as 4pm.
For those who don’t like small boats, there is a RORO (a big ship which can accommodate cars as well) which leaves Batangas at 12nn and Puerto Galera at 4pm daily. This has to be confirmed with Montenegro Lines though, as they sometimes cancel trips when there are not enough passengers.
At the Batangas pier, visitors will have to pay the P50 environmental fee (PG residents are exempted) and the P30 terminal fee. Going back to Batangas, there is a P10 terminal fee.
There are a lot of places to stay in White Beach; prices range from PhP1000 per room, higher if it’s peak season. White Beach is a party place, so if one needs more quiet, there are more places to stay in Tamaraw, Aninuan, and Talipanan, one tricycle ride away from White Beach.
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Aleah Taboclaon is a freelance writer and editor. She likes running (completed one marathon, training for the next!), diving (PADI open water diver), and traveling with her Kindle. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. You can also email her; she would love to hear from you!