Puerto Galera is this small town in the island of Mindoro, Philippines. It is known for its dive sites and beaches. Puerto Galera, to me, is somewhat the mini Boracay near Manila. If you’ve heard or been to Boracay, you know how nice it is – white sand beach, hotels, parties all night – it’s the same thing. The only difference is, it’s near Manila and the sand is not as fine as Boracay. I love Puerto Galera! It’s easy to get to, and you can just take a day trip if you want.
First things first! Getting to Puerto Galera from Manila is really easy. It takes three hours, tops!
- From Manila, you can ride a bus to Batangas Pier. We always take the bus from JAC Liner terminal in Gil Puyat, Pasay, because it’s easier to get to. The Gil Puyat LRT station is right there, and buses pass by there too. From Manila to Batangas Port, it would take you 2 hours tops, with moderate traffic. The bus ticket cost around PHP 200 ($4) per trip.
- When you get to Batangas Port, you can get a ticket for the boat. If you’re going to White Beach, you can take the boat to Balatero. If you’re going to Sabang Beach, you can take the boat going to Muelle. You can choose to get one way ticket or roundtrip, but it’s always cheaper to get the roundtrip ticket – it cost around PHP 550.00. The boat ride is 30-45 minutes. The first trip from Manila is at 6am, and the last trip from Puerto Galera is around 3pm. If you’re as crazy as me and this is a day trip for you, then you should ask the boat people as soon as you dock, what time is their last trip and what is the boarding time.
- The boat will take you directly to the beaches. When you get there, you need to pay some fees such as environmental fees, terminal fees, etc. It’s been a long time so I don’t really remember how much those are. But it’s around PHP 25 – 125 ($0.50 – $2.50). Most of the Philippines Islands have these fees, especially if it’s a tourist area.
We stayed at Gina’s Hideaway, a place we found on AirBnB. The place had two bedrooms, it comes with Wi-Fi, and it’s a good size. There were four of us that time, so split into four, the price was not that bad per night. They kept the place really clean too, and the host, ate Gina, was really nice and approachable. She really made sure that we did not get lost getting to her place.
Maybe my only concern about this place was, it was a little too far from White Beach, where the happenings are. But ate Gina was kind enough to reserve her tricycle for us. We pay them around PHP 50-80 (it was 20 minutes away) per trip, and they are on-call, if we ever want to get picked up anywhere in the island, they will be there. We have our own Uber-trike! LOL. Also, that time, the signal for the Wi-Fi wasn’t that good inside the house. But we didn’t mind chillin’ by the porch at night – fresh air, quiet night, not gonna complain.
On our first day, we just had lunch by the beach and took some photos. We also did some groceries because it was quite hard to get to the airbnb. I mean, we’re already at the beach, so let’s just make the most of it!
On our second day, we did a little island hopping. Almost every [tourist] beach in the Philippines has island hopping activities. Aside from, of course, island hopping, they usually include snorkeling or diving, and sometimes cave excursions. This had snorkeling and cave excursions. For Island Hopping, they usually cost PHP 1,500 – 2500. This one is the same amount. Normally, PHP 1500 is mainly for renting the boat exclusively for your group. Sometimes they add PHP 100 per person, for the snorkeling gears.
I am not really into snorkeling, but Raine paid for it so I had to do it! Normally, the boat would just stop in the middle of the water for 30 minutes and let you swim around. But then our boat men told us to hold on to the boat handles (?) and they drove around the area. It was way more easier than swimming by yourself. This time I actually enjoyed snorkeling.
After snorkeling, they took us to a cave.
Last stop is at a small island nearby the cave. Of course, more photoshoots happened!
After a long day of touring, we had dinner by the beach. There’s a strip of restaurants and bars by the White Beach. We opted to do some barbecue and fresh fruit shake take outs and eat them by the picnic tables.
After dinner we tried the famous Mindoro Sling! It’s Mindoro’s signature drink. It has Tanduay Rum as its alcohol base, and then some juices. It wasn’t that amazing for me, but it was definitely strong! There are also some night performances happening such as fire dances. If you walk by the shore, you can also have some massages.
This trip happened three years and 25 pounds ago, when I was regularly going to the gym with these ladies. They’ve been my inspiration and also health compass when I was going through a lot that year. I badly miss the Philippines, and I do hope I get to visit these places again. Or maybe find somewhere like this.