Puerto Galera is a town on the northeastern coast of Mindoro Island, Philippines. Among travellers it is commonly known as encompassing the region surrounding it. While a small town, other adjacent smaller towns, such as Sabang and White Beach, are the primary destinations; however, all are lumped together as Puerto Galera as it hosts the ferry terminal (to Batangas) through which most people arrive.
- Immigration Office (in the public market buildiing). M-W 9AM-4PM. Most visa-related issues can be taken care of by Rudi and Nestor from the Calapan Immigrations Office. They hold hours here Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Wednesday only open until noon. Xerox services are available nearby, often required for visa extension applications.
Puerto Galera is 90 minutes away from Metro Manila. If you're already in Manila, getting there is pretty easy. Having a car is very convenient, all you need to do is drive through South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and Star Tollway and then head to Batangas Pier. From there, you can either park your car and ride a ferry going to Puerto Galera or have your car ride a RoRo (roll on, roll off) ship bound to Calapan City so you could take your car with you to Puerto Galera. Its distance from Puerto Galera is about 51 km and takes about 1½-hour land drive with concreted zigzag road.
Puerto Galera is easily accessible from Areas around Manila. Most tourists prefer to take a JAM transit or BLTB bus - from its terminals along EDSA Cubao. These ply every hour between Cubao (Manila) and Puerto Galera pier. The Sikat tourist service operates one trip per day and is convenient for people staying in Manila close to Ermita.
- JAM transit, BLTB and Sikat tourist service, ☎ . Buses run every hour from the Manila (Quezon city) Cubao bus terminal. JAM transit is among the popular bus services. BLTB too runs buses every about 2 hours. These cost about ₱300 per trip. The Sikat leaves at 8:30AM daily from the City State Tower Hotel on Mabini Street, Ermita, Manila. The round trip ticket costs ₱1,400 and includes both bus and ferry to either Sabang Beach or Puerto Galera. It reaches Sabang at 1PM afternoon. For the adventurous traveler go to LRT-1 Gil Puyat station in Manila and from there you will see buses and shuttle services going to Batangas pier. It cost around P180 from Buendia to Batangas pier. And when you get to Batangas pier all you need to do is to ride a ferry boat going to Sabang - Puerto Galera. JAM Transit operates buses every hour from Manila Cubai and Buendia bus terminal to Puerto Galera pier. The trip costs about ₱200 and takes about 2 hours.
Scheduled ferries arrive at Puerto Galera mostly from Batangas but also from other islands. From there, most people immediately depart for Sabang (known for scuba diving) or White Beach (a stretch of white sand holding small restaurants and bars).
Crossing the waters between Batangas Port and White Beach can be a thrill by itself especially during the meeting of the tides when the sea can be quite rough. However, the boatmen know these waters very well, so there is no need to be hysterical.
At the harbor you will find lots of people trying to get you to ride with their tricycle. For a 5-minute trip, they will try to make you pay ₱200, but the real price is ₱15/20 (one person/two person) (Mar 2011) so insist on paying that. You can also find them everywhere in town and get a ride to White Beach, Sabang, etc. After dark, the rates are higher (for example, instead of ₱20 you pay ₱50). In Sabang there are 3 motorcycle rental providers. For ₱500 you can rent a scooter for the whole day. You have to mind the local traffic rules, of course.
- Beaches: White Beach is a good alternative to Boracay if you do not have much money or time. One of the interesting aspects of many Philippine beaches is that there are no piers at the destination so boats typically go as close to the beach as possible. Passengers disembark through a wooden plank and either have to wade through knee high water or be piggybacked by muscular boatmen. Other beaches include Talipanan Beach, Bayanan Beach, Haligi Beach, Long Beach, Panlilio Beach, Coco Beach, La Laguna Beach, Encenada Beach, Bulabod Beach, Boquete Island and San Antonio Island. About 32 beaches are found around Puerto Galera meaning there's a lot to choose from. Avoid April and May when room rates rise triple or double of the ordinary price because many flock to the beaches during the long weekend in Holy Week. The waters of Puerto Galera are home to giant clams as well as dolphins and corals.
- Lush Forests: The forests of Puerto Galera are home to many flora such as orchids, birds and fauna such as orchids and waterfalls.
- Tamaraw Falls (15 km from Puerto Galera on the road of Calapan). Tamaraw Falls is a few minute ride from White Beach by rented van. The water from the Falls collects into a pool under a bridge. It is quite cold and invigorating. A few meters up from the pool, one can enjoy the pounding waters that gush through the boulders. A few kilometers down the road is a beautiful beach.
- Coral Reefs
- Hidden Valley. A paradise lost and is off the beaten track, ask your hotel for directions to get to there.
- Mangyan Village. A group of nomadic peoples living in the mountains of Mindoro, they're the natives of Mindoro however now the Tagalogs form majority of the population. They have struggled in preserving their culture by avoiding outside and modern wester influences. To see them, a reliable guide is needed. Respect and behavior is a must when visiting them just like how you want people to behave when they visit your home.
- Alag Riverbank. Get to Alag riverbank by jeepney passing scenic views of the mountains by jeepney. This is the best spot to Kayak, depending on how fast the river flows the trip might last for 3-4 hours.
- Muelle Bay. A beautiful hidden hideout. It has a natural harbor where most ferries and boats dock, the bay is lined by a row of shops, bars and restaurants, enjoy the scenic view of the bay while having lunch or a romantic dinner. Get your cameras ready!
- Reptile Zoo. Not to be missed by reptile lovers, it has a set of snakes, crocodiles and lizards.
Accredited masseuses can give you massage right on the beach. To prevent hanky-panky, in-room massage, other than in an especially designated room at the hotel, is prohibited. Aside from Scuba Diving, golf is also another activity, a golf course is available.
Most visitors to Puerto Galera are attracted by the excellent scuba diving provided by the protected marine sanctuary. There are a number of dive shops in the area (estimated at around 35) that provide access to a macro (i.e. small life) heaven. The dive sites that feature a large variety of small sea life with the occasional shark or turtle. Several sites are drift dives and often turn into (strong) current dives with the best diving (for coral and small life) being at 20m or 60 feet. Almost all of the dive sites are within a 10 minute boat ride of Sabang which allows you to spend your surface interval on the shore and it also allows most shops to offer as many as four dive trips (single tank) each day. Prices for a single dive are US$26-32 for a single tank dive, including equipment rental, boat and dive guide, with discounts for more dives and if you have your own equipment.
- Blue Ribbon Dive Resort (Small Lalaguna Beach), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Blue Ribbon Dive Resort started as a small dive shop then a year later took over the neighboring Sunsplash Resort. They offer some very good value dive packages, and have a team of very friendly yet professional staff. It has been upgraded to a 5-Star PADI dive resort. The gear is very well maintained, and they also off 'Floro-Diving', night diving with a blue light, which special goggles that show the fluorescence underwater. They are very camera friendly, and enjoy finding the critters that make Puerto Galera famous. They offer all PADI courses up to Assistant Instructor, with all the specialties. Their restaurant offers live music every night, a themed buffet every night, including Indian, Mexican, Thai and Seafood. The mixed fruit shake here is also amazing. They are on the tranquil beach of Small Lalaguna, a 5-minute walk from the nightlife in Sabang.
- Big La Laguna Beach Resorts (Big Lalaguna Beach), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Big La Laguna Beach Resorts has 2 resorts in the stunningly beautiful bay of Big La Laguna. The resorts are Campbell's Beach Resort and Scandi Divers Resort. Both resorts offer a wide variety of rooms to suit all budgets; from cozy beachfront rooms, to 3-bedroom suites, and everything in between. The rooms are all clean and comfortable, and most of them are beachfront. Scandi Dive Resort has a very professional dive center, with very experienced staff and friendly staff. Aside from fun dives, they do dive courses from beginners all the way up to instructors. The location of these resorts it what really makes them special; Big La Laguna Bay is very quiet and peaceful, with a pristine beach and some of the best views in Puerto Galera. It's a great place for swimming, snorkeling and relaxing on the beach. Be sure to visit Scandi's Skybar, which has a large terrace upstairs. Perfect for enjoying the sunsets whilst enjoying a cocktail or two!
- Frontier Scuba (west Sabang Beach), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Run by Rick Kirkham, one of the most experienced instructors in the Philippines, this 5-Star Instructor Training Center is one the busiest, smaller dive centers. They offer complete packages with guided diving, transfers, accommodation and meals. The attached restauarant Hemingway's is consistently voted the best restaurant in Puerto Galera. They offer the complete range of recreational dive courses from Discover Scuba (experience a dive), PADI Open Water, PADI Divemaster and SDI Instructor courses. TDI technical diver and instructor courses are offered up to Advanced Wreck and Advanced Trimix. Nitrox, trimix, sodasorb and rebreather tanks are available to rent
- Badladz Adventure Divers (next to Muelle Pier), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Small dive shop, operated by a very friendly instructors. They offer all PADI courses from beginner intro dives right through to Assistant Instructor at very reasonable prices with group discounts and multiple day diving discounts. Also available are snorkelling trips, kayak rental and Beach BBQs.
- [formerly dead link]Scuba Scuta, Palangan (2 mins from Muelle Pier), ☎ .
- Sea Rider Dive Center, Small La Laguna Beach, ☎ , , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Locally owned with an excellent instructor, friendly and helpful staff. ₱900 per dive.
- South Sea Divers (Sabang Beach), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. One of the first dive shops in the area, founded in 1983. Experienced and knowable shop with lively staff. Owner sky is very inviting and will answer any diving or even give you cool anecdotes about life in Sabang. The atmosphere truly adds to your vacation. Proper shop with everything you could want and all the gear you may need. Learn to dive or just go on a fun dive. Tech courses offered as well.
- Ponderosa Golf Club (20 minutes from City). Another great thing to do in Puerto is to trek till Ponderaso Golf, from White Beach take the road going to Puerto, walk about 15 mins, then you will see a sign for Ponderosa Golf. The road is uphill and provides a fantastic view of Puerto Galera, after an hour of healthy walking you'll be rewarded with good food at the golf club. Bring plenty water with you and protect yourself from the sun.
- Stairway Foundation, Barangay Aninuan. International NGO working with street children and victims of child sexual abuse. Visitors can tour the center and learn about the issue of child sexual abuse and how Stairway uses creative expressions in order to raise awareness.
- ATM machines (MAX Bank Sabang Beach & PNB Bank Puerto Galera Town). 24-hour ATM. There are three ATMs: two in Puerto Galera town, and one in Sabang beach, that accept international cards. (Maximum withdrawal ₱10,000 per transaction.) ₱200 fee for overseas cards.
There are many restaurants near Muelle Pier, Puerto Galera and Sabang Beach.
- [dead link]Le Bistro D'Agathe, Muelle Pier. A French restaurant.
- Foodtrip sa Galera, White Beach.
Sabang beach at night is famous for girly bars that tend to close just as quickly as they pop up. It also has billiard rooms and discos where you can party into the wee hours of the morning.
Floating Bar - enjoy a beer on a boat off the coast of Sabang.
Puerto Galera has numerous hotels and resorts that tourists can choose from. Tourists will also find many cheap bungalows to stay on white beach. These cost ₱500-1500 a night; you can get better rates during week days.
- Aninuan Beach Resort, ☎ , . US$50.
- Badladz Adventure Resort (Badladz Adventure Resort), Muelle Pier, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Badladz Adventure Resort is located at the quiet end of the main tourist pier. Each room comes with A/C, hot water, cable TV and a overview over the yachts at Puerto Galera Bay. There's free Wi-Fi. A diveshop is part of the resort. From ₱990.
- Blue Crystal Beach Resort, Palangan (10 minutes from Muelle Piera), ☎ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: Noon. Air-conditioned rooms and suites that face their private beach are equipped with bath and shower, cable TV, mini-bar and refrigerator, private terrace, and Wi-Fi. The resort has a scuba diving center, swimming pool and offers a wide range of day trips by boat and jeepney. ₱995 per person per night for double occupancy and ₱895 per person per night for multiple occupancy.
- Blue Water Lodge (60 m from White Beach), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Each room is air-conditioned, with cable TV and a private toilet and bath with hot & cold shower. The Standard Rooms have one queen-sized bed, while the Deluxe Rooms have two. From ₱1,000.
- Buri Resort & Spa, Cove Area, ☎ . Buri Resort & Spa has 12 villas. From US$140.
- Campbell's Beach Resort, Big La Laguna Beach (End of beach walking from Sabang), ☎ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: Noon. Quiet all waterfront rooms at the end of the Big La Laguna Beach, a 15 minute walk or a short boat or tricycle ride from Sabang. Restaurant featuring international food with emphasis on Thai food. Guests use pool and dive center 50 meters next door at Scandi Divers. Free Wi Fi. From 29 usd.
- [dead link]Franklyn Beach Resort, Palangan, ☎ , . Atop a hill overlooking the sea. The stunning sea view is arguably the rooms’ best feature, but the amenities also provide a certain amount of comfort. Each accommodation has Internet access, a ceiling fan, and toilet and shower with hot and cold water. They don't provide internet access, and they didn't have any water in their swimming pool. But other than that, they were really nice and the views were as great as the homepage says (Mar 2011). From ₱1,170.
- [dead link]Lagundian Hills Lodging House, White Beach, ☎ , , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. All rooms are well maintained and have views of the beach. Some rooms can accommodate up to eight guests, some have kitchen.
- [dead link]Manalo′s Guesthouse (five-minute walk from famous White Beach), ☎ , . Each room is air-conditioned, with a living room/lounge area, kitchenette, and private toilet and shower. From ₱1000.
- Sea Jewel Beach Resort, White Beach, ☎ . Twin, triple, quad and family rooms, all equipped with air-conditioning, and 21-inch flat screen TV with cable channels. Facilities and services are Restaurant and Free Wi-Fi Internet access. From ₱1,350.
- Scandi Divers (Scandi Divers Puerto Galera Resorts), Big La Laguna (Big La Laguna Beach), ☎ . Scandi Divers is a short walk to Sabang, but quiet and relaxing. It's a great place to come for scuba diving as they have their own fully-equipped dive shop and boat; US$25 per dive. The restaurant is fantastic too, with great-tasting dishes from all around the world. From US$45.
- Tamaraw Beach Resort, ☎ . The owners are building a large conference center 5 meters from the main accommodation block and bungalows. On the other side 2 meters away the Sunset at Aninuan hotel is building a 3-floor extension. The access from the road to the beach is now severely restricted and only a small path remains for foot traffic. Best rates on official website start at ₱800.
- Tropicana Castle Resort, Sabang Beach (Sabang Beach). Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. The resort offers fully-furnished rooms and a roof-garden restaurant that serves local and international cuisines. ₱1750.
- White Beach Puerto Galera (center of White Beach). Offers modestly furnished but comfortable rooms. Each room is air-conditioned and comes with a private toilet and bath with shower and tub, cable TV, and room safe. The hotel also has an Internet cafe, bar and restaurant, Jacuzzi, and conference room.
- White Beach Resort, Bar and Restaurant, White Beach, ☎ , . Comes with air-conditioning, a toilet and shower, and dining area. In the morning, you can watch the sunshine spill from the skylight through your room's balcony. From ₱1,110.
Puerto Galera Town
- Bahay-Pilpino Pension, Concepcion Street, ☎ . Check-out: noon. Fan single/double rooms. From ₱400.
- Jeepney to Calapan (1hr 15min) leaves from the end of the main road several times daily. Air conditioned mini vans now operate also for the same price and have fewer stops. From Calapan you can take a minivan (3 hr) to Roxas.
- Jeepney/tricycle to Balatero where a boat, M/S Caribbean, leaves daily at 10AM for Abras de Llog, ₱180 one-way, ₱10 terminal fee. Easy entry into Mindoro Occidental. An easier and cheaper option compared to chartering your own pumpboat or going to Abras via Batangas.