PUERTO GALERA gives you a choice: either you plunge into bliss or go out with a bang. Situated in Oriental, Mindoro Philippines, this municipality was once dubbed as “One of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World”, and it came as no surprise. Here, forest-clad mountains drop hundreds of feet into the sea, surrounded by crashing waves, while coconut trees rise up from powdery white to cream sand beaches, lapped by a beautiful mix of azure and seafoam green sea. But its most beautiful asset is found underwater, where rainbow-hued fishes congregate and play around sprawling coral gardens. No wonder PUERTO GALERA was recognized by UNESCO as Man and Biosphere Reserve back in 1973 and is often included in the list of top diving sites in the Philippines. However, since weekend trippers can crowd in and White Beach area, it can get pretty rowdy at night, best to book a room at a resort in advance and go here prepared. Here’s my Puerto Galera Travel Guide blog to help you plan your trip.
PUERTO GALERA TRAVEL GUIDE
HOW TO GET TO PUERTO GALERA FROM MANILA VIA BATANGAS
Take a bus bound for Batangas Pier like Ceres, DLTB and JAM Transit in LRT Buendia (Manila), Cubao (Quezon City) or Alabang South Station (Muntilupa). Travel time is roughly 2 hours depending on traffic. See the bus fare and bus schedule to Batangas Pier below.
JAM LINER BUS SCHEDULE TO BATANGAS PIER
|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)||03:00 AM||08:00 PM|
|BATANGAS PIER TO CUBAO||PHP 175 (USD 3.48/SGD 4.83)||06:00 AM||11:00 PM|
|BATANGAS PIER TO LRT BUENDIA||PHP 168 (USD 3.34/SGD 4.64)||06:00 AM||06:00 AM|
BATANGAS PIER TO PUERTO GALERA
Boats in Batangas Pier can take you directly to Sabang (diving) or to White Beach (water sports, beach party and island hopping) in Puerto Galera for PHP 500 (USD 10/ SGD 13.80) roundtrip fare. Beware of the touts (unless you need a porter for your bags), just go directly to the ticket office in Batangas Pier and buy your tickets there. Travel time is roughly 1 – 1.5 hours. I recommend taking this route.
At Batangas Pier, there are also smaller ferries/ boats going to Puerto Galera Port (Muelle Port). Boat fare (one way) is roughly PHP 230 (USD 5/SGD 6.35) to Muelle Port. Travel time is roughly 1 – 1.5 hours. At Muelle Port, take a tricycle to your resort (agree on the price before riding) or you can take a smaller boat to your resort (if your resort can’t be reached by tricycle). Alternatively, you can also ride a public jeep at Muelle Port to Sabang or White Beach for about PHP 20 (USD 0.40/ SGD 0.55).
There is a terminal fee of PHP 30 (USD 0.60/ SGD 0.83) at Batangas Pier when you go to Puerto Galera. And you also need to pay the PHP 50 (USD 0.99/ SGD 1.38) Environmental fee upon arrival in Puerto Galera.
Going back, if you purchased the roundtrip boat tickets, confirm 1 day before your departure. There are ticketing booths in front of White Beach for the boat lines where you can confirm your departure. Upon leaving Puerto Galera, pay the PHP 10 (USD 0.20/ SGD 0.28) terminal fee.
By Ferry (RORO)
If you are taking your car, you need to take the ferry from Batangas Port. There are ferries going to Calapan, Mindoro. In Calapan, you can either take a jeepney to Puerto Galera for PHP 80 (USD 1.59/ SGD 2.21), travel time is 1.5 hours or take a passenger van to Puerto Galera for PHP 100 (USD 2/ SGD 2.76), trip take about 1 hour.
If taking a ferry from Batangas Port to Balatero Port. Passenger fare is PHP 225 (USD 4.47/ SGD 6.21) while driver’s fare is PHP 129 (USD 2.56/ SGD 3.56). There is a terminal fee at Batangas Port for PHP 30 (USD 0.60/ SGD 0.83) and terminal fee in Balatero Port is PHP 10 (USD 0.20/ SGD 0.28). Meanwhile, vehicle (PUJ, car, SUV, AUV, minivan, etc.) fare is PHP 1,480 (USD 29.39/ SGD 40.85).
FASTCRAFT AND FERRY SCHEDULE (STARLITE)
|ROUTE||FERRY SCHEDULE||FAST CRAFT SCHEDULE||FARE|
|Batangas to Balatero||10:00 AM and 6:00 PM||5:30 AM, 11:00 AM and 3:30 PM||PHP 225 (USD 4.47/ SGD 6.21)|
|Balatero to Batangas||7:30 AM, 1:30 PM and 5:30 PM||5:00 AM and 3:00 PM||PHP 225 (USD 4.47/SGD 6.21)|
BORACAY TO PUERTO GALERA
If you are coming from Boracay, you can take a 2GO ferry at Caticlan Jetty Port to Batangas Pier. Ferry fare is PHP 679.64 (USD 13.50/ SGD 18.76) for Super Value Class, PHP 894.64 (USD 18/ SGD 24.69) for Tourist Class and PHP 1,117.50 (USD 22.19/ SGD 30.84) for Cabin for 4. The ferry leaves Caticlan Port at about 9:00 PM every Thursday and Sunday and arrives the next day around 6:00 AM. There is also a ferry at 8:00 AM every Tuesday and arrives around 6:15 AM the next day.
GETTING AROUND PUERTA GALERA
Tricycles are the main mode of transportation for short distance rides, but you can only hire one for Puerto Galera Land Tour. Jeepneys are also available to take you to White Beach and Sabang from Muelle Port (Puerto Galera Port).
THINGS TO DO IN PUERTO GALERA
You’ll never run out of things to do in Puerto Galera, there’s just so much activities being offered here! While most people come here to party and try the water sports in White Beach, personally, my favorite activity is island hopping with snorkeling. Puerto Galera’s marine life is simply stunning! Makes me want to learn diving. For a more detailed post of Puerto Galera attractions (with rates of activities), you can check my blog here: THINGS TO DO IN PUERTO GALERA FOR FIRST-TIMERS
(White Beach, Aninuan Beach, Palauan Beach, Talipanan Beach)
(Sandbar Island, Bayanan Beach, Coral Garden, an Antonio Island)
Island Hopping Rate: PHP 1,500 (USD 30)
Puerto Galera Snorkeling Cost: You need to hire a boat for island hopping PHP 1,500 (USD 30/ SGD 41.40), good for 1-8 persons + small boat to transfer you to the snorkeling spots for PHP 600 (USD 12/ USD 16.56) for 3 sites (Coral Garden, Giant Clams and San Antonio island). If you wish to just snorkel in Coral Garden, small boat fee is PHP 300 (USD 6/ SGD 8.28).
Diving Cost in Puerto Galera: Diving rates start at PHP 1,300 (USD 26)
PUERTO GALERA WATER SPORTS
(Kayaking, banana boat ride, jet ski, etc.)
(Tamaraw Falls, Aninuan Falls, Tukuran Falls, Talipanan Falls)
VISIT THE MANGYAN VILLAGE IN PUERTO GALERA
Entrance Fee: Free, but I recommend you purchase some hand-crafted souvenirs to support the Mangyans.
PUERTO GALERA TOUR PACKAGE
For Puerto Galera tour package, my friend Carla Manalo offers tours packages. You may contact her at 09194214131. Email: [email protected]
WHERE TO STAY IN PUERTO GALERA
Resorts in Puerto Galera have never stopped expanding so choosing a place to stay can be mind boggling. Here’s a list of some of the best resorts in Puerto Galera (based on guest’s rating). I listed them based on 3 popular locations: White Beach, Aninuan Beach and Sabang.
BUDGET RESORTS IN WHITE BEACH, PUERTO GALERA
Mendelluke Suites (beachfront)
White Beach, White Beach, Puerto Galera
Sea Jewel Beach Resort
White Beach, White Beach, Puerto Galera
Simon Heritage Resort
Oriental Mindoro, White Beach, Puerto Galera
MIDRANGE RESORTS IN WHITE BEACH, PUERTO GALERA
Marco Vincent Dive Resort
Oriental Mindoro, White Beach, Puerto Galera
BUDGET RESORTS IN ANINUAN BEACH, PUERTO GALERA
Amami Beach Resort
Talipanan, Aninuan, Puerto Galera, Philippines
Bamboo House Beach Lodge & Restaurant
Talipanan, Puerto Galera Oriental Mindoro, Aninuan, Puerto Galera
Sunny Beach Resort
Barangay Talipanan, Aninuan, Puerto Galera
MID-RANGE RESORT IN ANINUAN BEACH, PUERTO GALERA
BUDGET RESORTS IN SABANG, PUERTO GALERA
Seashore Beach Resort
Sabang Beach, Sabang, Puerto Galera
Tropicana Castle Dive Resort
Sabang Beach, Sabang, Puerto Galera
MID-RANGE RESORTS IN SABANG, PUERTO GALERA
Buri Resort and Spa
I stayed here. Clean, spacious and scenic location. Accessible by boat from Muelle Port.
Sitio Dalaruan Brgy. Oriental Mindoro, Sabang, Puerto Galera, Philippines
Coco Beach Island Resort
Behiya, Sabang, Puerto Galera, Philippines
PUERTO GALERA TRIP ITINERARY (2 day / 1 night)
I recommend staying in Puerto Galera for at least 3 days 2 nights for a more relaxed trip. But if you are pressed for time, good news is, it is possible to do a weekend trip to Puerto Galera like a 2 day 1 night stay. You leave Manila early morning on Saturday and go back on Sunday afternoon. Can be quite tiring though, but yes, possible. Below is my sample itinerary for weekend warriors. Feel free to tweak it depending on your trip schedule.
|Day 1||Island Hopping + Snorkeling|
|05:30 AM||ETD LRT Buendia bus to Batangas Port|
|07:30 AM||ETA Batangas Port. Buy boat tickets + terminal fee.|
|08:00 AM||ETD to Puerto Galera|
|09:30 AM||ETA Puerto Galera. Check-in at Hotel. Book island hopping. Buy packed lunch.|
|10:00 AM||Start of island hopping + snorkeling (Coral Garden + snorkeling) Bring packed lunch.|
|01:00 AM||Continue Island Hopping Giant Clams, San Antonio Island Sandbar Island, Bayanan Beach)|
|04:00 PM||End of island hopping tour|
|05:00 PM||Visit White Beach (confirm departure with boat for the next day). Swimming or try the water sports.|
|06:00 PM||Back to resort. Freshen up.|
|07:00 PM||Dinner in White Beach|
|08:00 PM||Check out night life in White Beach|
|Day 2||Land Tour|
|07:00 AM||Hire tricycle or jeep for land tour (Tamaraw Falls, Mangyan Village + Mt. Malasimbo)|
|12:00 PM||Check-out from hotel. H|
|01:00 PM||Boat to Batangas Pier|
|02:30 PM||ETA Batangas Pier. Board bus to Manila.|
|05:00 PM||ETA Manila|
PUERTO GALERA TRIP BUDGET
Here’s a sample budget for a 2 days 1 night stay in Puerto Galera. Activities included are island hopping and snorkeling. If you wish to do more activities like try the water sports or do the Land tour (Tamaraw Falls + Malasimbo + Mangyan Village).
|PHP 168 (USD 3.34/ SGD 4.64)||Bus from Manila (LRT Buendia) to Batangas Port|
|PHP 168 (USD 3.34/SGD 4.64)||Bus from Batangas Port to Manila|
|PHP 500 (USD 10/SGD 13.84)||Roundtrip boat fare between Batangas Port and White Beach (Puerto Galera)|
|PHP 50 (USD 1/ SGD 1.38)||Environmental fee|
|PHP 30 (USD 0.60/ SGD 0.83)||Terminal Fee in Batangas Port|
|PHP 10 (USD 0.20/ SGD 0.28)||Terminal Fee in Puerto Galera|
|PHP 1,500 (USD 30/ SGD 41.40) / 8 = PHP 187.50 (USD 3.72/ SGD 0.10) per person if 8 persons||Boat for island hopping, good for up to 8 persons (assuming you are 8 in a group)|
|PHP 600 (USD 12/ SGD 16.56)||Small boat for snorkeling (per person charge)|
|PHP 1,300 (USD 226/ SGD 35.80) / 2= PHP 650 (USD 12.21/ SGD 18)||Accommodation (assuming you are able to book a room for PHP 1,300, good for two)|
|PHP 100 (USD 2/ SGD 2.76) per meal x 6 = PHP 600 (USD 12/SGD 16.56)||Food (rice meals in Puerto Galera restaurants costs around PHP 80 (USD 1.59/ SGD 2.21) – PHP 150 (USD 2.98/ SGD 4.14), depending on where you are eating). Restaurants of posh resorts are slightly more expensive.|
|PHP 2,963.50 (USD 48.41/ SGD 76.83)||TOTAL|
PUERTO GALERA TRAVEL TIPS
⊕ Take sea-sickness pills before the boat trip to Puerto Galera.
⊕ Bring a dry bag to protect your cameras and waterproof pouch for your phone. Or much better if you just bring an underwater camera or action camera for snorkeling and other water sports.
⊕ Rice meals in Puerto Galera restaurants cost around PHP 80 (USD 1.59) – PHP 150 (USD 2.98). Dishes served in posh resorts are slightly more expensive.
⊕ Try Mindoro Mud Sling at Mikkos bar, the famous cocktail of Puerto Galera popularized by the owner of Mikko’s bar, also available at other bars in White Beach.
⊕ There are many boat agents offering island hopping activities in White Beach (they’re holding laminated card boards with pictures of the islands and snorkeling sites). Standard rate is PHP 1,500 (USD 30), good for 8 persons.
⊕ Like beaches, sea urchins are present in snorkeling sites, so wear aqua shoes or full-foot fins when snorkeling and please do not step on corals.
⊕ If you want to snorkel in Coral Garden, Giant Clam and San Antonio Island, you need to pay additional PHP 600 (USD 12) for the small boat that will take you there. The boat for island hopping cannot get closer to these spots as they can destroy the corals, a smaller boat is needed to transfer tourists to these sites. If you wish to just snorkel in Coral Garden, small boat fee is PHP 300 (USD 6).
⊕ The boatmen at Coral Garden are fishermen of the islands, you are helping the local community by availing of the smaller boats when snorkeling. Several years ago, fishing was banned in the area so they can revive the marine life here and turn the area into a snorkeling and diving spot.
⊕ Stack up cash (Philippine currency) before heading to Puerto Galera, because there are only 3 ATMs in town. Almost everything is on cash basis here.
⊕ Do not leave your trash anywhere.
THINGS TO DO IN PUERTO GALERA FOR FIRST-TIMERS
About the Blogger : Gael is a Filipina travel blogger. Her work has appeared in local and international publications.
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