Are you looking for a good destination to travel in the Philippines? Maybe you are thinking of Underground river or El Nido in Palawan? Chocolate Hills in Bohol? or maybe the famous Boracay of Panay Island in Western Visayas? But you might be thinking that your budget maybe a little bit short because it requires for you to have much going there. Don’t be worried for I have a good alternative for you, and excellent destination you can travel in with much lesser budget but will give you the same joy and happiness you might be looking for. So wanna come with me? Our destination today is PUERTO GALERA, an affordable travel to…
Puerto Galera, officially the Municipality of Puerto Galera, is a 1st class municipality in the province of Oriental Mindoro Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 36,606 people but tremendous increase happen to this date.
It is located at the north-westernmost part of Oriental Mindoro, and at the south-western end of the Isla Verde Passage, about 130 kilometers (81 mi) south of Manila. It is mainly accessible from the Southern Luzon port of Batangas, which is acting as a gateway to the city. Seaplane Operator Air Juan Aviation, Inc. flies 2x daily flights from Manila to Puerto Galera vv. on their Cessna Grand Caravan Seaplanes.
Puerto Galera is 51 kilometres (32 mi) from Calapan.
How to get there?
The options you have to choose in, it depends on your pick…
By private car
Puerto Galera is just three – five hours away from Metro Manila depending on the road traffic hehehe! Well having your car is very convenient, all you need to do is drive through South Luzon Expressway the turn right to Star Toll gate and going through Batangas Pier. From there, you can either park your car (parking fee will cost you little amount but it safe really) and ride a ferry or big motor boat going to Puerto Galera (about 1 hour travel in the ocean), or have your car ride a RoRo (roll on, roll off for more or less PhP 1,500 -3,000.00 depending on the kind of car) ship so you could take your car with you to Puerto Galera via Calapan City which is 1.5 hours going there. That would only be around USD 30.00 – 60.00, not too much am I right?
By public air conditioned bus or van
Puerto Galera is easily accessible from any area around Manila. Most tourists and travellers prefer to take a JAM transit or DLTB bus – from it’s terminals along EDSA Cubao. These ply every thirty minutes between Cubao (Manila) and Puerto Galera pier. The Sikat tourist service operates one trip per day and is convenient for people staying in Manila, that is close to Ermita area.
- JAM transit, DLTB and Sikat tourist service, ☎ (+63)2-7089628. Buses run every thirty minutes or every hour from the Manila (Quezon city) Cubao bus terminal and Buendia bus terminal (LRT Gil Puyat, in Malate) which depends on the coming of passengers. JAM transit is among the popular bus services. BLTB too runs buses every less two hours. These cost about PhP 140-175 per trip. The Sikat leaves at around 8:30 daily from the City State Tower Hotel on Mabini Street along Ermita Manila. The round trip ticket costs Php 2,000.00 (about USD 40.00) and includes both bus and ferry to either Sabang Beach or Puerto Galera. Fare price may change from time to time but it will not cost you a lot.
- For the adventurous traveler go to Buendia (LRT Gil Puyat) station in Manila and from there you will see buses and shuttle air conditioned van going to Batangas pier. It cost around PhP 140.00 – 200.00 from Buendia to Batangas port. And when you get to Batangas pier all you need to do is to ride a ferry boat going to Sabang or white beach in Puerto Galera.
Regular jeepney and vans ply the route between Calapan and Puerto Galera. As of December 2017 an air conditioned van ride cost PhP 120 – 150.00 and took about 1 hour. While the jeepney cost PhP 80.00, taking about an hour and a half to complete the drive. In Puerto Galera there is a separate jeepney terminal (about 3 blocks west of where the Calapan van/jeepney will let you off) that connects to Sabang or white beach for PhP 20.00 or USD .40 cents.
From Bantangas (Manila connection)
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 Sabang 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 afraid and to be hysterical. These smaller ferry boats that run directly to White Beach and Sabang will be cancel the trip if the weather is too rough for the boats. In that case it is possible to take a larger ferry to Calapan which takes between 1 and 3 hours depending on what you pay for. These ferries to Calapan range in cost from PhP 250.00 promo fair (USD 5.00) to about PhP 350.00 / USD 7.00 for air conditioned fast boat. From Calapan Port you can take a Tricycle for PhP 20.00 per person to the Jeepney Terminal and from there take either an air conditioned van to Puerto Galera (PhP 120-150, takes 1 hour) or a Jeepney (PhP 80.00 – 100.00) which takes at least 1.5 hours travel.
From the ferry terminal in Batangas, take MSL Shipping or other shipping lines for a quicker ride. Other shipping lines make several stops, and it is faster to take MSL even if you have to wait an extra half hour for the boat to arrive.
On arrival in Batangas, you will be overwhelmingly approached by porters. Ignore all of them and follow the signs to the ticketing booths or kiosks and buy the ticket yourself without any porter assistance. They will follow you to the desk and demand tips for their “service”. Do not get from their bait or any request from you for it is easy to book and you can do it yourself.
How to get around?
At the harbor you will find lots of people trying to get you to ride with their tricycle. For a 15 minutes trip, they will try to ask you pay PhP 200.00, but the real price is around PhP 15.00 – 20.00 only (one person/two person) (December 2017) so insist on paying that. You can also find them everywhere in town and get a ride to White Beach, Sabang and many places of the area. At night when it gets dark, the prices changes to higher rates (for example, instead of PhP 20.00 you will beasked to pay PhP 50.00). There in the area whether Sabang or White Beach, some motorcycle rental providers for just merely PhP 500.00 – 700.00 (USD 10.00 – 15.00) you can rent a scooter for the whole day.
To get to Sabang or White beach there is a regular jeepney service that cost Php 20.00 – 25.00 per person as of December 2017. Supposedly it runs every 20 minutes throughout the day and into the early evening hours.
What can you experience and feel?
- 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 White beach, Tamaraw beach, Camprok beach, 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 hundreds of beaches are found around Puerto Galera meaning there’s a lot to choose from, just go there and seek which is fitted for your taste.
- 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.
- I tell you, I’d been both in Boracay and Puerto Galera and I guess they offer the same such as the water, the sand, the activities and many others. One thing I I really like Puerto Galera because is that its not congested yet and it has clear and clean water than Boracay – maybe because I went there on different seasons hahaha… Indeed Boracay is known and famous already but Puerto Galera has so much to be discovered and many people doesn’t know it yet!
- Lush Forests: The forests of Puerto Galera are home to many flora such as orchids, birds and fauna and waterfalls. It is to good to be true so come and see!
- Tamaraw Falls, (15km from Puerto Galera on the road of Calapan). Tamaraw Falls is about a 20 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. Just a few kilometers down the road is a beautiful beach.
- Wow! indeed this is superb, very cold running water and so refreshing nature will give you good entertainment here.
- Coral Reefs
- see for yourself what you would like to explore and discover!
- Dive Spots
- Excellent diving spots will surely amaze you. Diving in Puerto Galera is possible year-round, however, best diving conditions occur between April and September. Water temperatures are nice and comfortable this time of year, counting up to 29 degrees Celsius. Typhoon season runs from August till the end of November which can bring bad weather, but there are always sheltered dive sites that can be dived. Water temperatures can go down to 22 degrees Celsius in December, specifically at the deeper dive sites that have thermoclines.
- Of course this will cost you a little big money but if you wish you can search packages offering an Scuba Diving around the area.
- 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 or native tribe people 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 western 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 collection of snakes, crocodiles and lizards.
- Talipanan Falls, Mangyan Village (follow the trail out of the village up the stream). After a 20 minute walk, you can take a swim at a secluded little waterfall.
Where to Stay?
There are many hotels and transient house available for rent in the area, you can haggle for a discount for you to get a good deal. You can browse some websites and find some food offer or you can can find one when you get there if you wanna have a good and perfect one for you as can see it yourself their respective facilities and amenities.
I already discussed some tips on how to find an affordable travel in my previous blog. That will give you guide on how to find a good deal.
Where to Eat?
Most of the resorts in Puerto Galera have their own restaurant so finding a place to eat and drink can really be easy. Some resorts also feature a mini-kitchen within the rooms so you can just go to the local market and get some fresh foods to cook. A lot of small grocery shops are also scattered within the area where you can get some quick drinks or snacks to bring to your accommodation or just simply nibble while touring the island. Whatever you choose, Puerto Galera will not run out of options for your dining and other needs.
Another option is to look for a transient home that allows you to cook if you love to cook and to save more in your budget.
I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.(Psalm 139:14)
We are to praise God in everything because we are His wonderful creation and His works upon us are magnificent. His Word is telling us to enjoy everything that He has wonderfully made for us.
Perhaps I have given you some relevant thoughts and information about interesting fact of Puerto Galera that will encourage you someday to explore its beauty and will help you as well to discover things and several places around this earth.
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Blessings and Cheers!