Beach Galore at Puerto Galera
If you want the same beach fun on your Philippine Holiday, but none of the wild partying and constant crowds, Puerto Galera is one of the best alternative beaches you can hit to get your dose of tropical paradise. And by saying that Puerto Galera is an alternative to more popular beach destinations like Boracay, we’re not implying that the former is a cut below the others.
It is composed of different islands clustered together, each with its own diorama of breathtaking mountains, clean beaches and jewel-like blue waters.
Ride The Waves
Puerto Galera is a small rural municipality on the northeastern tip of Oriental Mindoro, just an hour’s boat ride away from the Batangas port. It is one of the most accessible and beautiful beach locations in the Philippines that’s both easy on the pocket and easy to get to.
You can travel via public transportation or private car from Manila all the way to the Batangas port in barely 3 hours. Afterwards you have to buy a ticket for the ferryboats (open-air or air-conditioned) that will take you to your island destination. The boats start leaving dock as early as 7:30AM and the last trip leaves at 5PM.
Make sure that your ferry will take you to the right island, because otherwise you will have to charter a smaller motorboat to take you to your true destination.
In any case, it might be necessary for you to arrange for a motorboat rental in case you want to go island-hopping or snorkelling.
Two other transportation options are available for tourists who want to explore the beauty of Puerto Galera’s islands.
The first is via SIKAT bus and ferry service, which as the name suggests combines land and sea travel into one package. The last option is via chartered plane, the transportation of choice for people who want to arrive in style and as early as possible. Your plane will land in a private beach in Puerto Galera , where a ferryboat is waiting to whisk you to your island destination.
While you’re sitting comfortably in your motorboat, keep an eye out for the dolphin families that playfully leap out of the water to chase each other. Puerto Galera’s marine life is one of the best-preserved in the country, and dolphins are frequent visitors to the islands.
Small-Town, Big Beaches
Part of Puerto Galera’s charm is found in its humble beginnings as a beach destination. A lot of areas in the municipality is still undeveloped, so you can find pockets of unspoiled natural forests and marine coves in between the resorts along the coast.
In fact, the resorts and hotels arrived fairly recently, and in the past tourists were actually invited straight into homes of the locals to sleep, eat and bathe for the duration of their stay in the islands.
This ‘backyard tourism’ has flourished into what the sprawling Puerto Galera that we know now.
There are still some residents who accept stay-in guests, and you can get really big savings if you don’t mind sharing your living space with friendly strangers.
Most of the residents also own outrigger boats for fishing and ferrying tourists, so you can get an accommodation plus island-hopping package for so much less than what the resorts can offer. However, electricity can be a hassle, as some parts of the island don’t have 24/7 power supply and the lights literally go out at night.
Puerto Galera is also a great and inexpensive holiday destination—for as low as Php4,000 or about US$100, you can stay at any of the mid-level resorts, have hearty home-cooked meals and go around the different islands for 3 days and 2 nights. That’s certainly one of the best deals you can get for a taste of tropical heaven.