Puerto Galera is a vibrant town in Mindoro known as a diving hub. It also offers great nightlife and dining options to match. Nestled on the north eastern shores of the island, the town is among the favourite holiday and watersport destinations of local tourists coming from Manila because it is cheap to reach and very close to the capital.
Its main attractions include pleasant beaches, coral reefs and lush wooded areas where several species of flora and fauna reside. From Manila, Puerto Galera can be reached by ferry and road, with most travelers getting a bus to the port of Batangas and then the ferry direct to the beach.
What to do in Puerto Galera
Puerto Galera offers a plethora of water-related activities you can enjoy like swimming, snorkeling, jet-skiing, and parasailing. Island hopping and riding traditional vessels or banana boats are also favourite pastimes of tourists there.
Puerto Galera is best known as a divers’ paradise because it is home to a protected marine sanctuary and several dive sites, most of them within a ten-minute boat ride coming from Sabang. You can also find a lot of dive centers and dive courses offered on the island. Golfing is also possible in a few prestigious courses around town.
Exploring Puerto Galera’s beaches is also a must, with the main attraction being the White Beach, reputed as a suitable alternative to the one in Boracay. There are approximately 32 other beaches around the area, including Bayanan Beach, Talipanan Beach, Coco Beach and Bulabod Beach.
If you have time to go sightseeing, you may want to visit Tamaraw Falls, which is 15 kilometres from Puerto Galera by road to Calapan. The waterfalls cascade down into a pool located underneath a bridge where the cold and refreshing deluge is collected. Hidden Valley is another destination off the beaten path to be visited by the adventurous. You should also consider seeing the Mangyan Village where Nomadic peoples reside in the Mindoro mountains., just make sure you have a guide.
Other points of interest to see in Puerto Galera include the Muelle Bay, the Reptile Zoo and the Alag Riverbank, which is a good place to go kayaking. Meanwhile, Muelle Bay is a secluded natural harbour with a stretch of restaurants, bars, and shops where you can enjoy views overlooking the bay while eating.
Where to eat in Puerto Galera
Being a tourist destination, Puerto Galera is home to a lot of food and beverage establishments particularly on White Beach, Muelle Pier and the main town. Most restaurants serve Filipino cuisine but there are also restaurants serving international dishes ranging from Spanish to American flavors. Asian food can also be enjoyed in Puerto Galera, but a visit is not complete without sampling the fresh seafood, which is comparatively cheaper than that served in Manila.
Puerto Galera nightlife and bars
White Beach, La Laguna, and Sabang are among the best places to enjoy the local nightlife. Those places have discos, bars, and restaurants that make nighttime entertainment just a little bit more interesting.
Getting to Puerto Galera
Travelling to Puerto Galera from Manila takes as much as five hours. It takes approximately two hours of driving or riding a bus to reach the Batangas Pier, and from here, it takes another two to three hours to reach Puerto Galera by ferry (the speed depends on the ferryboat you choose).
If you have a car, take the South Luzon Expressway and then to the Star Tollway, which offers a faster route to the Batangas Pier. You can park your car at the pier or take it with you on a RoRo ship to Puerto Galera.
You can also reach the pier by bus. Most tourists go for the Sikat Tourist Service, which leaves at 08:30 from the City State Tower Hotel in Mabini Street in Ermita, Manila. The tour package already includes the bus and ferry to Puerto Galera or to Sabang Beach. Cheaper alternatives include riding a bus or shuttle service that goes to the Batangas Pier from the LRT station of Buendia in Manila.
Commercial buses from Manila, like Jam Transit, Tritran and BLTB, also offer cheap transfers to Batangas Pier. BLTB’s terminal can be found in EDSA-Pasay while Jam and Tritran may be found in Taft Avenue (near Gil Puyat) and in Pasay. The fare often ranges from 100-200 pesos depending on whether the bus is air conditioned or not.
Most ferries depart from the Batangas Pier to Puerto Galera as early as 07:30, while the last trip to the island departs at 16:00–combination return bus/ferry tickets are around 1,400 pesos. If you are arriving after-hours, you can just rent a banca or an outrigger boat, which can be a bit pricey (about 3,500 pesos). Muelle Piere, in the town proper, Sabang, and Balatero Pier, are the main points of arrival in Puerto Galera.