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South Asia - Puerto Galera

Puerto Galera is a soothing vision of shimmering seas surrounded by lush mountains. It is considered one of the most beautiful and developed beach resort community in the country.

There are a thousand things one can do here. Landlubbers can pitch tents, light bonfires, play volleyball, toss a Frisbee, go beach-hopping, watch the sunset, gaze at the stars, hike, go rock climbing, carom off on a motorcycle, discover Oriental Mindoro's other tourist spots or simply live it up.

The water is certainly the main attraction of the island. Crystal clear and shimmering especially during the hot summer months, the sea framing Puerto Galera is ideal for swimming, sailing, surfing, snorkeling and scuba diving. In fact one doesn't have to go by boat to get to a dive site. Within a kilometer from the coast, schools of Moorish idols, trumpet fish, frog fish, lion fish and leaf fish weave in and out of thriving corals and sea anemones while species of starfish ' from the speckled red-and-white to the neon-blue Pacific ' rest on the sandy floor.

Gradually sloping beaches ' with the terrain ranging from powder white sand to grainy dark sand to smooth stones to rough coral rubble ' comprise a large chunk of the island's 25 thousand hectares. And while the Department of Tourism's last count pegs the number of resorts at 115, pockets of isolated and virtually resortless coves and beaches are tucked between massive rock formations.

Outside of minor glitches, Puerto Galera is a tropical paradise that is both rustic and thriving. By day it echoes with the soft breeze and the pounding waves. At night, it comes to life with heady laughter and the clink of wine and glasses, only to segue once again to the barest whisper of the elements.

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Travel Information  Travel Information

There are 2 ways to get to Puerto Galera.

By Public Transportation

By Private Charter

Ride the air-conditioned bus going straight to Batangas pier via CALABARZON Expressway. Travel time to Batangas pier will take more or less 2 hours and the fare is less than 200 pesos.

Upon arrival in Batangas pier, go to Terminal 3 and find the ticket booth of the ferry going to Puerto Galera. At Batangas Pier, passengers are required to pay the Terminal Fee worth 30 pesos per person and the Environmental User Fee for tourists going to Puerto Galera worth 50 pesos per person.

Puerto Galera has 4 major points of entry, namely, Sabang Pier, Muelle Pier, Balatero Pier and White Beach. If you are going to Sabang, choose the ferry that will go directly to Sabang Pier. If you are going to White Beach, make sure that the ferry will go to White Beach.

There are many shipping companies plying the Batangas-Puerto Galera route. The major passenger ferries are: FSL or Father and Son Shipping Lines, MSL or Minolo Shipping Lines and Galerian Lines.

The maximum capacity of an outrigger ferry is from 60 up to 120 passengers. The ticket costs 250 to 280 pesos, one-way.

The first ferry trip to Puerto Galera is 7:30 am during the normal season and every hour thereafter, one or 2 ferries depart until 4:30 pm which is usually the last trip to Puerto Galera.

If you happen to disembark at the wrong pier or landing site, there are tricycles that you can hire to bring you to the resort of your choice.

More Information

History: Before Puerta Galera became one of the best Philippines' holiday beach resort and scuba diving destinations, it was one of the oldest settlements of the religious missionaries, founded by the Spanish in 1574 as the provincial capital of Mindoro Island. however, the history of Puerto Galera goes way back into the mental age and probably beyond. Artifacts found at the ancient burial sites at Laguna and Minolo suggest that a thriving culture exsisted here for many millennia before the Spanish arrived. Occasional Chines records from as far back at the 10th century suggest frequent trading with the indigenous Mangyan peoples: eschanging glazed procelains for gold, jade, corals, shells, birds, rattan and other forest products that were abundant on the island. The Mangyan still live a traditional loincloth-lifestle in the surrounding forest hills and can occasionally be seen in the town selling woven abaca items and trading gold recovered from the rivers and streams.

The port town of Puerto Galera was probably named after Spanish ships that were based here during the early years of colonization known locally as "prau" or "parao" - that were employed as short distance trading vessels, doubling as warships when required to subdue the populuos of thwart attacks from Chinese pirates or nearby island cheiftains. Varadero Bay, Puerto Galera, was originally a ship repair facility, probably with a dry-dock of sorts; Varadero translates from Spanish to English as "dry-dock".

The popular translation of Mindoro [Island] to "mina de oro" (Spanish - gold mine) may have been the Spaniards' misinterpretation of the native word "Minolo", referring to Puerto Galera's, Minolo Bay. Recent academic and archeological research suggests that the shore (and hillside behind) of Minolo Bay was probably the site of the largest human settlement along the Mindoro coast, prior to the Spanish colonization. Whilst there is definitely gold in the valleys and mountains of Mindoro, there are no records of significant quantities of the metal ever having been mined or shipped from here, so Mindoro translated as "gold mine" may be simply fanciful.

With the arrival of tourism in the 20th century it became more important to determine the origin of the name "Puerto Galera" and in recent times the romantic translation, "The Port of Galleons", has held sway over the more academic alternative, "The Port of Galeras". No matters the actual origin, Puerto Galera certainly offered a safe anchorage for many a Galera and Galleon, during tropical stroms and typhons (hurricanes/cyclones) that frequently cut across the country during months of May through November.

After the Spanish arrived, Puerto Galera was accorded the status of the principal seat of government for Mindoro but lost this status in 1837; as the focus of agriculture and commerce shifted East along the coastal plains, so Calapan took over the role of provincial capital. [Puerto Galera was briefly the provincial capital again, in 1902 and 1903, when the Philippines was first under American colonial rule] More recently, on December 26, 1973, PD (Presidential Decree) 354 was issued, by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos, making Puerto Galera a reservation area under the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme.

Most recently, in November2004, Puerto Galera was voted a member of the UNESCO affiliated 'the Club of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World'.

And beauty is what you will find: entering Puerto Galera's inner bays through either the Manila (West) or Batangas (North) channel for the first time it is impossible not to be splashed by the residue from eons of Nature's rich evolutions that has elevated Puerto Galera to a mataphor for paradise.

Weather: Puerto Galera's weather comes in waves of wet and dry, though there isn't a pronounced monsoon season. Typhoons passing through this part of the world impart periods of stormy weather between June and October. Storms generated by typhoons and tropical depressions typically last a few days at a time, bringing strong winds and occasional flooding, and then quickly subside. This is not a favourite time for visitors, as unstable weather patterns regularly put flights on hold and otherwise complicate travel plans.

The climate is warm year round, with seasonal lows of around 27oC between November and February. Weather is also drier this time of year, making it an ideal season for tourists. The airways become clogged during the Christmas season as Filipinos across the archipelago to return home for the holidays.

Temperatures continue to rise well into June when highs are reach the mid-30s (oC). Visitors in this season have to guard themselves against sun exposure, especially on the beach. It is wise to do as the locals do and avoid the heat of the day by staying indoors or at least in the shade during this time. Sightseeing typically resumes in the late afternoon when temperatures cool.

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Dining  Restaurants and Dining

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Accommodations  Hotel and Accommodations

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Random User Comments

Brion H. wrote about Culebra:

"Amazing beaches! Friendly people. Great food and atmosphere! Easy to get around ($3 per person to Flamenco Beach from ferry drop-off). Best part of our Puerto Rico trip!

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