Puerto Galera, Mindoro

My first conversation with Kenneth was about places we want to visit. There were too many I can’t even remember all of them. What I haven’t forgotten is we later agreed to visit them together. On Sunday, we finally got to check out one: White Beach in Puerto Galera.

Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro
© Kenneth Cruz

Ships and Sales

For centuries, traders’ ships stop by the northeastern coast of Mindoro now known as Puerto Galera, which is Spanish for “port of the galleons.” Today, it’s a popular destination for anyone who wants some scuba diving, island hopping, snorkeling, or even just beach bumming.

© Kenneth Cruz

Buses and Boats

Going to Puerto Galera from Quezon City is easy with a bus from Araneta Bus Terminal (5:00 am) to Batangas Port (7:00 am). Boarding started at 7:30 am and we’re sailing to Oriental Mindoro 30 minutes later.

© Kenneth Cruz

We stopped at Sabang Port then at Muelle Port, where we transferred to a larger boat. I’m not sure if this is always the case.

When we dropped our anchor, the sun was already high up. If you’ve been reading travel guides you’ve probably read that tourists must pay a mandatory environmental and something-else-I-couldn’t-remember fee. 

Check In and Go Out

We went straight to the hotel we found online. It’s a spacious 3-storey building with a fourth floor under construction. A 3D2N stay with free breakfasts is only Php 3,600. On a normal day, check-in is at 2 pm but we’re in our room by noon. It’s not the peak season so most of their rooms were ready when we arrived.

Just Some of the Pros:

  • Clean, spacious, and air-conditioned rooms
  • Cable TV
  • Friendly staff
  • Pool
  • Free breakfast with a 3D2N stay
  • A designated smoking area near the pool
  • Billiards table
  • Gym
  • Jonard who can arrange a boat tour for you hangs out at the reception

And Some of the Cons:

  • Old TV
  • Pool was made for the family with rails to keep children out of the 6-ft part (for moms this should go to Pros)
  • Not a beach-front hotel (walking to the beach takes only 8 to 10 minutes)
  • WiFi is limited (I think this applies to all hotels in PG)
  • No kitchen facilities inside rooms

I was hungry so I didn’t want to dine where we’d have to wait for about half an hour. We went inside this carinderia just across the street. A meal costs Php 50 to Php 70 (drinks not included).

White beach puerto galera

We recharged for a few hours before we headed back to the beach for a photo op. They say falling in love is easy at sunset; I say taking Instagram-worthy photos is effortless during sunset. 

It’s not the peak season, so we easily found a spot. Right then and there I knew…

© Kenneth Cruz

I need a new phone with a better cam. 😂

Ice and Fire

Try Mindoro Sling. Best with lots of ice. Bottoms up!

Mindoro Sling
© Kenneth Cruz

Watch and take a picture with fire dancers. Performances start at 8 pm. 

The beach is lined by comedy bars. Take your pick and be ready to give some tips to performers after each segment. 

Wake Up and Walk

Early the next day, we explored the area and found a spot from where you can view the coast.

From that spot, we saw a stairway beside another hotel. It leads directly to the beach. What I like about White Beach is there’s always a pathway to the shore.

© Kenneth Cruz

Cave and Waves

For our island hopping tour (Php 1,500), Bong the Guide picked us up at the resort at 8 a.m. Our first stop was The Sandbar.

The Sandbar in Oriental Mindoro
© Kenneth Cruz

From there, we transferred to a boat to go to the underwater cave.

© Kenneth Cruz
© Kenneth Cruz

I didn’t know we’re supposed to go in and come out on the other side of the cave. We didn’t. The tide was high and waves inside the cave were scary, so we went out where we came in.

We were taken to another island afterward. Besides taking more photos, nothing special happened there.

Corals and Fishes

Puerto Galera Snorkeling
Snorkeling Time!

After that, we went to the center of the Coral Garden for snorkeling-it was my first time. I had ingested sea water figuring out how that snorkel works all by myself before I get to see the beauty below. If you have bread, you could hold it out and fishies would have at it. They’re so aggressive I had to throw away the bread and accidentally kicked Kenneth’s camera – I panicked ‘coz it’s like Piranha 3D except that the fishes here are cute!

© Kenneth Cruz
Of course, he took an underwater selfie. 😀
© Kenneth Cruz

What’s great about this tour? There’s no time limit. You can watch the creatures down there for as long as you want, so put a lot of sunblock.

When we’re satisfied, Bong took us back to The Sandbar for another photo op before returning to the hotel.

Oriental Mindoro
© Kenneth Cruz

Want the same tour? Call Jonard Atienza at 0915-349-6953!

Boat tour guide in puerto galera
Meet Bong the Guide

Mindoro and Korea

The beach on our second night was as lively as it was on the first. We stayed on the shore and when we had enough sand on our feet and legs, we went to Mindoro Korea. Kenneth had been mentioning it since the first day and pointing it every time we pass by. Their menu includes both Filipino and Korean food.

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By the way, they have affordable rooms and a  clean pool.

Pancakes and Everything Nice

The free breakfast at the hotel was not enough, so we went back to the beach to try Food Trip sa Galera’s Pancake Volcano. It’s six delightful layers of pancakes with maple syrup, choco syrup, another syrup, marshmallows, fruits, and other stuff. It’s perfect for sharing!

We ended our short vacation with a jet ski ride.

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Puerto Galera Trip Options

For transportation, there are ferries but the boats will do. Father and Sons Lines has well-maintained boats. A one-way ticket is Php 275, and a round-trip is Php 500.

There are plenty of budget-friendly dining options. There are carinderias where you can get a filling meal for less than Php 100 and places like Food Trip sa Galera where you can have a nice meal for a little more than Php 100. If you have a craving, there are pizzerias and restaurants that specialize in a certain cuisine. You’ll not run out of options.

For accommodation, I highly recommend Hollywood Hotel and Restaurant if you’re into a peaceful night after a day of activities. Bars can be really loud at night, so go for this one if you’re not a vampire. It is 8-minutes away from the shore if you walk fast and offers a 3D2N package that comes with free, humble breakfasts. Beach-front inn or hotel rates are of course higher but at least going to the shore is, as they say, konting kembot lang. If you want one near the beach, Mindoro Korea is a good choice.

If you want a snorkeling tour package, contact Kuya Jonard and request for Bong, who is really good at taking photos. You will also be approached by men on the beach right after you get off the boat, while you’re eating, or when you’re walking on the shore trying to find the perfect angle for your #photooftheday. Their prices are the same: Php 1,500. Try to ask for a discount. What’s good about Kuya Jonard’s deal is you’ll use a small boat throughout the tour. Other tours will have you on a big boat first and transfer you to a small boat for snorkeling with an additional charge. However, small boats can only carry three persons, including the operator/guide.

For a massage, there are spas at every corner. If you’re comfortable lying in a public place like us, contact Melly and Amy at 0946 611 6868 or look for them in the shade of trees by the beach.

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