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Puerto Galera, the northernmost town of Oriental Mindoro province, is a tropical beach destination unlike no other in the Philippines. Its white-sand beaches shimmer against the background of green coconut trees and blue waters.
As a destination, Puerto Galera is much more diverse than Boracay in Aklan, thanks to its more than 20 beaches, spanning from the secluded to the overcrowded. Sabang Beach is a major magnet to foreign tourists, being an ideal jump off point to spectacular diving sites and its beach area has numerous hotels, resorts, restaurants and clubs. White Beach, about 14 kilometers from sabang, is the crowd favorite on the other side of the town and attracts foreign and tourists alike.
Visitors have the choice to stay in not-so crowded resorts such as the Coco Beach Island Resort at Coco Beach, the Tamaraw Beach Resort and the Sunset at Aninuan Beach Resort at Aninuan Beach, or stay at crowd-favorite locations of Sabang Beach and White Beach. Those who aim for solitude have the option to take a day-tour of Bayanan Beach, known for its fine white sand where no resort has been established yet.
Puerto Galera's beaches and waters are good for swimming, snorkeling, diving, kayaking, and other water sports. Night life is vibrant in Sabang, which makes the location busy if not chaotic at night. Sabang has been often described as Ermita located on a beach.
White Beach is a better destination in Puerto Galera, because of its white fine sands, particularly at the center of the beach. Large boats ferry passengers from Batangas port directly to Sabang, White Beach or Muelle Bay in Poblacion.
At White Beach, there are dozens of resorts that offer from five-star accommodation to cheap fan rooms. Marco Vincent Resort and the Mindorin Oriental are among the upscale facilities in the area. There are several beachfront resorts including White Beach Resort, Dreamwave Hotel, VM Beach Resort, Agbing Resort and Summer Connection Beach Resort. Prices at beachfront restaurants are reasonable.
An Italian restaurant, Ciao Italia, offers excellent pasta and pizza and an spectacular view of the White Beach, being located on the hillside.
The beach area at the White Beach teems with people during summer, including beachgoers, vendors and hotel salespersons who dangle accommodation to arriving passengers.
One major advantage of going to Puerto Galera is its close proximity to Metro Manila. A roundtrip to Puerto Galera will cost a tourist only P1,000, including the bus (P175, one way) and boat (P250, one way) rides. Moving around Puerto Galera is the problem, as tricycles will charge tourists hundreds of pesos to visit one location from another.
Resort accommodations cost anywhere from P1,500 to P5,000 overnight, depending on the type of the room and the time of the visit. Prices soar during the summer vacation.
Travel time between Quezon City and Port of Batangas in Batangas City (about 90 kilometers) is about one and a half hours, depending on traffic conditions along EDSA and South Luzon Expressway. From South Luzon Expressway in Calamba, Laguna, the Star Tollway leads directly to Batangas City.
Those who bring their own vehicles can park in a fenced area just across the terminal, for exorbitant fees of as high as P250 a day. For the boat trips, passengers need to enter Terminal 3 of the Batangas port.
Among the boat operators that serve the Batangas-Puerto Galera route are Minolo Shipping Lines and Father & Sons. Minolo's best boat, the 150-seat Golden Vulture, is well maintained and ventilated. Its plastic-covered windows shield the passengers from the water splash of the rough seas. Orange-colored life vests are adequately stocked.
Among the interesting destinations in Puerto Galera are White Beach, Sabang Beach, Big Lalaguna Beach, Coco Beach, Muelle Bay, Bayanan Beach, Aninuan Beach, Haligi Beach, Bulabod Beach, Poblacion, the Ponderosa Golf Club on the hillside, and the Tamaraw Falls in Aninuan.