Travel Date: 10 – 13 March 2017
Despite its popularity and its proximity to Manila, I have never been to Puerto Galera. The reputation of the place as a “beach party destination” just didn’t appeal to me.
Obviously, I am no longer a Puerto Galera virgin. I went not because of the beach, but for an art and music festival in the mountains. (Read: Malasimbo Art and Music Festival).
We had free time during the mornings until late afternoons. To make the most out of our stay, we decided to check out the town. As expected, there’s more to Puerto Galera (Mindoro, in general) than its beaches.
The Church of Immaculate Conception
From our hostel, my friend and I each took a habal-habal (motorcycle) to take us to town.
The Church of Immaculate Conception looks just like any other ordinary modern church: gated, covered pathway, high school kids gathered around to practice a school play.
Going around the property, we found out that the Church overlooks a harbor where several yachts are docked. The turquoise water was so calming to look at, we decided to chill here for a bit.
After the festival, we decided to stay back one more day to explore another barangay nearby. From our AirBNB, we moved to a hostel run by an Australian father-and-son, Paddy’s Backpacker Hostel and Dive Center in Brgy. Sinandigan.
Sinandigan is a barangay a few minutes away from the dive beach of Sabang, Puerto Galera. Unlike the touristy Sabang lined with hostels, hotels and transient homes for travelers and divers, Sinandigan is a quiet residential barangay. There were only two hostels in the area.
We decided to get lost and see what it had to offer.
Following a narrow path near out hostel, we stumbled upon this raw beauty of a beach. ‘Playa’ is Spanish for ‘beach’. It was so raw, the locals just call it Playa.
It was pretty much a ghost town (ghost beach?). Lined with abandoned divers’ resorts, it has it’s own dock that looks out to crashing waves. The dilapidated hotels were a bit disconcerting. But being in an isolated part of town, it was also weirdly calming.
We came across a local in the area who told us about a lighthouse not far away. With nothing else to do, we took off to look for our next destination.
Now, when locals tell you it’s not far, don’t believe them. Distance is relative, so be prepared to walk for hours. As always, getting lost is always part of the fun! We walked over an hour through narrow alleys, open fields and foliage paths; and – if there was anyone around – ask for directions until we reached our destination.
Our next stop took almost an hour ride of habal-habal across quaint little towns, beautiful seascapes and daunting mountain walls. Tamaraw Falls is located along the main highway that connects Puerto Galera to Calapan.
This 423-foot drop twin falls is named after Mindoro Dwarf Buffalos, which are native only to the island of Mindoro. A public wading pool and picnic area is located at the foot of the falls, where tourists can rest and enjoy the scenery for a fee.
Being a coastal town, Puerto Galera has many beaches both public and private. On our way back, we spotted a man-made Grotto built over rock boulders overlooking a random beach. We stopped by to take in the wonderful view of this province for one last time.
As an archipelago of 7,641 islands (with more undiscovered popping up), our country offers more than just beach parties. Whether you are into mountain hiking, chasing waterfalls, lake swims, scuba diving, and whatnot, the Philippines is blessed with natural wonders every kind of traveler can enjoy.
Ingat and see you on the road!
How to get there:
Take a bus bound for Batangas Pier (Pasay, Cubao or Alabang Terminals). Php 150 – 250.
From Batangas Pier, take a ferry going to Sabang – about an hour. Php 230.
Where to stay:
Paddy’s Bar and Backpackers Accommodation and Dive Centre offers dorm rooms for as low as Php 250. Run by father-and-son tandem Paddy and Spud, they also offer scuba lessons care of their in-house dive master Lorenzo. Follow their Facebook Fan Page here: https://www.facebook.com/PaddysBarRestaurant/
Know a place I should discover? Or want to travel together? Email me at email@example.com