Puerto Galera, dubbed as the Pearl of Mindoro, is a beach resort town located on the north shore of Mindoro Island, 130 kilometers south of Manila, and 14 nautical miles from Batangas City. It comprises of 12 coastal districts (barangays or barrios) and one mountain district scattered over an area of 23,247 hectares, bordered on the north by Verde Island, on the south by Baco and Malasimbo mountains, on the northeast by the town of San Teodoro, and on the northwest by the Province of Occidental Mindoro.
The terrain is rugged with sometimes dense jungle, an irregular coastline with crystal, clear water and wide sand beaches, a natural harbor and safe anchorage. Its natural seawall, exciting dive sites, lush mountains and white pristine beaches make Puerto Galera one of the Philippine's top tourist destinations.
Travel time to Puerto Galera is approximately five hours by bus and ferry from Manila. On arrival in Puerto Galera you will travel to the resort by local motorized outrigger boat (banca) or by ferry.
- From Hotel to Batangas pier: by buses departing every morning from 9 am nonstop
Climate - March to May is hot and dry; rains and typhoons abound from June to October. November to February is pleasantly cool and dry. Peak tourist season is from December up to May.
Accommodation - Numerous, mostly family-run cottages and hotel rooms of all categories are available. The types of accommodation range from simple beach huts made of bamboo, nipa, sawali or rattan, to comfortable, luxury, fully furnished, air-conditioned bungalows with fully-equipped kitchens.
Divers' Paradise - The waters around Puerto Galera teems with exotic and colorful marine life and coral gardens. The variety of species found here outnumbers those of the Great Barrier Reef. It is a year-round diving destination for experienced divers as well as beginners. With over 30 dive sites all known for their marvelous marine environment and superb visibility which is only 10-15 minutes away from the dive centers, Puerto Galera truly is a divers' paradise.
A number of Asia's finest dive shops in the area offer basic and advanced courses fully guided by competent instructors for reasonable fees. Almost all of the dive shops operate under the P.A.D.I. or B.S.A.C. systems and regulations which are both internationally recognized. Diving instructions, usually in English, can be delivered in German, Swedish, Japanese, Korean, Spanish or French by some diving schools.
Treasures? - During the Spanish times, some galleons never reached the protection of Puerto Galera's harbor and their treasures lie hidden in the nearby waters. Adventure awaits the underwater world explorers!
Food - Native, as well as international cuisine is served in a variety of restaurants, along with a wide selection of fine wines and imported and local spirits. Nearly every resort has its own restaurant. The dishes offered is very tourist oriented and restaurants with international cuisine and dishes for every taste and budget can be found mainly along Sabang Beach and near the docks. Needless to mention, fish is the best choice here. The prices are comparable to those in the Manila tourist belt.
Watersports - The waters around Puerto Galera are rich in corals and manifold marine life. The best diving sites are located around Sabang, near Small and Big La Laguna, and on the north coast of Medio Island. The latter, known to world scientists because of its treasure of botanical and zoological specimens, abounds with thousands of terrestrial and marine plants. Fully equipped, modern training facilities for all levels of diving are available. At most beaches, there are surfboards, sailing boats, hobie cats, dive masks, snorkels and fins for rent.
Shopping - Souvenir textiles and RTW are sold in stalls along the pier, in boutiques in Poblacion and by street vendors. Handicrafts, particularly marble novelties, rattan and coconut products, can also be purchased. Fresh fruit and fish can be obtained at the public market in Poblacion or from ambulant merchants.
Mailing Service - The only post office in Puerto Golera is located near the church next to the basketball court. Some beach resorts take care of their guests' mail for a small charge.
Telephone - The Poblacion has Globelines and the rest has cellular phones.
Money Matters - It is advisable to take a sufficient supply of pesos along since the exchange rates offered by resorts and restaurants are often 10% below the rates in Manila. The Puerto Galera Rural Bank is located across the church. Cash, checks, tickets and other valuables should be deposited with the resort management with a receipt.
Police - There is a police station at the intersection above the docks in Poblacion and on the Municipal Compound.
Medical Care - There are three medical clinics, including a dental clinic, in downtown Puerto Galera. However, serious ailments or injuries should be treated in Batangas City or in Calapan or, at best, back in Manila. A new hospital just opened last December 1, 1998.
Electricity - Since power failures (brown-outs) occur frequently, many beach resorts and hotels are equipped with electric generators. The voltage is 220 volts.