Puerto Galera

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  • Itineraries

Puerto Galera

Puerto Galera, officially the Municipality of Puerto Galera, is a 1st class municipality in the province of Oriental Mindoro, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 36,606 people.

It is located at the north-westernmost part of Oriental Mindoro, and at the south-western end of the Isla Verde Passage, about 130 kilometers (81 mi) south of Manila. It is mainly accessible from the Southern Luzon gateway port of Batangas by bamboo boats (bangka) operated by local regular operators. Seaplane Operator Air Juan Aviation, Inc. flies 2x daily flights from Manila to Puerto Galera vv. on their Cessna Grand Caravan Seaplanes.

Puerto Galera is 51 kilometres (32 mi) from Calapan, the provincial capital.

 

Barangays

Puerto Galera is politically subdivided into 13 barangays:

BarangayPopulation (2016)
Aninuan3,413
Balatero3,778
Dulangan3,335
Palangan1,481
Sabang3,744
San Antonio812
San Isidro3,941
Santo Niño2,110
Sinandigan2,337
Tabinay3,764
Villaflor1,908
Poblacion5,139
Baclayan844
Total

36,606

 


Demographics

Population census of Puerto Galera
YearPop.±% p.a.
19031,275—    
19393,433+2.79%
19483,948+1.57%
19605,925+3.44%
19707,659+2.60%
197510,129+5.77%
198012,306+3.97%
199017,200+3.41%
199519,485+2.36%
200021,925+2.56%
200728,035+3.45%
201032,521+5.55%
201536,606+2.28%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority


The National Statistical Coordination Board of the Philippines characterizes the municipality of Puerto Galera as First Class based on household income.
 The municipality had a population of 32,521 in the 2010 Census of Population conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority. The population in 2012 was estimated 35,188.

History & Culture

Early History

Home to years of history, which stretched far and wide. Due to the characteristic weather, the earliest explorers completely bypassed the area. The first settlement in the area was founded 1770 as a mission community. In addition to the mission, a military fort was built.

Upon gaining independence, the area grew quickly. The old system gradually came to an end and private ownership of land became common. The first significant settlement on the outside of the area. As the new settlement gradually grew, a street plan developed and became attractive to settlers. Over the next years, the area officially became part of the surrounding country.

The area began to explode in population with many immigrants seeking fortunes, creating one of the largest imigrant populations. During this time, many large organizations and businesses grew and did very well. With all this success came quick growth and city planning and infrastructure were necessary. This led to better living conditions and many good years.

Later Growth

In the 1890’s, a large campaign began to improve the city, the success of which led to a renaming. In 1901, a natural disaster changed the city and a fire destroyed much of the area. The decision was made to start a rebuilding plan for the city, with new parks and landmarks.

After the Great Depression of the 1930’s, the city was mostly unharmed. It was during this time that government construction projects were conceived and built. It was also this time the government established a prison which would hold some of the most notorious criminals of the time.

After World War II, the city continued to grow in size and population. Planning projects at the time led to more downtown buildings and the destruction of many neighborhoods to build roads. In the same period, the city became a center of cultural movement, contributing to the current outlook.

Recent History

More recently, the city has has experienced a boom in business and population. Despite falling victim to the economic trouble, the city’s economy mostly recovered and neighborhoods continue to survive. Today the city is known for its cultural outlook and remains one of the top tourist destinations. Tourism is the city’s largest industry.

Giant Clams Basin

If giant clams can produce pearls, how big would you think the pearls could be? Snorkeling at the Giant Clams basin is one of Puerto Galera's island activities. The Giant Clams are located near Coral Garden in Puerto Galera Bay, in between the islands San Antonio and Boquete. About eight to ten feet deep, the Giant Clams area comprise of a wide seabed with about 30 artificially implanted clams, each reaching as wide as one meter in diameter. During the snorkeling activity, visitors would have to hold onto to the outrigger of the boat while snorkeling. The boat would then move to where the giant clams are found. The clams are best viewed when the sun is out and the sea is calm. While diving and having a closer look of the clams are possible, touching them is prohibited. A P150,000 fine is imposed on violators.

 

Coral Garden

Snorkeling at the Coral Garden is one of Puerto Galera's island activities. Coral Garden is found in Puerto Galera Bay, in between the islands San Antonio and Boquete. The area that comprise Coral Garden is only 8 feet deep, and has underwater views of corals and varieties of marine animals. Among them are the clown fish, starfish, sea snake, and sea urchin. During this activity, guests would have to hold onto to the outrigger of the boat while snorkeling. The boat would then move to the most popular spots in the Coral Garden, where the most colorful corals and marine life are seen. Once at the popular spot, guests can feed the fish with pieces of bread (provided by the boatman).

 

Excavation Museum

Excavation Museum is a small, dusty museum found in the vicinity of Immaculate Conception Church. Dating to as far back as 200 B.C., its exhibits include porcelain wares, earthen jars, and burial vessels traded from China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Mindoro Island. The items were excavated from gravesites and underwater wreck sites in Mindoro in the 1960s. Others were donated by archaeologist divers. Also displayed in the museum are photographs of archaeological sites and other artifacts dug in Puerto Galera. The priceless items in this museum were told to have either been sold to other museums, or looted by thieves.

 

Lighthouse at Escarceo Point

Escarceo Point is a grassy hill that juts out to Puerto Galera Bay. Erected on this point are three towers: a telecommunications tower, an old lighthouse, and a new lighthouse. The hill itself is quite barren, offering a panoramic view of the sea and nearby islands. The best view in Escarceo Point, however, is seen by climbing the old lighthouse. A staircase spirals around the old lighthouse. Once at the top, travelers would have a view of limestone cliffs and more islands nearby. Escarceo Point itself is made of limestone. Before getting to the lighthouse, travelers would have to trek for 20 minutes on a trail that reveals some limestone. There are also many camping areas near the lighthouse, should travelers decide to stay overnight.

 

Puerto Galera Adventure and Recreational Ecopark

Puerto Galera Adventure and Recreational Ecopark rests on the hills of Mt. Malasimbo, the highest point in Puerto Galera. The ecopark offers a panoramic view of Puerto Galera Bay and the town's islands and islets. While visitors are free to use the view deck, peeking through its telescopes costs P10 per viewing. Other than its refreshing view of the islands, the ecopark offers two packaged recreational activities. These include the cargo net climb and hanging bridge (P200), plus the zipline (P500). The zipline is the highlight of the ecopark. Visitors would ride a buggy (free) to get to the jump-off of the zipline, and then zip through the length of the 600-meter cable, with an impressive bird's eye view of the hills of Mt. Malasimbo, the Ponderosa Golf course, the sea, and faraway islands.

 

The Sandbar and Boquete Island

Simply known as "Sandbar", this destination is a 50-meter stretch of white sand, connecting Boquete Island to the mainland Mindoro. The Sandbar and Boquete Island are privately owned. Landing in the area requires a fee of P50/head, consumable at the bar and restaurant of Boquete Island's resort, Elizabeth's Hideaway. The fee also includes swimming at the 200-meter white beach connected to the Sandbar. The Sandbar is best visited together with the other island activities in Puerto Galera, such as island hopping, snorkelling at the Giant Clams and Coral Garden, or visiting the underwater cave. Please note that the Sandbar could get filthy during the off-peak season (June to December). Otherwise the beach connected to the Sandbar is always well-maintained and clean.

 

Talipanan Mangyan Settlement

Talipanan Mangyan Settlement is one among the few Mangyan villages that are welcoming to tourists. The settlement comprises about 70 nipa houses, and growing, with the help and support of the Ayala Foundation, Inc. Since 2010, the foundation organized the village into a tourist-friendly community, and set up a livelihood program for the Iraya Mangyans, one of the eight sub-groups of Mangyans in Mindoro. Upon entering this settlement, travelers would be greeted by a bamboo-designed Mangyan gift shop. Thereafter, visitors can cross the bamboo bridge over the Talipanan River, roam about the village, and watch a day in the life of the Mangyans. On a regular day, you'd find Mangyan kids playing games, the men repairing houses, and the women weaving handicrafts. The more adventurous of travelers can follow the trail of the Talipanan River for about 30 minutes, and reach Talipanan Falls.

 

Tamaraw Falls

Tamaraw Falls gets its name from the word "tamaraw", a water buffalo endemic to the island of Mindoro. One of the more popular destinations in Puerto Galera, Tamaraw Falls is a twin waterfall about three storeys high. The waterfall lies next to Nautical Highway, runs under a bridge, and cascades through man-made pools below. Tamaraw Falls faces the mountainside, where one can enjoy a refreshing view of the forest. While it is free to hangout at the bridge and take photos of the waterfall, swimming in the area has a fee of P30/head. Other facilities in the area can be rented out. These include kiosks (P140), tables (P30), barbeque grills (P50), and an assembly hall (P1,500). While the management of Tamaraw Falls does not sell food items, snacks and drinks are sold along the highway.

 

Puerto Galera's White Beach

Puerto Galera's White Beach is the second most commercialized beach in the Philippines, next to Boracay's White Beach. A closer proximity to Metro Manila, Puerto Galera's White Beach is a cheaper alternative to Boracay. The beach spans 1.2 kilometers, with grainy, light gray sand, and is dotted with bars, restaurants, hotels, and souvenir shops. Like other popular beaches, White Beach offers a plethora of island activities such as banana boat, jet ski, island hopping, and snorkeling. At one rocky end of the beach is called Camp City, where there are no establishments and camping is allowed. During peak season (April to May, and Christmas Holidays), White Beach transforms into an entertainment center, with loud music, rowdy bars, fire dancers, and many beach parties. Accommodations can also triple in price. The rest of the year, White Beach could be quiet, especially at night.

Planning a Trip

Pre-departure planning is important. Here are certain things you should watch for and plan for.

Visas

Check with the appropriate consulate or embassy in your country to find out if you will need a visa to visit the country of your destination, especially for an extended period of time. Some countries have extremely detailed and complicated entry/departure laws, and treat visits of a week or two very differently from longer stays.

Money

If you’re traveling to one area, check the cost of living there. If it’s high you’ll probably want to budget more carefully and save some money before leaving. The lower the cost of living the less you’ll have to save, but be sure to have a back up reserve in emergency cases.

General Tips

Talk to other people who have done a similar trip.

If you don’t know anyone personally, try any of the dozens of online travel web sites full of first-person travel stories covering every possible type of trip.

Plan big and loose. Read everything you can about the area.

There may be sights and attractions you didn’t know about. A rough outline of your trip might have three or four target points and a variety of ways to get between them.

You don’t want to find out that the weather isn’t what you thought, or the guide book was incorrect, after committing to 6 weeks in a specific spot.

Some trips will allow you more leeway than others. Travel plans in Asia can often be made day-by-day while summer travel in Europe should be organized at least a few weeks ahead, unless you’re prepared to hunt around for hotel rooms and train seats.

Set up a pre-trip time-line so you don’t end up with a full todo list your last week of work or school.

Things to consider are doctor’s visits for a check up, inoculations, and prescription refills; purchasing plane tickets; renewing passports and obtaining visas and other documents.

Check your insurance coverage abroad and purchasing additional travel insurance if needed. Don’t forget visiting friends and family members!

The longer the trip, the lighter you should pack. This might seem strange, but it’s true you can afford to lug a heavy bag around for a week or two, but do you want to have anything extra for a year?

Stick to the absolute basics and know what you can and cannot buy at your destination(s). There’s no point in bringing 6 months of toothpaste to Europe or buying a sarong at home to take to the tropics. If you are visiting several climates, try to arrange it so you visit the warmer places first and coldest last. That way you can purchase sweaters and long pants and not have to carry them any more than needed. Alternately, visit cold climates first and then ship unneeded layers home — or sell them off.

A good rule of thumb is to bring one outfit for the hottest day you’re likely to encounter, one for an average day, and one for the coldest.

Make sure everything goes with everything else (if that’s important to you), and remember that layers are always best.

Be prepared for uncomfortable trips. You will often find yourself in a busy, cramped, economy class environment and it could be for many hours – especially long plane trips.

If you want to arrive at your destination refreshed and able to enjoy the sights, then try a good quality travel pillow to support your head, some ear plugs to block out the screaming babies, and an eye cover to block out the sun or cabin lights.

Just avoid those cheap U-shaped pillows from airport shops – your head drops forward and you wake up with a stiff neck.

Make contact with the locals before you go.

Maybe you have a friend-of-a-friend or a foreign exchange student from high school you remember, or just found a friend through a travel web site; almost everyone is happy to welcome a foreign visitor to their home town. This might be as elaborate as a home-stay for a few weeks, or just coffee in their home town or dinner at a locals restaurant.

De Galera Festival

De Galera Festival is an annual event showcasing Puerto Galera’s rich historical and cultural heritage and its abundant natural resources. Considered as one of the best tourism destinations in the country, Puerto Galera offers exciting tourism-activities which is capped by the celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima (May 13). Highlight of which is the fluvial parade of the town’s devotees of Our Lady Fatima.

Source: http://www.puertogaleradive.com/affiliate/de-galera-festival-2018/

 

Malasimbo Festival

A party venue that's different from those in the city. The festival is held outdoors, within a grass-terraced amphitheater, in a coconut tree plantation at the foot of Mount Malasimbo overlooking Puerto Galera Bay, a member of 'The Most Beautiful Bays in the World' club. (http://primer.com.ph/event/2018/02/19/malasimbo-music-and-arts-festival-2018-why-were-going-and-so-should-you/)

It’s easy to assume that an event of this calibre might cause harm to the environment, but one of the core goals of the festival is to promote environmental conservation and protection.

Since the year it began, a chunk of its proceeds have gone to the planting of thousands of hardwood trees, herbal and medicinal plants, mangrove seedlings and more. (https://explore.traveloka.com/guides/malasimbo-festival)

Malasimbo Festival 2019 takes place March 1-2 in Puerto Galera, Philippines.

 

Reggae Festival

Less than a decade old, the Reggae Festival was first celebrated four years ago in Puerto Galera with several bands participating and sound systems sponsored by big companies installed all over Puerto Galera. The Reggae Festival shows how much the Filipinos love music and that this particular genre has sub-genres that create a wonderful mixture of the traditional reggae with a taste of Filipino. This Puerto Galera festival is enjoyed by tourists and residents regardless of age because this is a chance to mingle under the common language of music. A couple of good bands are discovered during the Reggae Festival and the main attraction of the event is the massive party that goes on throughout the day and gets livelier at night. Resorts in Puerto Galera sponsor the Reggae Festival by providing beach side buffets at affordable prices during this Puerto Galera festival.

Source: https://www.philippinesinsider.com/events-festivals-holidays/puerto-galera-festivals-and-events/ 

 

Travel Resources

Travel planning is about more than just knowing where you're going. Prepares to navigate, take control and be ready for anything. This section helps you steer clear of disaster and stay open enjoy the unexpected.

Quick Tips

  1. Banks – Open Monday to Friday 9am to 2pm. Some banks are closed for lunch.

  2. Emergencies – For police, dial a local phone number; for ambulance call a hospital.

  3. Internet Access – Wifi is standard in most hotels and free in many coffee shops.

  4. Mail – Buy stamps at the Post Office. Convenient post offices are located all cities. Most are open Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.

  5. Safety – Pickpocketing can be a common problem. It is suggested for men to keep wallets in their front pocket. Purse snatching also occurs at times.

Transportation

Getting in from the airport and other arrival locations. Travel planning is about more than just knowing where you’re going. Prepares to navigate, take control and be ready for anything. This section helps you steer clear of disaster and stay open enjoy the unexpected.

  1. Plane – Flights arrive at the main airport near city center. If flying from European cities, you might land at a connecting airport. There is a tourist information office at the Terminal E, international arrivals, open 8am to 6pm.

  2. Train – A train station is on the lower level of the airport. To get into the city, follow the marked signs.

  3. Taxi – From the airport there is a flat-rate for the 1-hour trip, depending on traffic. Hotels charge up to $80 for shuttle service.

  4. Train & Bus – Trains and buses arrive a city center. This is the transportation hub for the city and is surrounded hotels.

A perfect place for exploring on foot, with local shops around every corner. You will eventually walk somewhere, it’s just going to happen. If you don’t like crowds, uneven cobblestones, heavy traffic or narrow sidewalks, take a taxi or rent a scooter.

Itineraries

3 Day Driving Adventure

Have limited time but want to make sure you don’t miss out on the best things to see and do? This tour has got you covered.

Day 1

Start the day early by visiting the old town and the local markets. Enjoy a warm coffee and a delicious breakfast at one of the many venues serving food to die for. You can spend most of the day wandering in the streets of the old town, do some shopping or just enjoying the atmosphere. It doesn’t get more local than this!

Day 2

Today you’ll jump on a train and head out a little, to venture in the surrounding nature the area has to offer. Be sure to wear good walking shoes, have plenty of water in your back. Don’t forget the sunscreen! You’ll find plenty of proposed walks for all levels of fitness. Take in the view and enjoy a day out in the wild.

Day 3

A visit would not be complete without spending some time in the trendy / artsy suburb of the town. You’ll find great shops run by friendly locals selling unique goods. There are a few museums / expositions worth a visit, and you might even find yourself stopping by a street artist show. The area is bustling with music, culture and overall feeling of happiness. Soak it in!

 

5 Day Train Experience

Sit back and enjoy the ride.

Have limited time but want to make sure you don’t miss out on the best things to see and do? This tour has got you covered.

Day 1

Start the day early by visiting the old town and the local markets. Enjoy a warm coffee and a delicious breakfast at one of the many venues serving food to die for. You can spend most of the day wandering in the streets of the old town, do some shopping or just enjoying the atmosphere. It doesn’t get more local than this!

Day 2

Today you’ll jump on a train and head out a little, to venture in the surrounding nature the area has to offer. Be sure to wear good walking shoes, have plenty of water in your back. Don’t forget the sunscreen! You’ll find plenty of proposed walks for all levels of fitness. Take in the view and enjoy a day out in the wild.

Day 3

A visit would not be complete without spending some time in the trendy / artsy suburb of the town. You’ll find great shops run by friendly locals selling unique goods. There are a few museums / expositions worth a visit, and you might even find yourself stopping by a street artist show.

Day 4

Today you’ll jump on a train and head out a little, to venture in the surrounding nature the area has to offer. Be sure to wear good walking shoes, have plenty of water in your back.

Day 5

A visit would not be complete without spending some time in the trendy / artsy suburb of the town.

 

10 Days by Bike

Have lots of time to see and do things? This tour has got you covered.

Day 1-3

Start the day early by visiting the old town and the local markets. Enjoy a warm coffee and a delicious breakfast at one of the many venues serving food to die for. You can spend most of the day wandering in the streets of the old town, do some shopping or just enjoying the atmosphere. It doesn’t get more local than this!

Day 4-5

Today you’ll jump on a train and head out a little, to venture in the surrounding nature the area has to offer. Be sure to wear good walking shoes, have plenty of water in your back. Don’t forget the sunscreen! You’ll find plenty of proposed walks for all levels of fitness. Take in the view and enjoy a day out in the wild.

Day 6

A visit would not be complete without spending some time in the trendy / artsy suburb of the town. You’ll find great shops run by friendly locals selling unique goods. There are a few museums / expositions worth a visit, and you might even find yourself stopping by a street artist show.

Day 7-9

Today you’ll jump on a train and head out a little, to venture in the surrounding nature the area has to offer. Be sure to wear good walking shoes, have plenty of water in your back.

Day 10

A visit would not be complete without spending some time in the trendy / artsy suburb of the town.

 

Wine Tasting Tour

Get your hands dirty learning wine making!

A lot of good wine is produced in the area. A guided wine tasting tour is a great way to embrace the culture of a region while discovering some unique flavors and having an overall good time.

Have limited time but want to make sure you don’t miss out on the best things to see and do? This tour has got you covered.

Stop 1

Start the day early by visiting the old town and the local markets. Enjoy a warm coffee and a delicious breakfast at one of the many venues serving food to die for.

Stop 2

Today you’ll jump on a train and head out a little, to venture in the surrounding nature the area has to offer. Be sure to wear good walking shoes, have plenty of water in your back.

Stop 3

A visit would not be complete without spending some time in the trendy / artsy suburb of the town. You’ll find great shops run by friendly locals selling unique goods.

Stop 4

A visit would not be complete without spending some time in the trendy / artsy suburb of the town. You’ll find great shops run by friendly locals selling unique goods.

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