All About Puerto Galera


Puerto Galera  in a Nutshell

Find information on this page about:


Accommodation

Transportation

Ferries

Sight-seeing

Internet

History

Economy

Population

Topography

Location

Food

Shopping

Exchange

Climate

Sports



 


 


There is a wide choice of cottages and hotel rooms available in Puerto Galera. They range from comfortable luxury rooms to very basic huts made of bamboo and rattan. Prices  are about P 300 for a hut to about US $ 150 for the top class accommodation.


It is advisable to inquire whether the establishments are equipped with a generator, because power failures are frequent on the island.


Palangan is the quieter area with a wide variety of establishments, ranging from beach resorts to mountain resorts. This is the area for families with children, the honeymooners, or for people who love their peace and quiet, but who like to go out at nighttime as well. Palangan can be found just between Town proper and Sabang. Either can be reached in about 10 minutes. Beach resort also offer scuba diving courses from the beginner till the most advanced.


Click here to find Palangan on the map


Sabang, La Laguna and White Beach are the places  for nightlife and they offer the more budget- traveler- directed packages with the exception of a few upper class establishments . Restaurants, bars  and discos provide the nightlife with all the entertainment one could wish for.


Click here to find Sabang, La Laguna and White Beach on the map



 Climate

Puerto Galera has a tropical climate with a relatively high humidity. The average annual humidity is 84.6%. There is no definite dry season, but from July until the middle of October the occasional typhoon that usually passes the island of Mindoro can bring heavy rainfall for about three consecutive days, which usually are followed by up to two weeks of nice weather. The months of November till February are cool, and dry with temperatures of about 28 degrees Celsius. March to June are considered the Filipino Summer season with hot and dry weather. Temperatures are usually above 30 degrees Celsius  then.



For the natives of Puerto Galera the primary means of living where fishing, farming, and hunting. They raised animals and planted corn, sweet potatoes, and other crops using the slash-and-burn method until the Spaniards introduced the use of the plow.

Today, however, most of the locals are engaged in various sorts of tourism-related occupations, although farming, livestock raising, fishing, and mining are still widely practiced.


 
 
 Electr icity

he electricity supply has been a major obstacle in the development of Puerto Galera. Power failures are a near daily occurrence, and put a constant burden on the local business community, that is being forced make up for the inefficiency of the local power company ORMECO by installing their own generators. Most resorts and hotels have their own power supply and thanks to that visitors to the island are able to secure comfortable accommodation. Promises that the power supply will improve shortly have been circulating for the past few years. The latest news is that a 34 megawatt power barge will be operational before Christmas 2000 and that other land based power plants will be built with an underwater supply line from Luzon to be completed before the year 2005. The voltage on the island is 220 Volts.


 Exchange

Recently the money changers have increased rapidly in Puerto Galera, which makes it easier to change money from all major currencies into Philippine Pesos. Still, a better exchange rate will be found in Manila. Changing travelers checks may pose a problem.

Travelers with their own bank accounts, who would like to take money from an ATM will be disappointed, because there aren't any on the island.

Credit cards like Visa, Master Card, JCB and occasionally American Express are accepted in upper level establishment. Swagman Travel in Sabang gives the opportunity to get cash on your card. One has to count however with the fact that most establishments charge 6.5% to 10% credit card charge.


 Ferry Schedules
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Manila City - Batangas City - Puerto Galera
You may take a private auto or bus to Batangas City Pier and connect with many boats which go directly to Muelle. From Muelle it is a short trip to Blue Crystal Beach Resort. The trip costs about  PHP 150.00. It is also possible to take transportation from Sabang and other ports, but Muelle is closest and therefore least expensive. Our representative will gladly assist with your transportation needs from the port.

Ferry and Fare in
Philippine Pesos
From
Batangas Pier
Puerto
Galera
Pier
from
Puerto
Galera
Blue Eagle/Phoenix
260.00
7:30 am
Muelle
7:00 am
10:15 am
Muelle
9:00 am
3:30 pm
Muelle
1:30 pm
Montenegro Drive-on Ferry220.007:00 amBalatero10:00 am
 
 
12:00 nn
Balatero
5:30 pm
O u t r i g g e r   B o a t s
Father and Son Lines
260.00
9:30 am
Sabang
6:00 am
10:30 am
Sabang
7:00 am
12:15 am
Sabang
8:00 am
1:30 pm
Sabang
9:00 am
2:30 pm
Sabang
11:30 am
4:45 pm
Sabang
1:30 pm
Island Cruiser
260.00
11:00 am
Muelle
8:30 am
Penguin
260.00
9:30 am
Balatero
7:30 am
 Food

The basic food in the Philippines is rice, but in Puerto Galera the choice is nearly without limit. Of course, a great variety of Filipino dishes is readily available, but Western food from the hamburger with French fries to German, French, Italian, Spanish, Swiss and Austrian delicacies can be found. On top of that other Asian and Southeast Asian dishes like Chinese and Thai are there to wet your appetite. Since Puerto Galera is a beach community  fish and seafood are readily available.

Prices are comparable to those in Manila.


 Location

Puerto Galera is located on the northern part of the island of Mindoro in the province Oriental Mindoro. It is about 130 kilometers south of Manila and 14 nautical miles from Batangas City. In total it has 12 coastal villages or Barangays and  one mountain district. It is bordered in the north by the Verde Island Passage,  in the northeast by the town of San Teodoro, in the northwest by Occidental Mindoro and in the south by Mount Malasimbo and Mount  Baco. It covers a total land area of 23.247 hectares.

 Population

Based on a survey conducted by the Municipal Planning and Development Office in 1997, Puerto Galera has a population of 20.439. This was an increase of 4.88% since the last survey in 1995. This rapid growth is attributed mainly to the influx of migrants due to the booming tourism industry.

As a whole, the population is relatively young with 13.621 people (which is 69.91%) belonging to the age bracket of people under 25 years old.

The Irayas, a tribe of the Mangyan ethic group also forms a part of the local population.


 Shopping

People who like to make shopping in department stores and hunting for brand names the main goal of their vacation are in the wrong place. Puerto Galera is however not without shop where Mangyang handicraft (like baskets),   marble items, products made of rattan and coconut are sold. Further more there are a large number of stalls, boutiques and street vendors that offer all kinds of souvenir textiles. Food in all colors, sizes, shapes and tastes are easily obtained at the public market in Poblacion.

 Sports

Puerto Galera offers its visitors a wide choice of sports. Most practiced are of course swimming, scuba-diving, snorkeling, boating, sailing, surfing, kayaking,  and fishing. The natural beauty of the island makes walks and hikes a real pleasure. For the more adventurous trekking through the jungle and the mountains could be a real challenge. It is advisable to ask around for a knowledgeable guide when you venture of the beaten track.


 Telephone and mail

Telephone services have rapidly increase in Puerto Galera and at nearly every beach and in Poblacion at the port and near the market telephone calls can be made to virtually everywhere in the world. Internet cafes also can be found in Sabang and Poblacion, however  since there are no land lines installed yet everybody has to depend on cellphone connections and download time can be considerable.

At the compound of the Municipal office a post office can be found. Delivery of mail from the island can take quite a while and sending bulky mail or parcel through the post office is not advisable. All mail has to be transported via the General Post Office in Manila and there the service is downright unreliable. Never included any valuables or money in your mail, unless you want to lose it!


 Topography

Puerto Galera has a very rugged topography. The land is generally mountainous and is crisscrossed by numerous streams and rivers. Backed by the Cabarian Ridge and the 680- meter high pyramid of Mt. Malasimbo, its 35.35 kilometer-long hilly land mass extends towards the sea and spreads out to a maximum of 13.4 kilometers across.


Three mountain ranges covering a total of 11.755 square kilometers rise above Puerto Galera's coastal barangays - or villages - : Mt. Alinyaban in barangay Balatero, Mt. Talipanan in Barangays Aninuhan and San Isidro and Mt. Malasimbo in Barangay Aninuhan. These mountains reach peak elevations of 1.400 meters above sea level and are home to rare animals such as deer, wild boars, monkeys, and the endangered Tamaraw ( the bubalus mindorensis, a local buffalo endemic to Mindoro). Likewise, its numerous mountain springs provide natural habitats to orchid varieties such as the tawa-tawa, tiger orchid, and mariposa.


Popularly know as a tourist haven, Puerto Galera's coast is 42 kilometers long, consisting of irregular shorelines rimmed with dazzling white beaches, coconut plantations and delightful scenery. At the eastern side of the coast, crescents of white beaches are interspersed with limestone cliffs and escarpments that are penetrated by inland bays and coves. These numerous coves and water channels support a rich marine life, forming "non-reef coral communities". Whereas, its tube-like harbor with two natural entrances provide home to dozens of ships and yachts seeking safe anchorage.


The bay of Puerto Galera has a total area of 4.2 square kilometers. It is framed by the short projections and numerous points of Mindoro Island on the east and west, and by two small islands, Medio and Paiquian on the north and northwest. These two islands protect Puerto Galera's famous Muelle Bay from the open sea, thus making it one of the world's safest natural harbors.



 Transportation in and round Puerto Galera

Just a few years ago the only means of transport were the local jeepneys and the outrigger boats or bancas. Then in about 1994 the first tricycle appeared. They give their passengers a bumpy ride, depending on the state of the roads, but are a relative convenient, albeit slow way to get where one wants to go. Jeepneys are still readily used for the longer distances like Calapan. They are relatively inexpensive but now end then require the necessary patience of the passenger since departure depends on how fast the jeepney is filled. Sometimes one will get the impression that the driver tries to set a record for the Guinness Book of Records under the heading: "Most people crammed in a jeepney".


 
 Transportation to Puerto Galera

Puerto Galera can only be reached via land routes from Manila to Batangas. After completion of the so-called Sky Way near Manila and the partial completion of the new highway from Tanuan to Lipa City the travel time to Batangas has been considerably reduced. However a travel time to Batangas Pier of two hours from Manila has to be counted with.

Traveling to Puerto Galera used to be quite a hassle, but one of the major  accomplishments  of the last two year is the construction of the new port in Batangas.

The bothersome porters who used to harass the travelers have disappeared and have been replaced with porters employed by the terminal authority, who can assist the traveler for a fixed fee.

When one gets to the port, one is directed to an airport-style air-conditioned lobby where passengers can wait in relative comfort till they are called to board the ferry of their choice. The entrance road to this multibillion Peso port terminal is however very surprisingly not hardened yet and one has to be prepared for a bumpy ride of about two kilometers.


From Batangas there are several ferryboat services that can bring their passengers to Puerto Galera in one or two hours, depending on the choice of ferry.


Relatively spoken a little more expensive, but  without  doubt are the Sikat and MV Super 85 Ferry and Bus Services. They transport their passengers by bus, coaster or van  (depending on demand) directly to Batangas Pier, where the ferries can be boarded almost immediately. Since there are no stopovers and no waiting time for the ferryboats, they are definitely the fastest and the most convenient way to get to and from Puerto Galera:


 Sikat Bus and Ferry Service

         Departing from Lobby of the City State Tower Hotel

         1315 A. Mabini Street, Ermita, Manila

         Departure time : 09:00 AM - Arrival time about 13:30 in Puerto Galera

         Round trip costs about P 700.-- per person.

        Tel.:  (+63) 2-521-3344

         Visit for more details: www.int-office.de/SI-KAT


Cheaper are the commercial buses of BLTB, JAM and TRITRAN. The former has a terminal in EDSA-Pasay, while the others have their terminals at Taft Avenue near the corner of Gil Puyat Avenue, Buendia, also in Pasay City, Metro Manila.

Schedules are not fixed, but the first bus usually leaves around 06:00 AM and the other buses depart when the volume of passengers is sufficient. The fares range from about P 80,-- to P 100,-- depending on whether it is a regular bus or an air-conditioned bus.


At Batangas Pier there is a wide choice of ferries going to Puerto Galera. Usually the first departure is around 07:30 AM  and the last ferry leaves at about 4:00 PM. After that one could hire an outrigger boat or banca with prices often ranging from P 2.000,-- per banca.

There are three main entry points to Puerto Galera by way of its port facilities :

Muelle Pier (Town Proper)

Balatero Pier (East of Town Proper)

Sabang (North of Town Proper)  

Click here for: Puerto Galera Map
 
 History

Much like the Province of Oriental Mindoro to which it belongs, Puerto Galera is very rich in history. The literal translations of its name is "Port of Galleons", which it received from the Spanish seafarers in the 16th Century, who used it as a safe haven during their journeys to the Orient. However its history as a galleon trade destination dates as far back as the prosperous years of the 10th century. For any modern travel it is clear to see upon entering the Puerto Galera by boat why this was already a popular destination for merchant vessels hundreds of years ago. The excellent natural harbor - which even now is considered one of the most beautiful and safest in the world - has crystal clear waters and is fully protected from typhoons (the East Asian version of the hurricane) by the hills and mountains surrounding it. As trade developed, Puerto Galera became a regular stopover for merchant vessels sailing along the important trade routes of the near East and the rest of the Philippines. The Muelle Bay area -  Indian coast, Indochinese coats, China, Sumatra, Java now part of town proper - was used extensively for dock repairs and as a safe anchorage for all types of sailing vessels. Here, too, a lot of merchant ships docked to trade with the natives.

Puerto Galera was such an important port that some historians even believe that the name "Mindoro" was derived from Minolo, one of Puerto Galera's old settlements. There are claims, too, that the 16th century references to Mindoro often only meant the harbor of Minolo. Also spelled Minoro, Minolo was a small coastal settlement northwest of Poblacion in present-day Puerto Galera. Then the center of trading, Chinese merchants bartered with the natives of Minolo, exchanging glazed porcelains for gold, jade, corals, shells, birds, rattan, and other forest products that were abundant in the island. An Excavation of an ancient grave site near Minolo lends proof to this. Antiques unearthed there were traced back to the 10th and 15th centuries, mainly from China, Thailand, and Vietnam. However, a more established and maybe more romantic belief is that the name "Mindoro" was derived from the Spanish "Mina de Oro" or Gold Mine. Whether the Spanish found a lot of gold on the island is not clearly know, although there are even on this day people who try to make their fortune by gold panning not so far from Puerto Galera. This belief surely for the base for a lot of interesting folklore.


By the 17th century, under its Spanish colonizers, the island of Mindoro was organized into a corrigimiento, with Puerto Galera as the capital. The seat of government remained there through the Spanish and American rules, until 1903. Then the capital was transferred to Calapan, which was geographically blessed with wide agricultural lands, and is now the present capital of Oriental Mindoro. Puerto Galera was annexed to Calapan as a barrio, or village. Finally, on December 7, 1927, the Philippine Congress passed an Act (Act 3415) creating the independent municipality of Puerto Galera.

Epigraphs referring to two historical landmarks have become tourist attractions in Puerto Galera : the commemoration Cross of Canonero De Mariveles and the Black Rice display-board, both at Muelle Pier.

When Puerto Galera was made the capital of Mindoro. It was originally located in Barrio Lagundian. But the frequent Moro  (or southern Muslim) attacks forced the Spaniards not only to transfer the seat of government to its present site, but also to build watchtowers and station battleships outside Muelle Bay. One battleship that guarded the waters of Puerto Galera was the Canonero Mariveles, which sunk due to a violent storm in 1879. In remembrance of this battleship a wooden cross was built at Muelle Pier with the inscription: "Ultima tierra que pesarou los tripolantes del canoneros Mariveles el 18 de Noviembre de 1879". This relic of the 19th century was renovated by the Spaniard Luis Gomez y Sotto in 1938.

Aside from introducing tools to increase farm productivity, the Spaniards also built a rice granary in Puerto Galera to stash grains ready for shipment. This storage is believed to have caught fire in the late 18th century, and its large volume of palay (rice grain) was burned and tossed into the bay. It would seem logical that with the passing of the centuries the grain would have decomposed and completely vanished. However, to this day, handsful of whole charcoal-black rice grains continue to appear on the banks of Muelle Bay, mysteriously carried by the waves with the changing of the tide. A huge glass case at Muelle Pier near the tricycle terminal, displays some of this grain and a warning for visitors is included not to collect any of these grains in order to preserve one of the historical remnants of Puerto Galera.


 
 
 
 








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