Monday, May 30, 2011

Kwentong Kaladkarin #18: Flashback Files* - Galera Gallivanting

Da Where: Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro
Da When: April 5-7, 2008
Da Who: me, Monette, Lala, Gineau, Lou, Sash and Jazz (a.k.a. the Sl*ttish Friends) ;D
Da Trivia: It was a fun, chillax trip with besties and girl friends from work. It was also my first out-of-town weekend with Monette. :)

A super tanned me, overlooking Oriental Mindoro

Back in 2008, I have been in Manila and have worked in the BPO industry for about two years already. Perhaps due to the stress that the job brings, a lot of my workmates often take quick vacations and trips during their rest days and come back recharged and usually tanned, braided and henna tattooed. And sometimes, with the occasional hangover. :) When I asked where they've been for the two days they weren't at work, I often get Puerto Galera for an answer.
The name Puerto Galera (or Port for Galleons, loosely translated in English) was perhaps derived from its early roots as an early trading village in Oriental Mindoro. It used to be a quiet little town until resorts were developed in the 80's that transformed this place into one of the summer destinations of the country, especially the heat-bothered residents of Metro Manila.

Rewind to the summer of 2008, my friends from work decided to take a quick beach getaway and take advantage of the long weekend in observance of Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) holiday. We packed our swimwear and sunblock and got on a bus in Buendia Ave. that will drop us about 4 hours later in Batangas Port.

Stiff from the ride, we rolled into the port, got our tickets for the boat that will take us to Mindoro, and sat down to wait for our scheduled ride. For people wanting to grab a bite or a cup of coffee, kiosks abound inside the port terminal and steel seats are set up for everyone's waiting convenience.

Waiting for our boat ride schedule at Batangas Port.

Pose muna bago sakay ng boat. ;D

Hordes of tourist, bound for Galera.

When we heard our boat was starting to load passengers, we made a beeline to the dock area and clambered up a massive motorized boat. Based on the picture we took above, I believe it accommodated more than100 passengers.

The sea travel from Batangas to Mindoros is notorious for huge waves, even in the summer season. I had to clutch my tummy several times during the 1.5 hour ride as the boat bobbed wave after wave. Some passengers even let out shrieks with the larger waves the boat had to slice through.

Finally! I can see Mindoro! :D
 After quelling the feeling of seasickness for the longest time, we finally docked at Sabang and got off the boat right into the white shores of Puerto Galera. We couldn't contain our excitement! :)

The initial challenge was to find a place that's both affordable and comfy. Lala was able to talk to a local contact and we snagged a small transient house, a 5-minute walk away from the beachfront which we got for about PhP1000/night for the seven of us. We dumped our bags and donned our beachwear and headed back to the beach to still catch some sun rays and find our dinner destination.

Girls just wanna have fun on the beach. ;D

The sunset was beautiful but the beach was too crowded for my taste.

Girls and boats.

Shooting star on my hand

Gorgeous gals and a gorgeous sunset.

I honestly did not fully enjoy the White Beach experience as there were too many people out and about since it was a holiday weekend. I personally liked my beaches to be almost deserted so I can fully absorb the richness of the sea, the sand and the sky. We just opted to have dinner and some famed Mindoro Sling before heading back to the house for some sleep.

The next morning, after a breakfast of hotdogs and rice, we decided to explore Oriental Mindoro more aside from the beach. We asked the lady caretaker of the house and she suggested we go to Calapan and see Tamaraw Falls.

We rented a jeepney that will take us up the mountainous areas of Oriental Mindoro for about 1.5 hours. It was a bumpy ride over unpaved roads but the sights in every turn were enough to compensate for the discomfort, we had several peeks of the gorgeous blue sea on our way up. The waterfalls was also a sight to behold!

Holding on for dear life inside the jeepney with Sash.

The waterfalls was beautiful...

...and so were the girls. :D

Entrance to the waterfalls pool. I had a penchant for clambering up on things even back then. :D

Jump into my flipside! ;D

We paid PhP10.00/person entrance fee to get to the man-made pools the local government unit has developed so guests can enjoy a dip in the ice-cold water. There were also picnic sheds for those wanting to enjoy lunch al-fresco. We frolicked in the waters for a bit before deciding to go back to Sabang.

Our driver obliged for a stop during our ride back when we saw a great spot for taking pictures overlooking Oriental Mindoro. :) We spent the rest of the night just hanging out by the beach and enjoying the stars, nursing our sunburns. :D

The next morning, we woke up early, wanting to catch the sunrise but Mr. Sun didn't cooperate and we only had overcast skies. We went back to the house, cleaned up and thanked our lady caretaker then headed to the beach port to wait for our ride back to Batangas Port.

Sunburnt, henna tattooed and smiling. Mission accomplished! :)

I haven't been back to Puerto Galera since and I'm a little curious what the place looks now. I'd probably go back though I might opt for other beaches aside from White Beach, just to avoid the throng of tourists and have a proper beach get-away, all serene and rejuvenating.

I can hear the summer of 2012 a-calling! :)

*Flashback Files is a series of posts on past kaladkarin adventures prior to the creation of this blog.


  1. wow, quick nature-trip! pero andaming tao sa bangka! Will be in Manila next week and I'm planning to go somewhere pag di natuluoy yung mga plano ko. thanks for the detailed directions to this place! :D

  2. @Ed - Yes, the hordes of tourists were horrendous. I like my beach nice and quiet. :D Chyng Reyes recently blogged about another beach in Mindoro though. Sure, FB PM me if you've got no travel buddy. Baka malibre ako from work and tag along. :)