I used to go to Puerto Galera a lot. I was there—on average—once a month when its beauty was still a secret to most of the Filipino population. During those days, I can easily satisfy my beach fix by spending—more or less—P2,000. Though I have a friend to split the rent, food and booze expenses with and that was five to six years ago, that was still very affordable.
|White Beach, Puerto Galera sunset|
I was just back at Puerto Galera—after so many years—with my boyfriend Paulo because of the same reasons I used to have whenever I went there: to relax—what else. The trip was also our last hurrah to enjoy the beach and the sun, before I start my new job and before the rainy season kicks in.
We both had new shades!
I always found it fascinating that beach-goers could wear skin-baring outfits or swimwear—like being in undergarments—and it's all good.
|White Beach, Puerto Galera at day|
Paulo even performed onstage while the house band was in between sets.But Coco Aroma's rooms—unfortunately—are old and badly need renovation. We had to transfer to the next door resort called Bienvenida Beachfront even though we already wired and paid our two day booking fee worth P4,000. The P2,000 per night rate at Coco Aroma was expensive given the current state of the place and room.
The 9-square meters room was like that of a forgotten house that you see on horror films--you wouldn't want to spend a night in it and you'd try to escape the soonest possible. It has a creaky floor; an unusually low ceiling--like on attics--that has patches of unpainted wood that may have been there because the original planks were destroyed already; and a Tetanus-infested electric fan.
Same with the surroundings--it was depressing. Clearly, it needed maintenance. What bothered me the most was the stagnant collection of water that had collected a frustrating amount of trash at the back of the cottage.
Like what I said, we ended up in a cheaper resort--P1,500-per-night-- called Bienvenida Beachfront. The cottage was new, big and fronting the beach. We were really happy we found it.
How to go to Puerto Galera, from Manila—the easiest way:
1. Get on a Batangas Pier bound bus. There are bus stations in Alabang, Cubao and Pasay. Bus fare is about P250-P300.
2. Upon reaching Batangas Pier, choose your destination. You may opt to visit White Beach—where I went. White Beach is known to be the poor-man's Boracay with its more affordable bars and cottages; and nice white, but bigger grain sand than Bora's. Or visit Sabang, La Laguna or Muelle—these places are more for divers. No nice beach fronts to hangout on these three.
3. Choose your bangka (boat). As a common practice, you will choose the bangka that will leave the soonest. But beware, these bangka operators—in the hope of getting more passengers—have a tactic of putting and promising the earliest time of departure, but will adjust that if the bangka is not yet full. This happened to me far too many times already. Different bangkas—Minolo and Father and Sons—same style. The next thing I knew, the promised waiting time of 10 minutes had already been an hour. One-way bangka ride is P150.
Budget for a Puerto Galera get away:
- Transportation- one-way including the bus and bangka ride, P450
- Meals- per meal, P70-150
- Souvenir- for a shirt or sarong, P100- 200; accessories, P20-300