Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My Epic Guide to Puerto Galera


I made a post about Puerto Galera back in 2007 which generated a lot of interest, perhaps because I also included detailed costings for a one night trip there. I'm just being funny with the title okay? My friend was bugging me to update my post when I got back last Sunday evening from a weekend Puerto Galera getaway.

Jay, Miguel and I needed a weekend getaway. We've all been so busy since the year started and I thought a trip to the beach would do all of us good. I was bent on going even it was just going to be the three of us, but my dear friend, Chelle, and her 7-year old son, Josh, joined us. It was fun! We ended up sleeping a lot though haha!

Getting to Puerto Galera by Car


Batangas Pier is just about 103 kilometers back and forth from where we live (the same amount when we go to Tagaytay), so the drive was pretty easy. Just go through SLEX Southbound. Here's the toll fees:


Just go straight to the end of SLEX, exit at 50B and not at 50 (see photo below), but if you make a mistake don't worry because there's a path back to SLEX.


Anyway, at the end of SLEX you'll chance upon the Calamba exit where you'll have to pay PhP22.


And then surprise! You're actually inside the Star Tollway already. A few meters more and you'll chance upon the toll booth where you'll be given a card.


You are to exit at Batangas. Pay PhP60. After exiting just go straight to the other side of the rotonda. You'll see the Honda and Toyota dealers along the way too. Go up the flyover and then turn left, going straight will bring you straight to the water (hehehe). Follow the nice road, notice though that there's quite a number of humps.


Parking Your Car


If you want to park at the open space then enter Gate 1 of the Port. Turn left and you'll go through Gate 2 to get to the open parking space. But if you want to park at the covered parking, turn left "to the Poblacion" road just before you reach Gate 1. Go straight and then turn right where the jeepneys go. That's where you'll see the building that has the sign "Province of Batangas", that's the covered parking.


Make sure to get the slip of paper from the guard/staff. It's your "car ticket" and you need to present this when you leave. Exit the covered parking and walk to the pier.

Getting a Ticket to White Beach 

Do not follow what the touts tell you. They are soooo makulit! We ended up taking FSL and we weren't happy about it because the one hour ride took 3 hours with a stopover at Sabang (GRRRRRR!). So DO NOT TAKE Father & Sons Line. The roundtrip ticket cost PhP450. Make sure you have yourself listed in the manifesto for the ride back to Batangas a few hours before you leave (or better do it when you get there).

Best to sit on the right side of the ship captain because they usually close the curtains on the left side midway due to strong waves. Dress to get wet because the ride to and from Galera is like an hour on the Rio Grande at Enchanted Kingdom.

BTW, the fast craft is only available during peak season, so if you get dizzy easily don't go to Puerto Galera before then because you have no choice on what type of boat to get.

Getting a Room

Room rental cost at least PhP1,000 during off peak season and you don't really need to make a reservation. You'll get offers when you get off the boat. We stayed at White Beach Lodge and Restaurant which is on the right side of White Beach and a bit away from all the noise. We got a standard room with 3 beds, aircon and cable TV. It cost us PhP2,000 (approx. PhP400/head). Some of the rooms beside us even had a gas range and grill where you can cook your own meal.

Food! Burp.


Speaking of food. Food at Puerto Galera is pretty much standard and inexpensive. The menu in each restaurant is pretty much the same - liempo, kebab, hotdogs, spaghetti, breaded pork/chicken, seafood, sinigang etc. The most expensive restos are the ones in the middle, so best to eat either on the left or right side. You can safely budget PhP150-250 per meal depending on your appetite (we're matakaw so we budgeted PhP250 each). You can easily buy merienda from the vendors, like corn, green mango, taho etc., approximately PhP20.

What You Can Do at Puerto Galera

There's a lot you can do in Puerto Galera. You can ask your resort or any vendor about island tours, but we were there basically for the following: eat, sleep, get a massage and swim. You can get a massage by the seashore (they don't allow it in rooms). Just sit or walk around and someone will likely offer you a massage. I always get one when I go to Puerto Galera since it's just PhP200. The massage is pretty standard, but you can choose to have a full body massage or just your back/arms or legs. My friend got a twin massage for the price of one,  hati daw sila sa bayad niya haha. Just tell the manang whether you want it hard or not.


You can also try the banana boat.


Or get a henna tattoo.


Or get your hair braided.


At night there's fire dancers, belly dancers and other sorts of entertainment provided by local entertainers (mostly cross dressers). In my younger years my friends would stay up all night and drink as much Mindoro Sling as we could. It's their special drink and best drank when you are in Puerto Galera.


Oh and don't forget to buy some pasalubong. Friendship/thread bracelets are cheaper to buy at stores (3 for PhP10) than from vendors and I think you can get a bundle for just PhP15 (Sweetie did). There's also lots of necklaces and bracelets in different materials (stone, hematite, pearls, coconut, wood, shells etc.). And the usual magnets, keychains, sandals, slippers, tshirts and shorts.


Anyway, what are you waiting for? Just gather three of your friends and enjoy a weekend getaway at Puerto Galera. Here's my cost guide:

Gas - approx. PhP500
Toll fees - PhP144 (from Nichols) + PhP22 + 60 times 2 = PhP452
Parking - PhP10/hour. We paid PhP290.
Boat ticket - PhP450 two-way
Room rental - PhP300 per head for a group of 4 if you get a PhP1,200 room with 2 beds
Food - PhP150-250 per meal depending on your appetite
Massage - PhP200
Hair braid - PhP200
Tshirt - PhP90-140
Sandos - PhP75 and up
Bracelets - PhP3 and up

So for a group of 4 and just basic stuff (transpo, room, food) it's safe to say that it'll cost you PhP1,500 each. Not bad for a weekend getaway.

*Rates though may be higher during peak season.

White Beach Lodge and Restaurant
c/o Carmelita Magbuhos 0927-3163602
or Estela Candava 0920-5545067
ecandaval19@yahoo.com
(Aling Lydia just brought me there from the boat so I never met the manager. At the resort, just look for Jane).