The Untamed Charm of Puerto Galera’s White Beach

If one would search for the most popular beach destinations nearest Manila, chances are, Puerto Galera’s White beach would probably be on top of the list. It is a popular spot for a quick weekend getaway among the local tourists, and foreigners seem to feel comfortable and really love it there. Every year, thousands of visitors flock here and it is most crowded during summer ( March to May.)

One never runs out of something to do at White Beach. The beach offers unlimited fun all day all night. There is plenty of watersports activities like parasailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, island hopping, banana boat riding, kayaking among others which tourists can enjoy during the day.

The crystal clear waters at White Beach is perfect for swimming. And when one gets tired of all these activities, he/she can enjoy a relaxing massage by the beach from a local masseuse for a minimal fee, or simply lounge at the beach and watch fellow visitors having fun.

Watching other tourists is one of the things that I love doing in Puerto Galera. Coming from all walks of life, the local tourists of White Beach makes a very interesting crowd, one reason why I don’t mind sharing Puerto Galera with a horde of other tourists. The crowd can be a source of entertainment ( grins.)

But whenever I wanted to stay away from the crowd, I walk all the way to the other side leading to the beaches of Aninuan and Talipanan where it is more peaceful and quiet.

When the night falls, the beach is turned into a party scene. This is a “must-see.”

Some of the bars attract and entertain customers with performances by gay impersonators (lady boys) and they can be really crazy and funny.

During my most recent visit to Puerto Galera, one of the performances showcased a gay performer who hung himself upside down on steel bars using his legs then skillfully jumped into a nearby coconut tree like a monkey while lipsynching and dancing at the same time. Their finale was a performance of a group of lady boys who were dressed in mermaid costumes. They lipsynched and danced to the tune of “Kailan Kaya” a tagalog song used as a theme song for the popular Filipino mermaid telenovela “Marina.” Towards the end of the song, they crawled from the stage down to the beach and ended the performance by swimming into the waters. It was insane! I can just imagine how they were all laughing when they were still conceptualizing the idea.

Most of the revelers gather at Mikko’s bar for dancing and drinking, but if one preferred the less crowded more “matured and cultured” quieter bars, there are plenty of others to choose from.

Yes, Puerto Galera sure is crowded and can get really crazy most of the times but these could very well be the qualities(besides its natural attractions and the friendly locals, of course ) that make Puerto Galera unique and different from the other beaches in the Philippines. It is a place where one can let go of all his/her worries and inhibitions (if he/she chose to) and have pure fun. These, I believe, are the inexplicable charms of Puerto Galera, the very reasons why most first time visitors always bow to come back for more as they leave the island.

And oh, have I mentioned that I’ve been going to Puerto Galera for at least once or twice every year since my first visit in 2004? Yeah! I hope to see you there, one day.

How to get there:

1. Take a bus bound to Batangas City Pier. The bus ride from Manila to the Batangas Pier costs about Php150-PHP175 (about $3-4), and it’s about a 2-3 hour ride. The earliest bus usually leaves at 4AM and every hour from then on

Public Buses plying Manila and the Port of Batangas:

BLTB Bus Lines: EDSA, Pasay. Tel # 833-5508, 833-5501, 913-1525
Jam Transit: Taft Ave., Pasay. & New York St., Cubao. Tel. # 541-4409, 924-7712
Tritran Transit: Edsa, Quezon City. Tel # 925-1759, 925-1758
Philtranco Bus Lines, Cubao, Q.C. Tel # 851-8079

2. From the Pier, ride a banca(outrigger boat) to White Beach. One way ticket cost Php 250 and Php450 for a round trip ticket. Note: There are times specially during the off peak season that the banca would stop by at Muelle. Boats to White Beach Puerto Galera leaves daily every hour from 6:30 a.m. to 3:00 PM.

Accommodation:

Plenty! From beachside resorts to family owned cottages. During the off-peak season, you can just go there and choose when you arrived at White Beach. Locals will approach you and offer to help you find a decent accommodation for no extra fee. They get their commission from the owners. If you don’t mind staying about a five minute walk from the beach, the cottage will offer a more authentic experience and will save you a considerable amount of money. Be forewarned, however, that luxuries such as hot showers and air conditioning may not b available in the cheaper accommodations.

One family-owned cottage I could recommend is Lenly’s White and Green House. I always stay here whenever I go to Puerto Galera. The rooms are clean, well-maintained, spacious and air-conditioned. It has become my home at Puerto Galera. The owners are very nice and whenever I go there, they always make me feel as if I were a family returning from the city. A room with two beds and an extra mattress could accommodate up to 8 persons and could cost Php800-Php1000 during the off peak season. This could go as high as Php3500 to Php4,000 during the peak season though.

Contact Mr. Erwin Caringal: CP# 09194803725 and CP# 09993068046.

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