Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Galera Galore

My summer finally took off last weekend...with my friends and I hitting the beach and hieing off to the next best thing to Boracay...Puerto Galera.

I was super thrilled of course...since i've been craving to hit the beach for over a month now...and finally...FINALLY...it has come true. Weeeeeeee! Haha! Anyway, this blog would be a tip-giving-slash-reminder-to-myself sort of thing. So to those of you planning to go on vaca to Galera...read on.

First and foremeost, try to leave Manila as early as possible. If you can leave the house @ 5AM and be en route to Batangas Port by 6AM, then great. The earlier the better given that it's summertime and everyone's heading off to some beach during the weekend so expect heavy traffic especially if you get past the 7AM mark.

Getting there early will not just make your trip much more worthit but it will also ensure you a spot at the Batangas Port's Parking Area, for those who will be bringing their cars to the Port. Since my friends and I arrived late (around 11AM), the parking lot was already full so we had no choice but to park in one of the numerous parking lots surrounding the port. Of course your mind will be more at ease if you park at the Port's official parking area, but the parking lot where we left our car was not bad at all, considering that nothing bitchy happened to the car. The lot we parked on charged us P300 bucks for an overnight stay (from 11AM until around 4PM the next day), while the port's rates was P200 for the first 24 hours and P10 bucks every hour thereafter (according to one port personnel we asked).

The port was, of course, chaotic when we got there (as I expected), but once you get pass buying your ticket (which costs P170 bucks one-way going to White Beach) and paying the Terminal Fee (P10 bucks), it would be a bit smooth-sailing from then on.

The boat we rode going to White Beach was M/B Brian, and they have trips leaving Batangas Port as early as 5AM (latest is 4:30PM). Trips are hourly so there's no need to worry about getting stuck at the port for a long period of time. Here's a tip: if you're going to Galera on a weekend, buy your return trip ticket as early as possible (once you hit the sands of Galera if you can) since they tend to get filled-up fast on weekends.

So...we finally reached Galera @1PM...the boat trip was around an hour and a half considering that it was already late in the morning when we left the port (i believe if you catch an earlier trip, it would take you less time to reach Galera coz there's lesser waves). If you easily get seasick, take Bonamine 30 minutes before the boat leaves to make sure you won't make a mess inside the jam-packed boat. We got there and checked-in at Mindorinne Oriental (contact # 0917 857 8425) where I made our reservations 2 weeks earlier. They charged us P4,500 for a room that fits 5 pax, and gave us 2 extra beds (1 double and 1 single, aside from the 1 double bed already included with the room), extra pillows and blankets. The place is great and amongst the resorts lining up White Beach, it's one of the nicest. It's right in front of the beach so you get a view of the sand and blue waters from their hallway-slash-veranda, where you can just sit and relax, like what I did when I woke up super early Sunday morning.

If you're planning a trip to Galera, try as much as possible to reserve for accommodations beforehand since a lot of hawkers there will try to persuade you to take the place that they're recommending, which, most of the time, will be an apartment-type place located a bit further from the beachfront. Also, rates there tend to increase for "chance passengers" (you know what i mean) since they're playing on the fact that you actually don't have a place to stay and are willing to pay a higher price for a not-so-OK accommodation rather than sleep on the beach.

The food available at Galera is mostly inihaw...inihaw na liempo, bar-b-q, pusit, fish...everything inihaw you'll find there. The prices are affordable. During our stay there, I averaged around P100 per meal...not bad huh? But you have to take note though that i'm not much of a heavy-eater...nonetheless, the food prices are affordable. And I suggest that you try and get ahead of the crowd and eat earlier or a bit later since the restos there tend to be packed with bakasyonistas and you'll either have to wait forever in order to get seated OR wait forever for your food to get cooked and served OR both! So try not to join in with the crowd when it comes to lunch and dinner time.

Galera's night life is obviously alive and kicking especially on weekends. The weekend we were there, Bamboo had a concert, though we didn't bother to watch knowing that it'd be full of people. The restos there turn to bars at night where you can order alcholic drinks to one's delight. Since you're already at Galera, try the Mindoro Sling, which is a pink concoction of some sorts. It's P300 bucks a pitcher...great to share with friends while partying the night away.

Of course Galera won't be complete without its numerous tiangges on the side where you can buy pasalubong stuff for your loved ones. Henna tattoo, real tattoo, glitter tattoo, and body piercing kiosks are abundant as well just in case you're bored and want to try something new (mental note to self: belly button piercing is P1,000 bucks). Locals also offer to massage your aching body right on the beach...and some offer to braid your hair for a price.

Just in case you want to change sceneries and go snorkeling, bangka rides are available to another part of the island where you can go snorkeling and be delighted with fishes of different colors and sizes. Just remember to bring along some bread for the fishes to enjoy this experience much more.

Hmmm...so what else did I forget? I'm pretty sure I still have some things to say but this is getting a bit too long already so i'll stop now before I end up writing an entire novel of "100 Things To Do At Puerto Galera." Just another mental note though: don't ride M/B Gorogonilla on your way back to Batangas Pier...since they will be making another stop to a part of the island and get more passengers there (parang ginawang bus or jeep yung bangka...hehehe!).
So...I guess that's all...'til next month's blog...ta-ta!

Originally posted on 25 April 2006 @ http://cdsaint.blogs.friendster.com/cnd/