I just got back from a Labor Day weekend holiday in Puerto Galera, joining Giles and his colleagues on their summer outing. While I’ve been to the beach in recent years, I realized I haven’t actually swam in one since summer of 2012! It’s been so long I was so excited about going even if it was just “a poor man’s Boracay,” as the guy behind me on the boat told his friend. I even reviewed Deepa’s article on Galera on our Intranet (yes, we used to be office mates!), a story which gave a fitting view of what to expect in the coastal town.
The landscape has changed so much for me—I can’t remember the last time I was there but it must have been more than 5 years. The beachfront seemed wider and the establishments are now fixed in one row on an elevated and paved sidewalk. It has also organized its nighttime entertainment, with drag shows on outdoor stages and scheduled fire dances near the shoreline. The White Beach section used to feel rustic and chill, but now, it’s definitely more commercial and almost slated to turn into a mini Boracay. ‘Silog meals, for example, have skyrocketed to about P120 per order (Let’s just say that for the taste, I’d price it at P45) and the storied Mindoro sling is now P350, with the ‘tower’ size going for P750.
We stayed at Tamaraw Beach Resort, which is in Aninuan, a quiet area separated from White Beach by a cliff and boulders on the shorefront and by a steep staircase and a highway at the back. It’s the perfect place for swimming and lounging , but the food choices are limited unless you brought your own. (We had a wonderful, wonderful Manang who cooked a delicious feast; and Giles’ colleagues grilled perfect inihaw. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, too!)
Our resort had a pool, which was where I washed off the saltwater from my morning and afternoon swims, and where I watched the glorious Philippine sunset. (I didn’t see pools over at White Beach or at least, none that was beachfront.) Globe’s signal is also strong in the area. (3G was horrendous on White Beach my smartphone was practically useless, while Smart users even had LTE!)
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I was so glad to learn that Nel was also in Galera and so I met up with him and his friend Mark on White Beach on my second night in the island.
They took me to the cruising spot over at the far end called ‘Jurassic’ (not sure why), with the boulders and cave that serve as um, cover. We went there mainly to make fun of ourselves (and with Nel turning on his iPhone’s flashlight function, lol) and to stargaze—it was pitch black which made the night sky view even more majestic. At one point, I so had to pee, and so I did—right there on the shore. (The other choice, which was by the bush, was out of the question.) As a steady stream of alcohol byproduct gushed from my system down to the lolling waves, I saw a shooting star zip its way to my left. Together with my view of the moonlit-covered sea crests, I have to say that it was the best outdoor peeing experience of my life; I urge every guy to try it at least once in their lifetime!
And so were enjoying the quiet solitude strolling toward the cave, when Mark suddenly made us turn back and leave. (We attempted to settle on a spot a few feet away, but later, he, and this time, even Nel, urged everyone to go back to the busy section of White Beach.) According to Mark, there’s a portal just past the first boulder of the cruising spot and that there were a lot of presence (he wouldn’t say what they were) traipsing about, and one even managed to follow Nel for a few minutes. I was so afraid to go back to my resort on my own (I recalled to them how Pam, as a joke, once made a spirit follow me back to my apartment, and it did) and they were so gracious to walk me and climb the arduously steep staircase to my place.
So if you’re into that kind of adventure, you know where to go—just make sure you don’t step on the many boys that dot the dark beach along the way, haha.
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How to get to Puerto Galera:
Take the bus going to Batangas Pier. Jam Liner has stations in Buendia (P167) and Cubao.
Boats dock on different beaches, including on Tamaraw and White Beach. Our trip with Galerian Line took us close to two hours, but the Minolo Line (Golden Osprey boat) cut that in half on my return trip. Have a fan ready as it gets so hot especially when they close off the windows.
A roundtrip ticket costs P530 (including fees) and P275 for one way, plus a P10 fee.