Puerto Galera is Lahaina - Key West - Cabo San Lucas - Cozumel 30 years ago, before the chain businesses moved in and wiped out paradise.
F. Washington, CDNN
Puerto Galera is a very special place that tempts even the most jaded travel writers to use the tired old P-word. But it's not really the swaying palms, dazzling white sand beaches, crystal clear water, party 'till dawn nightlife and the rest of the obligatory tropical resort props that give Puerto Galera its paradisiacal charm.
What sets Puerto Galera apart from predictable and not-so-charming tourist traps is what it doesn't have: chain businesses, cruise ships, franchises, strip malls, fast food joints, traffic jams, Planet Hollywood, Walmart and the flotsam of over-commercialized, over-developed, chain hotel tourism that long ago ruined nearly everything that was unique, and uniquely charming about such overcrowded mass tourist destinations as Cozumel, the Caymans, Cabo San Lucas, the Bahamas, Key West and Maui.
There is another thing Puerto Galera does not have: Inflated prices aimed at parting tourists from their hard-earned cash. For as little as US $20 per night, Puerto Galera's premier dive op, Action Divers, will set you up with your own private seaside cottage complete with cooking facilities where you can watch the "banca" outriggers bring in your dinner as the sun sets on another perfect day in Puerto Galera. If you're rich and famous (or just want to pretend you are for a couple of weeks) you can stay in a private villa at Out of the Blue or Portofino for a fraction of what you would have to pay to be pampered in such sumptuous comfort anywhere else.
Inevitably, the day will come when international tourism developers finally persuade Puerto Galerians to approve plans to build an international airport, the engine that drives overdevelopment and inflated prices. In the meantime, Puerto Galera remains unique, unspoiled and arguably the world's best dive travel value thanks, in part, to a pleasant two-hour drive and a thoroughly enjoyable one-hour ferry boat trip.
Puerto Galera delights nature lovers with a wealth of outdoor activities. Of course, the main action takes place underwater on the rich, pristine, candy-color reefs that have been officially designated a marine sanctuary by the United Nations.
In addition to spectacular scuba diving and snorkeling, adventurous travelers can enjoy trekking to jungle waterfalls and Mangyan tribal settlements, kayaking deep into jungle rivers, volcano excursions, sailing, wind-surfing, deep sea fishing and mountain or motor biking through some of the most beautiful scenery in Asia.
After the sun goes down, Sabang Beach lights up as the action shifts to scores of lively restaurants, bars, nightclubs and discos that fill with an exotic mix of locals and travelers from around the world. It's always a great party and it goes until dawn!
Situated on the beautiful island of Mindoro about 110 kilometers south of Manila, Puerto Galera is far enough away to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city crowds, yet within easy traveling distance from Manila International Airport.
Figure about two hours from Manila to the port of Batangas and then another hour by ferry to Puerto Galera. If you book in advance with Action Divers, Team Action will arrange everything and greet you at the airport to ensure your trip gets off to 100% hassle-free start! more info...
Back in the old days, you could have any dive op you wanted as long as it was Action Divers, which pioneered world-class scuba diving in the Philippines.
Now there are scores of Action clones but the original is still the best, thanks mainly to Team Action, Puerto Galera's friendliest and most professional dive team.