Famed for its dreamy white sand beaches and world class scuba diving sites, Puerto Galera is a quintessential tropical beach hideaway and the most popular attraction on the island of Mindoro. The vast majority of international travelers radiate towards its laidback beach resorts but the surrounding area has a rash of intriguing natural and historic attractions.
Isolated windswept beaches offer picture postcard scenery, while inland adventurous trekking can be enjoyed taking in the foreboding 8,000 feet volcano of Mount Halcon, the monumental Tamaraw waterfalls or the high altitude Tabinay-Talipanan Trail.
Mindoro can still boast a large population of ethnic hill tribes in its jungle-clad interior, the most prominent being the Mangyan. Fiercely protective of their ancient culture and customs, they are expert basket weavers and textile makers and provide a rich cultural experience for visitors and the opportunity to browse unique souvenirs.
Back at the beach, there is no shortage of energetic fun to be had. Diving is the big thing here. It is one of Asia’s truly great diving destinations and boasts amazing marine diversity suitable for all levels.
There are water sports galore too with banana boat rides, jetskiing, snorkelling, kayaking and fishing trips. Many local boatman offer to take tourists out in search of fish and reefs. There is also a small golf course located 2,000 feet above sea level providing breathtaking panoramas.
This is the most popular natural attraction in the area and an idyllic place to spend an afternoon. A series of almost vertical asymmetrical falls of over 400 feet culminate into a frothy natural pool, surrounded by dense forest and abundant birdlife. Swimming in the ice cold water is a wonderfully refreshing experience.
A good rainy day option and makes an interesting side trip away from the beaches. This well-maintained museum displays antiques and relics found in the area, many of which are possessions from Chinese, Malay and Indian traders dating back several hundred years. Highlights are the collection of Ming Dynasty ceramic jars and Thai porcelain. An interesting distraction for lovers of history. (An interesting distraction for lovers of history.
Festivals and feast days
There are dozens of wonderful vibrant fiestas through the year in the Puerto Galera area dedicated to music, food, religion and culture. Colourful religious celebrations include the Immaculate Conception Feast (San Teodoro, Oriental Mindoro, December 8), Feast of Santa Catalina (Mansalay, Mindoro, Oriental November 26)which hosts native sports competitions, music and dance and the Feast of St. John the Baptist, (June 24) held in several towns and villages. Other highlights include the famous Banana Festival (March 18-19) and carnival floats at Biniray Festival (Bulalacao, June 29).
This historic garrison was constructed by the Jesuits during the early Spanish era and is the oldest fort of its kind in the Philippines. It still features its original ramparts complete with cannons and the remains of an old Spanish galleon.
Beaches in Puerto Galera
Escape the wall-to-wall beach huts, bars and dive resorts of Sabang and White Beach and explore the many remote stretches of pristine coast just minutes way from all the action. Suqui Beach is a closely guarded secret by weekending locals and its long stretch of dazzling white sand is virtually desolate during the week. Elsewhere, Banilad Beach in Pinamalayan is a tranquil picnic beauty spot and offers safe swimming for kids or head to offshore Alibatan Island, noted for its turtle population, coral reefs and stunning white sand.