Published: April 2nd 2006March 25th 2006
Extra challenge survival budget getaway! Puerto Galera is your alternative to Boracay fun. It's cheaper & very ideal for groups. A 2-3 hour bus ride from Manila through the South Luzon Expressway & 1-1/2 hr ferry boat from the Batangas pier. In this trip, I went with Val's Medicine friends Block C, my brother, Robby & his bestfriend Chichong.
We left Filinvest 1 Quezon City, our home at 4:30 AM. Papa drove us to the Tritran Bus Station, Kamias at 5AM. We arrived at the Batangas Pier at around 7:30AM in time for the 7:45 AM ferry boat. There are various ferries that could take you to Puerto Galera, but take note that the best would be the one that goes straight to White beach. Other ferries would be going to other ports like, Sabang, Muelle, or Calapan & would require you to take other modes of transport to reach the White Beach.
At around 9:00 AM the extra challenge begins. With no guaranteed reservation, the group's (composed of 11 members) mission is to spend only Php 1,000 for the overnight stay. This should include lodging, food, & transportation fees. We bought our return tickets, already knowing that on
Sunday the boat back would be packed. I still have my night shift at the hotel at 10PM sunday. We separated to look for a place to stay, I went to the right side of the beach, Hr one of Val's med friend, not a first timer to this place went to the left side of the beach. My brother & I tried to search for rooms to accommodate all of us with P2500-3000 budget. (around P230 per person). The rooms we saw ranged at P4000-6000 with kitchenette, air-con & beds sufficient for each person. But it won't fit the budget. Good thing Hr found a place already at P2500 for all of us. Good job!!!
We proceeded to the left side of the beach. Along the way we saw different lodging facilities, the beach front hotels are very rare, its mostly bars & restaurants, I could already imagine partying tonight. Some interesting accommodations is the Mindorin Oriental (Sound like Mandarin Oriental hotel), one of the upscale ones. Moderately priced would be the aircon rooms of VM & White beach which is just beside each other. Along the inner pathways in front of Wow Jetski rentals is the tent
city named Azabalena which could go as cheap as P150 per person if you have your own tent, & P250 if would rent a tent. There's a shared shower & cubicle but it could really be tacky if you're traveling with girls. When this place is packed, you know accommodations are booked already and this could happen on holidays.
Finally our abode, South of the border (no, not south border), the land of huts, very basic lodging, fan rooms, shared beds but yes you have your own toilet & kitchenette but no stove. You could rent the cottage at P2500 & you decide how many persons could fit in it. By the way it has a loft that was quite interesting. There's a cafeteria within the compound where you could buy a big cup of rice at P10 @. There are stalls outside where you could survive on grilled hotdogs at P20@. We had organized groups to take care of lunch,dinner,breakfast, lunch the next day so we could economize at the same time, have variety in our meals.
12:00 noon Lunchtime!!! Annski, Shelbay, and May prepared the ever dependable Filipino cuisine-favorite Adobo (chicken marinated in vinegar with soy
seasoning), which is ideal for trips because it does not spoil easily & the taste gets better the longer the marinating takes place. Yummy! Busog!!! burp!! Excuseme!!!
We had our afternoon nap before we went snorkeling at the Coral garden at around 3:00pm. Hr arranged the boat rental which cost us at P1000 for 8 pax. We could not find Rob & Chichong, they might have wondered off chasing the gal-filled beach mostly pretty Manilenos. Julie, on the other hand, stayed at the hut, she said she's not a water person.
The boat was loaded with rental equipment: goggles & snorkles (P150) & aquasocks P50. They are required to lend you a life vest (for free). As we sailed, we saw the edge of White Beach, we saw a cave as we passed by the Muelle port & other coves. As we plunged into the great sea, we marveled at the coral garden filled with blue-yellow striped fish, we also brought bread to attract them to us (which some of us, having gotten a bit hungry while snorkeling, ate the bread instead of giving it to the fishes). The underwater world here is better than the one I
experienced at Boracay. Batangas, Lian at Laluz was better though, with just a few feet from the shore you would see more. It might be a different case when it comes to diving though.
At around 5:00 PM Val arranged our couple sunset massage at P200@. They say it used to be P150 but people here are getting organized & have pegged the rates as a cartel. As we faced the setting sun we relaxed, letting out the toxins of the urban life. This is the life!!!
At around 7:30 PM Val & I being in-charge of dinner, brought packs of Goldilocks Dinuguan (pork with boiled pigs blood and vinegar) another Filipino-cuisine favorite. I find it very practical at P46@ packed in sachets, I just looked for a stall that could lend me a pot with hot water. I had to charm the Tindera (saleslady) to allow me to lend their pots. She only charged me P25 for the service, The hot pouches was ready to be mixed with rice. Dinner is served!!!
As the night dawned the party people now scattered at the beach fronts. The beach stretch was filled with candlelit tables & chairs. Each
bar & restaurant having there own music, all close together so you could hear hip on one side & trance music on the other. We decided to land on Zanzi Bar. It was not so crowded as the other bars. We were a crowd in itself. Here we enjoyed the famous Mindoro Sling (Tequila with four seasons, orange, pineapple, guave, mango) P300/ pitcher. Funny thing was that their music skips & people got turned off, the gay waitress was humorous enough to turn the dance floor into a game of statue dance which we went along with. It was amazing because since the gay waiters are multi-tasked to perform, they go tumbling & do pole bar spins like gymnasts which really looked wild-animal ibiza. hic!! hic! hic! The night is young and so are we! Val & I ended the night lying at the beach, staring at the infinity of stars as we dozed off, we gained consciousness as mosquitoes buzzed in our ears. We headed back to the hut.
At 9:00 AM we woke up and prepared to go the beach to have our last dip. What a refreshing feeling. While sun-basking, a vendor was selling me
a rainmaker. It's a hollowed bamboo trunk with shells & husks inside that creates rain sound when inverted. I always wanted to buy this when I went to Boracay but I recall it being more expensive. I got it here at P350 which I think is around P800 at Bora. I felt fulfilled having a good souvenir. It caused me to go over the extra challenge budget though. Crap!! But I feel it's worth it. It's a rare commodity because I don’t see it in Manila.
At around 12:00 noon, we had to rush back to the hut already. The boat leaves at 12:45PM It’s sad we had to leave so soon. We had to bid farewell to the group. As we reached MVBrian, the boat was already filled up. We got annoyed & irritated that we lost our seats since we had confirmed tickets. We argued with the boatmen, they made excuses that the ones with open tickets filled the boat. We told them they had to do something. Val made use of her Doctor excuse line. “I'm a Doctor & I have a duty at the hospital I have to get home now!!!”. Good thing there were
eight persons who went down. The four of us went in but Robby, Chichong & I had to sit in front on the unshaded part. I just tried to make good of the situation and applied sun-block as if the trip back was part of the island tour hehehe. Our view enabled us to see the flying fishes beside the boat.
Everything was going as planned when suddenly one of the passengers passed-out. Everybody got alarmed. Val went to the passenger and requested the crowd to give her breathing space, the friends of the passenger said she was vomiting the night before & worst she should not be going out because she has a heart problem. Val monitored the patient until we docked at the port. We thought her job was done as soon as we brought her to the clinic. But there was no doctor there, only a nurse. She had to put an IV (Intravenous line) to stabilize the dehydrated girl. An ambulance came already and rushed the patient to the nearest hospital. Whew what a day!
As we rode the bus the events settled in, the fun, the adventure, the emergency… as we realized that
we were back to civilization back to the urban jungle. Puerto Galera, White beach is a mini paradise within reach a great place to escape.
Can't wait to be back.
Accomodation - P230 @ - P2500/11pax
Bus 2-way - P350 @
Ferry 2-way - P350 @
Total = P930 @ Basic Expenses
Snorkling - P125 @ - P1000/8pax
Clubbing - P125 @ - P900++ 3x P300@pitcher or Mindoro Sling
Food - P450 @ - 10 Goldilocks Dinuguan packs
Massage - P200@
Rainmaker/shop - P350
Total P 1250
Jet skiing - P2000 for 30 mins could be shared to 3 pax 10mins each
Banana boat- P200@
There are more photos below