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Puerto Galera

By Tim Kehres
Created: March 24, 2024

Puerto Galera, often referred to as the Pearl of Mindoro, is a popular tropical island getaway easy to reach from Metro Manila and southern Luzon. Famous for its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, vibrant marine life, affordable accommodation, and entertainment, it has been one of the most popular regional tourist destinations for decades. The area is home to impressive waterfalls, picturesque mountain terrain and has an abundance of wildlife, both under the water and on land.

The traditional economy of the area was fishing and agriculture however these have been replaced by tourism. Tourism has seen huge growth over the past few decades risking the preservation of its delicate ecological environment. Unless serious action is taken it may eventually take a Boracay style intervention to turn things around. This growth however has resulted in a wide range of options for travelers from accommodations, dining, recreation and nightlife.


Puerto Galera is home to many beautiful and pristine beaches including White Beach, Sabang Beach, Animuan Beach and Talipanan Beach.  Other beaches in the area offer secluded getaways accessible by private or chartered boat.  White Beach is the most popular in the area and home to a wide variety of lodging, dining and water sport options.  Its name is the same as the more famous counterpart in Boracay and like that beach, this is where most of Puerto Galera’s tourism action happens.  Fun activities for all ages, including a vibrant nightlife, can be found here.

Aninuan Beach, located next to White Beach, is much quieter and more relaxed.   It is a a great place to stay if you are looking for a relatively secluded and quiet stay while also being close to the action.  Several coves away from White Beach is Sabang Beach, also home to a large rage of lodging and dining options.  Many visitors who come for diving and snorkeling tend to stay in this area since most of the dive resorts and facilities are in this area.  Sabang also has a vibrant nightlife, including a few more adult oriented.

Food and Lodging

The massive buildup of tourism over the past few decades brought with it an increased variety and choices in accommodations and dining. Most resorts and restaurants can be found either on White Beach or in Sabang, but beautiful, secluded and attractive options exist in almost every cove in the area. Everything from basic accommodations through 5-star resorts are here. Restaurants offer everything from local cuisine to a wide variety of International choices. Bars and other drinking and small food establishments are common throughout the area. Fruits and other fresh food can be bought from the many local markets. As can be expected in an area like this, seafood is plentiful and fresh.


In addition to the activities during the day, Puerto Galera comes alive once the sun goes down. Bars, food, fire dancers and more line the beach packed with tourists. Many of the bars feature live bands and music catering to different age groups so it should be easy to find some that cater to your personal tastes. The weekends are usually even more active due to the influx of visitors from nearby Metro Manila.

Diving and Snorkeling

Puerto Galera is one of the top diving destinations in the Philippines and in the region.  Over 40 established dive sites together with many pocket beaches provide numerous diving and snorkeling opportunities, from beginner through expert levels.   The area was designated a Man and Biosphere reserve of UNESCO in 1973 and described by a 2007 Smithsonian Institute study as the center of the center of the world”s marine biodiversity citing the high concentration of marine species.

Most dive sites are found within 5 – 10 minutes by boat from Sabang Beach mostly around either side of Escarceo Point.  In addition to many species of fish, more than 180 species of nudibranches can be found in the area.  The area is well known for its opportunities for marco-photography, fish, and invertebrates but there are many larger subjects to photograph including corals, gorgonians, barrel sponges and whip corals.  Several wrecks are in the area.

Diving is possible all year round, with the best time being March through October.  Good snorkelng is found along most of the coast from the eastern end of Sabang Beach to Escarceo Point.

Dive Centers

Are you new to diving or snorkeling and want to see what it’s all about?   Are you experienced but want to get advanced certifications?   The many professional dive centers offer courses ranging from beginners open water to advanced and technical diving.  Most also rent out equipment at affordable prices, including snorkeling gear.   These same dive centers have professional divers with knowledge of the area who can help guide you to the type of experience you are looking for, regardless of level.   Most operate boats with dive masters to guide you through the area.

Diving trips to the Verde Island Passage at the heart of the Coral Triangle are arranged here.  Many threatened species of sea turtles including hawksbills, olive ridleys, and green turtles, humphead wrasses, giant groupers and giant clams are found in this area.

If you are staying in Puerto Galera and have never tried snorkeling or diving this is one of the best places to try it all out.  Snorkeling only involves a mask and snorkel for breathing and most anyone can do this.   Basic snorkeling gear can be rented through various dive centers for around P200.  Even if you cannot swim, you can go out with a life preserver and still enjoy observing the marine life up close and personal.   It should be on everyone’s bucket list!  Be sure to check for current rental rates, best places to go and how to get there.


There are always a lot of fun things to do in Puerto Galera.  Even if you are not coming solely for the diving and snorkeling which the area is famous for, there are more than enough other activities to keep one busy.   And if an active lifestyle is not what you are looking for, relaxing, sunbathing and swimming on any of the many beautiful beaches is always an option.

In addition to the many resorts, restaurants and entertainment venues on White Beach, this is where most of the water sports can be found.  Island hopping is also quite popular and can be arranged through many of the hotels and tour operators.  If you want to explore on your own, motorcycle or scooter rentals are available in Sabang and White Beach.  The local Mangyan Village is where many of the original inhabitants of Mindoro still live.  They are highly skilled in basket weaving and sell their wonderful crafts here.  Tours to this village can be arranged locally or through the Puerto Galera tourism office.

Water Sports

There’s no shortage of active water sports to choose from.   Most are found on White Beach and include parasailing, wind surfing, sailing, paddleboat rides, speedboat rides, banana boats, kayaking and more.   Jet-skis can also be rented here.   Whatever type of recreational water sports you like chances are than it can be found here.

Island Hopping

One of the best ways to explore the many beautiful islands and beaches of Puerto Galera is by either directly renting a boat (with guide) or by joining a tour.  Some of the many places to see include:
  • San Antonio Island – also known as Medio Island, is located on the eastern side of Puerto Galera.  The island is known for its wide white sand beach (locally known as Long Beach) and underwater cave.  Beach umbrellas and chairs are available for rent and food and drink can be found at one of the several restaurants on the island.  The coral reefs around the island are easy to reach and home to a variety of marine life.
  • Bayanan Beach – one of the most beautiful beaches in the area.   The calm blue waters provide a great place to relax on the sand, swimming and snorkeling.
  • Coral Gardens – one of the most popular snorkeling and dive spots in Puerto Galera.  Known for its vibrant corals and sponges, is home to many types of colorful fish, sea turtles and even an occasional reef shark.
  • Boquete / Sandbar Island / Haligi Beach – Sandbar Island is a small strip of land connecting Boquete Island to the mainland of Mindoro.  Haligi Beach on Boquete Island is another quiet beach where one can enjoy the calm blue waters.   Also said to be good for snorkeling.
  • Underwater Cave – part of San Antonio island, the cave is located at a depth of about 25 meters and features chambers home to a variety of marine life including lobsters and octopuses.


The natural wonders of the area do not end with the beaches or under the water.  Lush green forests, waterfalls and mountains are also here to explore.  Mt. Malasimbo is a popular hiking destination with stunning views of the area.  Hikers can explore the trails through the forest leading to the summit.  Several waterfalls are also be found in the area.  Check with your hotel or tour operator for information on hiking or any of the nearby destinations below.
  • Tamaraw Falls – this twin waterfall is located a short drive from town and is said to have the cleanest water in the province.  Two man-made swimming poos are at the base so bring your swimming gear.  Nipa huts are available and small stores sell refreshments and beverages and snacks.  Entrance and usage fees exist so check with your tour guide for current rates.
  • Tukuran Falls – located in the forest, visitors hike through the jungle to get there.  The falls are surrounded by large trees and boulders and are a great spot for swimming and cooling off.  It is reported that the trek there is an adventure in itself involving a boat, a carabao ride and six river crossings.
  • Talipanan Falls – also located in a mountain forest, these falls are surrounded by lush vegetation and high cliffs.   Great for swimming and relaxation.
  • Aninuan Falls – located at the foot of Mt. Malasimbo, these secluded falls require some hiking through the forest and along the river to get to.  Stunning views of the surrounding forest and the falls await visitors.  Care should be taken around slippery boulders and steep rock formations.

How to Get There

Puerto Galera is located about 130 km south of Manila and transportation to and back is reasonably quick and simple. After about a three hour bus or car ride to Batangas and then a 90-minute ferry one can easily go from the bustle of Manila to a tropical island paradise.

Manila to Batangas Pier

Several bus companies operate daily trips between Manila and Batangas Pier, including Ceres Liner, JAM Liner and Alps the Bus. You can catch the bus at several points around Metro Manila including the Buendia LRT station, Cubao terminal, and PITX terminal in Paranaque. Some operators may be able to pick you up from your hotel – check with your local hotel to see if this is an option for you. We’ve seen references to busses operating out of Pasig (MegaMall) but have not been able to confirm. Travel time is between two and three hours depending on the traffic conditions and routes taken.

Several online ticketing companies can also be used to book in advance. A few of these are listed below.

Ferry to Puerto Galera

Several ferry companies operate many daily trips from Batangas to Puerto Galera. The trip takes between one and two hours depending the type of ferry. There are two piers or ports in Puerto Galera. Muelle Port is said to be a bit closer to Sabang beach while Balarero is a bit closer to White Beach. You can get a tricycle from either port to take you to your resort, regardless of what beach it is on though. Prices vary depending on the type of ferry and the season.

A few of the ferry reservation sites and ferry operators are listed below.

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