I always thought of Puerto Galera as an overrated tourist destination. But goddamn, one afternoon as I was playing in the water, I got shook. I caught myself falling in love with this place.
At first I dismissed Puerto Galera as another Boracay — beautiful but teeming with foreigners and party people. While that may be true on some other part of Oriental Mindoro(*ehem White Beach*), this 10-hectare beach resort we called home for three days was all family-friendly paradise, complete with cherubic, Danish children in all their blonde perfection. It took major strength to resist the urge to pinch one.
And I know what you’re thinking. I didn’t even go out of the resort, so why am I so convinced that Puerto Galera is the bomb? Well, there’s the Malasimbo Music & Arts Festival. Also, if you follow Filipino “influencers” on Instagram, you’ll also get to know more about the place. I’m not one to be satisfied with just pictures, though, so I can’t wait to go back.
Kidding aside, you’ll get why Puerto Galera is such a favored holiday destination. The gateway to the rest of Oriental Mindoro is rich in marine life, and the laidback atmosphere is infectious. The biggest draw, however, is its accessibility. Puerto Galera is roughly 3-4 hours away from Manila. Sure, you need to take a bus ride and then board a ferry, and while that may seem daunting, the experience was actually quite stress-free, inexpensive, and straightforward. I love Batangas and its wide selection of beaches and outdoor recreation, but dang, Oriental Mindoro is just next door! Board that ferry! Do it!
Now ordinarily I wouldn’t stay at a snazzy resort. I like bargains and I like traveling affordably. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something great and admirable. But thank God for Deal Grocer, where we snatched a sweet 3-day/2-night deal at Coco Beach Island Resort! Good for six people, the package would’ve cost us more than 20 grand but we only paid 15k, and in turn, roughly 2,500+ each. Yaaaaaas. Unfortunately, two of my friends weren’t able to join us because of unfortunate circumstances. Still, it was a memorable trip.
Our 3-day stay mostly revolved around eating, sleeping, sunbathing, and enjoying the warm waters of the sea. The staff’s resort boasts that there’s about a hundred and one things to do in the resort, from soap making to island hopping, but I was perfectly content with just lazing around, ya know. I do love the fact that the resort offers a free tour to another island every morning.There are also numerous snorkeling areas scattered along the bay. Just give one of the boatmen a holler and they’ll take you to the best spots.
In fact, you don’t need to go far from the beach resort for a proper snorkeling session. Don’t be like me, who got scared and a bit seasick. There’s a platform at the end of this thing (lol I forgot what it’s called) and below is a snorkeling spot you shouldn’t miss.
We stayed at one of Coco Beach’s heritage rooms– a loft-style accommodation that can fit up to six people comfortably. In the room were three queen-sized beds, one day bed for that extra guest, a spacious room, and a living area. Outside were racks where we can hang out wet clothes and towels. Our stay was made extra comfortable by our service family. Our service mama and papa always made sure we had everything we need, from soaps (that the resort makes!) to free coffee and homemade macaroons. It sure is lovely to find something nice for us waiting us in the room after a day of doing whatever we pleased.
Before Puerto Galera, I’ve never made any effort to go snorkeling. Aside from the fact that I cannot swim to save my life, I am also a bit scared of marine life. But hey, there’s always a first time for everything, and I’ve got to say that I really enjoy snorkeling (with a lifevest lol). I’m now looking forward to learn how to swim properly so I can actually enjoy the sea the next time I go to a popular snorkeling/diving area.
I had the time of my life in Puerto Galera. Despite the rather expensive menu in one of the resort’s restaurants, the staff were really friendly and the whole ambiance right on with my tropical island aesthetic. I’m not sure if I would pay the full price, however, because of my whole “travel affordably” thing going on, but if there’s a package available in Deal Grocer again, I sure as hell would snap up the opportunity to return.