The dive boat leaves the secluded cove of Encenada beach where I am staying and sails off to Sabang. We pass through a beautiful sea of blue with lush green mountains filled with coconut tress on the back drop. It is a nice sunny day and I am so glad to be out of the city. Today is a great day to dive!
Sabang in Puerto Galera is world famous for its dive sites and hardcore diving community. I was surprised to see the numerous dive resorts that have mushroomed over the years. From afar the town looks busy and is bustling with tourists. Our boat cruises slowly to a floating restaurant and picks up two more divers. They hop on board, then we travel to the the Alma Jane wreck dive site along Small Laguna Beach.
The Alma Jane wreck is a cargo vessel that was purposely sunk to create an artificial reef in 2003. I have done quite a number of more challenging wrecks, this one is easy with plenty of sunlight and lots of space to maneuver. Depth is 30 meters and there are a lot of big fishes like snappers and bat-fishes to see.
I was diving with five Germans and was the only Filipina on board. Jan our dive master from Dolphin Bay resort was giving the briefing in Deutsch. I could not understand so he had to repeat the instructions for me. I told the group “ After all you are the tourists here and this is my country!” Then one of them jokingly replied “No! We live in Puerto Galera and you are from Manila. So you are the tourist here!” I just had to laugh at the new locals 🙂
Sitting on the edge of the boat in our complete Scuba gear, we all did a synchronized back-flip into the ocean. Splash!!! I could feel the adrenaline rush as I was deflating to go deep down with the others. Cancer is home. Happiness in being back in the water!
How to get to Puerto Galera Mindoro:
Bus from Manila to Batangas: Take the JAM liner or Star Express bus at the corner of Taft and Buendia. Take the bus that goes directly to the Batangas Pier. Buses passing thru CALABARZON or Star Toll to Batangas are much quicker and cut travel time to one and a half to two hours only. I paid P166.00 or approximately less than 3 Euros.
If you want it hassle free take the tourist bus Sikat Ferry for P700 ( 11 euros)
Batangas Pier to Puerto Galera Mindoro: At Batangas Pier you can purchase a ferry ticket to Puerto Galera. Cost is P220. The port terminal fee is P30 and there is an environmental fee of P50. The total cost is P300 or around 5 Euros. You need to choose your port of destination before buying a ticket.
Which port to go to in Puerto Galera???
White Beach – is the inexpensive version of Boracay because of its accessibility. The locals like to come here to enjoy the white sands and to party. During peak season the beach can get a bit crowded…it is alive and busy.
Sabang – is most popular for diving. The diving resorts are side by side each other. Diving is very cheap and there are over 40 dive sites to choose from. The place is also notorious for the nightlife and exotic girlie bars.
Muelle – is an enchanting harbor filled with yachts and sail boats. The wharf has a row of nice gourmet restaurants and most of the resorts are secluded and private. This is where I I like to stay because it is away from the tourists and peddlers of White beach.
Tips on the boat/ ferry :
- It is better to take the boat in the morning. The last ferry leaves at 4:00 pm or sometimes 5:00 pm. I do suggest taking a bigger boat when traveling late in the afternoons because the crossing could get rough.
- Wrap all your electronics in plastic and wear your bathing suit already. If the waves are strong you could get drenched.
- Sit in the middle of the boat to avoid the splashes of the waves.
- Also never put your bag on the floor because it could get wet.
- Threaten to report to the coast guards if they overload the banca.
Getting around the island: Tricycle, motor bike or jeepney
What to eat: The freshest and yummiest seafood! From tuna, blue marlin, crabs, prawns, and lobsters!!! Lots of cheap barbecue stalls in White Beach.The port of Muelle has a nice row of restaurants.
What to drink : Mindoro Sling – Tanduay rhum, mango juice, orange juice, and grenadine
Where to stay: There are so many resorts to choose from: Dive resorts
Where I stayed : Encenada beach has a nice and quiet private cove. Rooms are very basic but the resort has that old rustic tropical feel. The food is good. Anyway divers like me skimp on the room but splurge on the dive.