Puerto Galera has been dubbed as one of the most frequented spots not only every summer but all throughout the year. On my first post about the island (CLICK HERE), I have highlighted some of the less-exposed, yet equally beautiful places to be while in this paradise.
Now this blog post is all about the places and activities you can take advantage of while working on a tight budget. Definitely, these tips are not to compromise the whole Puerto Galera experience.
Truly, White Beach is the center of all the happenings on the island. You will also notice how fine the sand is and how vast the seashore on this side of the island compared to the other beaches of Puerto Galera. The downside though is that these things attract majority of the tourists, making the place crowded and highly commercialized. Since there is a high demand, the price of goods is, well…expensive.
Instead of staying in hotels located at White Beach and deal with the stress of big crowds, loud music, and high rates, why not stay in the more preserved areas instead? Dalaruan port serves as one of the best bets. Accommodation here begins at as low as 1,700 Php including welcome drinks and daily breakfast! I stayed at Bamboo Beach and it is such a scenic place to stay. Also, this is a good jump-off point to your island hopping and scuba diving escapades since from here, it takes just a short time to reach the Verde Island Passage (Laguna Point, Shipwreck Point, The Hill, and the widely renown Coral Gardens).
You can also try checking travelbook.ph for accommodations in Puerto Galera. The thing with this booking site is that they have discounts that you can take advantage of and have the best price guarantee. You do not even need a credit card because they have an option to pay at the hotel. Literally, all you would have to do is reserve.
With all the hustle and bustle of the hectic crowd in White Beach, restaurants are definitely a requirement! The prices are–as expected–high making your 100 Php lose its value. Usually, to eat a decent meal, you would have to spend 150 Php – 250 Php and that is just our typical inihaw with rice. Sad, isn’t it?
We have discovered Marginors Dine and Snack at the far east of White Beach, near the Verde Divers. The food here is unbelievably economical but the quality, amount of serving, and taste remains uncompromised. We only paid 90 php for Inihaw na Liempo with rice! They also have complimentary ice and water for all their customers unlike the other restaurants that you would have to purchase bottled water separately from the ice. Argh!
If you happen to visit Tamaraw Falls, I suggest you visit AJ Lomi House for those Instagram-worthy sights to behold (for more info CLICK HERE). Aside from the good view, good food starts at 50 Php! Yes. You read that right!
Tourists tend to go to the huge shopping area on the west-end of White Beach. When we went there, a huge wave of people were out and about that the shop attendants had a hard time focusing on customers. Luckily, we walked and discovered the other side of White Beach. Just right behind Marginors Dine and Snack is a shopping area that offers their goods way cheaper. If you are looking for the typical pasalubong of Puerto Galera shirts, keychains, and what-not, I strongly recommend the shop of Ate Anabelle and Kuya Christian just a few steps next to Marginors. Their prices are not just low but generous. Items that usually sell at 3 for 100 on the west side sells here for 5 for 100. It is that good! She and her husband helped us a lot during our stay. It all started with an innocent purchase but when we got to know them, they oriented us on how to make the most of out of our visit without spending too much! I can never thank you enough! If you have problems looking for their stall, you can contact them at (0915) 290-8569.
Habal-habal or riding on a motorcycle is the best way to go around the island on long distances. Aside from it’s fast, it also is the cheapest. However, you can go cheaper! You can contact Kuya Kristoffer at (0919) 228-6009 or (0995) 385-2280 and inquire how much for his service. He offers Puerto Galera Tours for as low as 1000 per person. Usual Inland Tours (Ponderosa, Tamaraw Falls, etc.) costs 3000/pax. His Tukuran Falls Tour is also affordable at 1500 Php compared to the 4000 Php offered by most. I can definitely vouch for Kuya Kristoffer since we personally met him and availed his services. He is such a helpful and honest man!
- Snorkelling and Island Hopping
This is the most commonly tried island activity in Puerto Galera aside from Banana Boat. If you are to take advantage of the offers at White Beach, this will cost around 2000 Php or more per boat/5-8 pax. Common destinations would be Haligi Beach, Sandbar Island, Bayanan Island, and Coral Garden. For Coral Garden, should you wish to snorkel, there is an additional 200 Php/pax charge. Honestly speaking, Haligi Beach and Bayanan Island are only beauty because of their shores. If you would like to take scenic shore scenes, then this is the tour for you. However, if you really want a sight to see, you can altogether skip this and go straight to Coral Garden.
Our contact is Kuya Edward (0977) 685-1076. Our first stop was at Sandbar Beach for the mandatory beach pictures. We went straight to Coral Garden where we snorkled for FREE with gears and fish food for the marine life to gobble on. We held on to the ridges of the boat and were tugged across the vast garden. No words can ever explain the paradise we witnessed! We also saw the San Antonio Island Underwater Cave, and definitely witnessed the massive Giant Clams! Now, if you will be asking how much we spent, it was just 1,000 Php for 2 pax inclusive of everything!
White Beach is waaay too crowded. Sabang Beach on the other hand is a party hole especially at night. If you wish to just bum around the beach for free without the hassle of having to deal with a mob of crazy travelers, I have the best tip for you. Have you ever heard of Pebbles Beach or Aplayang Munti? Now this place is known for massive crowds but why am I referring you to this place? There is a Grotto that can be seen from the side of the road. This Grotto is facing the sea and it serves as the division between Aplayang Munti and the residential beach front. The challenge is to enter the beach from the Grotto down to the east side of the beach. Once you are there, you will witness how serene the beach really is and why it was called “Virgin Beach” before it was Aplayang Munti/Pebbles Beach (read all about how I met a very kind family and their dog here).
Now, whoever would have thought that Puerto Galera can be one of your budget travels? As they say, no journey is expensive. You just have to work your way through the backdoors. Let me know if you tried these tips and comment below!