Metro Manila · Mindoro - A Paradise Nearby
Itching to go swimming or attend a beach party? There is no need to hop on a plane because you can have some outdoor fun in Mindoro - an island paradise near the Megacity.
The ferries from the piers near the Megacity go to the municipality of Puerto Galera, where Mindoro’s most popular beaches are located. You will find great diving and snorkeling sites along the coastline and a number of scenic beaches. White Beach and Sabang are some of the hotspots of the area with a growing number of hotels, restaurants, and bars. These places also have an active nightlife.
If you prefer it a bit more quiet and family-friendly you might opt for one of Puerto Galera’s remote beach resorts. Megacitizens.com recommends Coco Beach, an island resort with beautiful bamboo huts, swimming pools, and a private beach. It offers “101 activities” for guests of all ages. You can also go to Buri Resort and Spa. This is a boutique hotel and resort with 12 villas inspired by the traditional bahay kubo. There are three types of villas to choose from: family, garden, and one with a private mini pool. Each villa features unique interior design as well as a balcony overlooking the Puerto Galera harbor, known as one of the most beautiful harbors in the world. The rooms have air-conditioning, fully-stocked mini bars, and 32-inch flat screen LCD TV sets with cable. The place also offers spa services and water sports activities like kayaking and snorkeling.
For a bit of history and trivia, take a tour of Puerto Galera Bay -a favorite harbor for Spanish traders many centuries ago thanks to the mountain range cupping the bay area thereby protecting foreign ships from storms.
Potteries and porcelain dating back to the reign of China's dynasties can be found at the Excavation Museum. Divers found them at shipwrecks in the area. Some of these items were dug from burial grounds.
Those looking for local wares can head to the Mangyan Village. In this part of Mindoro, the Irayas, a Mangyan sub-tribe, show guests how to make their beautiful nito handicrafts.
Whatever you do don't miss going to the Minolo Cross, a symbol of the first Catholic mass that was held in Mindoro. You should also go to the cross with two canyons at Muelle, Poblacion; and the Black Rice of Puerto Galera. Legend has it that the “blackened grains” are charcoaled rice from a burnt warehouse hundreds of years ago.
Most major bus companies in Manila go to Batangas Pier, from where the ferries leave to Mindoro. An alternative is to take a public van from the Starmall Alabang. The trip from Metro Manila to Batangas takes roughly two to three hours, depending on the traffic.
From Batangas Pier, ferries leave at least once an hour for Mindoro. The ferry ride takes about an hour and can be quite shaky. It costs around 300 pesos. When you arrive at Batangas Pier, a lot of people will persistenly offer their 'help' in purchasing a ticket and/or showing you the way in exchange for a tip. Try to ignore them and just follow the crowd to the ticket stalls of the different ferry operators near the entrance. Before purchasing a ticket, ask around which ones are the next ferries to depart. Have a look at our Quick Guide to Safety as well.
When you are about to leave Mindoro again, ask your hotel or resort if they can tell you when the next ferry leaves. The departure times, however, will only be approximate, as many ferries wait until the last seat is taken - sometimes up to an hour. Keep that in mind when you schedule your trip.
Many hotels and resorts also offer prearranged journeys, recommended for people unfamiliar with Manila and the Philippines.
Visit the private website puertogalera.org for further information.