Puerto Galera is one of the most popular destinations especially by local Metro Manila tourists because of its proximity and accessibility to Manila on top of budget-friendly rates. A bus ride from the Jam bus terminal at Buendia cor. Taft. Ave to the Batangas Pier costs Php146 and could take about 3 to 5 hours depending on traffic and season. Boat tickets to White Beach, Sabang or Talipanan is another Php140 for 2 hours (May 2006 rates).
The accomodations on the other hand will vary depending on two things — the season (off peak and on peak) and the day of the week.
To help you get the best off your money’s worth, here are some tips to bear in mind when hunting for cottages, rooms and other accomodations at Puerto Galera:
- Peak season starts at March to end of May but lately, more tourists are coming to Puerto Galera that this season extends as early as February to end of June. (June being a favorite month corporate outings.)
- Favorite spots are White Beach for the party goers and Sabang Beach for the serious water aficionados. There are lesser known beaches around like Talipanan but you will need a land trip to get there (usually costs Php100 for a special tricycle ride).
- Room rates will double and even triple during these peak season (oftentimes even higher). Imagine a one bedroom (good for 2-3 people) accomodation 50 meters off of the beach can be had for Php500 per night during the rainy season but could get as high as Php3,500 per night on summer.
- If you have the money to spend, get your reservations early on. Two to 3 weeks notice is good enough but they will ask you for 50% down payment so you better get your schedules pegged.
- If you are coming in on a Friday or a Saturday on peak season, they will force you to pay two straight days for that week-end. Their worry is that they won’t get bookings if they leave Sundays free so a two-night deal will solve that.
- Locals will offer their own houses for groups of 4 and up and they usually costs around Php4,000 a night and up. This is good if you’re in a large group as you could save a bit more.
- Backpackers usually bring their own tents to camp at the beach although some resort owners would charge a “cleaning and maintenance” fee of Php100 per night.
If you are not really particular with the sleeping quarters and on a budget, I suggest you try Talipanan Beach instead. It’s quite there and the rooms are still affordable even if White Beach is already full to the brim. Usual rates at Talipanan is around Php1,500 for a decent room or cottage. There’s only one boat trip to Batangas to and from there during the day but the place fairly accessible by land (jeep or tricycle) from White Beach. A tricycle ride for 4 or 6 costs Php100 and takes around 15 minutes only.
At Talipanan, most the cottages and rooms are situated in from of the beach so you get a piece of the white sand and lots fresh cool air in the morning. It’s quite there as well and works best if you don’t like the too crowdy and noisy White Beach. You can always contract a tricycle driver to pick you up anytime if you want some round of drinks and disco at White Beach and the money you saved from the rooms can be well spent on a banana boat ride and a snorkelling tour around the islands.
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