Travel can become a nightmare if you are not careful. There are many travel and tour operators who could promise you the world but deliver you nothing but grief. I just want to Puerto Galera this past weekend, and I’m glad to say that my vacation wasn’t a nightmare at all. No, it wasn’t one of the best either because we experienced some unexpected twists and turns.
For example, our tour operator told us that we would go directly from the port in Batangas to the shores of White Beach. However, we were taken to another port where we had to ride a very small vehicle (much smaller than a jeepney) for another 30 to 45 minutes to get to White Beach. On top of that, we had our meals catered, and the operator got the meals wrong: served tanigue sinigang instead of milkfish and scrambled eggs instead of omelette.
When you get to there, there are many barkers, you know, the ones, mostly men, who hold their laminated pictures of the different beach activities. I don’t mind if 10 of them come up to me to ask me if I want do their activities for a certain price. I don’t mind if some of them have different prices. Sometimes, bargaining is fun. However, when almost everyone of them come to you within a span of an hour, you spend your hours conversing with them instead of enjoying the beach, the water, the sun, and the half-naked bodies.
There must be a way to simply your trip to Puerto Galera so that it becomes more enjoyable. So here’s a step-by-step guide on simplifying your trip.
- Decide if you’re going to do it as a tour package or on your own. If you do it as a tour package, there are many tour operators who are willing to set your itinerary for you at an additional price. Of course, the disadvantage to this is that you have to pay extra for their services. Here’s an example, we went to Puerto Galera this past weekend (March 8 and 9, 2014), and the travel package was almost Php 3,000 per person, inclusive of roundtrip bus transportation from Manila to the port, boat and Puerto-Galera-related fees, two days and one night of basic hotel accommodation at White Beach Lodge (quad-sharing with two full-size beds good for four), and three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
If you’re going to do it on your own, it would be a little bit cheaper, depending on the price of the accommodation. Here’s an example:
Php 100 – Taxi to Bus Terminal
Php 340 – Roundtrip Bus Transportation
Php 500 – Roundtrip Boat Transportation
Php 060 – Miscellaneous Puerto Galera Fees
Php 600 – Accommodation (Quad Sharing)
Php 1,600 – TOTAL
The meals are around Php 100 per meal. But if you are really on vacation, I would highly recommend at least Php 150 per meal.
- If you’re going the DO-IT-YOURSELF way, looking for an accommodation would be the next thing you must do. As we all know, the price is much higher during the peak season, which is in the summer (March to July and sometimes August). In March, you can get a quad-sharing (good for four) accommodation with hot water for Php 2,500. If you divide this by four people, that’s roughly Php 600 per person.If you go this way, you have to call around. Here are some of the more known places:
White Beach Hotel
White Beach Resort
White Beach Lodge
Yes, the more popular ones have “White Beach” in the name, for the name of Puerto Galera’s is beach is, yup, you guessed it, “White Beach.” I am hoping to put a list of hotels and accommodation here soon. We stayed at White Beach Lodge, and it was about Php 2,500 per quad-sharing room. I tried calling my contact there, and he told me that they are already booked for the month of March. The Holy Week is coming up in April, and I’m sure the prices are just going to go higher and higher.
- Next, decide what activities you’re going to do. There are many activities to do in Puerto Galera. They give different prices, so try asking around. Here’s what we got for our activity: There were 15 of us, and we paid Php 370 per person for snorkeling and fish feeding. After our activity, we decided we would still want to do more activities, so we decided to go to the underwater cave for an additional Php 200 per person.
TIP: It’s better to negotiate before you go on your activity because the boatmen would want to negotiate with you anymore. According to the woman who got us the Php 370 deal, they could have gotten it for us for an extra Php 100 only. It used to be cheaper to go snorkeling, but according to our vendor, there are new taxes, and even the locals don’t know where these new taxes were going since Puerto Galera hasn’t really improved in terms of economy and environment.
Another surprise we got was stopping over another part of Puerto Galera, a port called Muelle, where we had to be driven to White Beach. We were expecting to arrive at White Beach so that it would be more of a “grand entrance,” but our tour organizer lied to us. I believe it is the Molina Lines that takes you to that port, so if you want to go straight to White Beach, take another one instead. They are the same price.
So planning a trip to White Beach in Puerto Galera? It should be so much simpler, right? When you go with the right people, your best friends or your family, the trip gets better. I’ve been there numerous times, and it has always been different because of the company I was with. I have a lot of photos, and as soon as I edit them, I will post them here. Have a safe and happy trip!