White Beach in Puerto Galera, Mindoro Island in the Philippines is a place that can make your vacation very memorable.
American, European, Korean, Japanese and Chinese tourists can be found not only on weekends but on weekdays as well.
The reason? It is only around 200 kms by bus and boat ride away from the capital, Manila. If you leave your hotel in Makati at around 6 am, by lunchtime you could be splashing in the clear waters of White Beach in Barangay San Isidro, Puerto Galera. The boat docks right on the beach.
Accommodation is not a problem. Once you hit the beach the crew or their representatives will help you find a room for the night at no extra cost. The price is reasonable as well. An air-conditioned room at Dona Trinidad Villas on twin sharing basis costs about $30.
You can take your lunch or dinner at the several restaurants that line the beachfront at White Beach or you can look for the kiosk owned by Shirley del Mundo for al fresco dining. A big fresh squid could be yours for only a dollar a piece. Borgs, her husband, will charcoal-broil it, either medium rare or fully broiled. A big tilapia or bangus fish can also be yours at almost the same price. A bottle of San Miguel beer costs less than a dollar.
Or if you are looking for real pasta or pizza, you can walk about 200 meters away from the beach going to the municipal road to a pizzeria corner owned by an Italian married to a Filipina.
Of course, you will not sleep all your nights. You may walk along the beach and on the western end of the beach front you can sip your beer al fresco at Coco Aroma music bar.
You could hear American songs or local tunes from Turtle Club, a local reggae band managed by the owner. The band also plays in a Makati music lounge during weekdays.
You don’t need your travel guide to accompany you. If your are traveling alone or with a partner, you can take a bus on EDSA going to Batangas City pier. At the city pier you can take an oversized motorized outrigger that seats 100 passengers bound to White Beach, Puerto Galera. Boat fare is about $4.
If you want to go scuba diving you may take a smaller motorized banca that docks at Poblacion pier in Muelle Bay, also in Puerto Galera town.
The bay was declared by Unesco in 1995 as one of the most beautiful bays in the world. But if you want some privacy on a Sunday morning, you can walk about a kilometer away climbing on the foot of big boulders at the end of the beachfront to Ninuan Beach.
The foreshore area there is best for snorkeling and the beach for lazing around for your desired tan.
You may encounter local kids spear fishing with the use of locally made spears and swimming fins from junk boards and rubber slippers. You can also use the beach area as your jumping-off point for your trail hiking or mountain climbing on Mount Malasimbo. There you can view the waterfalls after hiking several kilometers from the beach. It serves as source of household water in the area.
But what makes White Beach in Puerto Galera memorable is that it has a unique sunset where the sun sets between mountain ridges unlike in Manila Bay where the sun sets into the sea or horizon.