Friday, January 7, 2011

Sunkissed in Puerto Galera

{April 2008} Just a week after my trip from Boracay, a few friends invited me to go with them for a 3-day getaway. It wasn’t completely planned. So it wasn’t something out of impulse either. And since Puerto Galera was only 1-2 hours away by boat from the Batangas Pier (add 2-3 more hours via bus from Manila to the pier), we decided to hit the beach with just some money in tow. We brought with us about PHP4,000 each. Besides the fact that I was already burnt by Boracay’s golden rays, I still obliged to this beach adventure.


My boyfriend and two of our friends met up at the JAM Transit station in Kamuning at around 1 am. We bought our tickets at the terminal, which cost us PHP150 each. After settling in the bus, we went for a quick CR break. Word of advice, breathe in as much clean air before using the facilities! It was a grueling and stinking experience!

We left the terminal by 2 am, and was able to arrive at the Batangas port around 5 am. Unfortunate for us backpackers, we only got a boat ride after 1 ½ hours, due to a delay in their transportation services. But the day was still young, and we were still very early.

By the time 6:30 am clocked in, an available yellow-painted boat arrived. By 8 am, we were already checked-in at the South of the Border. This inn was about 2-3 minutes away from the shores of the famous white beach. We then went straight to this location since my guy friend already stayed here on his previous vacation. A funny thing came up though. When we were reading the ‘house’ rules posted on our room’s door, I noticed a certain phrase that stated “Chick-Out!” Imagine that! Sorry for the bad grammar. But it was just hilarious!

We all went out for a swim after eating our adobo brunch. And then went sunbathing from 9 am to 2 pm. It was a bit stupid on my part though since my laziness got the best of me. As I did not take the time to put on some sunblock lotion. The aftermath was horrendous!

Anyway, as the day progressed, we decided to catch some waves again and watch the sunset. And by 4 pm, we were up again for some afternoon snacks. We walked a few blocks to this small store, and ordered some pancit canton and a bottle of Sprite. We looked for a place afterwards to check where we could eat dinner that night. Lucky for us, we found a place where we could also order Galera's famous Mindoro Sling.

I think we had about 2 pitchers of this drink at Mikko's Bar. And the next thing that we encountered was the beach starting to fill-up with mats-and-mats of people. The mats or ‘banig’ was so successful in making the sands of Puerto Galera disappear, that it cut our drinking session short by 10 pm. It became too crowded already.

After calling it a night, we headed back to our place. Now, as for room arrangements, ours had a second floor. You can access this through a wooden ladder. And since it was a cheap accommodation, my boyfriend and I stayed on the 2nd floor (that had a small window and a wall fan), only having each a pillow and a soft mattress. Yes, just a mattress that we had to place on the floor. But it was still good enough to sleep on. Plus, we had our very own patio (with chairs and a table), toilet, sink, and shower.


Since our friends were still sleeping, Rubel and I decided to get some early breakfast. We didn’t want to disturb the two so we went ahead. We ate at Peter’s Inn Bar & Restaurant and ordered some American and European Breakfast. We chose a table that was just outside the restaurant, so that we'd be close enough to hear the waves.

After breakfast, Rubel and I went for a stroll. We went on an adventurous walk by climbing the big rocks that were located on the left side of the beach-stretch. We stayed in the middle area and took lots of photos there. As 9 am came, we headed back to our room to check if our friends were already up. Sadly, they weren’t. So we decided to wake them up.

After lunch, we all went for a stroll. We then found a booth manned by these C2 people. Yes, C2 the Tea drink and they were offering a promo then. From 12 to 2 pm, we stayed at their booth to take some photos, and filled-up forms to join the promo. Lucky for us, we were able to avail of theirs. By buying two big and two small bottles of C2 drinks (of any flavor), we were able to get a free-snorkeling service good enough for 4 people. Imagine that!

If you were to use the snorkeling services in Galera, a person would have to pay about PHP250 each. C2’s representative -- Sir Jay offered us a very good deal by selling us C2 products that would only cost us less than PHP250 (all in and giving us a savings of PHP750). And by this, we were able to get us some free snorkeling! And when 2 pm came, the boat arrived to pick us up. We were part of the first batch of 8 people to go snorkeling that afternoon. It was about an hour’s worth of FREE everything! Free boat service, free gears, and a free underwater experience! It was really a good deal, and we came back to shore very high and happy.

After our C2 experience, we looked for a place for merienda (afternoon snack), and ended up eating some very awful and dry burgers at Buena Lynn’s. We didn’t get to finish our burgers so we decided to head back to the beach, where we took photos of the guys doing an improvised fight scene.

As the sun was slowly setting, and as we were getting all hungry again, we decided to eat at a nearby restaurant. We also went out for drinks right after dinner and decided to crash at COCORAMA. We ordered the same cocktail in the pitcher, only that the restaurant called it their own Cocorama sling. It was still the same price and taste, only that they charged a service fee. Bummer. 


As our last day came, we woke ourselves up real early to eat some breakfast, and to swim one last time before heading back to Manila. And as the guys grew tired of their wacky antics, we went around the beach to look for souvenirs, and then went back to our inn. We did some quick packing, and then asked around for an available boat service that would take us back to the pier. Come 12 noon, we started to board the boat. We were all brought back to reality when we reached Manila by 6 pm. 

Anyhow, there will be many other budget-friendly stories to share. For now, you can check-out my TRAVEL EXPENSE SHEET! I was able to keep a few more pesos from the original budget! So kudos to budget biyahera and friends!

Explore & Be Free!

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