Puerto Galera is one of the most beautiful places in the Philippines that both local and foreign tourists should not miss. There are so many spots to see and enjoy: blinding white beaches, cool waterfall basins, virgin forests, spectacular dive sites and plenty of shopping stops. But what’s really neat is that getting around Puerto Galera is easy. You can swing by 4 to 5 tourist attractions in one day, and still not be too tired to party in the evening.
The main form of transport is the tricycle. It’s a regular motorcycle with a sidecar that can carry three passengers. The minimum fare is only Php7.00 but you can pay extra if you want to have exclusive use to see the different tourist attractions. It’s cool riding the tricycle if you think of it as a cultural experience, but the ride is never comfortable. The sidecar is tiny for an average-sized American and roads are rough. Also, there is usually an open exhaust at the back so that you get to smell the carbon monoxide. That’s not fun at all.
Another common transport is the jeepney. It is an evolution of the American army jeepney, made longer so that it can seat more passengers at the back. Just like the tricycle, you can hire a jeepney for your exclusive use.
For a more comfortable tripping around Puerto Galera, you can ask your hotel or resort if they would rent out their shuttle van or maybe even include that in their hotel package.
Another plus when touring around this historic harbor town, or anywhere in the Philippines, is that Filipinos speak good English. Any of the local tricycle drivers can converse with you in English and could even offer an impromptu description of the tourist spots you are visiting. Some may be a bit shy talking back to you in English, but they definitely understand what you’re saying. Talking to them in English to spite, thinking that they won’t understand you, is a bad idea.
And one more thing, Filipinos are very friendly. You are sure to get a smile from your local driver as you hop in and when you get out. Sure, they may try to get more money from you by negotiating a higher price, but the man’s got to work. And in rural areas like this, this is the only means of livelihood for a majority of the locals.
The popular places to get accommodations are White Beach (you should book here if you’re vacationing with your family), Sabang Beach (book here if you like bars, beer, and partying all night), and Small La Laguna Beach (book here if you want seclusion or are in your honeymoon); while the places most visited by tourists are Tamaraw Falls, Ponderosa Golf and Country Club, Mount Malasimbo, Aniuan Falls and the many clubs and bars around Sabang Beach.
Finally, if you have time to kill and if you’re the adventurous type, try getting around Puerto Galera by foot. This is the best way to experience local culture and meet the friendly locals.