Puerto Galera is one of the oldest tourist destinations in the Philippines. The place is famous for his good and plentyful diving occasions, it`s only a short way from Manila and season is all the year around. In Sabang you will find also nightlife and bargirls. Familys and beachlovers like maybe more to stay at White Beach or in accommodations of the western lying bays (Small Laguna, Big Laguna).
In the last years there was a lot of renovation and creating of new buildings, meanwhile you will find resorts in all possible Bays. The hotels in Sabang, Small and Big Laguna growing higher every year, Aircon-rooms are nowadays standard, bamboo cottages doesn`t exist anymore. Nevertheless the place has still some flair, but it would be latest time, that they doing something against the dirty water from the village and all facilitys. If you walking on low tide through the middle of the village, close to the beachside, you can smell the problem - and you loosing all fun for go swimming!
The mix of the tourist was changing by the years, Sabang is very international, nowadays guests from Corea counting the biggest group and people from Russia have also discovered the place.
From the pier in Batangas small fast outrigger boats going to Sabang, Puerto Galera and White Beach (all 1 - 2 hours, the trip needs around 1 1/2 hours). Since some time they charge you an environment fee of 50 Peso. A car-ferry is going once a day to Botero (some km west of Puerto Galera).
From Manila you can go in 2 1/2 hours +/- (depends on the traffic) by public busses (JAM, Alps) to Batangas-Pier. Caution! Watch your luggage and valuables! There are professionel thieves on the route!
Boat rental: Getting a good price depends on your bargain-quality - it will be helpful, if you show that you will not take the boat, if the price is not favorable for you.
Trips: Long Beach on Medio Island, coralgarden outside, some destruction - but nice for a swim and some colored fish. Don`t bring any valuables, in the late 90`s my daypack been taken twice, when I was snorkeling and the boatman told me 2011, that still can happen to guests!
Halige Beach, nice beach, good for swimming, around 3 o`clock in the afternoon you have shadow on the southern part.
Sabang: At the eastern coastline of the village you can find some cheaper accommodations (Fanrooms starts at 600 Peso). Tina´s ,Reynaldo´s, Sonny`s Inn. At these places you will be also far enough from the noise of the bars and discos in the night. They offer a lot of rooms with a small kitchen, a refrigerator, free WiFi and cableTV. For long term stays you can bargain for a good rate, specially in the off season (June to November). If you swim around the eastern rocks at the sea, you have clean water and quite good underwaterlife for snorkeling.
It is possible to be delivered with big cans of drinkingwater, the shops and the market offering a healthy and favorable selection for cooking yourself.
In Small and Big Laguna regulary the accommodations are more expensive, in Big Laguna is a small sandbeach, further outside the sea you can snorkel for some fish and corals, but have an eye on the boats!
In Big Laguna one can rent also a seakayak.
Puerto Galera itself is famous for the harbour of yachts and on the nice pier you find pleasant bars and restaurants. Inside the village they have good shopping opportunitys (big market, foodshops with imported specialities, a small and very helpful immigration office). And very comfortable, the Allied-Bank, where you can find a working ATM-machine.
Living in Puerto Galera is not so attractive (no nice beaches).
Tina´s, nice to sit close to the sea, proper philippino and international food from locals, good prices.
La Düsseldorf, if you like test some german specialities ("currywurst"), but also philippino and international food, big balcony at the 1. floor, football (soccer) and Formular 1 in the drinkinghall at the 2. floor. I like the Pizza.
Indian Restaurant, belongs to"Big Apple, on the other side,1. floor over the sportsbar, middleprized, good spicy currys.
Hemingway´s Bistrot, international food, german management, american cook, expensive - but very good! In the mainsaison mostly full, imported steaks.
Point Bar, at the path from Sabang to Small Laguna, 180 Grad view to the sea, Batangas and Verde Island, one of my favorite bars in the philippines, many Aussies. Thursday: bbq. The place belongs to the El Gallone Resort.
Captain Gregg, long time established, open 1. floor, direct at the sea, international food, not cheap, 2nd best.
Cheap Restaurants on the street backside (to Puerto Galera) and take a look in the small sideways. New and cheap is the philippine bbq-area at the new pier in the middle of Sabang.
A tip for longterm traveler and Expats is Bertolds Finekost, imported ham, salami, cheese, french-, german bread and brezels - on the walkingpath from the bars to Big Apple.
At White Beach (pic left + upside) one can find plenty of accommodations and a nice large beach. The water gets soon deep, no corals (that`s why not so interesting for me and I can`t give you tips for a hotel).
In the main season many visitors, also on chinese new year and at the philippine school holidays (April).
Some simple and favorable restaurants. Very good Pizza and view at Ciao Italia (expensive) at the western part of White Beach.
Further west you can find more very beautiful beaches (and not yet so busy)(Aninuan and Talipanan).
In Sabang and I think also at the other tourist places they offer some daytrips, including hiking and kayaking (on a river).
The Tamaraw-Waterfalls (on the street to Calapan) you can discover also yourself by a motorbike or jeepney.
It`s a good road, which follows the coastline, climbing the hills up and down. Many times you get awesome views to the outside islands and the sea. 2 pools are filled from the waterfall, if you like swimming there, come before 3 o`clock pm, later the sun can`t shine to the place.
Diving (link) is surely for the most visitors the reason why they come to the area. Sabang/Puerto Galera ist well known for it's good underwaterlife, where you can dive all the year around.
More then 15 diving operators offer courses in plenty of languages and the place is also a good choice for beginners.
Climbing the Mount Halcon (2587m) would be possible with guides from the village of Baco (direction to Calapan).
But the website of the philippinenmountaineer (link) is telling, the climbing is forbidden since January 2010 for 2 years, from the Mayor of Baco. Not so funny are the backgrounds, on the same website people speculating, it happens because their is going on illegal logging - and they not want visitors!
Jeepneys or vans (start at the eastern end of Puerto Galera) to Calapan, from there other vans and also buses go to Roxas. From Roxas carferrys going to Caticlan on Panay. In Roxas one can find also cheap accommodations.
In the backside of Aninuan- and Talipananbeach you can walk on small pathes for looking the forest and creeks. Around a 1/2 hour upside the Aninuan creek you come to a small waterfall with a natural swimmingpool, you can take a guide from the small village - or just follow the path upside the creek. Meanwhile they want 20 Peso entrance fee and locals selling drinks and handicrafts.
At the Talipananbeach you can ask also fisherman for a trip further west, you will find their very nice remote beaches, reachable only by boat! At the western end of the beach you find also the italian Luca resort and restaurant. Again a place for a delicious Pizza (one is good for 2-3 people).
If you rent a motorbike you should habe a valid driver license (international driver license or philippine LTO driver license), and wear you helmet, the police in Puerto Galera is controlling regulary and there are also additional traffic watchers from the community.
The Paradise Zoo with snakes and reptiles does not exist anymore.
A ride with the motorbike to the gulf-range in the mountains is recommondable, very good view to Puerto Galera and White Beach and if it`s not cloudy also to the forests upside in the mountains (the road starts around 1 km east of White Beach).
Waterproved until 10 meter depht!
Manila channel, just in time the best place for snorkeling, many tourists, some of them like hanging on small outrigger boats, which crossing slowly over the reefs. Plenty of small fish, because the people bring regulary bread for feeding.
Monkey Beach and the more western situated stony beaches (from Sabang to Escarceo Point). Good opportunity for a 1/2 day snorkeling (get a lift and a backtrip by a boat). Until 2003 maybe the best place for snorkeling in the philippines, all the area had a closed coral reef in the shallow water - in the years later destroyed by ? typhoon or dynamite fishing! In the deeper water you still find nice rocks covered with corals and plenty of colored fish.