Puerto Galera

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Puerto Galera
Sabang Bay
Sabang Bay
Map of Oriental Mindoro showing the location of Puerto Galera
Map of Oriental Mindoro showing the location of Puerto Galera
Puerto Galera is located in Philippines
Puerto Galera
Puerto Galera
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 13°30′N 120°57′E / 13.500°N 120.950°E / 13.500; 120.950Coordinates: 13°30′N 120°57′E / 13.500°N 120.950°E / 13.500; 120.950
Country Philippines
Region Mimaropa (Region IV-B)
Province Oriental Mindoro
District 1st District of Oriental Mindoro
Founded December 8, 1972
Barangays 13
 • Mayor Rockey D. Ilagan
 • Total 247.85 km2 (95.70 sq mi)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 32,521
 • Density 130/km2 (340/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 5203
Dialing code +63 (0)43
Income class 1st Class; Partially Urban[4]
Website www.puertogalera.gov.ph

Puerto Galera is the north-western most municipality in the province of Oriental Mindoro, Philippines. It is located at the south-western end of the Isla Verde Passage, about 130 kilometers (81 mi) south of Manila. The municipality had a population of 32,521 in the 2010 Census of Population conducted by the National Statistics Office.[3]


Puerto Galera is politically subdivided into 13 barangays:[4]

  • Aninuán
  • Baclayán
  • Balatero
  • Dulangán
  • Palangán
  • Población
  • Sabang
  • San Antonio
  • San Isidro (or white beach)
  • Santo Niño
  • Sinandigan
  • Tabinay
  • Villaflor


The Puerto Galera population almost doubled in 20 years(+89%) and is probably well over 40,000 today(est.). As a seaside resort, the local population shall be augmented during the tourist season of a large visiting population, including foreign visitors, to fully understand the dynamism of the city. The National Statistical Coordination Board of the Philippines characterizes the municipality of Puerto Galera as First Class based on household income.[4]

Population census of Puerto Galera
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 17,200 —    
1995 19,485 +2.36%
2000 21,925 +2.56%
2007 28,035 +3.45%
2010 32,521 +5.55%
Source: National Statistics Office[3]

The evolution of the demographics of the Sabang and White Beach area is also due to the massive recruitment of hundreds of bar girls (outside of Puerto Galera) and the arrival of hundreds of foreigners, mostly males, residing in the area, marrying Filipinas and producing children.


Occasional Chinese records from as far back as the 10th century suggest frequent trading with the indigenous Mangyan peoples.

Puerto Galera was an important port for these two peoples and a center of trading. In addition to gold, the islands are abundant with jade, corals, shells, birds, rattan, and other forest products abundant on the island, all of which attracted foreign traders. An excavation of an ancient grave-site near Minolo lends proof to this – the antiques unearthed from the graves were traced back to the 10th and 15th centuries, mostly from China, Thailand, and Vietnam[5].

Spaniard sailors discovered Puerto Galera in the early 16th century as a safe haven for their trade ships during heavy squalls and typhoons. Puerto Galera, one of the oldest settlements of the religious missionaries, was founded in 1574 as the original capital of Mindoro. The original town was located at the Lagundian, but due to its susceptibility to moro pirate raids, the Spaniards transfered the town from the Lagundian to the present site, which they named Puerto Galera[6].

Spanish galleons coming from Mexico and Spain used its excellent port or berthing place to take refuge during stormy weather before proceeding to Manila. The mountains nearby also served the Spaniards well as shields from the moro pirates and other marauders. Several guard houses and watch towers were built at the top of the surrounding mountains. Public and Military headquarters, hospitals, warehouses and a convent made of stone were also erected through the efforts of both the church and the state. A wharf, built in Muelle Bay area, was used for dock repairs and as a safe anchorage for all types of sailing vessels.

In 1837, the seat of government was transferred to Calapan due to the suitable agricultural plains and the Spaniards chose to stay there. When Puerto Galera was no longer the seat of the government, the Spanish government officials left the town and only the friars remained, this decision led to the decline of the city.



Their traditional source of income used to be fishing and subsistence agriculture, now the cornerstone of Puerto Galera economy is tourism, entertainment and related industries. Puerto Galera is included in the list of the Club of the Most Beautiful Bays of the World, and is the only bay in the Philippines to be found there.[7]

Diving & Sports[edit]

This coastal town is well known among tourists for its numerous pocket beaches and many snorkeling and Scuba diving spots. Puerto Galera is also one of the main technical diving destinations in Asia. Big La Laguna Beach and Small La Laguna Beach are considered part of Sabang with resorts lining the beaches. Big La Laguna Beach is popular for local swimmers and snorkelers. PADI, CMAS, NAUI, TDI all have many dive centers in the area, offering a comprehensive range of courses from Basic nitrox to advanced trimix, wreck diving, deep sea exploration or plain fun diving. Excellent diving is found less than 5 minutes from Sabang Beach. The diving generally focuses around the areas either side of Escarceo Point. Marine life is highly diverse. 180+ species of nudibranchs are found in the area and many species of fish can be seen. A variety of wrecks have been sunk over the years in addition to the one wreck of an engine of a WWII Japanese patrol boat[8]. Most of the diving shops are run by foreigners with the strong participation of locals.

Another local attraction is the Ponderosa golf located 2,000 feet above sea level near Minolo bay. It is a 9 hole par 3 course perched on the hillside above White Beach which commands spectacular views over Puerto Galera's natural harbor and the Verde Island Passage[9].


Among the beaches in Puerto Galera are Sabang Beach and White Beach, offering not only a broad spectrum of resorts, hotels and hostels, but also an active nightlife with numerous entertaining bars and fine restaurants. Sabang Beach is the main destination for foreign tourists, while White Beach remains popular with local travelers. Entertainment has also attracted a population more interested by sex tourism than water sports and the associated criminality (drugs)[10]. Since 2001, White Beach has seen uncontrolled development. New restaurants and places to stay are rapidly encroaching on the beach itself.

The town proper has relatively few attractions. It has a large central Catholic church and a pier area with some dining outlets. Puerto Galera has a number of business and commercial establishments including supermarkets and smaller retailers. Major banks include Philippine National Bank (PNB) Savings Bank, Rural Bank of Puerto Galera, Maxbank, microfinance banks and pawn shops.[11]


Mindoro province is becoming a leading place in the development of renewable energy in the Philippines. With several large wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal projects under construction, the island hopes to be a net exporter of electricity by 2016.[12][13]

Telecommunication services are provided by Digital Telecommunications (Digitel), Smart Communications, and Globe. Cable and satellite television operators provide access to local and international broadcasts. Broadband Internet services are likewise available through the numerous internet cafes located in all barangays. Community radio stations Beach.fm and Flazh Radio also operate in the municipality


The area was designated a Man and Biosphere Reserve of UNESCO in 1977[14] and has some of the most diverse coral reef diving in Asia. The marine environment has benefited in recent years due to income from tourism. This has seen a huge reduction in the number of fishermen in the area, as they gain higher revenue from tourists. The rapid and unregulated development of the tourist sector, which also led to population and economic growth has generated strains on its ecosystem.

In the summer of 1998, extensive coral bleaching occurred around Medio Island and a large section of a shallow coral reef system (referred to as the "Coral Gardens") died. Since then the coral has regrown with a larger diversity of coral species replacing the prolific table corals. Corals in Puerto Galera were largely unaffected by the 2010 El Niño event[15].

In 2006 two super typhoons damaged the shallow reefs around Escarceo Point. A major section of the faster-growing coral species growing up to a depth of 6 metres (20 ft) was destroyed. This represented about 5% of the coral reef in the area. Extensive signs of new coral recruitment were noted in mid-2008. Acropora species (staghorn and table coral) rapidly recolonized the area so that most of the damaged coral has been replaced with new growth.

Behind the beaches are the huge and generally unexplored mountain ranges of central Mindoro. Mangyan tribes are scattered over the mountain sides - some of the more remote tribes have virtually no contact with the outside world[16]. Of the eight tribes on Mindoro, the Iraya based in the Puerto Galera area are the largest.


White Beach

Puerto Galera is can be easily accessed in 2-3 hours from Manila by car, bus or taxi to Batangas International Port. On passenger terminal 3, ferry tickets to Puerto Galera can be purchased for direct arrival next to the piers to Sabang, Whitebeach, Muelle and Balatero. The sea ride is approx. 01:15 to the north tip of Mindoro island across the Verde Island Passage from Luzon (the main island where Manila is situated). Waters across the Verde Island Passage are very deep and flushed by the current of the South China Sea, resulting in strong marine currents of up to 6 knots, and occasionally choppy waters.



  1. ^ "Official City/Municipal 2013 Election Results". Intramuros, Manila, Philippines: Commission on Elections (COMELEC). 11 September 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "Province: ORIENTAL MINDORO". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c Municipality/City: PUERTO GALERA, National Statistics Coordination Board of the Philippines.
  5. ^ "Puerto Galera History". BADLADZ. 2015-10-15. Retrieved 2017-01-15. 
  6. ^ "History of Puerto Galera | About Asia Divers Resort | El Galleon Beach Resort | PADI CDC 5 Star Career Development Center". www.asiadivers.com. Retrieved 2017-01-15. 
  7. ^ Membership in the France-based Club of the Most Beautiful Bays of the World (Club des Plus Belles Baies du Monde) is obtained by application. The club is chartered to list only one bay per sea in a given country [1]. The club lists the Bay of Puerto Galera (Baie de Puerto Galera) as being located at 13°3' NR, 120°75' in the E China Sea (southern) ("E Mer de Chine (sud)" in French).
  8. ^ Cooney, Sean (2015-11-06). Your Definitive Guide to Scuba Diving in Puerto Galera. BADLADZ Publishing. 
  9. ^ "Ponderosa Golf Club, Puerto Galera". www.puertogaleragolf.com. Retrieved 2017-01-15. 
  10. ^ "Tryst Troppo sex, tourism, relationships (Puerto Galera, The Philippines) - Macquarie University". www.mq.edu.au. Retrieved 2017-01-15. 
  11. ^ http://amazingdudz.blogspot.sg/2012/01/atm-and-banking-in-puerto-galera.html
  12. ^ Evora, Robert. "Mindoro wind farm dwarfs Ilocos plant". Manila Standard. 
  13. ^ "Mindoro Wind Farm Cleared". Manila Standard. 
  14. ^ "Puerto Galera | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization". www.unesco.org. Retrieved 2017-01-15. 
  15. ^ Pet-Soede, Lida (November 2000). "Effects of coral bleaching on the socio-economics of the fishery in Bolinao, Pangasinan, Philippines" (PDF). University of Rhode Island. 
  16. ^ Aquino, Rachel S. (2007). "Five Municipal Case Studies on the Philippine Barangay (Village) Mediation System" (PDF). Mediators Network for Sustainable Peace, Inc., Philippines. 

External links[edit]