Diving Puerto Galera

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Puerto Galera, Philippines

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Country: Philippines  Area: Philippines

Water Temp: 26 - 10°C (79 - 50°F)

Visibility: 10 - 30m (33 - 98 ft)

Depth Range: 5 - 50m (16 - 164 ft)

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The name Puerto Galera means “Port of Galleons”, and was used by the Spanish during colonial times as a safe haven for their ships during the typhoon season. Puerto Galera is located on the northern tip of Mindoro Island in the Philippines. 

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It was declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1977. The Philippines contains 10% of the worlds marine bio diversity, and Puerto Galera in particular has some amazing coral reef systems. These all contribute to making the diving at Puerto Galera amongst the best in the Philippines.

The Filipino people are famous for their hospitality, and will make your diving trip to Puerto Galera all the more rewarding with their warm smiles, and relaxed manner.

Marine life, Puerto Galera, Credit

Puerto Galera has some of the best diving in Asia and two dive sites in particular are world famous; “The Canyons” which is an exhilarating rollercoaster drift dive, and “Verde Island”, a marine park reserve which feels like diving in an aquarium.  Most of the dive sites in Puerto Galera are no more than ten minutes away by speedboat, with year round good visibility, warm water, and an abundance of marine life.  Puerto Galera makes an ideal choice for a diving holiday, whether you are a beginner or expert diver and is an excellent place for macro spotting and underwater photography.  It is also an ideal place to learn to dive due to the relatively low cost of diving.

Nudibranch, Credit

Marine Conservation

The Green Fins project which is a UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) initiative to promote environmental awareness and responsibility in the dive community monitors the diving activity in Puerto Galera, requiring the diving there to adhere to a strict code of conduct.

The Verde Island dive site is a marine park reserve and is monitored by marine wardens.

Climate

Being only 11 degrees of the equator, the Philippines has a tropical climate and is warm all year round. There is typhoon season between June and October, although typhoons can occasionally occur in November and December due to El Niño. Summer is in April and May when the temperature can get up to 35c. Water temperature ranges from 26C to 30C in the summer months through to September. Diving is possible all year round.

Nembrotha chamberlaini, Credit

Other Year Round Marine Life 

Frogfish, Sea Snakes, Cleaner shrimp, Nudibranchs, Mimic Octopus, Tuna, Sweetlips, Puffer fish, Mantis shrimp, Lionfish, Pygmy seahorse, Mandarin fish, Snapper, Scorpion fish, Blue spotted ray, Potato cod, Giant clam, Electric clam,  Catfish, Ghost pipefish, Razor fish, Leaf fish, Moray eel, Sand eels, Jacks, Pipe fish, Batfish, Angel fish, Parrot fish, Flying gurnard, Stone fish, trigger fish, Squid, Cowfish, Sting ray, Small crabs, Wrasse, Drummer fish, Crocodile eel, loads of hard and soft coral, and much more...

Information & Photos kindly provided by: Sea Rider Dive Center

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Boat Diving

Due to most of the dive sites in Puerto Galera being a maximum of ten minutes away by speedboat, this provides the opportunity for three dives a day or four with a night dive, and the speedboats generally return to shore after each dive.

There is a range of dive sites to suit all levels of experience, and it is a great place for underwater photography.

Corals, Credit

The marine life in Puerto Galera is abundant, no matter which dive site you dive, and there are plenty of smaller wrecks in the area covered in coral.  There is one wreck available for wreck penetration, which always has large groups of batfish, and some lionfish on it, as well as the occasional frogfish.

The coral reef systems in Puerto Galera are teeming with reef fish, nudibranchs, moray eels, octopus, sea snakes, and many other marine animals.

The dive sites range in depth from 15 metres to 45 metres, although most are in the 15 metre to 25 metre range.

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How To Get There

The main international airport in the Philippines is the “Ninoy Aquino International Airport”, also known as NAIA, and is located in the capital Manila.  From there it is a two hour journey by road, and then a one hour trip on a ferry to Puerto Galera.  Private transport can be arranged from the airport to Puerto Galera utilising hired minivans and private boats, or the much cheaper option of public transport is readily available.  There is a third alternative which is a combined bus and ferry package called Sikat.

Diver, Credit

For most visitors, the Philippines provide a three week tourist visa on arrival, but if required visa extensions can be done in Puerto Galera.

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Where To Eat & Drink

Puerto Galera has a wide variety of restaurants serving international and Filipino cuisine to suit all tastes, prices range from very cheap to reasonably priced.  A good tip is to find the places where the locals eat and try the Filipino food, the food will be tasty and cheap.

Beer, Credit

 There are a number of bars in Puerto Galera serving international beer as well as the local beer.  Cocktails and spirits are also readily available in all the bars.

 There is one nightclub in Puerto Galera which is free to get into during weekdays, but charges a small entry fee at the weekend.  Puerto Galera also has a few bars where live music is played, and there are a number of karaoke bars too.   

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Family Activities and diving for Children.

Families are very welcome in Puerto Galera and are well catered for with regards to the diving.  Dive sites range from beginner to expert, so no matter what the experience level of your family there is always something for everyone.  Most of the accommodation is family oriented, so it is easy to find somewhere to stay for family groups in Puerto Galera.

Snorkeling, Credit

Other Activities

Island hopping tours are available, and generally include a barbecue lunch.  There is a waterfall not far from Puerto Galera with barbecue facilities  available, and a water buffalo ride to the site from the parking area.  This makes a very pleasant day for the last day before flying.  Groups can hire a jeepney for the day to go to the waterfall, and the tour organizer will also arrange the food and cook it for you as well.

A gun range and golf course are also available in Puerto Galera.       

Kayaking, Credit

White beach is an excellent beach not far from Puerto Galera, with lots of bars and diners.  In the peak season fire dancers perform on the beach at night, and the bigger bars have cabaret acts which you can watch while sitting on the beach.

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Tips

The beach vendors generally sell items with huge mark-ups on them, so it is important to haggle well if buying something from them.  A polite “No thanks” is usually enough if you are not  interested in buying from them.

Seaside, Credit

Motorbikes can be hired in Puerto Galera, but the roads around the area are not very good. Jeepneys, which is the Philippines main form of local public transport are available from the town centre, and are an inexpensive way to get to other places near Puerto Galera. Motorized tricycles are also available for hire if you want to venture out of the town, and the driver will have knowledge of the local area.

There  is one atm machine in Puerto Galera, however this is sometimes offline. The best place to get Philippine pesos is at the airport on arrival.

There is one medical centre in Puerto Galera, and the nearest hospitals are in Calapan and Batangas city. Batangas city also has a recompression chamber.

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