Puerto Galera

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Municipality of Puerto Galera
Landmarks
[[Image:{{{landmarkfile}}}|250px]]
Seal
Location
Ph locator oriental mindoro puerto galera.png
Government
Region MIMARO (Region IV-B)
Province Oriental Mindoro
Mayor Teo Atienza (2nd Term)
Barangays 14
Physical characteristics
Area 247.90 km²
Population
Total (2000) 21,925
Density 88/km²


Puerto Galera is a 3rd class municipality in the province of Oriental Mindoro, Philippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 21,925 people in 4,424 households. It is the northwesternmost municipality in Oriental Mindoro.

Puerto Galera is only three and a half hours away from Manila first by bus to the port at Batangas City and then by boat. Tourists can also take the tourist service called the Sikat, from the City State Tower Hotel in Manila from the Batangas City port to Puerto Galera or Sabang Beach, Mindoro.

Contents

Tourism

This coastal town is well known among tourists for its numerous pocket beaches and many snorkeling and diving spots. The area was designated a Man and Biosphere Reserve of UNESCO in 1973 and has some of the most diverse coral reef diving in Asia. The marine environment has benefited in recent years from the influx of tourist dollars. This has seen a huge reduction in the number of fishermen in the area, as they gain higher revenue from tourists.

Among the famous beaches in Puerto Galera are Sabang Beach and White Beach. Both have extensive beaches with first-class or economy-class accommodations and an active night life with their numerous beach-side bars and restaurants. Sabang beach is the main destination for foreign tourists, while White Beach remains popular with local travelers. Since 2001 White beach has seen uncontrolled development. New restaurants and places to stay are rapidly encroaching on the beach itself and little remains of the once charming beach. Puerto Galera town is a pleasant but sleepy Philippine town with few attractions. It has a large central catholic church and a Pier area, with a selection of bistros and cafes.

Behind the beaches are the huge and generally unexplored mountain ranges of central Mindoro. A particular local attraction is the nine hole golf course perched on the hillside above White Beach which commands spectacular views over Puerto Galera's natural harbor and the Verde Island Passage. Mangyan tribes are scattered over the mountains sides - some of the more remote tribes have no contact with the outside world. Of the eight tribes on Mindoro, the Iraya are the largest. They are based in the Puerto Galera area.

Puerto Galera has become the top diving destination in the Philippines. Excellent diving is found less than 5 minutes from the Sabang area. The diving generally focuses around the areas either side of Escarceo Point which is famous for its current rips. Strong currents are a feature of the diving in Puerto Galera and it is good advice to employ the services of an experienced local guide or dive centre. There are upwards of thirty dive sites all within a 5-10 minute banca ride from Sabang Beach. Marine life is highly diverse. 180+ species of nudibranches are found in the area and most species of fish can be seen A variety of wrecks have been sunk over the years in addition to the one genuine wreck of an engine of a WWII Japanese patrol boat.

Puerto Galera is also one of the main [technical diving]destinations in Asia. Technical Diving International - [TDI] has many dive centers in the area, offering the full range of TDI courses from Basic [nitrox] to advanced [trimix].

Environment

In the summer of 1998 there was some extensive coral bleachin around Medio Island and a large section of shallow reef ('Coral Gardens') was virtually destroyed. Recent evidence has shown it have almost recovered with a larger diversity of coral species, replacing the prolific table corals.

In 2006 two large super-typhoons damaged the shallow areas around Escarceo Point. Many of the faster growing coral species were destroyed to a depth of 6m. This represents about 5% of the coral reef in the area.

Over the past ten years large numbers of crown-of-thorns (COTs) starfish have migrated to Puerto Galera from adjacent areas. While most of the reef is unaffected, a few sites show COTs density in the thousands/per hectare. A program run by the local dive shop association has removed tens of thousands of COTs since 2005. Whether this has any real impact on the long term health of the coral reef remains to be seen. Control is made by injecting the COTs with a solution of swimming pool PH-control chemicals. The COTs are killed while the chemical remains safe for the reef.

A study by the University of the Philippines in the 1980s, found that the Batangas, Puerto Galera area has the highest diversity of marine species in the world. It forms the centre of the golden triangle - The Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia - renowned for their coral and fish species.

A 1917 nautical chart of Puerto Galera's harbor

Barangays

Puerto Galera is politically subdivided into 13 barangays.

  • Aninuan
  • Balatero
  • Dulangan
  • Palangan
  • Sabang
  • San Antonio
  • San Isidro
  • Santo Niño
  • Sinandigan
  • Tabinay
  • Villaflor
  • Poblacion
  • Baclayan

Picture Gallery

External links

{{{2}}} travel guide from Wikitravel

Original Source

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