Puerto Galera’s White Beach Guide 2012: What Happened?

What Happened?

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I must admit, I gave up on Puerto Galera a long time ago because of its over-commercialization. For some time, it was even branded as “gaylera“.

Also, a lot of people were scared to go because of the lack of safety standards and the practice of overloading boats, which led to the 2009 tragedy of Mon Eugenio’s family.

Only the Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival compelled me to return and revisit White Beach.

A lot of things have changed.

It’s quite evident that the people there learned and accepted the consequences of their past mistakes.

Are we seeing the comeback of Puerto Galera’s White Beach?

Puerto Galera White Beach Series:

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Puerto Galera is best known for the White Beach cove in San Isidro and the red-light district of Sabang Beach, where most of the dive spots are located.

Also, the Puerto Galera Bay in front of Muelle in the Poblacion was named as 2005’s Most Beautiful Bay by the Paris-based The Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club.

Aninuan, beside White Beach, is known to be the quieter side of Puerto Galera.

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This was my last good memory of Puerto Galera, taken in January 1999. Puerto Galera was popular among college students for a sembreak escape, and among yupppies, where they can drink the night away and create bonding memories to last a lifetime.

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The boats to Puerto Galera now strictly follow the maximum capacity.

Also, life vests are not worn inside the boats and are just placed within arm’s reach. One of the reasons why there were a lot of adult casualties when the Commando 6 capsized was that the passengers wore life vests and got trapped inside the sinking boat.

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Mindorinne Oriental was the first building-type resort in White Beach, which started the race to convert the cottages into inns and resorts. There was no master plan. Everything seemed to be hurriedly built, with the structures super close to each other with no breathing space.

The developments were a bit suffocating to see, and Puerto Galera losts its rural, white beach charm.

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Story has it that the decline of Puerto Galera’s White Beach started with the Hiyas of Puerto Galera Pageant, featuring the most beautiful gays on the island. Hence, it was branded “gaylera“.

Gay pageants and shows are now banned on White Beach, with the exception of the fire dancers.

But the most beautiful sheboys remain on the island, in the famous Hiyas Bar, in front of Mindorinne Oriental Beach Resort.

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Massages are now limited to the beach only. Most resort owners don’t allow massages inside the rooms anymore to avoid “happy ending” moments. Some hotels even have designated massage rooms.

The Full Body Massage is only P200. It is a combination of hilot, swedish massage and reflexology. It is controlled by a cooperative, which standardizes the pricing and the training of the masseuse.

Don’t expect too much from the massage, though.

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In the past, there were three or more rows of dining tables that occupied the entire beach.

Now, only one row of tables is allowed to provide more space…

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…for beach activities like beach volleyball.

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Riding a Banana Boat and Kayaking are popular activities on White Beach.

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Last year, Hubert d’Aboville organized the first Malasimbo Music & Arts Festival in their natural amphitheater property in Mt. Malasimbo.

The festival promoted better appreciation of the Mangyan culture and provided a canvas for the visual artworks of Olivia, d’Aboville’s daughter, an award-winning French-Filipina artist.

Both local and foreign tourists are now starting to return to Puerto Galera’s White Beach…

Puerto Galera White Beach Series:

Live an Awesome Life,

Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
Contact me: a
nton@diaz.ph iphone

Full Disclosure: Nothing to disclose. We paid for all our trip expenses. We are not connected in any way with the owners or promoters of the establishments featured in this post.

P.S. What do you think of Puerto Galera’s White Beach? Please share your story in the Comments section.

6 thoughts on “Puerto Galera’s White Beach Guide 2012: What Happened?

  1. ya i dunno how to fix something that has gone so far
    its gotten really bad now
    maybe a natural disaster will destroy all the structures too close to the beach and theyll stop doing that. knock on wood
    and the falls…. dont go to the falls… atleast not the nearby one..

  2. Hi Anton!
    I’ve been to White Beach, Puerto Galera in 2008. It was too overcrowded. It wasn’t even the summer vacation of the students at that time. What I enjoyed was the nightlife. There were 2 neighboring bars, if I’m not mistaken and the Mindoro Sling was a total hit. I’ve heard rumors about a certain nook where gay people “meet up”. I didn’t go there because it’s a long walk, according to my lovey. But overall, I did enjoy my stay and we’ve been planning to go back. What’s stopping us actually are the memories of the big waves, it made us literally sick.

  3. The last time I was in PG is the summer of 2003. Back then, I thought that the entire beach needed to be closed for at least 5 years so it could recover from the damage done by reckless development.
    Aside from the environmental hazards that came with visiting PG, it is not a good vacation destination for me as ALL the restaurants there offer really, really bad service. Any order I made took any restaurant at least an hour to prepare. The servers’ attitude did not help either. They were slow, inattentive and rude.
    Night life was good though. However, why travel to the beach if all you are after is a good night life? You could have that in Metro Manila – minus the dangers of traveling rough waters in unsafe and unregulated “katigs.”
    PG needs a serious overhaul to convince me to visit it again. (Unfortunately, I could say the same for Boracay.)
    The other side of White Beach is really the quiet side of PG. However, the arrogant bodyguards of the Ayalas who own a property there were quite annoying. They had the gall to tell me and my friends not to be noisy (kasi natutulog daw mga amo nila) when we were barely making any. I know that their uber-rich bosses own a lot there but they do not own the entire beach! Sorry for the rant.
    I really do hope that PG’s environment recovers. It was such a beautiful place that at one point in time, I dreamt of owning a bar there so I could be a beach bum forever.

  4. uh-oh, i just booked a hotel for April, and reading all the negative reviews I don’t know if I want to continue with the trip. I’m not much of a traveller, but hopefully, as you said PG is now better.

  5. I have been to PG WB twice. The first time I went was in 2006. I went for 1 night 2 days. 8 days later… I loved it there.
    I went back Oct 2013. What happened? It is now over run with T shirt, henna tattoo shops, massage offers. There was an epidemic of waitresses bumming smokes. The beach was rocky. The sea water was flooding the bars and restaurants like a mini tsunami.
    The night life was so so.
    I’ll give it one more chance.

  6. I was just there in March of this year(2019) and the places to go are NOT White Beach or Sabang Beach. The nicer areas are Talipanan and down the beach from Downtown Puerto Galera. Nothing in the populated areas is worth the hassle or the annoyances. We were avid fans of the businesses and friendly service we got from a few locations in Muelle and White Beach; so much so, that we got a few tattoos at the parlour in front of “Mindorinne Oriental Beach Resort” in White Beach. We frequented a wide assortment of shops and restaurants for the years; we attended the festivals and shopped for trinkets and clothing to bring back stateside. But the last visit we were accosted by the beggars and terrible food, and poor service so often, and then my girlfriend was molested by that lecherous tattoo artist while getting a tattoo on her back(which she refrained from telling me until we’d already left, for fear I’d end up in jail); so we just decided it wasn’t worth the trip anymore. There are plenty of nice places in other ports of call where the locals treat you with respect and goodwill.

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