Best Resort in Puerto Galera
In my article on the top 15 tourist hotspots to visit in Southern Luzon 2018 back in March, I mentioned Puerto Galera as one of the best places to visit. Located at the north-westernmost part of Oriental Mindoro, Puerto Galera is only about 130 kilometers south of Manila. No need to book flights and stuff around with airports. No need to worry about flight cancellations and all the other hassles normally associated with flying. You can simply jump on a bus, take a short boat ride and voila – you are in one of the best places in the Philippines!
Depending on which resort you stay at, and the views offered, you will get to see why 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 on that list. This coastal town is blessed with numerous pocket beaches and dozens of snorkeling/scuba diving spots. The amount of eye candy on offer is mind-blowing and it’s easy to see why it’s one of the most visited Philippines destinations.
The Most Diverse Coral Reef Diving In Asia
The marine life in the area is extremely diverse and includes 180+ species of nudibranchs (mollusks) that can be found in the area. With copious species of fish and coral, it’s no wonder the area was designated a Man and Biosphere Reserve of UNESCO in 1977 due to the fact it has some of the most diverse coral reef diving in Asia.
Puerto Galera is also rich in history with the Spaniards arriving in the port town of Batangas in 1570. Eventually, they landed in Puerto Galera which translates to the “Port of Galleons”. This was a reference to where the Spanish used to dock their Galleons. Anyway, enough on the background of Puerto Galera. Let’s narrow the focus back on where to stay and what to do.
Award Winning Resort
A good friend of mine is the owner of a resort on Small La Laguna beach named Out Of The Blue. If you are planning to stay in Puerto Galera, then you simply must stay here. Rated as EXCELLENT by 83% of travelers on Tripadvisor, Out Of The Blue is also a 2018 Travelers’ Choice Award Winner (top 1%), is rated number 1 of 55 hotels in Puerto Galera and is also a winner in the following Tripadvisor Top 25 categories:
Best Small Hotels – 4th in the Philippines
Best for Service – 6th in the Philippines
What actually started off as a private residence for family getaways, Out Of The Blue has actually expanded into 1, 2, 3 or 4 bedroom villas and 4 one room suites. This allows plenty of options with regard to whether you visit with a group of friends, families or even just a romantic getaway for couples. It caters for just about all situations. There are also two swimming pools (one at ground level and one higher up). It’s the perfect place to chill and relax.
The resort has a delicate blend of Mediterranean and Filipino inspired architecture and has a modern yet traditional ambiance. With the resort built into the hillside, there are absolutely amazing views across Puerto Galera from just about anywhere in the resort. For more details about the rooms and their amenities, please click here.
Award Winning Restaurant
One of the main features of the resort is their awesome 4.5-star restaurant called “The Verandah”. The restaurant itself has won a Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence for the last 5 years for consistently earning great reviews from travelers. It is also rated number 1 out of 78 restaurants in Puerto Galera. Once you have eaten there, you will see why.
The Verandah features a great mix of Western and local dishes and offers you a broad range of choices. It’s almost impossible to work out what to have with all the tempting choices available. You will find everything from sandwiches and wraps through to delicious stir-fries. Fresh seafood, homemade pasta, and pizza through to some local Filipino favorites such as crispy pata and pancit. There is also the best quality Australian Wagyu steak on offer. Then, of course, there are scrumptious desserts that will satisfy any sweet tooth. There is also a lovely selection of imported wines. In addition to that, there is a well-stocked bar offering beers, cocktails and delicious fruit shakes. They even bake their own bread and rolls there!
Views Just As Good As The Food!
However, the key feature of The Verandah restaurant is the amazing views. Whether during the day or evening, you get some sensational views looking across the bay as you sit a few stories high enjoying your meal. With the relaxing sea breeze drifting in, there simply isn’t a better place to enjoy a quiet meal of such quality in the whole of Puerto Galera.
Aside from the amazing views, the ambiance of the restaurant is what I enjoyed the most, especially in the evening. The blue lighting behind the bar and in the restaurant in general, as well as the tiled flooring, gives a very Mediterranean feel. You could easily be forgiven for mistaking yourself for being in Greece or Italy.
The service in the restaurant is also fantastic. The staff are friendly, very attentive and have a high attention to detail. They make sure that everything meets your expectations when appropriate and ensure standards are being met. With the quality food, service, and ambiance all rolled into one, it’s easy to see why this is a Tripadvisor award winning restaurant.
Amazing Views From Anywhere In The Resort
The rooms in the villas and suites are also excellent. I stayed in the one room suite which contains a jacuzzi and has its own small balcony overlooking the swimming pool at the lower level. The room is very tidy, spacious and clean. The bed was very comfortable and all of the amenities are in good working order. While there, I was fortunate enough to be given a tour of the two bedroom villa. This was absolutely sensational! The living and dining area opens up onto the balcony giving you full views of the bay. The two bedrooms are one floor down and both have wide open windows that open up and give you a great view across the bay.
As mentioned earlier, Puerto Galera is a hotspot for scuba diving and snorkeling. Conveniently located next door to Out of the Blue is their dive partner Action Divers. Action Divers is the Tripadvisor number one dive tour operator in Puerto Galera and is also 5 star rated PADI diving centre. For more information about scuba and accommodation packages, please click here.
Further to scuba diving, there are also many places in which you can go island hopping and snorkeling. Coral Garden, in particular, is one of my favorite places. Here they have small fishing boats there with outriggers that allow you to be towed around while snorkeling. This allows you to cover a wide area without exerting too much energy. Personally, I prefer this rather than going through the hassle of preparing yourself for scuba diving. Here you get to take in some amazing coral formations along with dozens of species of different fish and marine life. It’s great for kids in particular. In fact, the ocean out the front of Out of the Blue and Action Divers is very clear and is also fit for scuba diving and snorkeling.
If you are looking for some action, Out of the Blue is only about a 10-minute walk from Sabang Beach. This is certainly not the most beautiful beach in Puerto Galera. Unfortunately, there has been quite a bit of water pollution happening there in recent times. However, if you want to get amongst the nightlife then there is plenty to do and see in Sabang.
Best Place To Watch Sunsets
Another thing to do when you are staying in Puerto Galera is to drop by the Barrel Bar at El Galleon Resort. This is a jetty with a nice open deck. This is a very popular place in which locals, foreigners, and Filipinos, enjoy a few drinks while watching the sunset. If you are into sunsets, then there is no better place in Puerto Galera than the Barrel Bar. Even if you’re not into sunsets you will still get to meet some friendly people and have a couple of quiet drinks in the process.
If chilling out by the pool and relaxing is too much for you, and you feel like some adventure, then you go to the main port area in Sabang Beach. Here you will find a number of tour operators offering all sorts of different tour packages. This includes boat rides to White Beach, Tamaraw Falls and other great places to visit for day trips. Just make sure that you know upfront what it’s going to cost you before you accept an offer from any of the tour operators. If you’re not sure then the staff at Out of the Blue will be more than happy to assist you in helping to organize any tours.
For transportation options from Manila to Puerto Galera, please click here. Or, if you are feeling a little bit more adventurous, there is Air Juan that are a Seaplane Operator and have 2 x daily flights from Manila to Puerto Galera on their Cessna Grand Caravan Seaplanes. The airfares for this are actually fairly reasonable. You can read more by clicking here.
So there you have it. With Boracay being closed for the next six months, Puerto Galera is a fantastic alternative and it’s so close to Manila. Don’t forget to look at Out of the Blue if you are planning to go to Puerto Galera. This really is a fantastic resort that is very unique compared to many other resorts in the area. Fantastic food, accommodation, and service make for an experience you won’t forget in a hurry. I fully recommend this number one rated resort for a relaxing getaway from the chaos of Manila!
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