Friday, June 11, 2010

Puerto Galera Weekend

This was my first visit to Puerto Galera. Despite many invitations to dive there, I've never had the time until recently. My friend Jayvee, invited me to go with his dive group. And being the social butterfly that I'am, I immediately said yes. I wasn't sure what to expect at first. Joining a new group of strangers always makes me wary. So when Jayvee called to ask for confirmation, I said yes and we met at the Petron gas station in the Southern Luzon Express Way at 5:30 am to have a quick breakfast at McDonald's. I didn't know anyone, except for Jayvee. So I was glad he was there on time. Some of the others took a little longer getting there and one in particular held the group back for 3 hours! Everyone was irritated, but were too polite to say anything. I was considering giving the guy a piece of my mind, but decided to hold my tongue, because it was my first time joining this group. And I felt it was inappropriate to give a stranger a tongue lashing without knowing the reasons behind his tardiness.  However, once he caught up, we hurried to the pier, where our hotel's boat was waiting to transport us to the Dolphin Bay Resort where we made our reservations for the weekend. I didn't know what to expect at first. Most of the dive resorts I've been to around the Philippines aren't exactly 5-star accommodations. Most are owned by foreigners married to Filipina women. And most of these places are...shall we say....rustic to say the least. Occasionally you'll stumble upon a few that are reasonably priced, clean and well maintained. Dolphin Bay Resort exceeded most of these expectations. They had a quaint bar, a nice pool and a working jacuzzi. The rooms could house up to 4 people. The room assigned to me and my roommate had a king size bed on a marbled dais, a double decker bed, cabled tv, ac and the bathroom was big. I was in bathroom heaven (up until I noticed that it wasn't as clean as it initially appeared). But overall, it was a great resort. We spent P6,500 or $135US for an overnight stay, inclusive of all meals, boat transfers and 5 dives. I thought it was pretty reasonable. And I was really happy with the place.
Delicous Mozarella Crepes (Jayvee's idea)
Our Room was directly in front of the Jacuzzi
Pool View from the Bar
After a long day, everyone relaxed in the jacuzzi and had cold draft beers.
Our King-sized bed on a raised marble platform.
Double decker beds. This room is great for groups of 4 to 5 people on a budget.
Puerto Galera's reputation has taken second fodder to Boracay. I was told that it is the poor man's Boracay. Since the sand isn't powder white like its party-destination sister, despite it holding a reputation of a party town itself. Unfortunately, I didn't stay in Sabang where the main strip of bars and hotels are located. So I can't really make a comparison between the two. We opted to stay in a secluded and private resort.  But from what I could see from the boat, Sabang doesn't look anything like Boracay. I had its own charm and personality.
Diving Puerto Galera was pretty amazing. It's the best I've seen since Tubbataha minus the sharks, mantas and eagle rays, but nevertheless, pretty damn good. I was told that it is at the heart of the world's marine biodiversity triangle. I felt like I was swimming in a giant aquarium. Everywhere I looked, there was something going on. I didn't know whether to put my camera on video or picture mode. I kept switching back and forth. Every few minutes, you hear someone making noises to get your attention and point at something. On more than one occasion I felt someone tugging at me to pull me toward a direction where a triggerfish was hunting for food, another time, where an octopus popped out of nowhere and a small school of Sweetlips were feeding and swimming near a school of jacks. I don't have enough words to describe how glad I felt to have gone with Jayvee's group. Not only did I make new friends, I had a blast! And I discovered a really good and affordable diving destination.
Can you tell what this is? It's a Black Frogfish. Notice the eyes and open mouth?
Dive Log
  Dive 1 - Sabang Wrecks
Dive 2 - Night Dive in front of Dolphin Bay Resort
Dive 3 & 4 - San Agapito Wall

1 comment:

cagayan de oro resorts said...

These are magnificent photos you have here. Diving really gets you one with nature. Great Blog!