Puerto Galera was our first stop on our six-week backpacking trip around the Philippines. Charlie and I had recently quit our jobs and gave up our place here in Manila. Both jobless and homeless as of May 2010, we decided to spend the few weeks we had left to see as much of the Philippines before heading to the land of kangaroo to start new adventures there.
Puerto Galera hasn’t changed much since I last visited, except some additional hostels and a general increase in fares and all sorts of new fees (which reminded me of Boracay). But setting foot on White Beach brought back good memories of my solo beach escapade here and fun times with my friends and family. It used to be my favorite beach hideaway when I wanted to escape from the humdrum of city life. We reckoned a beach in Puerto Galera would make a good place for beach bumming before meeting our mountaineering friends in Batangas Pier for a challenging hike up Mt Guiting-Guiting on Sibuyan Island in the province of Romblon.
After almost 4 hours bus ride to Batangas Port and a boat ride to White Beach, we were still undecided which beach to stay at. I had always been partial with White Beach which for me has the best beach in the area. It has a wide range of accommodation and a lively night life especially on weekends and in the summer months of April and May. However Charlie wasn’t keen on a crowded beach with loud night life, and I was also keen to see something new, so we decided against White Beach. Sabang Beach wasn’t really an option for us – some of its beachfronts are blocked by outrigger boats and the kind of “night life” it offers isn’t quite what we were after. So we were left with La Laguna Beaches and Talipanan Beach to choose from.
After a late lunch in one of the restaurants on White Beach, we decided to walk back to the main street and catch a tricycle to Talipanan Beach. I knew nothing about the place except that it was another stretch of white beach adjacent to Aninuan Beach where the fancy resort of Tamaraw Beach is located.
We hadn’t decided yet where to stay so we just asked the tricycle driver to drop us at the first resort along the beach so we could check out the accommodation options once we get there. There are only about five places to stay on Talipanan Beach listed in our guide book so it wouldn’t be that difficult to check each place. The tricycle driver dropped us at Mountain Beach Resort which is a nice resort with its own restaurant and a very friendly owner. The beach would have been better though if only there were no large outrigger boats parked in front. Their cheapest fan room was priced at Php800 and Charlie had actually considered staying at the resort just because of its “good vibe”.
But just for the sake of comparison and the hope of finding something cheaper and better, I left my backpack with Charlie at Mountain Beach Resort and walked along the beach to check out the other resorts. I was about to give up on finding something nice as I came closer to the cliff at the end of the shore until I saw the last two resorts tucked beside the mountain. The first one is made of stone, has its own pool and a bit fancy and thus expensive. El Canonero Beach Resort was actually the last resort listed in our guidebook, so I didn’t expect to see another resort at the end of the stretch – just Luca’s Italian Restaurant, which was marked on the map. However the owner of the restaurant has recently put up a two-storey lodging made of concrete and native materials.
It was love at first sight (at least in that area). I still think White Beach has nicer shorelines and clearer water but this one isn’t shabby either. It has a wide beachfront, clear waters, and white sand. At first, we thought we’re just going to walk to White Beach at night to eat and check out the night life but we ended staying and eating at Luca’s for 3 days. The food is reasonably priced and really good. They make their own dough for their pizza and the serving size of both pizza and pasta is quite big. It was funny, it was the only time I haven’t missed rice and other Filipino food for 3 days straight.
If you happen to be in Puerto Galera and want a peaceful and quiet atmosphere, good Italian food and reasonably-priced accommodation, Luca’s and Mira Lodge on Talipanan Beach is a relaxing and private beach getaway. I recommend it for couples, families and friends who don’t mind skipping the night life and water adventures on offer at White Beach. Even if you do stay at White Beach, a visit to Luca’s for dinner is highly recommended for the excellent Italian food!
Other Places to stay on Talipanan Beach
Tel: 09164175125, 0917-7925263
Mountain Beach Resort
Rates: Fan room 800 – 1500, AC 2500
Mengie’s White Sand Beach Resort
Rates: Fan room 700, AC 1500
Rates: Fan room 800, AC 1000
Rate: Fan room 800, AC 1500
El Canonero Beach Resort
Rates: Fan room 1500- 2000, AC 2500