Puerto Galera Dive Trip

The 12th August 2006 was an exciting day for 16 holiday makers from Vision Divers as they headed off to explore the island of Mindoro in the Philippines, and in particular to dive at Puerto Galera.

Puerto Galera, PhilippinesThe trip over was a long day, having met at the airport at about 4:45 am and arrived late that night in Puerto Galera. The trip consisted of a short stopover in Sydney, then an eight hour flight to Manila, Phillippines. From there the travel really got amusing, as we took the bus from Manila airport to Bagasta, where we would catch a boat to Puerto Galera. The bus trip was hilarious as we mused at the traffic in Manila and what appeared to our new eyes to be completely without any road rules. Good job they knew what they were doing because we sure had no idea at that time. All we knew was that the bus driver "beeped" all the other vehicles on the road, so they would get out of the way.After about 3 hours we made it to our pick up point for the last boat ride to the resort, which was an hour's trip. The boat trip was a great ride and it was good to stretch our legs and lay back after the bus trip.

Puerto Galera, PhilippinesOn our arrival at the resort, we were suitably impressed with the view that lay before us, nice beach, lots of resorts and too many dive shops to count. The Portofino resort was to be our new home for the next week, and we were met by some very friendly people who we got to know very well during our stay.The resort was beautiful. The owner, Roger, met us and we were offered cocktails and some nibblies, while he told us a little about the resort and Peurto Galera.


Puerto Galera, PhilippinesDay 2 saw us having a little sleep-in as the diving did not start until after lunch, so it was a lazy morning until we were ready to go. But when the time came, we were itching to get in the water. Our first dive site was Monkey Beach and it was awesome. As expected absolutely beautiful scenery and marine life. The guys from Action Divers told us that this is a nice cruisy dive for our first one in the Philippines and that the diving would get better and better. They were absolutely right on both counts. The diving over the next few days, did get better and better as promised.

Puerto Galera, PhilippinesPuerto Galera, PhilippinesThe Sabang Wrecks was a dive site with three wrecks all within 150 to 200 metres of each other with plenty of batfish, lionfish, scorpionfish, frogfish, a couple of moray eels, as well as what was the usual marine life in the area, such as anenomefish, triggerfish, trumpe fish, damsels, nudibranchs galore, etc etc etc. We also did this dive as a night dive, and it was even more amazing at night time.

Shark Cave promised to be another exciting dive, a place where, if they are around on the day, reef sharks were commonly found. The day we dived there, we found only one hiding under a ledge, but there was still plenty of other marine life to see as well.

Puerto Galera, PhilippinesOn our fourth day of diving, we headed out to Verde Island on a day trip on a brand new live-aboard boat. The boat was so new that we were the first group out on it - very exciting that was. Verde Island is known for great diving - lots and lots and lots of smaller fish, and nudibranchs absolutely everywhere!!!
We did two dives at The Pinnacle which was a large cone-shaped wall reef which was just amazing, like diving in a massively overstocked aquarium. There was a very strong current, which made the safety stop quite amusing, literally watching the fish go by as we anchored ourselves and hang on - but lots and lots of fun on both dives. After the diving was done for the day, we headed onto the Island for a fantastic BBQ lunch provided by Portofino Resort, and as with the rest of the food during our trip - it was magic!


Puerto Galera, PhilippinesPuerto Galera, PhilippinesInstant SuperStars...Our last day of diving was on the Thursday and this was the day that we all became instant movie stars! Action Divers had asked if we wanted to arrange for a DVD of our diving, so we spent the last two dives with Rob filming our dives, and on the last dive we all met up at Sabang Wrecks for our underwater group "photo shoot". This was our third dive at the Sabang Wrecks which was a lot of fun, and most of us made our debut onto the big screen (oh okay - it will be our home TV screen), and we all had a ball!
And so endeth the diving for our trip - very sadly. Puerto Galera, Philippines

But our friends at Action Divers and Portofino resort had plenty of other activities planned for that night and the next day, to perfectly end an all-round amazing trip. That night we were off for a sunset cruise, with Simon, Jamie & John from Action Divers as our chaperones for the evening.

Puerto Galera, PhilippinesThe Sunset Cruise was great fun. Puerto Galera, PhilippinesWe cruised over to the town of Puerto Galera, had a couple of drinks at the "Rock n Roll Bar", sang along with some "golden oldies", played a bit of pool and chatted with some locals. We celebrated a great trip and since there was no more diving, let our hair down a little bit. Then back to the resort for a Mediterranean Dinner.

On our last day John and Charlie from the Portofino had arranged a day trip in a couple of Jeepneys. These are really cool people movers, and we first saw them on our trip through Manila on the way from the airport - and thought how cool they looked. Charlie and John first took us out to the waterfalls, where we enjoyed a nice refreshing swim.

Puerto Galera, PhilippinesPuerto Galera, PhilippinesWe had a chuckle because they warned us that the water was "very cold". Pete's computer measured the temperature at a low 22 degrees. Brrrrrr!! That was at least 6 degrees cooler than what we had just spent the week diving in so we could understand the locals telling us it was very cold - but I guess they haven't been in Melbourne waters.

After the waterfalls we headed into the public markets for some shopping, and then off to the Ponderosa Golf Club and enjoyed some spectacular views of the island. We stayed there for a quick pit stop before heading off to a lovely almost secluded beach for some more swimming (it's a hard life) and some lunch. The meals were massive!

Puerto Galera, PhilippinesThis little beach was like looking at a postcard - very very picturesque, very relaxing and you could even get a massage on the beach if you wanted to. Another swim after lunch and it was off to White Beach for some more shopping and more swimming. Puerto Galera, PhilippinesThis was also a beautiful spot, and our last stop before we headed back to the resort. After a full day of shopping, swimming, eating & drinking, we were all very satisifed with our days efforts. That night it was off to town to celebrate a fantastic trip, awesome diving, delicious food and many great friendships made along the way.

Several people have already told us they definitely want to do this trip again next year. Look out Action Divers and Portofino Resort: we'll be back!

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