Thursday, April 26, 2012

Puerto Galera Part 2: WHITE BEACH

The town of Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro is very blessed to be surrounded by a lot of beautiful and crystal clear beaches. Each has its own unique beauty. There is at least one beach that will fit one's preference or lifestyle. If you want your stay to be in a cozy, luxurious and serene ambiance, there's Coco Beach. If you want it to be very majestic by situating yourself in a breathtaking landscape, being sandwiched by the shimmering waters of Mindoro, try booking a stay at the Sandbar in Boquete Beach. Divers prefer Sabang Beach because it boasts of stunning dive spots and magnificent coral reefs.

The more quiet Coco Beach

The BACKPACKERS preferred to stay at the most popular (and most populous) beach in Puerto Galera: White Beach. It has the same pristine water which is ideal for swimming, sailing, kayaking etc. During the day, you will be lured to take a dip and experience its cool and refreshing waters. It has a kilometer stretch of fine sand, big enough for you to roam around and explore. You have a variety of food choices as the beachfront is teeming with countless restaurants and food booths. Souvenir shops are also abundant - bracelets, anklets, wallets, tees and shorts with I Love Puerto Galera on it and other merchandise that can serve as an evidence of your stay in the town.

BP Marion
BP Angel
Lovers BP York and Feigh

Accommodation during peak season is quite expensive, with rates ranging from 2,500Php to 4,000Php. During my first stay in Puerto Galera several years ago, we just pitched our tent which served as our abode for two days. I decided not to book an accommodation because the pre-trip quotation would be quite expensive. I planned on executing my haggling skills. After arriving at White Beach, we immediately looked for an available room. This is where the art of haggling came in to play. Its true that securing a good deal can sometimes be hard especially if its peak season. But we were able to haggle a room which originally costs 3,000Php to just 2,200Php. The caretaker would even consider lowering it down if not for our headcount (7 pax). It's crazy for it to cost 3,000Php per night because the room is not even that spacious! The caretaker explained that it is because of the summer season. Inns and hotels take this opportunity to sell high because the demand is also high. We were offered a house (yes, a whole house) of a local for 2,000Php per night. Despite the huge space, we did not choose it. Its distance is far from the beach and it looked like we would be sweating ourselves out come noontime.

If you are visiting Puerto Galera during off-peak season, you can haggle your accommodation for as low as 1,000Php per night for a group of 5-8 persons. Sometimes, depending on your haggling skills, the rate can go down to three digits.

Sunset at White Beach

After the sun sets, life in White Beach does not stop. As a matter of fact, the most sought after thing in White Beach is the crowd and the night life. Dubbed as the party capital of Puerto Galera, several booze booths and bars serve as the first line of attraction when night commences. Each bar has its own gimmick in attracting a group of people who plan on partying all night. Poi dancing, the art of juggling or swinging a ball (with fire) around the body, projecting geometric size and shapes, is one of the attractions along the beach. Several gay performers will dance and perform their hearts out to intrigue a crowd and lure them in.

Encounter with a poi dancer

Is BP Marion sleeping or just plain drunk?

BP Weng - more fun in the sand

BP Ivan and the infamous Mindoro Sling

Mindoro Sling
The favorite booze in all of White Beach is Mindoro Sling. It is a cocktail drink composed of rhum, orange juice, mango juice, sliced apple and sprite. It is best served with Grenadine syrup. One pitcher of Mindoro Sling costs 330Php (as of April 2012). There are several alcoholic drinks that you can order. During our trip we only had Mindoro Sling and Mudslide. Mudslide is one of my personal favorite with chocolate syrup as an ingredient. Adding Gran Matador to the equation was just enough to send our minds in a slightly drunken state. A tip for the wise Backpacker: Goods in the area are a lot expensive but you can opt to bring your own drinks. At night, you can either huddle around in the sand (for a closer access to the beach and a view of the performers and poi dancers) or use the benches for a closer access to the bar's dance floors. Most of these bars do not charge corkage fees. Just remember, out of courtesy, purchase at least one pitcher of a beverage of your choice if you will be using the bar benches (if you will bring your own alcoholic beverage). One pitcher of Mindoro Sling is enough, for a small group of people, for some to be a little dizzy. I love to call Mindoro Sling the 'deceiving cocktail' because you will be lured to its sweetness which sugarcoats the alcoholic content of the drink. You would probably doubt at first believing that it has a high concentration of juice and just a little ounce of alcohol. But before you know it, after a couple of pitchers and several shots, your mind will be in a frenzy as you realize that the world around you is spinning. Congratulations, you are already drunk! There are bars in Metro Manila that already offer this cocktail. But its still best to enjoy Mindoro Sling where else - but in Mindoro! 
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