Puerto Galera, Philippines a Rugged Tropical Paradise
Puerto Galera is a hidden gem just a few hours drive from Manila, we decided to drive from Quezon City to Puerto Galera in March in what was planned to be a few days but turned into a week as we fell in love with the rugged tropical paradise on the first day. We stayed in the Bamboo House on Talipanan Beach which is about 30 minutes drive from the main town of Puerto Galera but it’s nicely tucked away from the busy beaches and streets. The mountains truly meet the sea at Talipanan Beach, it’s an incredibly scenic area that probably only going to be really appreciated if you are willing to get out and explore it.
The first day we set off on the kayak that the hotel provided for free and managed to discover a secluded beach about a mile up the shore, past the main attraction of White Beach. Behind the Bamboo House Hotel is a dense rainforest with a small indigenous village, you can walk through this village upstream to a few small waterfalls, all within an hour walk from Talipanan Beach.
Manila to Puerto Galera by car
Getting from Manila to Puerto Galera by car is pretty straight forward and doesn’t take too long, however, you should set off pretty early to give yourself time to enjoy the evening in Puerto Galera. You will need to take a roll-on-roll-off ferry from Batangas to Calapan as the ferry to Puerto Galera is a passenger ferry only (as of March 2017 this was the case anyway), because you have to go to Calapan you will need to add 2 hours at least to your journey from Calapan to Puerto Galera.
The road from Calapan to Puerto Galera is slow and windy but can be quite scenic. Along the road from Calapan to Puerto Galera, you should make time to stop at the Tukuran Falls as you will pass by the road to there on the way to or from Puerto Galera. I will write about Tukuran Falls in a sperate post. You will also pass by the Tamaraw Falls so try and plan your drive during the day, the Tamaraw Falls is just off the road so you can actually see it from the car or you can stop before the bridge and get a better view.
There are various ferries from Batangas to Calapan such as FastCat, we just turned up at the port and managed to get a ferry within the hour. I’d recommend you check that there is a ferry before hand though as not everyone will be as lucky!
Talipanan Falls is located in the rainforest behind Talipanan Beach, you pass through the Iraya-Mangyan village that is just off the road or the end of the road when I was there. If you stay at the Bamboo House Hotel just ask about Talipanan Falls and they will explain better how to get to there, from the hotel it’s about 45 minutes up the forest.
Lonely Planet recommends you get a guide Mangyan guide in the Iraya-Mangyan village, it’s up to you whether you do or not but if you follow the path you don’t really need one you could just buy something from the village instead to help support them.
If you do the Mt Talipanan hike – which I never got around to doing – you can also hire a guide from the Iraya-Mangyan village to show you the way.
Sunset from an empty beach
After a hike to Talipanan Falls, we headed back to the hotel to pick up the Kayak and then paddled around a cove to watch the sunset from a completely empty beach, a perfect ending to what is one of my favourite destinations in the Philippines.
If you are looking for a quick break from Manila or should you happen to be travelling the Philippines be sure to add Puerto Galera to your itinerary?