Last month, I was invited along with fellow bloggers and travel writers to visit Puerto Galera and experience the yearly De Galera Festival events and activities.
Beach Cove near the Entrance of the Underwater Cave
We started our day by joining a religious Fluvial Parade which started and ended at the historic Muelle Bay. From the port, we headed to the Puerto Galera Tourism Office for lunch.
Underwater Cave Entrance
After having lunch, we had our island hopping tour organized by Ms. Aileen Bareng and her staff. Our first stop was at Long Beach in San Antonio Island then we proceeded to the beautiful Underwater Cave located in the same island.
Everyone had to crawl just to get inside the cave
There’s a ton of fun to be had in Puerto Galera. White Beach and Sabang Beach are the hot tourist spots. But for something quieter, take a boat to one of the many small islands off-shore, some of which are great for a romantic escape and offer nice little places to stay that are also very beautiful, and less over-run by tourists.
Our guide leading us to the entrance of the cave
The Underwater Cave in Puerto Galera
But by far the most exciting part of our trip to Puerto Galera was the trip to San Antonio and the underwater cave. After passing the appropriately named Long beach, we finally reached a small cove where the entrance to the underwater cave is located.
Few korean tourists enjoying the pool
It’s a scrabble down the beach and then a climb up onto a very jagged rock outcropping before you’re at the entrance to the cave. I went with a group, and all of us crawled down passing a small cave opening to reach the hidden underwater cave. Bringing my DSLR Camera was a risky decision but I realized later on that I made the right choice. Our wonderful experience will not be complete without capturing the beauty of the underwater cave.
Puerto Galera Underwater Cave
Enjoying the natural salt water pool
It’s warm and light and the cave is protected from the waves, so it’s kind of ideal. The water’s not super deep, only about waist high, but still swimmable. Because it’s so nice down there, it’s easy to imagine staying for longer, but after about half an hour we had to leave for our next activity so we climbed back out.
Undwerwater Cave Exit
Challenging Trail from the Caves exit point
Our last activity was a visit to Puerto Galera’s famous coral garden – a beautiful dive site and also a great snorkeling area. By just holding a rope in front of the small outrigger boat, tourists can easily feed different species of tropical aquarium fish including Angelfish, Pipefish, Lizardfish etc. If you are a non swimmer like me, you can just stay at the boat while feeding and watching schools of fish from up close.
Outside the Underwater Cave
Puerto Galera Coral Garden
Fish Feeding at the Coral Garden
How to get There
The best thing to do is to book it from your hotel or resort but if you want to save, you can hire a bangkero that are widely available in White Beach and Sabang area. The small banca is good for 3 people and the island hopping tour includes long beach, coral garden and the underwater cave. The banca rates may vary depending on the season but the normal rate is P600 per person.
You can catch boats from White Beach, as well, for an island hopping and snorkeling trip, but make sure the boat drivers stick to the standard prices (1500 pesos for up to 8 people). The stop for the underwater cave is usually the second stop and make sure to bring an underwater camera.
All in all, well worth the trip if you’re out at Puerto Galera.