Mindoro Sling is the first thing that comes to my mind whenever I hear Puerto Galera. It’s a concoction of rum, clear soda and orange juice with mango and grenadine. A drink that reminds me of an endless summer. The weekend getaways I had with my older sister. My first ever tattoo, fine just henna, and first offshore snorkeling. Then, of course, THE nightlife.
Puerto Galera is a coastal town at the North tip of Mindoro island. Its strategic location makes it an easy go-to for tourists who want the same beach party vibes as Boracay. Just one bus ride from the metro to Batangas port. Then wooden ferries were readily available for sea crossing and a wide array of accommodations to chose from were scattered all over town. Voila, hello paradise!
On Sunday morning of February 3, I got an assignment call and bound for Puerto Galera at 1:30 that afternoon. As I frantically pack, I was trying to remember everything from the last time I set foot on the island, 15 years ago. Though everything is vague now, this trip would surely be interesting. Arrived at the airport 15 minutes before 2 pm and the project partners were still at the immigration counter, which I thought to be a couple of people only. About an hour later a group of 20 French-speaking volunteers came out. Now we’re hurrying to Batangas, reached the Berberabe port just in time for the last ride. Awaiting us was a dramatic sunset thru the scenic Isla Verda passage to Mindoro, wait should I say, “Bonjour” to everyone now?
Behind the mountains
My previous summers in Puerto Galera were mainly in Sabang Beach. The center of tourism-related activities of the town. This time though, we’re heading to the mountains. To get to know the tribes for some illumination. To go to these places meant passing by the famous Tamaraw Falls, which I finally got to see up close and the Mangrove forest. Then discovered Aplayang Munti, a restaurant that has a private beach with pebbly shore and a few in house water sports activities. There’s really more to discover in Puerto Galera.
Let’s drink the night away
TGIF and we’re capping off an amazing week with a sumptuous dinner at the Aplaya. While the others were settling down a waitress asked us for our drinks, I’d have the Mindoro Sling fo sure! In between chit chats, I couldn’t help but wonder what Sabang beach looks like today. Are tourists still flocking even though wooden ferries are banned now? I guess that’s for another getaway and now is a celebration. To volunteering, to camaraderie and to illumination, “á votre santé!”