If you are a diving or snorkeling fan, you may have heard of Puerto Galera, the diving centre for the island of Mindoro, south of Manila. Because of its proximity to the mainland of Luzon, Puerto Galera has become a popular recreational spot, and its beaches busy and overpopulated.
There is a beach we recently discovered in Puerto that is still quiet and secluded, its resorts small scale and natural, the beach clean and the waters enjoyable to swim in.
Talipanan Beach is a two kilometer stretch of beach property to the west of Aninuan Beach which is itself west of White Beach, Puerto's party beach.
Talipanan has about eight resorts spaced well apart, rising no more than two storeys typically, with the exception of one which had three storeys. Most resorts consist of about six to 30 units each. Walking on the beach, you still see a lot of coconut trees lining the edge of resorts, and the feeling is one of spaciousness. The architecture is a mix of completely nipa hut design with traditional hammocks and bougainvillea-filled gardens such as Mountain Beach Resort, El Canonero Diving Beach Resort, Bamboo Beach Lodge and Luca Miramar Beach Lodge, and modern boutique-type resorts such as Infinity, Puerto Galera Beach Club, and De Luna.
You can still buy fish from the fishermen as they come in, and ask that it be cooked for you by the resort, for a small cooking charge (like $6.50 - $9 CAD). You can swim and walk the beach unfettered by ropes anchoring boats, and incessant vendors. The beach has beautifully coloured pebbles and stones which are best enjoyed on the beach and left alone, because they lose their lustre as soon as they are out of the water. Boats can be hired to go diving, snorkeling or visiting nearby islands and waterfalls. But mostly, the best thing to do in Talipanan is swimming in clear cool water then lying on a lounge chair on the beach, reading your favorite book, drinking ice cold San Miguel beer or a glass of wine, and thinking of nothing at all.
The cost of accommodations is anywhere from $50 CAD to $100 CAD, low- medium range relative to most Philippine beach resorts, except for the high-end Infinity which charges upto $1000 CAD per villa for families. Typically, smaller resorts do not provide breakfast as cost of accommodation is already low; more expensive hotels may include breakfast in the accommodations price. Most of the resorts serve surprisingly good food at reasonable prices (typical dishes cost $6 - $12 CAD and San Miguel beer costs $1.50 CAD in restaurants). You never have to worry about loud bar music at night. Diving costs typically $45-$60 CAD per dive, with equipment.
To book accommodations and diving, you can book on line directly with the resort, or through any on line booking agencies such as Booking.com or TripAdvisor who charge no booking fees.
To get there from Manila, take an air conditioned bus from Cubao terminal to Batangas Pier (2.5 to 3 hour ride, $5 CAD per person). Then take a ferry to Puerto Galera Muelle Station (that's the Puerto Galera town station), an hour and a half-ride (about $10 CAD per person). At the Muelle Station, take a tricycle to Talipanan Beach, a 20 minute ride ($3 CAD). Enjoy!