Puerto Galera is a soothing vision of shimmering seas surrounded by lush mountains. It is considered one of the most beautiful and developed beach resort community in the country.
Starting from “backyard tourism” wherein local residents accept local and foreign tourist as stay-in guest, the island’s tourism has flourished. In the course of time, several hotels, resorts, inns and restaurants have mushroomed within the area. paragraph here.
The water is certainly the main attraction of the island. Crystal clear and shimmering especially during the hot summer months, the sea framing Puerto Galera is ideal for swimming, sailing, surfing, snorkeling and scuba diving. In fact, one doesn’t have to go by boat to get to a dive site. Within a kilometer from the coast, schools of Moorish idols, trumpet fish, frog fish, lion fish and leaf fish weave in and out of thriving corals and sea anemones while species of starfish – from the speckled red-and-white to the neon-blue Pacific – rest on the sandy floor.
Gradually sloping beaches – with the terrain ranging from powder white sand to grainy dark sand to smooth stones to rough coral rubble – comprise a large chunk of the island’s 25 thousand hectares. And while the Department of Tourism’s last count pegs the number of resorts at 115, pockets of isolated and virtually resortless coves and beaches are tucked between massive rock formations.
Puerto Galera is a tropical paradise that is both rustic and thriving. By day it echoes with the soft breeze and the pounding waves. At night, it comes to life with heady laughter and the clink of wine and glasses, only to segue once again to the barest whisper of the elements.
Another bonus for Puerto Galera is that the topography of the coast line has sheltered areas where you can dive in most conditions. Very few diving days are lost due to bad weather each year. The Philippines has around twenty named storm systems each year. Not many affect Puerto Galera as they are more prone to affect the east coast of the Philippines.
The Puerto Galera diving area stretches from White Beach right around to Coral Cove. It is part of the Verde Island Passage and named by some scientists as the center of the world's marine biodiversity. There are over an estimated 3000 marine species including a hundred new species discovered within the last few years.
In this area we have nearly fifty dive sites. The sites are an interesting mix of sloping reefs, Coral gardens deep pinnacles, ship wrecks, channel dives, muck diving, drift dives and sea grass beds. The range of depths means that the scuba diving is great for open water student's right through to technical divers.
Due to the large tide difference especially around the full and new moons the drift diving can be an exhilarating experience. Canyon's is the best place to enjoy the ride. You can see schools of jacks, sweetlips, fusiliers, snappers and batfish all feeding in the nutrient rich current. Occasional larger visitors like eagle rays, Spanish mackerel and great barracuda often cruise by. The second and third canyons are covered in amazing soft corals. These delicate corals offer a kaleidoscope of wonderful colors that will blow you away.
There are notable ship wrecks around Puerto Galera. The Alma Jane is the most popular; she was sunk in 2003 and lies in thirty meters of water. This wreck has a large school of Photogenic bat fish. You can penetrate this wreck easily as there is plenty of natural light to guide you through the cargo holds. The holds are full of Cardinal fish, you can see the male carrying its eggs in its mouth. Look out for the small air pockets in the celling of the holds as you can see Banded sea snakes. There are some really nice soft coral growth on the outside of the vessel where you can see many shrimps and crabs species.
There are three wrecks in Sabang Bay which are full of marine life like leaf scorpion fish, stone fish and harlequin shrimps. Around the east side there are the remnants of a Japanese patrol boat from World War Two. In Manila Channel you can find a wreck that is lying on its side and has got some nice sponges and a resident frog fish.
There are some really spectacular muck dive sites in Puerto Galera bay. The most famous area is Giant Clams. It's not uncommon to see multiple Thorny seahorses, high on the most wanted list for divers are mimic octopus, flamboyant cuttlefish, blue ring octopus, hairy frogfish, ornate ghost pipe and mototi octopus. The other sites in the area are Ship yard and Montani. You can find some great bottom dwellers like the wonderpus, velvet ghost pipefish and pygmy cuttlefish. Another muck diving area is at White Beach, you can find bobtail squid, stargazer and coconut octopus on this underrated dive site.
For fans of sharks there are a few dive sites where you have a chance to see them. The area around Kilima has been known for sightings of thresher sharks. Hibo reef is just a few minutes away from White Beach, this can be a tricky dive with strong currents but you can see resident white tips sharks. For fans of whalesharks you have a very small chance to see them around Puerto Galera. There are typically a few sightings each year.
If you are a fan of beautiful coral gardens then you will be impressed with the scuba diving in Puerto Galera.
There are plenty of gently sloping reef dives which are full of color and life. We have barrel sponges that are six feet high that have taken hundreds of years to grow. You can see eight species of anemone fish. Sabang Bay has a sea grass area with resident green turtles. Fans of nudibranch will be happy to learn that we have over six hundred species. Another of the most famous but hard to spot favorites is the Pygmy seahorse, these tiny guys live on sea fans and can be found on a number of dive sites around Puerto Galera.
You can have all this fun in Puerto Galera without even visiting the main diving attraction which is Verde Island. It's hard to put into words just how good it is. There is a wall of fish that make it hard to see the reef. I would say it has the most fish per square inch than any other dive site in the whole of the Philippines.