SCUBA DIVING PUERTO GALERA
PUERTO GALERA DIVING
The area has been a Marine and Biosphere Reserve of UNESCO since 1973 and has some of the most diverse coral reefs in Asia.
While scuba diving Puerto Galera, don’t be surprised if you run into big fish like white tip sharks, tunas, barracudas, eagle rays, turtles and more at the popular dive sites.
A thriving fish community include angelfish, wrasses, surgeonfish, batfish, butterfly fish, and you can also spot exotic fish like spanish dancers, harlequin ghost-pipefish along with camouflaged frogfish, fire gobies and blue-ribbon eels.
Scuba diving Puerto Galera is a heaven for underwater photographers, because of a diversified marine life of soft corals, gorgonians, crinoids, colourful sponges, tunicates and so on.
And of course, all of those tiny critters we all love that live in those reefs, like cleaner and porcelain crabs, cleaner, crinoid and sexy shrimp, fire urchins, and hundreds of others I can’t name.
Also read: Guide to Scuba Diving Philippines.
BEST DIVE SITES
Hibo Reef: The depth is 40 m. This is located in the Manila Channel. The wall is covered with gorgonian sea fans and large black coral trees, unique to this area. Eels and blue triggerfish have made small holes in the wall home, and stingrays are common below the wall, on the sandy patch.
Tamaraw Rocks: The depth ranges from 3 to 16 m. It is a shallow dive and you will find barrel sponges and colourful reefs on your dive. . This site is home to leaf fish, frog fish, stingrays and more, and is a good site for night dive.
Odies Wall: The depth of this site is top to 33m. The ocean floor is white sandy with large bommies and rock formations. The contour slopes off gently and you will find large number of staghorn coral, basket sponges, plate corals. Reef sharks and turtles can also be spotted.
Manila Channel: The depth is 18 m and the site is abundant with gorgonian sea fans and colourful sea whips. You can also see hard and soft corals in a variety. While scuba diving, groupers are hard to spot because they are well camouflaged, so look close!
Coral Gardens: The depth is 10 m and this is one of the best dive sites of Puerto Galera. It is excellent even for a drift drive. Coral strewn terrain shelves out from the beach and some of the crevices are home to ribbon eels and even turtles.
Alma Jane: It has a depth to 30m. A liveboard which had sunk in 2000 is home to giant frog fish and even batfish hang out here. A good little wreck dive to check out.
Sabang Wreck: With a depth to 18m, this is an old wooden fishing vessel sunk off in front of Sabang beach. Home to bat fish and surgeonfish, it is a popular dive site in Puerto Galera for trumpets, stone fish, stargazers, flounders, sea stars and more.
Sabang Point: With depths to 24m with stoney corals, fish, invertebrates such as cuttlefish and octopus. A ridge is covered with crinoids and corals. Night dives are fun here.
Monkey Beach: A coral slope down to 18 m, this site is good for beginners. Small coral heads have crinoids, nudibranchs and reef fish.
Dungung Wall: A wreck sits at 27m, at the bottom of the multi-level wall. The wall rises to 12m where the bottom extends into the bay. A good area for colourful corals and reef life.
Hole in the Wall: Situated at Escarceo point, this dive is normally performed as an 18m profile. You descend in several drop offs, each abouts 3m, and reach the hole at about 13m.The hole is about 1.5m wide, covered with multicolored corals and crinoids. While scuba diving Puerto Galera, you will find this as a world class dive site.
The Canyons: An advanced dive site with 30m depth. Drop offs are covered in soft corals and sponges. You will find a variety including snappers, emperors, sweetlips, barracudas, jacks, trevallies and the occasional shark, that make this a high-light Dive.
The Atol: This large rock has several small crevices on the bottom side, reef sharks and stingrays have made these crevices home. On the other side the rock overhangs, it is a good place to explore with a torch. You will find eels, lionfish, nudibranchs and octopus. A large grouper also lives here and also the occasional larger pelagic fish.
Shark Cave: A depth of 27m, Shark Cave has a large overhang which is a favourite spot for white tip reef sharks. It’s also home to blue spotted stingrays, moray eels and octopus. This site is usually visited at the beginning of a multi-level dive to the Pink Wall or as a stop on the way to the canyons.
Pink Wall: Has a depth to 12m, and is a very pretty site with many corals and fish. When dived on the correct tide, it is a paradise for photographers and beginners.
BEST TIME TO DIVE
It is possible to visit all year round in Puerto Galera, but the best time to dive is from April to September, which is dry season, with fewer waves and better visibility.
If you visit around holidays it will be much more crowded, especially with Filipinos on holiday from Manila, so try to plan your scuba diving trip to Puerto Galera in between.
HOW TO GET TO PUERTO GALERA
In almost all situations, you will first need to get into Manila, and head south from there to the Batangas, and take a ferry from there. For locals and budget travelers, the most common mode of transport is by bus.
There is a bus terminal along Taft Avenue, Pasay City. This is nearest to the Ninoy Aquino International and Domestic Airport. The other bus terminals are in Cubao (Quezon City), EDSA corner Kamias Street (Quezon City), Alabang (Muntinlupa City).
Travel time by bus is about 2 hours, although depending on traffic, you could add another hour just getting through Manila. The fare to Batangas Pier should only cost between $30-$5.
If you are scuba diving Puerto Galera, you probably want to stay in Sabang as opposed to White Beach. The boat from the Pier to Sabang should take 1-1.5 hours, and cost about $10 per person. From there you can ask a trike to take you to your hotel.
There are terminal and environmental fees on one side or the other of the ferry stops, but they are each less than $1.
Also read: 62 Awesome Places to Visit in Philippines.
OTHER THINGS TO DO IN PUERTO GALERA
Apart from scuba diving Puerto Galera, you can indulge in other activities like sailing, kayaking, sunset cruises, beach hopping, waterfall chasing, golfing, snorkeling, banana boat, trekking, buggies and motorcycle rentals and even paintball.
Puerto Galera is known for its world class scuba diving, and had a pretty decent nightlife as well, but it has plenty of other great things to do while on a visit.
One thing we recommend, especially for non-divers, is the island hopping tour. The tour boats, good for 8 people, will take you to some amazing views in the area. No need to try and book now, your resort can set it up, or one of the many touts on White Beach.
If you are scuba diving, hold out on the tours until later, because you might be heading the same way to some of the dive locations, and see the same islands, so no need to pay twice.