What Happened?

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I must admit, I gave up on Puerto Galera a long time ago because of its over-commercialization. For some time, it was even branded as “gaylera“.

Also, a lot of people were scared to go because of the lack of safety standards and the practice of overloading boats, which led to the 2009 tragedy of Mon Eugenio’s family.

Only the Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival compelled me to return and revisit White Beach.

A lot of things have changed.

It’s quite evident that the people there learned and accepted the consequences of their past mistakes.

Are we seeing the comeback of Puerto Galera’s White Beach?

Puerto Galera White Beach Series:

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Puerto Galera is best known for the White Beach cove in San Isidro and the red-light district of Sabang Beach, where most of the dive spots are located.

Also, the Puerto Galera Bay in front of Muelle in the Poblacion was named as 2005’s Most Beautiful Bay by the Paris-based The Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club.

Aninuan, beside White Beach, is known to be the quieter side of Puerto Galera.

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This was my last good memory of Puerto Galera, taken in January 1999. Puerto Galera was popular among college students for a sembreak escape, and among yupppies, where they can drink the night away and create bonding memories to last a lifetime.

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The boats to Puerto Galera now strictly follow the maximum capacity.

Also, life vests are not worn inside the boats and are just placed within arm’s reach. One of the reasons why there were a lot of adult casualties when the Commando 6 capsized was that the passengers wore life vests and got trapped inside the sinking boat.

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Mindorinne Oriental was the first building-type resort in White Beach, which started the race to convert the cottages into inns and resorts. There was no master plan. Everything seemed to be hurriedly built, with the structures super close to each other with no breathing space.

The developments were a bit suffocating to see, and Puerto Galera losts its rural, white beach charm.

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Story has it that the decline of Puerto Galera’s White Beach started with the Hiyas of Puerto Galera Pageant, featuring the most beautiful gays on the island. Hence, it was branded “gaylera“.

Gay pageants and shows are now banned on White Beach, with the exception of the fire dancers.

But the most beautiful sheboys remain on the island, in the famous Hiyas Bar, in front of Mindorinne Oriental Beach Resort.

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Massages are now limited to the beach only. Most resort owners don’t allow massages inside the rooms anymore to avoid “happy ending” moments. Some hotels even have designated massage rooms.

The Full Body Massage is only P200. It is a combination of hilot, swedish massage and reflexology. It is controlled by a cooperative, which standardizes the pricing and the training of the masseuse.

Don’t expect too much from the massage, though.

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In the past, there were three or more rows of dining tables that occupied the entire beach.

Now, only one row of tables is allowed to provide more space…

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…for beach activities like beach volleyball.

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Riding a Banana Boat and Kayaking are popular activities on White Beach.

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Last year, Hubert d’Aboville organized the first Malasimbo Music & Arts Festival in their natural amphitheater property in Mt. Malasimbo.

The festival promoted better appreciation of the Mangyan culture and provided a canvas for the visual artworks of Olivia, d’Aboville’s daughter, an award-winning French-Filipina artist.

Both local and foreign tourists are now starting to return to Puerto Galera’s White Beach…

Puerto Galera White Beach Series:

Live an Awesome Life,

Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
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Full Disclosure: Nothing to disclose. We paid for all our trip expenses. We are not connected in any way with the owners or promoters of the establishments featured in this post.

P.S. What do you think of Puerto Galera’s White Beach? Please share your story in the Comments section.