04.12.2011 – 06.12.2011 Rainy 30 °C
Next day we packed up and set off. We had planned to visit Lake Taal (a lake on an island in the crater of a volcano) but the torrential rain pouring when we left changed our minds so decided to head straight to Puerta Galera and see Taal on our return, none of us really fancied trekking up a mountain in the rain. A two-hour bus ride and an hours boat ride later we arrived in Puerto Galera town, the northern gateway to Mindoro. Tip; if Filipinos approach you at Batangas dock offering to help you on your way, politely refuse, we gave a guy a 100P tip for his ‘assistance’ and got ripped off for a further 50P each for our friendliness but didn’t realise until we were on the boat.
There wasn’t much there, a few bars which we decided to stop in and have a beer. five drinks later it was getting dark so thought we’d better sort ourselves out, the four of us jumping on two tricycles and hammering it 15km east to Sabang, which sounded like a nice place. It was. Sabang has a very small town which you walk through to get to the beach. The beach is nothing to shout about but it was in it’s own cove, almost like a harbour with no boats which made it look attractive, especially at night. We found a place to stay right at the western tip, Reynaldos, 1100P a night for a two bedroom apartment, equalled 550P each. Good deal. However time was short because Ram only had two weeks so we checked out after two nights, one of those being spent out on the piss and the other out for a seafood dinner. I didn’t know it at the time but this is probably the best place in Northern Mindoro. If you’re up that way; definitely go.
06.12.2011 – 08.12.2011 Sunny 28 °C
Moving to White Beach involved a tricycle ride back to Puerto Galera town then a further 10km or so west. Haggling with the tricycle drivers was proving difficult, after spending considerable time in one place you know how much things are, including tricycle rides, although the Filipinos weren’t playing ball. We eventually settled on 300P for the trip, but all four of us on one tricycle so we could split it 50/50. We were lucky to get there, upon reaching any hills it was a struggle to get up them, the bike was screaming, the driver was leaning forward trying to push his weight to the front, or just willing the bike on, I don’t know and the heat from the tank was blinding. We did make it though and checked in for two nights at Tamaraw Beach Resort at 700P a night. Ram and Karen got a cottage for 1500P a night (they were on holiday). Not bad but to call the place a resort is a bit of a misnomer. We were staying in a block of rooms built next to the beach which had all the charm of a council estate in Hackney and there was various building work going on outside where they were erecting another building. For 700P though you can’t complain. Food was cheap and of a reasonable standard. We spent the first day on the beach and had dinner there. The second, again we were on the beach, Ram hiring a jet ski out. He was trying his best to get me to go on it but I wasn’t too interested. I caved in however when his half hour must have seemed like an eternity for him on his own out there so I jumped on the back for the last 10 minutes. Glad I did, it was good fun, I nearly came off once. That afternoon we headed to Puerta Galero town once more to look for something to do. The initial plan was to go round the market but it started pissing down so we ended up in Badladz bar getting drunk and playing shithead (it’s a card game). Was good, I had the best Nachos I’ve tried (a must if you’re there). We decided to head over to Puerto Galera Yacht Club which Ram had read about in the Lonely Planet. Sounded good, fresh fish, pool table etc so we hailed the exclusive boat that takes you three minutes to the other side of the water, it was more like a raft but did the job, and walked up the plank to see what was there. Nobody and nothing really. It had the pool table and there was a girl behind the counter with the female chef, and that was it, no one else. We asked what ‘fresh fish’ were available and caught the chef opening the freezer. We had 3 games of pool, two beers and left. After the Nachos being so good, we headed back to Badladz for a Mexican (random, I know) and, just like the Nachos, it was bloody good. We consumed more beers and headed back to White Beach to ready ourselves for the trip to Borocay. White Beach’s beach isn’t so white but better than Sabang’s, not much else there.