I am pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Deborah, a member of the Solo Travel Society. Deborah is from the United States and submitted the following report about Sabang Beach in Puerto Galera, Philippines. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo travel rating: 1.5 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Languages spoken: Tagalog, English
Reasons to Visit Puerto Galera
I'm a solo female traveler. Rather than hang out with other tourists, I met some friendly guides on the beach. They took notice of me because I was a female traveling solo, which apparently is uncommon. I saw relatively few female tourists during the 3 weeks I was there. They would recognize me and say hello every time I passed them on the beach.
One of the guides invited me to join her friends at Miles Videoke. I was warned in advance of my arrival that the locals would expect the Westerner to pay, and that was true in this case. At 600 pesos for a group of 7 – which included food, drinks, and videoke – I didn't grumble.
I met some wonderful friends that night. We did various things together around the greater Puerto Galera area. They negotiated fares for tricycle taxis so I got a cheaper rate. One of them invited me to a home-grilled fish dinner at her (very humble) home on the hill. Afterwards, we did videoke across the dirt road and I spent the night in the house of her landlords. They offered their home to me should I ever visit again. I had a wonderful time and we still keep in touch.
Another local, a man who worked at my hotel, introduced me to snorkeling. I was able to go by myself after that with no problem. You can also hire a bunca to drag you around in the water at Coral Gardens and feed the fish with bread in your hands. The floating bar (when in season) also offers great snorkeling.
You can take a one-day diving course, which includes an actual dive. The price includes all the equipment as well.
I stayed at Down Under, and Gemma, the owner, is very friendly. While difficult to find (I was shown by one of my local friends), the room was clean and had a beautiful view of the water. Rooms now are less than US$20 a night.
If you travel here, you will not be getting around in a car. There are Jeepneys which take you into town and other places. Or, you can take a motorcycle taxi or tricycle. They are readily available and if you look like you are going somewhere, the touts will approach you.
Sabang Beach is a very small area, with only a few busy streets. The streets look more like walkways, but are actually roads open to delivery vans and motorcycles, as well as Jeepneys. You can take a Jeepney into Puerto Galera city from there.
Be sure to speak to the tour guides on the beach about taking the Puerto Galera tour. On the tour you will walk across 6 rivers to a swimming spot where you'll be served the most delicious barbecue you've ever had. Then, you'll ride a carabao cart back to the van before visiting a village of aboriginal filipinos.
If you are looking for Western men to hang out with, this is not the place to go. Along with the diving and snorkeling, the men also come to enjoy the local dancers. There are 5 such clubs on the beach. I enjoyed watching the dancers at Broadway, which is upstairs from a dance club called the Venue.
I spent my last night celebrating my new friends at Miles Videoke, then on to the Venue disco. In the morning, my two closest friends met me on the beach and saw me off as I got onto the ferry. Beautiful experience. Beautiful people.
Solo Travel Destination Rating System
Safety – 1 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language – 2 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 2 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 1.5 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult)