LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO STAY IN
I searched the internet for good, affordable places to stay in Puerto Galera. Deal Grocer had a tempting promo for a 3D 2N stay at Coco Beach Island Resort–around P4,000 with free breakfast for two. What made it tempting was the myriad activities the resort had to offer, most of them for free. Examples are soap making, badminton, swimming lessons, chess–you can check out the complete list here. We almost paid for it, but the deal breaker was the fact that we had to spend another P250 for a boat ride to the resort. Next time, maybe. I looked some more and stumbled upon Apartelle de Francesca on Trip Advisor. No negative reviews! I immediately inquired about their rooms and learned of their sem break promo: P3,600 for a 3D 2N stay for two in their Junior Suite Room A, inclusive of breakfast. Now that’s a great deal. They responded promptly and courteously to our inquiries, be it via email or text message. Our trip was originally set for November 8, but then Yolanda happened, so we postponed it to the following week.
MANILA TO PUERTO GALERA
We took a bus to Batangas Port at the JAM Liner terminal in Buendia. Regular fare is P167 per head. The trip took two hours. Upon arrival, we headed straight to terminal 3, heeding Apartelle de Francesca’s advice to avoid fixers, of which there were a lot. Just ignore them and walk straight ahead like I did even if it was my first time to go there. It’s cheaper to buy round trip ferry tickets from Batangas Port to Puerto Galera and vice versa (P270 one way vs. P500 round trip), so round trip tickets are the way to go. Don’t forget to confirm your ticket with your ferry’s agents on Puerto Galera one day before heading back, though. And you’ll be charged P50 environmental fee and P30 terminal fee in addition to the ticket, so don’t be surprised.
It was uncomfortable in the ferry because it was hot and cramped. I recommend taking one Bonamin 30 minutes before the journey to prevent seasickness. Imagine what a mess vomit would make in a hot and cramped ferry, where you’ll have to sit for an hour. Ugh.
APARTELLE DE FRANCESCA
Anyway, we eventually disembarked on White Beach. From there, the ferry company offered a free shuttle service to your resort or wherever you want to be dropped off. Goody! We got off right at Apartelle de Francesca’s reception area. A staff member welcomed us with refreshing drinks and oriented us about their policies, after which we were showed to our room. Here are some photos!
I really liked the room; it had a homey feel to it. There was also lots of sunlight during the day! The air conditioner worked perfectly; it cooled the room without making it chilly. There were two other rooms there, the bathroom with a hot and cold shower and what used to be a kitchen.
They have a free water station at the dining area, so hooray! No need to keep buying bottles of water. They also have a pool table, where I sort of learned how to play. I suck at it, but hey, at least I now know how!
Breakfast is served in the dining area. Coffee, toast, and egg may not sound much on paper, but what we actually got was three pieces of thick buttered toast, two sunny side up eggs (my favorite!), and a cup of coffee. One time we took breakfast late, and we were still full by lunchtime.
FOOD TRIP SA GALERA
After settling in and resting for a bit, we went out for an extremely late lunch. The key to our room hung from a lanyard, so I just wore it around my neck in order not to lose it. The walk from Francesca to the beachfront takes around 5 minutes. I looked for Food Trip sa Galera after reading about it on a blog. It’s very easy to find; just wander along the beachfront.
The place features an open kitchen where you can see the staff doing their stuff (lol). It’s open for 24 hours and offers unlimited rice for all rice meals. Great for hungry stomachs!
Here’s a shot of one part of the menu to give you an idea of their food and price range.
Of course, being the bacon lover that I am, I ordered Bacon Overload. I’d have preferred sunny side up and fried rice, but I can’t complain about all that bacon. Mmmm.
However, their BBQ Baby Back Ribs were really good, even better than bacon! The meat was tender and fell off the bone. It was the right mix of sweet and salty. The BBQ sauce on the side made it even more flavorful. And you can’t go wrong with salted egg…yum yum!
WHAT WE DID THERE
If you have the money, you can snorkel, dive, ride a motorboat, etc etc while you’re there. But we just chilled inside our room, watching movies, then going out at night to take a dip in the beach then in the pool. I like night swimming better.
It’s normal to walk around in a swimsuit there. Besides, I only went out at night so I didn’t need cover ups. Haha! There are a lot of people at the beachfront at night, drinking and eating and watching what entertainment the several bars have to offer.
I highly recommend Kheting’s (?) bar because of the super friendly staff, but don’t get the Sweet ‘n’ Love drink. After a pitcher of that stuff, all I got was a full bladder. It was delicious, sure, but I was looking for something that actually had alcohol in it. Haha! Do get their tokwa’t baboy (pork and tofu in soy sauce and vinegar), though! For only P150, you get a big bowl! I think a serving is good for four.
THE LAST DAY AND FINAL THOUGHTS
The staff of Apartelle de Francesca are truly courteous and friendly like the reviewers on Trip Advisor said. I highly recommend the place! They gave us visors as souvenirs of our stay, then they brought us back to the beachfront via tricycle for free. We waited there for the ferry back to Batangas Port. We were charged P10 per head before riding; I have no idea what the P10 was for. From there, it was another hour to Batangas then two hours to Manila, and the rest is history.
I had a great time in Puerto Galera even if I didn’t snorkel, dive, ride a banana boat, or get a henna tattoo. I enjoy the beach and the pool very much even if I don’t know how to swim! It was fun to just chill and walk around, too. I will definitely go back someday during the off-peak season.