Postscript: Puerto Galera (April 23-25, 2011)

As you know, I immensely enjoyed my trip to Boracay. I was never a fan of the beach but after seeing the clear waters and the white sands of Boracay Island, I was in love. So in love that I put a picture of a gorgeous beach as my laptop wallpaper and kept staring at my tan (which eventually peeled, gross). I wanted to go back to the beach, any beach, that I was delighted when my mom announced we were going to Puerto Galera for the weekend. Take note that this happened just a week after Boracay. I was thrilled. Imagine going to two summer destinations in one month!

I like Boracay better but Galera has its charms. The beach was also beautiful and inspiring. However, most of the people were locals and the food was more affordable. I knew that it was gay paradise but I didn’t expect the deluge of gay boys. I think more than half of the Galera crowd were gay. My sister and I tried to figure out the science behind it but eventually forgot about it because we discovered a new sport – kayaking.

We stayed in a private resort which made our stay fun. I enjoyed the company and even met some great people. It was a perfect way to unwind and enjoy the weekend before my trip to China.

Postscript: Accomodations

We stayed at Aninuan Resort, an exclusive resort with its own beach strip in Sunset Beach, next to White Beach. It was a welcome break from the crowded Boracay scene and I had as much fun even without so many people. It had a wonderful view of the sea and I got to really relax.

Tables for meals. In the background are the rooms for rent. The resort is cozy because it’s private and everybody knows each other.

A view of the sea from the lounge chairs and “egg” chairs. I’m not sure what you call them but they look like the Caribbean version of those egg chairs on Mars Attacks!

The resort has a lot of palm trees so it wasn’t that hot. We spent a lot of time just lounging around ordering drinks and snacks.

The private strip of beach. I’m not sure if it’s owned by Aninuan because there are other people but it’s still peaceful and secluded.

It isn’t called Sunset Beach for nothing!

The rooms were modest but I’ve never been particular with accommodations. As long as the bathroom’s beautiful and the place is safe, I’m fine with that. My only issue was the blackout that happened one night that lasted until morning. It was terrible. The picture is of a view from our balcony.

Like Boracay, the sands were white but the water wasn’t as clear. But it was a lovely shade of blue and I spent a lot of time just staring at it.

The shore was rocky, a stark contrast to the almost-bare Boracay, where I only found dried corals (I even found two shaped like a penis and I gave one to Don Jaucian). Some of the stones were beautiful and I took them home to put in a vase. I changed my mind when I dipped into the sea – there were a lot more rocks and I hurt myself a couple of times.

I highly recommend Aninuan Resort if you want an escape from the crazy Puerto Galera scene or life in general. The place is cozy and homey and everyone is accomodating. I even got to meet the owner, Lexy Neiderer and one of her sons, Tino. The food can be expensive but it’s because most of her clients are foreigners so her prices are dollar-based. If you want cheap eats, you can go to White Beach, a tricycle ride away. But nothing beats the peaceful environment and the gorgeous beachview of Aninuan Resort.

You may contact Lexy Neiderer at this website.

Postscript: Activities

Because of the seclusion, there wasn’t much room for activities. Water activities were limited to kayaking but there was a recreation room with board games, some books, and a billiard and foosball table.

My brother, sister and I spent most of our stay exploring the beach, walking along the shore and admiring the sea. We would look at stones and keep the nice ones and dip in the sea.

My brother, that wonderful jack-of-all-trades discovered a new sport – stone skipping. Sophie (sister) was good at it so Yuji (brother) decided to learn the ancient art. He managed to learn but I failed majestically. I spent the time taking pictures while they skipped stones.

But we all discovered a new sport – kayaking. It was great exercise for the arms and it was a lot of fun rowing to the deep ends of the beach. We even dared to kayak to White Beach and just grab a few drinks but decided not to because we had to pass by a rocky part of the sea and it was windy.

On the second day, I decided to row alone. It was a lot easier than rowing in pairs because you’re in full control. But it’s scary because you’re lighter and it’s easier to tip over. I have a morbid fear of the deep parts of the sea so it wasn’t comforting to see vague shapes moving under the water. But kayaking was a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to trying it again.

One night, we got to meet Max, a 15 year old Dutch boy who offered to play poker with us. He’s seven years younger than I am but taller than me, and his voice is deeper. He’s kind of cute and we still exchange messages on Facebook. From what I know, he is about to enter college in Amsterdam. We also got to play with Tino, the resort owner’s son, a fast-talking, half-German banker from Switzerland. He was really jolly and invited me and Sophie for drinks with his friends but we had to turn him down because Sophie was tired. Yuji, a 12 year old beginner managed to beat all of us, even Tino, the expert.

That boy. He’s going to make us rich.

Postscript: White Beach

A Galera visit wouldn’t be complete without a trip to White Beach, one of the famous spots in the municipality of Oriental Mindoro. I knew that there was going to be a lot of gay guys there but I didn’t expect the deluge of glitter and rainbows when I arrived there.

Notice the IQ poster with the colors of the rainbow? It promotes a sort of bathhouse in Pasay City. This poster alone shows the accepting atmosphere of White Beach. My sister and I tried to debate the science behind why so many gay guys go here during the summer. We also debated the meaning of this curiously-named bar.

A sample of Galera’s gay scene. There was even a hostel where all the guests seemed to be gay. I swear, the place is so fabulous (note the lisp) that at one point, I heard one stall playing Madonna’s Sorry while another played Vogue. For a second there, I thought I found heaven.

Unlike its more upscale counterpart (Boracay), Puerto Galera offers tons of cheap eats. The beach strip is lined with bars, restaurants and stalls that sell everything from buko juice to articles of clothing. I didn’t really like the stuff they sold, which were typical tiangge finds. I did buy anklets for me and my siblings, which we still wear now. If men in Boracay peddle water activities, here they peddle pearls, accessories and darts. I think the stuff they sell are authentic because they have IDs issued by the DTI (assuming these are authentic).

While the shopping was disappointing, the food was incredible. We ate at a joint called Crazy Gurl. Don’t ask.

The beach was okay. The sands weren’t white but it had a lovely consistency.

I might stay in White Beach the next time I go to Puerto Galera. I love the serenity of Aninuan Resort but sometimes it’s nice to be at the heart of the action. Plus it’s nice to go to Galera because everything is cheap from the lodging to food. I even saw a spot where you can rent a tent for P300 a night. However, if I push through with visiting the beach again, I’m going with my friends. It doesn’t seem to be a family oriented place.

Nota bene: I’m going here when I’m single.

Postscript: Buri

On our last day, we went to Buri Resort, another exclusive joint that’s far from the hotspots of Puerto Galera. It’s so secluded that it has its own island (I think) and you have to ride a yacht to access it. We had drinks with the owner, who is one of our companion’s friends.

The gates to one of the most beautiful resorts I’ve seen. Ever.

The resort even has a dock that offers a majestic view of the sea. Perfect for soul-searching, which my sister and I did while standing and admiring the view.

The resort’s pool area. Doesn’t it look inviting?

One of the villas for rent. What I love about the place is that it’s covered with trees. Would you believe that the owner employs only two gardeners to maintain the entire resort?

The staircase leads to more villas. We were asked to look around but my sister and I talked about pressing matters so we only got to see the outside.

Us with the owner of the resort. She’s second from left. She’s a quiet and sophisticated woman who’s a little shy. But her resort is just breathtaking.

Buri Spa and Resort is perfect if you want to really unwind and escape from everything. It’s so secluded that you’re almost cut off from everyone else and it gives you an opportunity to reflect or spend time with a special someone. It’s perfect for writers who need an extra touch of inspiration without the hassle of real life.

You may contact Buri here.