There are few remaining secrets in the diving world and this hidden gem surely won’t stay a secret much longer. Puerto Galera, located on the island province of Mindoro, Philippines, is a rising star.

Puerto Galera diving has been getting much attention lately, so we decided to go check it out for ourselves. The small coastal town is surrounded by nature, offering a mix of tranquility, adventure, beautiful bays and endless beaches, all complemented by excellent snorkel and dive spots. Depending on your preference, you can stay in the more developed, lively area of Sebang or you can escape the crowds to the nearby White Beach area, which gives you ideal access to the Verde Island Passage. For this trip we decided to do just that and Marco Vincent Dive Resort (MV Dive) was our destination of choice.

To get to Puerto Galera, it’s about an hour-and-a-half drive from the international airport in Manila, followed by a 45-minute to one-hour boat ride to Mindoro. Once you arrive at the pier, you’re just a few minutes away from a sandy white beach and MV Dive resort. If you’re not travel savvy or feel at all hesitant about the trip, not to worry — MV Dive handles all of the transportation logistics.

Once arriving at MV Dive it was time to fill up our schedule with dives. Deciding where to start was a little overwhelming, as there are over 50 sites to choose from. But, based on the site descriptions and staff recommendations, we concluded that no matter our choice, we really couldn’t go wrong.

Located within the Coral Triangle, the Philippines’ macro diving stands out, and Puerto Galera definitely fulfills its reputation as a muck-diving mecca. We saw nudibranchs of all shapes and sizes, seahorses, ghost pipefish, painted frogfish and stargazers, just to name a few. In addition to the diverse macro life, the healthy reefs showcased a rainbow of soft and hard corals, and teemed with fish life, eels, sea snakes and cephalopods. There are even a few easily accessible wrecks at around 100 feet (30 m), adding to the endless variety of sites to choose from. The marine life is plentiful year-round and visibility stays consistent. Water temperatures can range from 77 to 80 F (25-27 C) during the summer and can drop as low as 70 F (21 C) in the winter, so plan ahead depending on when you’re visiting.

Topside Treasure

In addition to the bountiful local dive sites, be sure to take a trip over to the famous Verde Island. With direct access to the Verde Island passage, you’re about an hour away via boat from the island, where you’ll see the biodiversity of the Coral Triangle in its full glory. Recently, the California Academy of Science concluded a survey around Verde Island and identified 100 new fish, coral and nudibranchs. But we’ll cover this amazing island in more detail in another article.

We had an incredible experience diving with Marco Vincent around Puerto Galera, and were blown away by what this diving hotspot has to offer. There was no shortage of dives sites and, from what we were told, we barely scratched the surface.

In addition to what we explored, MV Dive also organizes a number of other trips, making a decision about what to choose even harder. A new liveaboard is almost finished as well, which will be starting trips to Tubbataha in May 2017. Photo buffs will want to check out MV Dive’s first-ever photography competition, during the last week of January 2017.  In short, there’s something for everyone both in Puerto Galera and at MV Dive.

By Kenzo Kiren

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