Aside from diving, snorkeling is also a popular activity in a tropical paradise like Puerto Galera.  Famous for its marine life and rock formations, Puerto Galera boasts several snorkeling sites with diverse aquatic ecosystems. Snorkeling is perfect for those who are not yet ready to dive but would like to encounter Puerto Galera’s amazing marine life.  Snorkeling, which is leisure more than a sport, does not require specific training. However, safety precautions should still be considered when snorkeling.

Be wary of Jet skis and Speedboats

When you are snorkeling, you are submerged into the water and sometimes you’re not aware that there are crafts around the area. It is advisable for you to wear bright suits so you can be easily spotted.

Drink Lots of H2O

Drink lots of water especially if you plan to snorkel for several hours. Dehydration may cause cramps. Fill up your cooler with water bottles and put it on the boat so you can drink in between snorkels.

Get a Comfortable Snorkeling Gear

Unlike in diving, you will only need fins, mask, and a snorkel for snorkeling. Make sure that the strap of the mask is at the widest part of your head and that the fins are snug but not too tight. Comfort and visibility are important factors when choosing a mask. It would be better if the mask has an anti-fog feature so things would be more visible.

Don’t Snorkel Alone

No matter how confident you are in snorkeling, it is still advisable to snorkel with a buddy. Don’t panic because this will cause hyperventilation or the state of breathing faster.  Hyperventilation reduces the levels of carbon dioxide in your body and thus, will cause you to faint or black out.

Relax When Snorkeling

Do not keep on kicking because this will only make you use up your energy. Keep your ankles relaxed to avoid cramping.

Wear Waterproof Sunscreen

Do not forget to put on waterproof sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. The sun can be scorching hot especially when you’re out of the water.  Put sunscreen even on a cloudy day since the UV rays can still penetrate the thickest clouds. Reapply in between snorkels.

Don’t Disturb the Marine Life

Be careful when snorkeling. Don’t step on the corals since they are fragile and can be very sharp. Also, it will take several years for a broken coral to grow back. Be careful not to step on sea urchins which have sharp spines. Don’t feed the marine life bread, chips, or other non-fish food because it’s not part of their diet.  Do not touch the marine life since you would not know what they are capable of doing.  Remember that you are just a visitor so learn to respect their territory.

Equalize your ears

If you begin feeling pressure in your ears, equalize them by holding your nose gently and blowing them.

It is fun to snorkel in a tropical place like Puerto Galera, where there is warm water and many interesting things to see. By just snorkeling, you are able to observe and marvel on the underwater life without schooling or complicated equipment.

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Your diving experience may be affected when you’re not equipped with the right scuba diving gear. Buying a complete scuba gear is not cheap so it’s better to make sure that you get the right gear that’s worth your every penny. Scuba diving gear comes in different shapes, styles, and sizes. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, it’s crucial for you to invest in a good scuba diving equipment to make their diving experience more enjoyable. You will need this equipment each time you go diving. Thus, it’s best for you to familiarize yourself with the gear before you purchase them.

Mask – Get a mask that is comfortable and fits you well. To know if the mask has the right fit, suck your mask through your nose without the straps and see if it stays in. Some masks have prescription lenses for those who need them. The mask should have a tempered glass that’s durable and a silicon seal to prevent water from flooding in. The nose section of the mask should be flexible enough for the diver when equalizing pressure.

Buoyancy Compensator Device (BCD) – Buoyancy Compensator Device is an air bladder that helps divers stay underwater with minimal effort. Divers’ buoyancy changes as they go deeper into the water. A safety device that every diver must have, BCDs allows divers to control their buoyancy. Research on the different brands and give it a try on the water before buying to know which brand will fit you well. There are several rental shops that offer a wide range of BCDs.

Snorkel – This will allow you to breathe through the surface. It helps you conserve energy while keeping your head submerged into the water. As diver, you should always remember to keep your snorkel or regulator in your mouth. The length and diameter of the barrel should be just right. For instance, if the barrel is too short, you would have to exert extra effort in purging the water out of the snorkel.  The snorkel should also fit comfortably in your mouth and alternates with the regulator.

Regulator - also called “demand valve”, the regulator reduces the pressure of the air coming from your tank to the ambient water pressure and supplies you breathing gas. It basically regulates the air flow throughout your scuba system. Since the regulator is one of the most important scuba gear, it is highly recommended that you buy than rent one. In addition, the comfort in using a regulator depends on your breathing pattern.

Dive Booties - Often made from neoprene or rubber, booties serve to protect your feet. Booties are sometimes integrated in drysuits and it will help keep your feet warm under water or prevent them from getting injured when walking out of the water. It also protects heels of your feet from getting scraped by the swim fins.

Swim Fins – Get fins to help you to propel and move efficiently into the deep waters. Men get fins same size as their shoes. Women, on the other hand, get 1 size smaller than their shoe size. If you plan on using booties with your swim fins you would have to buy swim fins that are one size larger.

Scuba Weights and Belts - These are the equipments needed to offset your tendency to float while you’re diving. This means this important equipment will help you maintain the right buoyancy so that you can dive comfortably. There are different types of scuba weights and belts. The weight system, which typically includes a nylon belt and the solid weights, should also depend on your BCD. For warm water diving, weight belts can be used. As for cold water diving in which dry suits are used, an integrated weight system and a weight belt is highly recommended.

Scuba Gauge – The scuba gauge gives you the information you need when diving. The main function of the gauge is to measure the depth and the amount of air supply. Other features of the gauge are the compass, which tells the diver the direction of the travel, and the thermometer, which tells the temperature of the water.  The gauge also has a timing device which can measure your time underwater.

Scuba Tanks -tanks may be made of steel or aluminum and have different sizes. Most dive shops have aluminum tanks for rent. The most common tanks, aluminum tanks are cheaper and float at the end of the dive. Because aluminum tanks are lighter and have the tendency to float when empty, divers have to add extra weight when using them. Steel tanks, on the other hand, are more durable and require less material to hold the pressure.

Scuba Suits - There are factors before purchasing a scuba suit. The temperature of the water, the quality and thickness of the neoprene and your level of activity will help you in deciding what kind of scuba suit you should buy. Scuba Suits reduce the water that flows from the water to your skin.

At 37c, our bodies are in their normal state. If the water is cooler than your body temperature, then your body temperature will drop. If it’s warmer than your body temperature, you will still need a suit with lighter insulation because the water may eventually make you feel cold. Drysuits are also recommended if the water temperature is below 15c. The drysuit is thicker and helps keep you warm.

Dive safely!

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For the budget conscious beach lovers, Puerto Galera will give you the easiest access to a quick and fun summer getaway. Just a 2 hr car ride from Manila and 50 minute boat ride from Batangas, Puerto Galera is a convenient place for relaxing. Anyone who would like to get away from the bustling city life would find this place a tropical treat.

Mermaid Dive Resort at Night

Mermaid Resort Facade

Our Trip

We fetched 16 Russian guests at the NAIA airport and because the group was big, we had to get 3 vans. 3 hours later, we reached Mermaid Resort in Sabang and the Russian guests were welcomed with Tanduay Rhum and fresh watermelon. The guests loved Tanduay so much that it took them only 10 minutes to finish 1 bottle.

Cream Dory Hollandaise

Cream Dory Hollandaise

As I eat my own dinner, I observe the Russians at the next table, drinking more Tanduay (their second bottle) and enjoying their fresh seafood meal. One thing I love about Mermaid resort is their scrumptious food. Because I’m a healthy eater, I love that the resort serves quite a number of healthy but tasty dishes. So for my first meal, I got the Cream Dory Hollandaise with Baked Potatoes.

Seafood is a popular choice in Mermaid Restaurant. Not only is it freshly caught, but it can also be cooked according to your taste. You can pick the seafood of your choice and ask the staff to cook the way you want it. Fresh seafood tastes best when it’s grilled.

There’s also a large selection of meat dishes for meat eaters. An all time favorite is the Pork Mozzarella with Parsley which is served with either salad or potatoes. The crunchiness of the breaded pork and the combination of parsley and mozzarella is mouthwatering!

Since Mermaid resort’s bar is open for 24 hours, I had the chance to try different cocktail concoctions. The Mudslide and Mai Tai are their bestsellers! Of course, I had to try the bartender’s specialty – Long Island Iced Tea!

Bar is 24 hours open

Bar is open for 24 hours

For our second day in Puerto Galera, we went to the Floating Bar – a bar that literally floats. We initially planned to snorkel around the bar but decided to chill and drink ice cold beer instead. Before heading back to the resort, we quickly roamed around the small town to eat Chicken BBQ and to shop for sarongs. For dinner, we feasted on both Chicken and Seafood Sinigang. The soup’s spicy flavor really compliments the tangy tamarind base.

Chicken Sinigang

Chicken Sinigang

We had an early breakfast on our last day because we had to go back to Manila with some Danish guests. On our boat ride to Manila, I was surprised to see dolphins gliding along the boat. Apparently, dolphins are a common sight. Puerto Galera truly has one of the most amazing natural harbors in the world.

Too bad we didn’t have time to go diving and marvel at Galera’s marine biodiversity. But all-in-all, I had a wonderful weekend in Sabang, Puerto Galera. I look forward to doing this again!

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Any diver is susceptible to seasickness. Seasickness, a form of motion sickness, can occur at any given time. This is brought about the rocking motion of a vessel wherein the objects also move with the motion of the vessel. Once it strikes, it may ruin your dive vacation. However, there’s a lot one can do to combat seasickness. It is something you can prevent if you prepare in advance.

Keep your eyes on the Horizon

Maintain a balance by keeping an eye on a land based object or on the distant horizon as a point of reference. Avoid looking at moving objects and do not bow down your head. If you can’t see the horizon and still feel dizzy, just close your eyes and relax. The feeling of anxiety will just heighten your feeling of nausea.  Distract yourself and keep your mind off the situation by talking to your dive buddy. Don’t talk to another person who’s also having motion sickness.

Nibble on Ginger

Ginger is a tried and tested natural remedy for seasickness. If you don’t like to munch on fresh ginger, take the ginger in capsule form or the pickled version. Ginger cookies and ginger candy are also good alternatives.

Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine

Alcohol and caffeine can irritate your digestive system.  Limit your alcohol consumption the night before you dive.  To keep yourself hydrated, drink lots of water as soon as you wake up.

Eat Healthy Foods

Avoid foods that are greasy and spicy because it will bring you discomfort later on. Eating healthy and safe meals will reduce the risk of seasickness. Keep something in your stomach so you won’t feel nauseous. Make sure you pack drinking water and snacks to take on board. While on the boat, munch on some crackers. Hunger or thirst can definitely make you queasy.

Take your Time

Take your time adjusting to the water before you jump in. Don’t force yourself to dive if you don’t feel comfortable. Seasickness might eventually fade as you descend into the water. However, don’t put yourself in a situation where you might throw up underwater.

Take Meds

If you know you are prone to seasickness, better consult a doctor before your dive trip so that he can give you the correct medications. Don’t just buy any OTC pills because some might have side effects like drowsiness.

Sit in Front of the Boat

Your position in the craft can prevent seasickness from occurring. It is advisable to sit in front and away from the engine because the fumes can make you more nauseous.

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Apart from snorkeling and diving, island hopping is a popular activity in Puerto Galera. Not only is Puerto Galera known for its amazing marine biodiversity, but it is also known for its blue waters and white sand. Vacationing families and groups of friends will find this place a tropical treat. Maximize your vacation in Puerto Galera by including island hopping in your itinerary.

Puerto Galera is made up of several pocket beaches. By taking a boat, so you can conveniently transfer from one island to another. Each place has its own charm. As you go along your tour, you can experience different activities. Here are some spots to visit on your island hopping tour:

A popular spot among tourists is Coral Garden. With its shallow waters, Coral Garden is a perfect place for snorkeling and underwater photography. Beginner divers can also enjoy this place because they are able to encounter a wide variety of marine life. Snorkeling gear can be rented for only $2.

Big La Laguna Beach is known for its fine white sand and crystal clear blue waters. Since the water is steady, it’s a great place for water activities. Go kayaking or jet skiing around La Laguna Bay. Have a picnic or barbeque feast by the shore with your family and friends. Bask in the sun or take a dip into the cool waters of La Laguna Beach.

White Beach is popular among tourists not only because of its active night life, but also because of the several establishments sprouting everywhere in the area. These establishments such as dive centers, resorts, restaurants, and shops are convenient for tourists. White beach is also a busy beach for water activities like sailing, fly fish, and banana boat rides. This place is packed especially during summer. Majority of the crowds in White beach are young people who want to have a good time.

Sabang Beach is famous for its amazing diving and snorkeling spots but there are other activities this place can offer. You can go motorbiking around town or grab a few drinks at the Floating Bar. Buy fresh seafood at the market and ask the resort staff to cook them for you.

If you want somewhere peace and quiet, Boquete is a perfect hideaway for you. Some believe the place is named such because it looks like a boquet of flowers when viewed from above. Enjoy privacy in this island as if it’s your own. Go snorkeling in the clear waters of this place and be amazed by the hard and soft corals.

Haligi Beach, another uninhabited island in Puerto Galera, is an ideal romantic getaway for couples. Have a romantic cruise and then a candlelit dinner and drink wine at the beach. Friends and families will also enjoy Haligi Beach since this secluded island is a good place for picnic lunch.

Island hopping in Puerto Galera will last you a day. Whether you’re a beach lover or an adventure seeker, you will truly enjoy island hopping in Puerto Galera. With only a couple of hours to spare, you can have a taste of the different islands and learn new interesting things about each place.

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