How to Travel to Puerto Galera from Manila Using Public Transport - Bluewater Dive Travel
How to Travel to Puerto Galera from Manila Using Public Transport

How to Travel to Puerto Galera from Manila Using Public Transport

how to travel to PUERTO GALERA from manila using PUBLIC TRANSPORT

By Tim Yeo, Bluewater Travel


Traveling domestically via public transportation in a foreign country may seem daunting at first, but it is relatively easy to use public transport in the Philippines as most Filipinos speak English fluently. The country has an extensive network of public transport options comprised of domestic flights, rail, buses, taxis, and especially ferries, since the Philippines is made up of more than 7,000 islands. Public transportation in the Philippines is mostly reliable, although it can seem a little chaotic for most Westerners. Here is my personal experience traveling using public transportation from my hotel in Manila to my dive resort in Puerto Galera via Batangas.

getting from Manila to batangas

I left my hotel in the Newport World Resorts area located right next to NAIA International Airport at 6:15 am and got a Grab car to Buendia bus terminal in Manila. 'Grab' is the dominant ride-hailing app in the Philippines so downloading the Grab app before your arrival is highly recommended. Taxis are also easy to flag down if that is your preference.

I arrived at the Jac Liner terminal at Buendia bus terminal at 6:45 am to catch the 7:00 am bus from Manila to Batangas Pier. Buses leave every hour on the hour. The destination of each bus is posted on the front window, so it is easy to find the correct bus going to your desired destination.


JAC Liner bus terminal in Buendia Bus Ticket 

JAC Liner bus terminal in Buendia & Bus ticket


There is storage for your big bags, and you can bring your smaller carry-on bag on the bus with you. There is AC on the buses but no restrooms or Wi-Fi. Board the bus and find a seat while you wait for the departure time. My bus was about 75% full and departed at 7:05 am. After the bus departs, the bus conductor will come around to all guests and give you a ticket for the destination you are going to. After he is done giving everyone a ticket, he then comes back around to collect the fare. My fare from Manila to Batangas Pier was 260 PHP, which is about 5 USD at the current exchange rate.

The bus arrived at the Batangas Pier at 9:55 am after a couple of quick stops. There was a little traffic getting out of Manila, but the freeway was clear all the way south to Batangas.

getting from batangas to puerto galera

Avoid the porters swamping the bus as you disembark unless you want some help carrying your bags to the terminal. I walked 2 minutes to the Batangas ferry terminal and purchased a 10 am ferry ticket to Puerto Galera with Montenegro Lines. There is also another ferry company called Island Water, but their 10 am ferry is a slow ferry (RORO ferry).


The new Batangas Port Batangas Port ticket counters 

(Left) The new Batangas Port. (Right) Batangas Port ticket counters.

Ferry ticket and terminal fee Large waiting area 

(Left) Ferry ticket and terminal fee. (Right) Large waiting area.


The newly built ferry terminal has AC and a number of shops to get food and drink, including Seattle's Best Coffee. There is also free Wi-Fi in the terminal, but you will need a local number to get a one-time password to log in. The new terminal is not yet complete as there is still construction ongoing, but it is shaping up to be a nice, comfortable, and modern ferry terminal.

My ferry ticket cost 612 PHP (11 USD). After you purchase the ferry ticket, you have to go to another counter to purchase a terminal fee ticket, which costs 30 PHP (0.50 USD).

After a quick security check, I walked over to one of the boarding gates to wait for my ferry. There is no gate number or TV screen that shows which boarding gate your ferry is departing from, so you will have to listen to the announcements made in English. In the large waiting area, there are restrooms, water fountains, and even a free charging station, but all the restaurants are located before you pass the security check. Boarding started 30 minutes before departure.


Montenegro’s small fast ferry Comfortable seats inside Arrival in Puerto Galera

(Left) Montenegro’s small fast ferry. (Centre) Comfortable seats inside. (Right) Arrival in Puerto Galera.


Boarding the ferry was very easy. There are also porters around if you need help bringing your bags from the gate to the ferry. The ferry has AC, male and female restrooms, and seats are assigned with your seat number on your ferry ticket.

My ferry left at 10:10 am. The fast ferry is not a big ferry. My ride was smooth, but if conditions are bad, I could see the ride being quite bumpy. Passengers who are prone to seasickness should take their seasickness medication as needed.

I disembarked from the ferry in Puerto Galera at 11:10 am. My tuk-tuk transport, which was arranged by my resort, was waiting for me with a sign with my name on it as I walked out of the terminal. There is a 120PHP (2USD) environmental fee that needs to be paid by all tourists as they exit the terminal. My tuk-tuk driver drove me 20 minutes to the Sabang Pier, and I boarded my dive boat to bring me 5 minutes to the dive resort. I arrived at the dive resort just before noon.


Ferry ticket and terminal fee On my way to my dive resort via Tuk Tuk 

(Left) Environmental Usage Fee. (Right) On my way to my dive resort via Tuk Tuk.


How long does it take to get from Manila to Puerto Galera using public transport? Hotel door to hotel door, it took me just under 6 hours to get from Manila to Puerto Galera at a total cost of 24USD. It was effortless to navigate and quite comfortable, and I can recommend it for guests who are slightly more adventurous, would like to save a little money, and do not have a lot of luggage.

Getting from puerto galera to manila (via batangas)

For the way back, I checked with the reception what time the ferries were leaving and chose the 7:15 am ferry with Montenegro Lines from Balatero back to Batangas. There is a 9:00 am fast ferry with Island Water, but that would get me to Batangas more than an hour later. I walked 5 minutes from my resort to Sabang town to meet my pre-booked tuk-tuk to take me 20 minutes back to Balatero port.


Montenegro office in Balatero Ticket counter in the office 

(Left) Montenegro office in Balatero. (Right) Ticket counter in the office.

Balatero Port in Puerto Galera Waiting area inside Balatero port 

(Left) Balatero Port in Puerto Galera. (Right) Waiting area inside Balatero port.


I was dropped off at the Montenegro ferry office, where I purchased a ticket for 612PHP (11USD) and walked 2 minutes to the terminal to pay the 10PHP (0.20USD) terminal fee and sat in the mildly air-conditioned room until boarding time, 15 minutes before departure.


Larger Montenegro ferry Ferry ticket and terminal fee 

(Left) Larger Montenegro ferry. (Right) Ferry ticket and terminal fee.

Lounge area inside the ferry There are also regular seats 

(Left) Lounge area inside the ferry. (Right) There are also regular seats.


The ferry arrived back at Batangas pier at 8:20 am. Public buses were waiting at the bus terminal just outside the ferry terminal, and you simply had to look for the buses going to Buendia terminal. All the buses have signs on the front window indicating where they are headed.


Batangas Bus Terminal 

Batangas Bus Terminal


Pro-tip: there are no more restrooms (called Comfort Rooms in the Philippines) after you disembark from the ferry, so use the ones on the ferry to tide you over until you get back to Manila. The bus leaves every hour on the hour, so I managed to catch the 9 am bus back to Buendia. We got back to the Buendia bus terminal at 11 am, even with Manila traffic. There were plenty of taxis where the bus dropped us off, but I chose to order a Grab car to bring me to my hotel.

other travel options from manila to puerto galera

Divers can get from Manila to Puerto Galera via a fully private option, a semi-private option, or even a semi-private shared option that is confirmed one day prior to arrival in Puerto Galera. There are lots of options available, so contact the experts at Bluewater Travel, and we can book your accommodation and diving package in Puerto Galera and guide you through all the different options to find the most suitable one for your trip.



Liveaboards in Puerto Galera

Our Diving in Puerto Galera Guide

Guide to the best diving in the Philippines.


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