Imagine waking up on an island in the Philippines to the sound of the sea lapping outside your window. A place where your most difficult choice is whether to tour the white sandy beaches on a yacht or stay in and rock on the balcony swing-seat.
If you enjoy sailing, you can set up a yacht tour around the coast with a picnic and stop at one of the beaches and coral coves around the island of Mindoro. Sail out of the cove to one of the many commercial beaches to go diving – Mindoro is famous for its stunning coral gardens, the shallow waters being ideal for beginners. Or explore one of the quiet beaches that dot the coast, and bring a picnic for the day.
Many of the beaches remain inaccessible by road. It’s a delight to find small coves and beaches where you can snorkel with no other tourists in sight. A number of regattas are held by the yacht club at different times of the year and yacht races are held on Fridays and followed by barbecues at the Puerto Galera yacht club.
Yacht Charter Philippines is a sailing outfit in Puerto Galera on Mindoro Island. Its sailing holiday packages include accommodation in one of two secluded and luxurious oceanside villas and the charter of a 36-foot cruiser-racer yacht.
The calm waters of this port were discovered by the Spanish in the early 16th century as a safe haven for trading ships during typhoons. It is a peninsula on the northern shore of Mindoro Island, with some 42 kilometres of rugged coastline. The area abounds with stunning white beaches, tall cliffs, pristine coral reefs, dramatic diving locations, and a lively nightlife. Puerto Galera Bay and Dalaruan Bay are considered to be the best natural harbour in the Philippines and among the loveliest in the world. Three mountains rise above Puerto Galera, providing excellent hiking among tropical rainforests and waterfalls.
Popular destinations include the Ponderosa Golf Club, an amazing nine-hole course with dramatic panoramic views from jungly mountaintops. Bring plenty of balls to tackle the 30-foot drops between greens. You can also explore the hinterland, the python cave, virgin forests, the Tamaraw waterfalls, or hot springs. Rent a motorcycle or, for more comfort, a jeep.
The two secluded villas are in Dalaruan on the waterfront of Sabang Peninsula. Both houses are of dramatic design with extensive verandahs. The Boathouse villa has three bedrooms while the Oceanside has six. They have a private dock and yacht moorings, and a resident caretaker family takes care of housework, shopping and cooking. Separate accommodation is provided for the staff.
Yacht Charter Philippines operates two yachts, both 36-foot sloops.
Rags is a Bruce Farr 1104 built in 1983. It has seven berths and won the Philippine President’s Cup twice. It is fitted with new Kevlar sails, a new Yanmar 29HP engine, and a fractional swept-spreader rig.
Sandoway is a Sydney BH 36, and is more of a hi-tech racing yacht, but also spacious and comfortable for cruising. It has a masthead rig, and horizontal spreaders. Sandoway won the prestigious 2007 Boracay Race Series.
The yachts are commonly used for day sailing anywhere between Subic Bay, Manila and Puerto Galera. Many guests prefer to stay overnight in Dalaruan villas or at one of the many inexpensive beach resorts found everywhere. Skilled Filipino crew will become good friends and valuable assets.
Sail training is also offered. This can vary from basic training in dinghies to advanced sailing in the Sydney 36, including reaching and running techniques, and downwind jibing practice.
Each group should include at least one experienced yachtsman. Some details of yachting experience and ownership should be submitted in advance. Assistance to Puerto Galera from Manila will be provided (at your cost). The trip involves about two hours by road, and one hour by ferry, crossing the spectacular Verde Island Passage.
Scuba diving and snorkelling are offered at 40 dive sites that can be reached within 10 to 30 minutes from most dive centres, which offer courses for beginners and professionals.
Places to Sail
Most charter groups stay around the brilliant scenery and prime anchorages of the Puerto Galera and northern Mindoro areas. You can make day trips and overnight stays to the white beaches of Mindoro and Maricaban Islands.
There are great bars and restaurants along the commercial side of the island. And once you tire of the bigger yacht, you can take the Hobiecat out for some fast sailing or hire motorbikes from town to go up the dirt track road.
End the holiday with a sail back to Manila Yacht Club, which takes about 15 hours with plenty of beaches to anchor at and stars to sleep under.
A villa, yacht, Hobie 16, 40HP runabout, Mirror dinghy, and kayak for groups of up to six costs US$250 per day with a surcharge of US$35 for each additional guest. (There is no charge for children). Breakfast is included.
Things to do in Puerto Galera
The port and the island offer plenty to occupy your time. Beaches are scattered along the coast, but only some of them are accessible by road. You may want to:
• Take the outboard dinghy to picnic at one of the deserted beaches that are inaccessible by road
• Sail the yacht around the coast to White Beach to watch its famous sunset
• Dive in some of the most beautiful coral gardens in Asia
• Play an extraordinary nine holes of golf on a course built into the hillside
• Climb up to the waterfalls and visit the villages of the remote Mangyan tribes
• Try the restaurants around the island or enjoy fresh sushi at the Puerto Galera Yacht Club