How to Return to Manila from Puerto Galera

How to Return to Manila from Puerto Galera

Philippines / Oriental Mindoro

While it may seem like getting back to Manila from Puerto Galera would be a simple reversal of my directions in the article "How to get to Puerto Galera From Manila", be forewarned, they are not!

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While the return trip is not too much more difficult, there are some complications that can certainly throw you off, if not ultimately cost you more money on the return voyage. This article is focused on getting you back as cost effectively as possible, but taking all options into consideration so that you can make your own path.

Getting back to Batangas Pier

Depending on where you stayed and are returning from, there are many different operators and schedules for this trip, so be sure to know the schedule and make your plans at least a day a head of time. I stayed in the much quieter dive resort town of Sabang Beach and their pier had just three daily trips to Batangas in the month of November. The resort that I stayed at was glad to provide free transportation to the town pier so make sure to start there. Most hotels and resorts will be glad to give you the entire schedule and present you with your options. Easy.

Once at the pier, you will buy your ticket (240p) and get into the queue. There should not be any more fees at this point. One thing is for sure they will NEVER leave early because they want to fill those boats! Rumor has it that they are also frequently late. Now, I am not advocating cutting it close, but I showed up a mere 15 min before the advertised departure time and I didn't board the boat until 25 minutes after it.

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This is the part that is most likely to make your head spin. Once you disembark, you will have your choice of vendors to spend money on.nThis is a perfect place to use the restroom, load up on snacks, drinks, or a quick meal from the street vendors; then make your way through the terminal and meet the vultures.

Once outside of terminal three, you will be greeted by offers to get back to Manila via taxi. WTF! I nearly laughed in the guys face, though I should have kept better composure and asked how much he proposed it cost. No matter what the answer, KEEP WALKING. Manila is over 100K away so a cab would be a silly, and very expensive way to get back... but it IS an option if you choose.
Even if you opt out of the taxi to Manila, you will still have the option of taking one to the terminal. This is probably a good option if you are tired or have a lot of bags, though it will cost you far more than the next two options: a trike or a jeepney. Taking a trike from here will certainly cost you 300p or more, but it is a 5km ride on a 'less than comfortable' trike. I would advise against this unless you enjoy the smell of diesel exhaust at face level, not to mention the lack of bag space.

To save the most money, and to get the full experience of The Philippines, I recommend taking a 1k walk up the road (Rizal Ave) from the pier exit to the first traffic light, which is the intersection with DJPMM Access Rd. This busy corner will have plenty more trike drivers presenting offers to take you to the terminal for as little as 150p, just remember about the whole diesel exhaust smell. Also, remember that you've only walked off 1k of a 5k ride, which would be very uncomfortable on a trike.

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To take the jeepney, wait at the North East corner in front of RGR Traveler's Inn (you will be facing East when you arrive, so its across the street and to the left.) and there will most likely already be a queue there waiting for jeeps.

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The ONLY ones that go to the terminal will actually say TERMINAL on the front window. You can feel free to steer clear of all the others. This particular day I had to be patient and wait about 30 min before the first one came by. Being filled with doubt after the first 20 min, and being sick of the offers from the trike drivers, I stopped EVERY jeep that came by and they ALL said NO to taking me to the terminal. Trust me on that one.
Finally, one arrive and I flagged it down. It was filled with school children that were staring at me because the combination of my height and bags, barely allowed me to fit, haha. I muttered "bayad" and passed a 20p note up the line of passengers to the driver. When he asked where I was going I said "terminal', but Im pretty sure he already assumed it. He passed me back my change and we were on our way. One by one, the school kids were dropped off and there was only 2 of us left on the jeep by the time we reached the terminal. Be patient, the jeep will enter the terminal and drop you off RIGHT IN FRONT of the Manila busses!

Batangas Main Terminal

The fare should be about 160p and the busses leave frequently. It was about 2:30 pm when I showed up and the bus left after just 30 minutes. This left me plenty of time to do some snack shopping or get a quick lunch if there were no interesting offers at the pier.

3 hours and one movie later, I was back in Pasay, but silly me, arriving in Manila at 6pm on a work day. OMG what a mistake! I milked every minute of beach time at the resort that day and I was now paying for it, haha. No big deal really, but my final destination was Mandaluyong and every taxi driver said an overwhelming NO to taking me there through the Manila evening rush hour traffic. Being a backpacker and a New Yorker, I wore my backpack in front and walked the 3k to Makati ave, where I was able to find a taxi. Make sure you plan your timing better or be prepared to walk!

Good luck and safe travels!

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