Puerto Galera Town, Palawan Province, Mimaropa Region (4), Luzon Islands, Philippines

 


HISTORY


Puerto Galera is the oldest settlement in Mindoro. It was founded by Juan de Salcedo in 1570. Even before Spaniards set foot of the Philippine soil, there was already a thriving settlement in Minolo, which is now barangay of the town. The earliest cabizera of Mindoro during Spanish times was Minolo. It was founded by Augustinians friars in 1574. It was transferred to Lagundian (now barangay San Isidro) at the mouth of the Muelle Bay, but was later moved to the present site, inside the cove because of constant Moro raids.

The name of Puerto Galera was taken after the galleons, which used the bay as refilling station and repair area. It means, “port of galleons” or in Spaniards “Puerto Galera”.

The galleon trade between Manila and Acapulco lasted for more than century, and Puerto Galera became an important stop-over of these vessels during the 18th century.

Surviving under the vicissitudes of time, an epitaph in Spanish, engraved on March 18, 1897 on a wooden cross in Muelle beach, is inscribed “Ultima Tierra Que Pesaron Los Tripulantes del Canoneros Mariveles El 18 de Noviembre de 1879”. This cross, a relic of the past century, was renovated in 1938, by a Spaniard named Luis Gomez.

In 1672 , the capital of Mindoro was later transferred in Baco.

The municipalty of Puerto Galera now has thirteen barangays. The municipality is rich in mineral deposits of marble, gold, lime, and silica granules. Its major economic activities are tourism, mining, and fishing. It numerous coves, sandy beaches and colorful undersea coral gardens are the prime interest of many tourists who flock all year round. It has white sugary sand on many of its beaches. There is a museum in the old convent where unearthed artifacts of precious Chinese jars are displayed. Further inland is the famous Tamaraw falls.

Puerto Galera with its zigzag roads and steep ravines is considered as the little Baguio of Mindoro. Its combined panoramic landscape and exotic scenery are also navigators haven where they seek refuge during inclement weather in its excellent harbor, which is effectively protected by an island at the mouth of the bay. The bay is also renowned to botanist and biologist for its bountiful specimens of marine flora and fauna.

At present, Puerto Galera leads all localities in tourism. It has become an international tourist destination, but it seems that the influx of tourist has affected the ecological balance of this once nature’s heaven.

SOURCE AND OTHER INTERESTING INFORMATION

Puerto Galera has a very rugged topography. The land is generally mountainous and is crisscrossed by numerous streams and rivers. Back by the Cabarian Ridge and the 680-meter high pyramidical Mt. Malasimbo, its 35.25 km.-long hilly landmass extends towards the sea and spreads out to a maximum of 13.4 across.

Three mountain ranges covering a total of 11.755 sqm. rise above Puerto Galera's coastal barangays: Mt. Alinbayan in Barangay Balatero, Mt. Talipanan in Barangays Aninuan and San Isidro, and Mt. Malasimbo in Barangay Aninuan. These mountains reach peak elevations of 1,400 meters above sea level and are home to rare animals such as deers, wild boars, monkeys and even the endangered tamaraw (a local buffalo endemic to Mindoro; bubalus mindorensis).

Likewise, its numerous mountain springs provide natural habitats to orchid varities such as the tawa-tawa, tiger orchid, and mariposa.

Popularly known as the tourist haven by the sea, Puerto Galera's coast is 42 km. long, consisting of irregular shorelines rimmed with dazzling white beaches, coconut plantations, and delightful scenery. At the eastern side of the coast, crescents of white beaches are interspersed with limestone cliffs and escarpments that are penetrated by inland bays and coves. These numerous coves and water channels support a rich marine life, forming "non-reef coral communities". Whereas, its tube-like harbor with two natural entrances provide home to dozens of ships seeking safe anchorage.

The Bay of Puerto Galera has a total area of 4.2 sqm. It is framed by the short projections and numerous points of Mindoro Island on the east west, and by the two small islands of Medio and Paniquian on the north and nortwest. The two latter islands project Puerto Galera's famous Muelle Bay from the open sea, thus making it one of the world's safest harbors.

About 23.45% of the entire town is used for agriculture, 0.04% are agro-industrial lands, and the rest are wet alnds and built up areas.

CLIMATE

Puerto Galera has a tropical climate with the relatively high humidity (the average annual humidity is 84.6%). There's no definite dry season and rainfall is pronounced the whole year round.