Puerto Galera is a coastal town northwest of the Oriental Mindoro province. Within this peninsula, there are several beaches to visit including Sabang, White Beach, Big and Small Lalaguna, Coco, and Palangan - each with its own unique character and wide range of accommodations. These beaches are well known and tourists often come here for the diving and the nightlife
But there are smaller, less known, unexplored islands without so much as a restaurant or even a nipa hut. Where there are hidden secrets like fine white sand beaches, underwater caves and breathtaking coral gardens. This is the more rustic, quieter side of Puerto Galera.
This is the setting for SURVIVOR GALERA.
You know the drill right? Several people are thrown into an island with practically just the shirt on their backs. They are forced to go through difficult, physically exhausting challenges to see who will emerge as the Sole Survivor.
There's very little food, no shelter and limited resources. Mostly everything that they are used to having in normal, day to day life is stripped away. Even the essentials like running water, decent bathrooms and comfy beds.
But please, not the toilet paperrrr!!!
Just like any Survivor adventure, the Castaways (that's us!) had to go through a series of challenges. Tasks that would test our physical strength, endurance and even mental conditioning. This ain't your typical day at the beach, that's for sure!
On our way to the islands.
The first challenge was to get inside an underwater cave in one of the island's 'undisclosed location'. (Okay so I just couldn't remember what the boatman said the place was called) We had to crawl our way through sharp rocks and jagged corals just to get inside. Once we in the cave, the water got a bit high and it was cramped. We needed to move carefully so as not to get cut by bumping into the rocks when the tide came in.
Titan didn't find the first challenge too challenging.
Dwayne and I enjoyed this challenge. We got in unscathed.
We made it inside the cave!
Hutch and his 'Herculean 'task.
For the 2nd challenge we docked our boat to a nearby island to have lunch. We grilled some pork and a parrot fish and even had rice. But the challenge was to eat live squid that the fishermen had caught that day. Okay, I'm exaggerating. They did kill it before serving it to us. It was dead and therefore we had to eat it raw. It tasted sweet and slimy without the fishy taste.
The island where we had lunch.
The castaways with our boatman Randy.
Fresh catch of the day
My lunch is staring at me!
No mattress, no fire, but lots of beer?
Now this was the mother lode of all challenges. The other 2 were nothing compared to this. It was so terrifying that one of us almost backed out and hightailed it to the nice resorts on White Beach. The ones with fresh linen and a comfy bed. Okay so I'm not telling you who it was, but it wasn't me.
The final challenge was to spend the night on a god forsaken beach in another island. Sounds lame, right? Nothing to it, you say. Or so you think. That meant we had no access to running water, electricity or even a sleeping bag for close to 24 hours.
And yes Sole Sisters, the nearest bathroom was a bush or a tree.
To top it off. we couldn't build a fire, had no tents and there was a rumor that the island was infested with monkeys. Not a great time to have flashbacks from Monkey Shines.
To make things even more challenging, it was cold and it rained.
Waking up cold and wet
But the view wasn't so bad.
Waiting for the boat ride home.
Interestingly enough, the beach I'm talking about is right on the other side of White Beach. Yes the White Beach of karaoke nights, ladyboys and sexy clubs! But from where we were, you might as well think that we were really marooned on some deserted island in the middle of nowhere.
Our Survivor adventure was designed and masterminded by Hutch, of course. If we had stayed in Puerto Galera and did the usual touristy stuff, we would have gone home satisfied. Happy with our tanned backs and beach fix. But because we craved for adventure, we said yes to an amazing Survivor Galera trip and had the time of our lives.
We took the challenge and we survived!
And you can be Survivors too! Out of 7.107 islands of the Philippines, 4,000 are uninhabited or unexplored. Check out the Hundred Islands in Pangasinan, Calaguas Island in Camarines Norte, and beaches on Samal Island in Davao.