how to get to galera alone

1. From Cubao, Quezon City (or Turbina in Calamba, Laguna) ride a bus to Batangas Pier. Fare is not more than one hundred pesos if coming from Laguna, and a little more than a hundred when coming from Cubao. Be ready to sit beside a former classmate in Speech Communication who still knows you and is generous enough to buy you a refreshing drink from vendors who board the bus.

2. Look for Commandos ticket booth at the Batangas Port and buy a ticket to White Beach (Php250) or Talipanan (Php300). Since you are alone, never mind the “callers” who have a “promo” for group boat ride or something. But since some “unofficial travel assistant” gives you unsolicited and unnecessary help which comes in the form of “processing of papers” (read: bringing of your payment to booths a few steps away), you might as well shell out two or three coins for the guy.

3. Enter the boarding area of the new and improved Batangas Port. Three presidents ago, that port used to be some dry wilderness where dust fills your eyes and air passages, making your little trip to Mindoro such an adventure. These cemented days, you just buy your ticket where they sell it, wait (for your boarding time) where everybody waits, then exit through the Gate (which is actually a glass door) where you are supposed to exit (it’s indicated in the ticket). No sweat.

4. Since you decided to go to Puerto Galera alone, expect help from no one but yourself in carrying your bags to the huge Commandos boat, but the boatmen are always ready to catch you when you, literally, fall. But falling over the water should not be an option. The water is not as clean as in the 80s or 90s when fathers used to bring their kids to the Batangas Port to watch boys swim and do exhibition. Why don’t you squeeze all your things into a hand bag the next time you go to Galera alone?

5. Upon arrival to the famous beaches of Galera, pretend that you’re actually there with friends. Wear this face as if you are looking for them. Or else, you are such a lonely girl in the universe of Puerto Galera where everyone has a solar system of friends and galaxies of activities to do, unlike you who are about to explode like a fabulous super nova under the stare of people in panties and bra, er, swimwear.

6. When you’re tired of covering the whole stretch of White Beach with your foot prints, sit and make friends, but since everybody goes there with friends or special friend, create an imaginary friend and talk with it over a glass of beer and a plate of spaghetti, so that when a group of yuppies in yummy shorts sit beside your table, they’d all look at you, to their delight and pleasure, and order the very same food and drinks you ordered. Imitation is still the best flattery.

7. Don’t forget that you.are.alone! So if you are not quite conditioned to drink alcohol at four in the afternoon, a liter of strong beer is not advisable, especially if a long walk is ahead of you. Expect to smile a lot to strangers afterwards.

8. Haggle with tricycle drivers while you are drunk so that you become instant entertainment showcase to them. You won’t get annoyed, though, because these are kababayans of your father who have this distinct Mindoro intonation of Tagalog. So you treat them like your uncles in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro.

9. Come over to Talipanan Beach because it’s so much better than White Beach. In Talipanan, look for the Bamboo House. There are 1 and 2. Usually the foreigners are in Bamboo House 1. You know how this country treats the colonizer/masters so better book your vacation at the main Bamboo House owned by a Swiss man married to a (you guess it right!) Filipina who went abroad for work and captured the heart of this white, European male, who put up business in this side of the world and left it to the relatives of the wife so that the Swiss-Filipino family can return to the land of privileges and colonial superiority. (Understand that you just read Post-colonial theories)

10. Join your friends who went there ahead of you. Hear stories of how exhilirating banana boat ride was or how sumptuous the humongous pizza from Itallian resto was or how fun it was to play patintero by the seashore. But don’t you even think about suggesting, “wow! Let’s do that again!” because, obviously, they’ve done it. over with it.

And so it’s ok if you feel like going to the White Beach again, for a drink.

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