Puerto Galera is a town located in the province of Oriental Mindoro, in the Philippines. Puerto Galera has been a popular tourist destination attracting visitors from all over the world for decades. Puerto Galera’s history dates back to just a small settlement during World War II. Puerto Galera has seen their little village grow into an international destination, with travelers from all over Asia and beyond coming to visit every year.
Today, check out our blog posts to learn more about Puerto Galera’s fascinating history!
Pre Spanish History
Puerto Galera’s history dates back to before the arrival of Europeans. Puerto Galera have found ancient artifacts that prove Puerto Galera was once a thriving settlement for early Filipinos, mostly Tagalog and Visayan people who traveled from Mindoro Island.
In 1572, Puerto Galera’s first recorded sighting by Europeans occurred when Miguel López de Legazpi sailed into Puerto Galera Bay on orders from Spain. He claimed Puerto Galera territory as part of New Spain because it fell under their rights outlined in The Treaty Of Zaragoza signed between Spain and Portugal in 1601, which allowed them exclusive rights over the lands discovered eastward up north to China (and westward toward Mexico). Puerto Galera was initially named Puerto de la Galera, which means Port of the Lances. That referred to a sharp-pointed rock formation along the shores where many lance-shaped rocks could be found at that time.
Puerto Galera Decline Puerto Galera’s decline began when the Spanish Government started imposing heavy taxes on its citizens in 1815 to pay off debts from the Mexican War of Independence, which had just ended. From then on, Puerto Galera’s subsistence economy declined as new taxes were imposed by Spain every year until it became unaffordable for locals who mainly depended on fishing or farming because Puerto Galera was isolated from other towns that traded with one another. Hence, there wasn’t much economic activity going around. As a result, many Puerto Galerans abandoned their homes to seek better opportunities elsewhere. In contrast, others smuggle goods between Manila and Mindoro Island by hiring themselves out aboard, passing ships through this treacherous route.
The American Era
Puerto Galera’s fortunes changed when the Americans took over the Philippines in 1898 after defeating Spanish forces during the Spanish-American War. The American Government saw potential in Puerto Galera because of its strategic location and began to develop it into a port for trade with East Asia. Puerto Galera were encouraged to restart their businesses, and many did, setting up shops and trading goods with other towns in Mindoro Island and Manila.
World War II & Japanese Occupation In 1941, just before World War II broke out, Puerto Galera had about 3000 people. When the war started, Japanese forces quickly occupied Puerto Galera and used it as a base to launch air raids against American ships that were passing by Puerto Galera’s shores.
Freedom & Rebuilding
After the war ended in 1945, Puerto Galera residents slowly rebuilt their town. Many Puerto Gallerans who had fled to other parts of the country during the war returned and began rebuilding their homes and businesses. The arrival of people from all across the Philippines helped turn Puerto Galera into a fast-growing metropolis with around 15,000 inhabitants by the late 1950s.
The Marcos Era
In 1969, Ferdinand Marcos became president of the Philippines and declared martial law until 1981. One of his first orders was to develop Puerto Galera into a tourist destination to generate more income for the Government. He ordered the construction of new roads, bridges, seaports, airports, hotels, resorts, and other tourist facilities in Puerto Galera to attract more visitors, which further boosted the Puerto Galera economy.
The Resurgence Of Puerto Galera’s Tourism
Today, Puerto Galera is one of the most popular vacation spots in all of the Philippines, with about 700 hotels and resorts scattered throughout its islands, providing jobs for thousands of locals who rely on tourism for their livelihoods.
Puerto Galera are known as some of the friendliest people because they take great pride in sharing their culture and traditions with others through various festivals that honor local heroes or showcase native dances from different towns around Mindoro Island. There’s no such thing as a dull moment when you’re in Puerto Galera, but there’s also more waiting for you if you want to experience natural history come alive on your Puerto Galera tour.
Excavation Museum Puerto Galera
Puerto Galerans had a complicated past, and Puerto Galera’s history is proof of that. Visit the Puerto Galera Excavation Museum today to see some of Puerto Galera’s most prized artifacts from its rich, centuries-old traditions, as well as learn about culture through photos on display at one of Puerto Galera’s oldest buildings.
The museum’s exhibits include underwater scuba diving, marine life conservation, and of course, open-air adventure sports. The gallery is home to pieces by artists inspired by the beauty and charm of the region throughout history. During your next visit to Puerto Galera, don’t forget to pay a visit to this magnificent location!
The Muelle’ Black Rice’ Pier
One of Puerto Galera’s most popular attractions is the Muelle’ Black Rice‘ pier built-in 1884 by the Spaniards. The dock gets its name from the black rice that used to be loaded onto ships here for export to other parts of the world.
A warehouse for rice stood at Muelle Bay. After the warehouse was destroyed by fire, charred grains (‘red rice’) were scattered around the shores of Puerto Galera Bay.
Today, the pier is a favorite spot for locals and tourists to watch the sunset over Puerto Galera’s beautiful bay. There are also several restaurants and bars along with the port where you can enjoy a cold drink or bite to eat while taking in the incredible view.
Puerto Galera Church & Convent
The Puerto Galera Church & Convent was built in 1786 by Spanish missionaries and is one of the oldest churches in all of the Philippines. The church is coral stone and limestone and features a beautiful, red-tiled roof.
The convent was used as a missionary school to teach locals about Christianity. Today, the church is still used as the town’s central Catholic Church, while the convent houses Puerto Galera’s municipal government offices.
Puerto Galera Bamboo Organ
The Puerto Galera Bamboo Organ is one of only two bamboo organs globally, and it’s located in the St. Joseph Parish Church in Puerto Galera. Father Diego CASTILLO built the organ between 1821 and 1824 from bamboo native to the area.
Father Castillo originally built a smaller organ for his use but later expanded it to its current size. The Puerto Galera Bamboo Organ is considered a national treasure and featured in several documentaries about organ music.
During your next visit to Puerto Galera, be sure to stop by the St. Joseph Parish Church and take a listen to this unique and incredible instrument!
Puerto Galera Town Plaza
The Puerto Galera Town Plaza is located in the heart of downtown Puerto Galera. It is home to some of the town’s most important government buildings, including the Municipal Hall, Police Station, Fire Station, and Public Market.
The plaza also features a beautiful gazebo where locals gather for social events and concerts and several statues honoring locals. A great place for people to watch and enjoy Puerto Galera’s rich culture.
Modern Puerto Galera
Puerto Galera still maintains its subsistence economy to this day, and tourism has become the island’s most significant industry due to its rich history, stunning beaches, and breathtaking sceneries. Puerto Galera is also a premier diving destination because of its crystal clear waters that allow visitors to see amazing corals and tropical fish up close. Puerto Galera became widely popular among European travelers in the 80s, which helped boost local businesses such as resorts, restaurants, transportation services, and other tour-related activities available on the island today.
While You Discover The Rich History Of Puerto Galera
With a history that stretches back to the 16th century, Puerto Galera has been attracting tourists from around the world for centuries. If you want to explore this stunning region of the Philippines and enjoy its natural beauty while staying in style, then BADLADZ Beach & Dive Resort is waiting for you with open arms.
We offer pool suites, standard rooms, and deluxe rooms, so there’s something for everyone on your list. Check out our website or call us today to book your stay!