More accessible and developed than its poorer neighbour across the mountains, most visitors head to Mindoro Oriental to dive in the marine reserve at Puerto Galera, in the north of the province. Nearby Mount Malasimbo is also protected because of the biodiversity of its thickly jungled slopes. To the east of Puerto Galera, near the port of Calapan, is Mount Halcon, at 2587m, Mindoro’s tallest peak and a difficult climb even for experienced mountaineers, although it is currently off-limits. The south of the island is less populated than the north, with few tourists making it as far as Roxas on the southeast coast, aside from to take one of the regular boats to Caticlan (for Boracay).
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PUERTO GALERA (meaning “Port of the Galleons”) is actually the name of a small town (poblacion), but is generally used to refer to the area between Sabang, 5km to the east, and White Beach, 8km to the west.
Great diving, countless coves and beaches and a stunning natural harbour within a few hours of Manila make Puerta Galera a natural choice for escaping Manileños and travellers alike. During Easter, and summer weekends, the whole place seems full to bursting, and many hotels substantially raise their prices, so it’s worth booking ahead if you’re planning to visit during these times. There’s also plenty on offer in addition to diving, including excellent snorkelling, trekking into the mountains and beach- and island-hopping by bangka. Most visitors head straight for Sabang and the nearby beaches of Small La Laguna and Big La Laguna. Between them, these locations offer a diverse range of accommodation, diving, restaurants and nightlife. There are also a number of family-friendly resorts near the village of Palangan, about halfway along the road from Puerto Galera to Sabang. Northeast of Palangan there’s a small isolated cove at Sinandigan with a handful of very peaceful resorts. In the other direction, to the west of Puerto Galera, the nearest beach is the picturesque White Beach, which has plenty of accommodation, and is popular with partying Manileños at the weekends. For more of a remote experience, walk – or take a tricycle – round to beautiful Aninuan Beach and Talipanan Beach, both of which have comfortable, affordable places to stay.