If your ideal dive destination is small, peaceful and in an idyllic setting, super-lively Puerto Galera is unlikely to be your first choice. This small area at the top of Oriental (or east) Mindoro gets the lion’s share of dive tourism in The Philippines and has something of a reputation for being a party destination. Local people head here for long weekends and more come from further afield for the nightlife and facilities on offer.
Yet Puerto Galera is so much more than that – the main beaches are bustling, the small resort centres lively but the promontory remains highly picturesque and the diving is fabulous. What's more, it is easy to get away from the hustle and bustle of the centre and find a calmer side to the area.
The calibre of the dive sites makes a visit more than worthwhile. There is a mixture of coral-clad reef slopes and sandy bays that reveal masses of curious critters. Dive operators tend to focus on promoting the incredible macro life yet the bays are edged by deep-water reefs that are visited by larger animals. There is also a surprising number of wrecks. They aren't huge, but they are interesting – a cluster of three sit on the edges of Sabang Bay while another rests on a reef slope a little down the coast.