Sabang, east of the tranquil town of Puerto Galera, was the first beach to be discovered, and is now thickly populated by massive establishments squeezing together along its coasts. Resorts are popping out from every corner of the rocky hills of Sabang and Loud bars and Discos came out rocking the coastal village from early afternoon to daybreak.
The village idyllic nature turned into a district of tourists looking for activities aside from scuba diving. Strange as it is, Sabang villagers were able to adapt and considered this unfamiliar lifestyle an easy alternative to their maritime life. From a secluded to a thriving community of divers, tourists and merchants, Sabang became a quarter of varied people together into one common purpose, to enjoy the natural beauty of the island and to experience a mix of uncluttered atmosphere and laid back living.
M/V Alma Jane is Sabang’s biggest wreck dive a 115ft steel hulled cargo ship built in japan in 1966 and scuttled in 2003. offering very easy penetration of the lower cargo decks, the superstructure is in an advanced state of collapse. the bottom rests on a sandy bottom at 30m.
St. Cristopher was a local wooden hulled cargo ship converted to a diving live aboard which was sunk as the result of a dispute to a depth of 24 m very close to the position of the Alma Jane.
On sandy bottom of Sabang Bay lies the wooden hull of a Vietnamese fishing boat and nearby and slightly deeper the wreck of a steel hulled 12m sail boat that was submerged by a dive shop to create a new reef. You will be swarmed by damsel fish and bigger fish like bat and surgeon fish. Both wrecks are great night dives. In slightly deeper water a quick swim from the wrecks is an area of sea grass, in which can be located sea horses and other interesting finds.
Swimming into the shallows reveals the wreckage of a Japanese Mitsubishi Zero fighter from World War 2 heavily encrusted in coral. some .50 cal bullets are scattered on the floor of the airframe.
Some of the healthiest reefs in the Philippines can be found a short boat ride from the dive shops, very healthy hard and soft coral, as the profusion of divers in this area has prevented the wholesale dynamite destruction in most other locations. Noted for its world class macro photography, exploring the sand and sea fans in Sabang bay can be very rewarding, although the sea horse population has declined radically in the last year. also along the reef look for pygmy sea horses on the fans.
A great place to complete an open water course or an advanced course, as there are plenty of wrecks in Sabang bay and along the reef, from the large Mary Jane to a varied selection of older wooden and steel vessels, each has a very healthy marine environment, and expect to see many lion fish, scorpion fish, frog fish, morays and bat fish around the wrecks.
Turtles are frequent visitors to Sabang’s reefs, and there is a Shark Cave where sharks can be found every day resting, banded sea snakes are very common here, and there are many large fish, jacks, tuna, sweetlips, and some very large barracuda.
Offering excellent visibility at the right time of year, most dives offer gentle currents if any, but stronger currents can be found a short distance away, offering exhilirating drift diving.
Unfortunately, the only way to reach Puerto Galera is still via land-sea from Manila to Batangas to either Puerto Galera or Calapan City. The land-trip takes about 2 to 3 hours while the sea-trip from 1.5 to 2 hours.
The most convenient way is to avail of a Si-kat bus-and-ferry package from Centerpoint Hotel (formerly Sundowner Hotel). the package offers passengers the convenience of having a “connecting” bus and ferry trip.
The fare is more expensive than in other buses (Php 350 one-way and Php 600 roundtrip/open-sted, but the coaches are more spacious and the trip is much shorter since there are no stopovers. Unfortunately, there’s only one schedule per day for either way.
More economical are the commercial buses of BLTB, JAM and TRITRAN. The former has a terminal in EDSA-Pasay City while the last two have theirs along Taft Avenue near corner Gil Puyat Avenue (Buendia), also in Pasay City. Schedules of these buses are quite erratic, but the earliest bus usually leaves at 6AM and every hour from then on (depending on the volume of passengers). Fare on these buses range from Php 80 to 100 depending on whether it is a regula or an air-con bus.
At the Batangas City Pier, there is a wide selection of ferries going to Puerto Galera, depending on which port guests intend to enter. (There are three main entry points to Puerto Galera by way of its port facilities: Muelle Pier, Balatero Pier, and Sabang Beach).
Calapan City also serves as a gateway to the town via an all-weather road. The trip from Calapan to Puerto Galera takes about 2 to 3 hours depending on weather and road conditions.
More pictures here