Sabang (Mindoro)

Sabang is small town located on the northeastern coast of Mindoro Island, Philippines.

Understand

Sabang is one of the barangays (small towns) in the municipality of Puerto Galera. Sabang is at the northern terminus of the road from the municipality proper of Puerto Galera, which is a ten minute jeepney drive away. Sabang also consists of the following beaches:

Walking between the three you might not even notice the difference but each has a separate feel and activity level, Sabang Beach being the liveliest. Big Lalaguna Beach is the best for swimming with its clean sand and coral reef with cordoned swimming area prohibited to boats.

Get in

By plane

Effective November 2015 we now have a sea plane "Juan Air" from Manila to Puerto Galera. There are at least 3 airports on the Island, Calapan, Naujan and Mamburo but there are no scheduled flights except for Juan Air and the fields are primary used for flight training. The closest airport to Sabang is in Manila on the neighbouring island of Luzon. From the Manila airport, you'll have to travel by road to get to the port at Batangas. For the well-heeled, Subic Seaplanes offer direct transfers by air in their Cessna floatplanes.

By boat

A large banca used for transport between islands.

Many tourists arrive on pre-arranged transportation - via a banca arranged by their dive shop/hotel. You also have the option of arriving via ferry (from Batangas or a number of other islands). Ferries (mostly large bancas) land at Sabang beach frequently or at the port in Puerto Galera proper. White Beach and Balatero are other destinations from Batangas. Each of these are close enough to Sabang Beach to be a reasonable alternative if you don't want to wait for the next direct ferry. Just take a jeepney, trike, or motorcycle to Sabang from your alternative landing place. The ferry service is regular, departing every two hours (with reduced service during the monsoon season) from Sabang.

These banca ferries appear primitive. Also, they may be uncomfortably packed during high season. Emergency equipment, such as life jackets, are on board but supplies may be scarce. The trip between Mindoro Island and Luzon will take you around 80 minutes. Many resorts and some independent companies offer pickup from manila airport, a ride to batangas and a transfer in a large banca.

The earliest boat back to Batangas leaves Sabang at 5:45 while the last boat leaves Sabang at 2:15. Fare is P230 includes terminal fee. Note, upon arrival there is a controversial Environmental Users Fee (EUF) of 50php payable by anyone who looks like a foreigner

By bus

From Manila Public buses leave from various parts of Manila to the port of Batangas frequently. If you are leaving from the Malate/Ermita part of Manila, you'll want to take a taxi to the Buendia bus station and get the next bus to Batangas. From there see above for simple arrangements to transfer to a ferry for the trip over.

JAM transit runs hourly buses from their Cubao bus terminal.

An only slightly more expensive and much more convenient alternative from Malate/Ermita is the Sikat bus/ferry, a private service run out of the City State Tower Hotel in Ermita. The bus leaves at 8AM and after arriving in Batangas you are lead to the connecting ferry by a Sikat agent. However this has only one service daily which leaves Manila at 0830 hrs.

Whichever bus alternative you take, you'll usually be on the beach in Sabang for lunch.

From Angeles Public buses leave from Dau bus station in Angeles City for Cubao bus station in Manila, where you can transfer to Batangas. For a hassle-free van and boat combination transfer, Angeles2Puerto offer an affordable service leaving 8AM every day (except Wednesday) from Angeles City to Sabang Beach with the return trip departing Sabang at 10AM.

On the Island As on November 2015 the jeepneys leave Sabang every 20 minutes to Puerto Galera 5.5k from Sabang, and the same back to Sabang. Fare is 20php 1 way. The road is now all paved but there are certainly some broken areas. Work is currently going on in PG to re-pave all the roads. The trikes parked by Tropicana Hotel are 150 for the trike, whether it is one person or 4 persons. There are trikes who drop people off in front of VSB (Victory Sports Bar) who are not allowed to wait around for customers. Just look at them and ask 'Bayan' (means town) and for 40 pesos you are on your way, but you will have to share the ride if he has a chance to pick up more passengers. A motorbike to Puerto Galera is 50php. Remember there is no liability here. Motorbikes can be rented from @300-500php depending on the season and your battering skills. Boat can also be rented for daily trips. Price and destinations to be negotiated. There are regular vans to Calapan from where you can catch a bus to Roxas and ferry across to Caticlan, Pasay Island, Boracay. There is no regular scheduled bus service to Sabang but jeepneys make frequent trips from nearby Puerto Galera, three kilometers away. Jeepneys are a novel type of Filipino public transport that were originally engineered from surplus military jeeps left in the country after WW2. Now they are often home constructed around older Japanese vehicles with plenty of brightly colored decoration. Jeepney etiquette is simple, you go on, you pay your fare (it should be cheap, 20 pesos or less from Puerto Galera to Sabang), you wait until the jeepney is full and it will leave. However expect to be crowded in with a lot of people,and more often than not half the contents of the local fruit and animal market. Driving will be breakneck down 3km of partially unpaved road, but this is well worth it for the experience. A slightly more expensive alternative to the jeepney is the trike. These are motorbikes with sidecars converted to hold 2-3 passengers and then driven like things possessed down the same unfinished 3km road. Keeping in mind the obvious risk of accidents, enjoy! Motorcycles are also available for single (or two small) persons riding on back for about the same expense as the trike.

Get around

Its mostly walking in narrow streets. In 15min you are in Small Lalaguna and in 20min in Big Lalaguna (to the left side) If you want to go to Pt. Galera (to the ATM e.g.) take a Tricycle for 50PHP one way. A motorcycle or scooter can be hired for around 500php (Scooter) and 700PHP (dirtbike) per day, cheaper if longer.

See

Do

Two shell-less snails (Nudibranchs) on the coral, part of the small life beauty.

Most visitors to Sabang are attracted by the excellent SCUBA diving provided by the protected marine sanctuary. There are a number of dive shops in the area (estimated at around 35) that provide access to a micro (i.e. small life) heaven. The dive sites that feature a large variety of small sea life with the occasional shark or turtle. Several sites are drift dives and often turn into (strong) current dives with the best diving (for coral and small life) being at 18m or 60 feet. Almost all of the dive sites are within a 10 minute boat ride of Sabang which allows you to spend your surface interval on the shore and it also allows most shops to offer as many as four dive trips (single tank) each day. Prices for a single dive are around USD18~32 for a single tank dive, including equipment rental, boat and dive guide, with discounts for more dives and if you have your own equipment.

Buy

The tourist center and the Tropicana restaurant do exchange money and traveler cheques as well as doing cash advances on credit cards. The exchange rates are not as good as in Manila, though. Western Union offices are located at the tourist center and at Tuping's Store (eastern end of the beach). Credit cards are not widely accepted in Sabang except at some of the larger dive shops and resorts, so it's best to stock up on cash beforehand.

Eat

The majority of restaurants are clustered in central Sabang. You'll also find restaurants along Big and Small La Laguna attached to the hotels and resorts. Prices are reflect Sabang's standing as a tourist detsination, ranging from around 150-300 Pesos for breakfast and 300-600P for lunch/dinner. Cheap eats can be found at a few local establishments

Drink

There are many bars, cafes and street-side food stalls to ensure that you don't have to search far for something to drink. Cold drinks ranging from fruit milkshakes to soft drinks/soda to alcohol are inexpensive and widely available.

Sabang has six "girly bars." You can enjoy a drink while you watch the talent, including featured dancers. The drinks there are substantially more expensive than at regular bars. If you buy one of the girls a "lady's drink," you'll be paying extra again for the privilege of a chat with her. All girls are licensed by the municipality as "maids" but are prostitutes and can be barfined. Be warned, though: local licensing requirements aren't very strict. Some of the girls there may be underage!

Right across the entrance to Tropicana is this cozy bar run by Canadian expat Geno. Beer prices are competitive and the owner entertains customers every night as well as saying hi to passers-by. Breakfast and food are also available.

This bar and grill is on the fourth and fifth floors of a building right near the Western Union office in Sabang. It has a live band and karaoke and a good view of the beach on the roof. The bar, however, charges a "table fee" of P100 when the band is playing and P50 when karaoke is being run.

Sleep

Sabang Beach

Small Lalaguna Beach

Big Lalaguna Beach

Longer Term Stays

There are several houses and apartments for rent in and around Sabang including many with beach front locations. Listings for these properties are hard to come by before you arrive; unfortunately, for rent signs and listings are most easily found by walking around.

Go next

Returning to Luzon The average visitor to Sabang goes back the opposite way he or she came.

To go by public transport, travel to Batangas by passenger banca from the station on the beach near Eddies Bar. Other departures are from Puerto Galera (Muelle Pier), Balatero and White Beach. An alternative route to Batangas is via Calapan (one and a half hours jeep ride from Puerto Galera) where there are regular Roro and fast passenger ferry departures for Batangas. This is especially useful in stormy weather or typhoon warnings when ferry service in the Sabang/Puerto Galera area is suspended.

If you came over on the Sikat, you just have to take the ferry/bus trip back to Manila in reverse. The ferry leaves for Batangas at 9:00 or 9:15AM. Just check in 15 minutes before departure at the Sikat booth near Eddies.

Other options include hiring a private banca to take you to Batangas.

Beyond Sabang Calapan is also the place to head to pick up a bus bound for Roxas (4 hours) where there are regular ferries to Caticlan (Boracay)., or if you want to visit Mindoro Occidental and Apo Reef, Abra de Ilog, accessed through the pier at Wawa.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, November 15, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.