Municipality: Puerto Galera
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The town of Puerto Galera in the province of Oriental Mindoro is located in the northeast portion of the island Mindoro, about 130 kilometers south of Manila. Mindoro is separated from Luzon, the Philippine’s biggest island by the Verde Passage. Puerto Galera, which was elevated to the first-class municipality from being the third-class 2009, is composed of 13 barangays, 11 of which are coastal. The coastal barangays are Poblacion, Tabinay, Dulangan, Villaflor, Palangan, sabang, sinandigan, santo Nino, Balatero, san Isidro and Aninuian. San Antonio is an island while Bacalayan is landlocked.
The total land area of Puerto Galera I 24463.57 hectares with a population of 18035 in 2007. With the 42 kilometers of irregular coastlines, Puerto Galera has many beaches and coves, making it a popular tourist destination. Because of it’s proximity to the capital Manila, the town I a favourite getaway during weekends and holidays. The town is also popular among foreign tourists mainly for its dive sites. In 1973, the town was designated a reservation area under the Man and Biosphere Reserve Program of the UNESCO. It is also listed in the Club of the Most Beautiful Bay in the World.
It is said that the Spaniards discovered Puerto Galera in the early 16th century as a safe haven for their trade ship during heavy squalls and typhoons, thu the name which means “port of galleons” in Spanish. The sheltered bay of Puerto Galera remains an anchorage for boats during bad weather to this day.
Puerto Galera, one of the oldest settlements of the religious missionaries, was founded in 1574 as the capital of Mindoro. Originally, the town was located at the Lagundian, now a sitio. Because of its susceptibility to Moro raids, the Spaniards were forced to transfer the town to the present site and was named Puerto Galera. Spanish galleons coming from Mexico and spain stopped by the Puerto Galera to take refuge during stormy weather before proceeding to Manila. In 1837, the seat of government was transferred to Calapan.
Guarding the coasts of Puerto Galera was the Spanish warship, El Canonero de Mariveles, which sank during a storm in November 18, 1879. A wooden cross was erected ot the Muelle as a tribute. Revolutionaries from Puerto Galera participated in the overthrow of Spanish government in Mindoro from 1898 to 1900 under the leadership of the brothers Miguel and Estanislao Cobarrubias, sr. During the American occupation, Puerto Galera was again annexed to Calapan in 1905 as a barrio. In 1919 it was organized into an independent municipality.
On February 27, 1942, the Japanese air force and naval auxiliary occupied the town until liberation in 1946. Today, the scenic Puerto Galera is the center of tourism in the province.