September 18, 2023

Birthday Getaway at Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort

For my birthday celebration, we initially planned to have a food trip but I changed my mind because I gained weight so much so ayaw ko na muna magbuffet. Hehehe! There were two long weekends last month so pwede naman magtravel. 

We usually go to Batangas for a quick getaway pero sa totoo lang, wala na ko maisip puntahan sa Batangas. My husband informed me na may nakita daw siya sa Facebook na resort and I was surprised when he said Puerto Galera because I thought, ayaw na niya bumalik doon. During pandemic days, I suggested a resort din sa Puerto Galera but he was not interested so in my mind, hindi na ko makakabalik sa Oriental Mindoro but people changed.

Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort has a rainy daw promo of 25% off so my husband called the resort to inquire about it. And I immediately computed our possible expenses including the food, transportation, and other fees; and it turned out na same lang sa gastos namin sa Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

We were supposed to book the first long weekend but the only available room is good for 6 people so we changed our travel dates to save money. For our family of three, we chose the 1 Bedroom Seaview Villa, the total is PHP20,398 (3 persons) for 3 days and 2 nights. To confirm the booking, a 50% downpayment is needed via bank transfer or GCASH. The 25% discount will be deducted upon check-out. 

But as of this writing, when I tried to book this room again for the 1st and 2nd week of November (Sat to Mon), our total is only PHP 10,876.32 and PHP11,229.12. What!?! Mas mura pa rate nila kahit wala promo. Toink! I did not proceed with my booking, I just checked the curent rate. 

Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort 

Moving on, let me share my birthday getaway at Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort. This resort is located in Sitio Daluran, Puerto Galera so there are few transfers and we traveled by land-sea-land-sea; we drove to Batangas Port, rode a ferry to Balatero Port, rode a tricycle to Muelle Port, and lastly, boat to Casalay Resort. You can read more information in this post “How to Go to Puerto Galera from Manila and Vice Versa” (our travel experience) 

Traveling to Puerto Galera takes a lot of patience, sa dami ng waiting time namin from parking, buying a ticket, and waiting for the resort boat. We left the house before 5AM and we arrived at the resort around 1:30PM, nalipasan na kami ng lunch. I’m thankful that I brought bread pero gutom na gutom pa rin kami sa biyahe. 

Upon arrival, the staff welcomed us with juice and we went straight to the reception. The staff asked for our IDs and after a few minutes, we received the key and voucher for the free wifi (one code per gadget). But before we went to our room, we already ordered food for our late lunch. 

Food Trip at Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort 

There is only one restaurant in the resort so we ate our breakfast, lunch, and dinner there. Read my blog post here

1-Bedroom Seaview Villa 

I am aware that our villa is located in the mid-level of the resort so niready ko na sarili ko sa 80+ steps pero nakakahingal pa rin. The exterior of the villa looks good but once you enter the room, you will notice the signs of wear and tear. 

The bedroom is small and the space is tight, it features a loft where the extra bed is located. According to their website. they are using Award-Winning Emma Mattresses so the bed is comfortable. 

Even if the room feels cramped, it has a fridge, coffee, and tea facilities, and a safety deposit box. For our 3-day stay, they didn’t refill the coffee and tea. 

I’ve read about the “Outdoor bathroom with a shower” but I didn’t expect that it would be an open bathroom. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I am not a fan of glass bathrooms, semi-open bathrooms and mas lalo na ang open bathrooms. I experienced that in The Farm at San Benito, Sheraton Manila Club and Chateau Hestia.   

I’m not comfortable with an open bathroom kasi and for safety reasons na rin. Just like what happened during our stay, may nalaglag na dahon, fortunately, wala naliligo. 

The bathroom is spacious, it has the usual toiletries like shampoo, body wash, conditioner, and lotion. There is no towel rack so we use the hanger for our towels pero hindi natutuyo so the following day, we requested new towels. We were advised that they would clean the room but it didn’t happen and no new towels too. 

What I love about our villa is the balcony, we have a nice view of the garden and the sea. Unfortunately, hindi namin gaano naenjoy kasi maulan at the time of our stay. 

Things to do at Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort if you are not a diver...

During our trip, there was Typhoon Goring in North Luzon but I didn’t expect that it would affect Oriental Mindoro. Feeling ko dahil malayo naman hindi na aabot but I was wrong, there is Southwest Monsoon so we experienced heavy rainfall and strong winds. 

At that time, napapaisip ako na “gumastos pa kami para lang magkulong sa room. Nakakarelate tuloy ako sa mga ‘’meme” na nakikita ko sa Facebook “Tinuloy ang lakad kahit bumabagyo kasi non-refundable”. hehehe! 

Despite the harsh weather, God is still so good because we have good weather every morning so nakalabas naman kami ng room. We experienced snorkeling, clear kayaking, and paddle boating; both are complimentary use for 1 hour. And kapag low tide na, we transfer to the swimming pool. 

So overall, we still enjoyed our quick getaway at Puerto Galera. And despite the bad weather, I still prefer this trip compared to our first trip to Puerto Galera at white beach. Being an introvert, we prefer a resort that is not crowded. 

P.S. I am aware that there is power crisis in Mindoro but I am not updated kung hanggang ngayon pa ba, so I’m not sure kung rotational brownout ba yung naexperience namin during our stay, because of the bad weather or if the resort is run by generator only. 

Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort 
Sitio Dalaruan, Puerto Galera, 
5203 Oriental Mindoro

September 11, 2023

Food Trip at Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort

We stayed in Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort for three days and throughout our stay we just ate inside the resort. This resort has a restaurant and bar that are also open for outside guests but keep in mind that you need to ride a boat just to reach Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort. On a positive note, they provide a complimentary boat shuttle from Muelle Pier, Sabang Pier, and nearby resorts; just call the resort for a boat schedule and to reserve your seat. 

I’m sharing with you what we ate during our stay. Let us start with breakfast since this is already included in our room package. They offer the usual Filipino Silog Meals, Omelet, Pancakes, and French Toast. If you want Western Breakfast, it is available too but there is an additional fee of PHP120 per order. We only ordered from Filipino Menu; served with two eggs of any style, garlic rice, pickled papaya, a slice of fruit, and a choice of coffee or tea. 

There are five choices which are Pork Tapa, Pork Tocino, Longganisa, Corned Beef and Daing na Bangus. Among the options, yung Tocino lang ang hindi namin na-try. For drinks, we requested hot chocolate since my son and I are not fond of coffee, buti na lang available. 

For lunch and dinner, we ordered the following meals: Among these food, we personally liked the Chicken Curry and Tanigue Steak. Kung hindi naman malakas kumain, their meals are good for sharing except for the Pork BBQ Skewers and Fried Chicken. Plus 10% Service Charge sa price. 

Fish and Chips PHP450 

Pork Schnitzel PHP450

Tanigue Steak PHP395 

Fried Chicken PHP370 

Pork BBQ Skewers PHP420 

Stuffed Squid PHP480 

Chicken Curry PHP390 

Adobo PHP390 

Margherita Pizza PHP450 

Pepperoni Pizza PHP570 

Seafood Pesto PHP420 

Extra Rice PHP75 
Softdrinks in Can PHP80 

BREAKFAST from 7am to 10am 
LUNCH from 11am to 2pm 
DINNER from 5pm to 9pm 
BAR from 11am to 11pm 

You can visit their Facebook page for the complete menu. 

Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort 
Sitio Dalaruan, Puerto Galera, 
 5203 Oriental Mindoro

Read: How to Go to Puerto Galera from Manila and Vice Versa

September 07, 2023

How to Go to Puerto Galera from Manila and Vice Versa

The Philippines is the world’s fifth largest island country with 7,641 islands and sa dami ng islands, ilan pa lang ang napupuntahan ko. I live in the Luzon area and we usually travel by land or air. As far as I can remember, there are only a few times that I experienced sea travel in the Philippines, not including island hopping. Hehehe! 

Manila to Cebu 
Bataan to Manila 
Manila to Corregidor and vice versa 
Batangas to Mindoro/Puerto Galera and vice versa 

How to Go to Puerto Galera from Manila and Vice Versa 

Speaking of Mindoro, if you are planning to go to Puerto Galera, expect that you will have a lot of transfers, and based on our experience, we travel by land-sea-land-sea before we reach our resort.

Manila to Batangas 

If you are coming from Manila, you can ride a bus going to Batangas Port. JAM Liner Bus has a trip from Cubao and Buendia to Batangas Pier. As per my research, there is also a ticket that you can buy at KLOOK, this includes bus, ferry, and terminal fees

Manila to Puerto Galera 9:30AM
Puerto Galera to Manila 11:00AM  

If you have a car, you can do RORO or you can leave your vehicle at Park and Sail and other commercial parking spaces. 

Batangas Port to Balatero Port 

From Batangas Pier, purchase your RORO ticket or passenger ticket. There are different ferry companies that travel from Batangas to Balatero Port like MV City Iloilo, MV Island Calayan, Montenegro, and MV Isla Simara. Each ferry has a different schedule and rate. 

Batangas Terminal Fee: PHP30 

Balatero Port to Puerto Galera Resort

Once you reach Balatero Port, you need to pay PHP120 for the Environmental Fee. From here, you can ride a tricycle going to your resort or tricycle plus boat; it all depends on your resort location.

Traveling to Puerto Galera 

After reading the above post, it looked like an easy travel but it wasn’t. Then I realized, maybe that is the reason why I prefer traveling by land or air because there are so many things to consider in sea travel. Sharing our Puerto Galera travel experience.

I think it is more than a decade already since our last sea travel and a trip to Puerto Galera so when we went to Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort, I needed to do research on How to Go to Puerto Galera

My first trip to Oriental Mindoro was when I was still working, it was our team building in Puerto Galera. Since we are a group, instead of riding a bus to Batangas port, we rented a van from Gil Puyat Station. Our second trip was when we attended our friend’s wedding in Mindoro, we took a JAM Liner bus to Batangas port. 

Park and Sail 

Fast forward to our trip last month, we drove to Batangas Port and I was really worried because we were not sure if we could park our car. We experienced Park and Fly but this would be our first Park and Sail experience. 

We left the house before 5AM and arrived at Batangas Port past 6AM and unfortunately Park and Sail parking area was already full. The staff informed us about different options; one of the options is park at commercial parking space which is PHP300 per day. Since we are not in a hurry, we chose to wait but deep inside, nagwoworry na ko because we have no idea kung what time kaya may lalabas sa parking. Actually, ang dami na rin nag-alisan sa pila because they could no longer wait and because of that, from 3rd naging first na kami sa pila. 

Batangas Port 

We waited for almost an hour para lang makapagpark, and from there we went to Passengers Terminal Building so we could buy our ticket. We missed the 7AM trip, yung ibang ferry fully booked na rin so our only chance is Montenegro Shipping Lines pero almost an hour na kami nakapila, parang hindi naman nagmomove so we decided to let go the 8AM trip and we transferred to different ferry na lang which is 10AM trip. 

We booked at MV Isla Simara or Island Water, don’t forget to bring IDs for discount. I’m thankful that my son brought his student ID so nakadiscount pa kami sa fare and terminal fee. 

Island Water RORO Fare Rate Batangas Pier/Balatero Pier (Puerto Galera) 

Economy Fare 

Regular PHP500 
Student PHP400 
Senior/PWD PHP357.14 
Child (3-7 years old) PHP250 
Infant (0-2 years old) FREE 

Business Class Fare 

Regular PHP850 
Student PHP680 
Senior/PWD PHP607.14 
Child (3-7 years old) PHP425 
Infant (0-2 years old) FREE 

VIP Class Fare 

Regular PHP1000 
Student PHP800 
Senior/PWD PHP714.29 
Child (3-7 years old) PHP500 
Infant (0-2 years old) FREE 

Terminal Fee: PHP30 
* Senior, PWD and Students are FREE 

Five minutes before 8AM, we were already at the boarding gate and I noticed na boarding pa rin sa Montenegro Shipping Lines and I was shocked when I saw the people na kasama ko sa pila, yung nasa unahan at nasa likod ko ng pila, nakasakay pa sa 8AM trip. Now I knew na hindi naman pala on-time ang mga Ferry sa Pilipinas kasi 8:30AM na boarding pa rin ang Ferry. 

I won’t deny na nanghinayang ako na lumipat ng pila, kasi sayang din yung paghihintay namin sa Port kung alam ko lang na late pala umaalis ang Ferry, sana nagtiyaga pa kami sa pagpila. 

Island Water Economy 

Anyway, unlike in airplane na may boarding time, sa Ferry pala kung ano yung Schedule Trip, yun din ang boarding. Our schedule is 10AM and the ferry left before 10:30AM. Travel time is 2 hours for RORO. We only booked an Economy Ticket so it is an open area, there is a TV where you can watch a movie. During our trip natapos yung Doctor Strange movie bago kami nakababa sa port. 

Balatero Port 

We paid the Environmental Fee and the staff asked for our Booked Accommodation. Then we rode a tricycle going to Muelle Port for PHP120. 

Environmental fee: PHP120 
*Senior, PWD, and 11 yrs old below are FREE 

Muelle Port 

Upon arrival at Muelle Port, my husband called the resort and we waited for 30 minutes for our boat. While waiting I checked this boat where you can learn about the History of Puerto Galera and different places that you can visit in Puerto Galera. 

Traveling to Batangas Port 

After a few days, it is time to say goodbye to Puerto Galera, and because of our experience in buying Balatero Ticket, my husband asked the staff of Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort kung nagbobook din ba sila ng Ferry Ticket. And the staff said yes, itatawag lang daw nila and payment is via Gcash. 

We wanted fastcraft but because of the gale warning, RORO lang available. During our breakfast, the staff called Island Water and was advised na VIP Class na lang daw available. Of course, we purchased the ticket, kailangan namin umuwi. 

We left past 11AM from Casalay Boutique Villas & Dive Resort and from Muelle Port, we rode a tricycle to Balatero Port for PHP150. The tricycle driver asked us if we already had a ticket kasi alam niya fully booked na daw ang ferry. Good thing that we asked for help from the resort or else, baka hindi kami makauwi. The driver dropped us at the Island Water Office to get our boarding ticket. Buti pala nagtanung siya kasi akala namin sa loob ng Balatero Port yung Ticketing Counter just like Batangas Port. Then we walked to Balatero Port and paid Terminal Fee. 

Balatero Port Terminal Fee: PHP10 
*Senior, PWD and Students are FREE 

Island Water VIP Class 

Our scheduled trip is 1PM but the Ferry left several minutes before 2PM, and again travel time is 2 hours. Once you enter the VIP Class, you will immediately notice the difference, you are staying in an aircon room and you have a private comfort room, comfortable chair, and free coffee and bottled water.

Batangas Port 

We arrived around 4PM and we walked to the parking lot. For our 3-day trips, we paid PHP370 for the parking fee.