White Beach photo from Wikipedia.
"if puerto galera sinks during holy week, ubos ang kalahati ng gay population in the philippines..."—liner
"kalahati lang kaya?"—ebe
Those two comments above on Migs' Puerto Galera post made me laugh out loud. Of course it's an exaggeration, but the fact that a significant portion of the PLU population in Metro Manila and the Southern Tagalog region converge to Puerto Galera, specifically White Beach, during Holy Week is one of those things you expect year in, year out. Like Christmas, your birthday, and President Arroyo's scandals. It's so expected, even straight people know it (so they go to Boracay instead). It's as if Malate was transported magically to the island of Mindoro. And no, I didn't go to Galera. I've been there a few times but I have never went during the Holy Week; my religious convictions get the better of me. Hehehe.
Why Holy Week? I have no idea and I don't know when this gay Visita Iglesia started. I guess it's because Holy Week is the only guaranteed long weekend during summer. Also, due to the quirky nature of setting the date of Easter Sunday, there's always a full moon during Holy Week and I guess it's appealing to cruise around at night when it's dark, but not too dark that you can't see whether the guy you're kissing is cute or not. Hehehe.
Anyway, I know it's a bit late but shown below is a map depicting the usual gay places in hot pink push pins for your reference. (Hey, the weekend after Holy Week is also a popular go-to-the-beach week, since some people like to avoid the mass of people during Holy Week that could rival the population density of Bangladesh. Plus there's the upcoming Araw ng Kagitingan long weekend so it's not as if the map is entirely useless.) I've pointed on the map the three places you should know about: Jurassic Park, Rockwell, and Zanzi Bar. Click on the push pins to know where they are.
Jurassic Park is really just a bit of forest very near the eastern end of the beach. It's the bit of dense foliage a few tens of meters from the big boulder and the cave, and its where miraculous things happen, especially at night. At least a few years ago. I hear that the local barangay have put up a barbed-wire fence to close of the area, but I don't think it prevented gay guys from entering the forest.
On the opposite end of the beach is Rockwell. This is just a rocky area leading to Aninuan Beach. I hear that the cruisiest time is during late afternoon. (I guess it's too dangerous to navigate the area at night?) Take note that many people also go here to do some artsy photo sessions via sexy poses.
Finally, on a more wholesome level, there's Zanzi Bar, I think the only bar that proudly flies the rainbow flag. Zanzi Bar is actually just a kiosk and this is the perennial party place of Government (that gay dance club in Makati) during the Holy Week. See Henry Lim's (he's one of the owners of Government) announcement for 2008.
Tips: While gays are tolerated very much in Puerto Galera, any "public indecency" is not welcome, not even at night when everything is mostly dark. Local barangay officials are known to patrol the bar areas at night to prevent "scandals" and motorboats with powerful spotlights often glide past the beaches scanning for "unwholesome activities." You'd better best stick to kissing and necking (which you can easily cover up) if you do find some nice guys on the eastern half of White Beach at night and do the more carnal pleasures in a private room. (Sadly, there's no motel in the area, as far as I know.)
Here are some nice gay blog posts from years past about Puerto Galera: " Puerto Galera’s White Beach - Gay Capital of the Philippines?!" and " A Puerto Galera Adventure". Have you been to Puerto Galera this past week? Got any stories of your own to tell?
Update (2010): Reader taurus top has posted some updated tips regarding White Beach, Puerto Galera. You would definitely find them useful.