The Bureau of Immigration (BI) in Puerto Galera has moved. Services have been transferred to Calapan. I found the office, which was supposed to be on the first floor of the Public Market building, hidden behind a second-hand shop, empty and abandoned.
But that was on a Friday, and opening hours are Monday to Wednesday, the website of the BI tells me. So I come back on Monday to be sure. And it is still abandoned and empty.
The lady working in the second-hand shop tells me that they have moved to Calapan.
Not a very smart move, if you ask me. Since all tourists are in Puerto Galera and not in Calapan. But since all governmental authorities are located in Calapan, they might have considered combining things.
So when visiting Puerto Galera and in need of a visa extension, you need to go to Puerto Galera. If you are in Sabang Beach ar White Beach this adds up to your travel time.
How to get to Calapan
To get to Calapan you have to take either a jeepney or a van. Both depart from the bus terminal just outside the town center in front of the hospital.
Prices are 80 pesos (1.60 euro) for a jeepney or 100 pesos (2.00 euro) for an express van, one way. Both drop you off at the bur terminal in Calapan called ‘Calapan Pier’.
Traveling time is up to 1.5 – 2 hours by jeepney, depending on traffic and stops.
From the Calapan bus terminal, you have to take a tricycle to the immigration office.
Bureau of Immigration in Batangas
You might want to consider going to Batangas like I will do, next week. The ma shows me that the BI is close to the port, I love the boat ride and Batangas offers the SM City Mall, so if there is time left I can visit that and do some shopping. To me, the city center of Batangas is a little more organized than the town center of Calapan.
Ferries leave from Puerto Galera port every half an hour, either Father and Son Lines or Minolo Shipping Lines. A round trip costs 500 pesos (10 euro) and terminal fees in Batangas are 50 pesos (1 euro)*. When arriving back in Puerto Galera just say you are a resident, you do not have to pay the terminal fees.
Last ferry back to Puerto Galera from Batangas Pier is Minolo Shipping Lines they leave at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. As with all last ferries all over the world: It is packed with people and luggage. There is a max amount of passengers they can transport but I have not yet seen them refuse passengers to go onboard, just like the tricycles and jeepneys: there seems always room for 1 more.
* prices November 2015
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Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites
Currently, she lives in Mexico.
She is an emigration coach and works online.