I lived in Philippines over 30 years ago, with 8 years in Puerto Galera. I recently returned for a visit and the Filipinos are still the most friendly Asian people.
However, I was saddened by my return to Puerto Galera, the place has been absolutely trashed over the past 30 years. The pristine open white beaches have been replaced by wall to wall ugly buildings built right up and sometimes below the high water mark and up to 300 metres back from the beach, there is sewage running across the beach at Sabang and the beach stinks at low tide when all the pollution is revealed. In some areas even the beaches have been concreted over. Huge permanent structures jut out into the seas from the headlands, and despite the enormous increase in buildings and people, there is not even a rudimentary sewage treatment system in place. The only saving grace is the strong offshore currents which wash all the pollution out to sea.
Even the town itself is hideous, there are now over 600 noisy polluting two stroke tricycles cluttering the streets, squatters everywhere, lots of persistent vendors and in place of the ferry service where one could sit in comfort in deck chairs there are large uncomfortable clammy bancas where the passengers are jammed in like sardines. The population has obviously increased many times over, with the resulting bad traffic problems, noise and without any apparent regulation.
Puerto Galera is a unique land and island area, which had pristine white beaches and a beautiful hinterland. I am glad I experienced it before the place was ruined. With careful planning this could have all been preserved but now it is just another Phuket, Bali or Pattaya. At the present rate to despoliation, I would hate to think what it will be like in another 30 years.
However one can still visit some unspoilt beaches and see what all of Puerto Galera was once like. However, these beaches can only be reached on some of the islands by motorboat or are privately owned by wealthy Filipinos. Once a road gets to a beach, that is the end of it.