Puerto Galera History
The Spaniards discovered Puerto Galera in the early 16th century as a safe haven for their trade ships during heavy squalls and typhoons. Legend has it that once sailors arrived on the island; they never wanted to leave without a promise to come back!
Puerto Galera, one of the oldest settlements of the religious missionaries, was founded in 1574 as the original capital of Mindoro. The original town was located at the Lagundian, now a “sitio” chosen by the Spanish authorities as the provincial capital due to its excellent harbor and natural beauty. But due to its susceptibility to moro raids, the Spaniards were forced to transfer the town from the Lagundian to the present site, which they named Puerto Galera.
World War II
On February 27, 1942, the Japanese air force and naval auxiliary occupied the town. Leoncio Axalan, who was supposed to end his term as mayor in 1942, was made to extend his term until 1946 because of his courage and integrity. It was indeed a great test for a man to run the affairs of th e municipal government amidst the warring parties, the guerrillas and the Japanese. Af ter the liberation in 1946, then Governor Arturo Ignacio appointed Rafael Garcia as the municipal mayor of Puerto Galera. In 1948, Estanislao Brucal, an officer of the guerrilla unit in Mindoro during the Japa nese occupation, became the first elected municipal mayor of Puerto Galera under the Republican form of Government. In 1972, during the third term of Puerto Galera Mayor Rogelio Cataquis, the sitios of Sto. Niño and Villaflor were created and organized into regular barangays together with the recognition of Poblacion as a duly organized barangay. On December 26, 1973, PD 354 was issued by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos making Puerto Galera a reservation area under the Man and Biosphere Program of the UNESCO. Today, the beautiful and scenic Puerto Galera is the center of tourism in this province, making full use of its long line of white beaches and its abundant flora and fauna.