Our first destination out of Manila was Boracay, Kelly had made it very clear to me she wanted to see some beach. While a lot of people choose to fly from Manila to Boracay we opted for the cheaper option of the ferry. To be precise, we took the very budget option of “Super Value Class” which turned out to be a huge 200 bed floating dorm room.
Manila to Batanagas – Bus
The first part of the journey was by bus from Manila to Batangas. This 2 hour journey was typical of a bus ride in the Philippines; it was crowded and stopped regularly for passengers while snack vendors hopped on and off every time the bus came to a stop.
Batangas to Caticlan – Ferry
The ferry itself is an overnight from Batangas to the port of Caticlan run by 2GO travel. Our ticket for the ferry stated we had to arrive at least 4 hours before the 9pm set off time. This seemed a little long but we didn’t really have anything better to do in Manila so headed down to Batangas pretty early. The ferry terminal was full of food stalls to keep us happy until boarding time. Getting on the ferry was a bit of a challenge in itself. We were separated into lines of male and female and told to put our bags in line next to us and patted down by security. It was dark and there was a man in uniform shouting instructions at us through a megaphone, It felt a little like I was joining the military or going to prison. A few minutes later the star of this show turned up; a black Labrador sniffing all our gear for drugs. With no illegal substances found (not that there was any there), we boarded the ferry.
The ferry is equipped with everything you might need, including a shop, restaurant and even a bar where passengers sung karaoke well into the night. Our “Super Value Class” was simply an enormous ship deck filled with rows upon rows of metal bunk beds. The beds had plastic gym-mat style mattresses which were surprisingly comfortable when you added the pillow case and sheet available for a small fee. Most people within this area had drifted off to sleep by 11pm, which is probably a good idea because we needed to wake up at 5am to disembark at 6. However, it is a bit difficult to fall asleep on a giant ship in the middle of the ocean when someone starts singing “My Heart Will Go On” at karaoke and you start getting Titanic flashbacks. However, after a while the rocking motion of the ship gently lulled us into a deep slumber.
Caticlan to Boracay – Boat
Once you arrive in Caticlan you are directed to a path to the boats which sail to Boracay. Buying the boat ticket here is unnecessarily confusing. There are 3 tickets windows and you have to visit all 3. The first is the ticket, the second an environmental fee and the third the ferry terminal fee. You then have to head over to a desk to fill in what appears to be a questionnaire (where do you come from etc). After all that you can jump on the boat for the very short 10 minute crossing to Boracay.
How would you get from Manila to Boracay?
All in all we were pretty happy with our decision to take the ferry from Manila to Boracay rather than fly, although we are really not on any deadlines. The ferry not only saved us money on flights but was also accommodation for one night.