5 Must-Try Island Connections in the Philippines

Looking forward to a new travel destination to aside from your usual flights and road trips? How about taking to the seas instead? Given the Philippines’ setting as an archipelago with long coastlines, inter-island shipping is the primary mode of transport that connects the islands. They offer a variety of routes, services and seats that could be more affordable compared to air travel and more convenient than road trips.

Check out these island connections on board a fast craft or full-service ship and conquer the Philippines one island at a time.

BATANGAS CITY – CATICLAN (Boracay) and Vice Versa

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Photo Courtesy of 2Go Travel

Although Boracay is one of the most popular island destinations in the country, some travelers and tourists do not know that a direct route by boat operates daily to Caticlan from Batangas City and vice versa. While air travel is the more convenient choice, it’s also interesting to experience a full-service ship trip to Boracay without hassle courtesy of 2Go Travel. This is one alternative to the tiring and long-haul Ro-Ro transfers via Mindoro Island. No worries with the bus travel from Manila since SLEX and Star Tollways already steamlined the travel time to Batangas Pier.

2Go sails to/from Caticlan daily with fares ranging from around Php 600-Php 1,000 depending on accommodations and inclusions (food, insurance, linens) and this could get even lower during promo period which they often hold. Travel time is around 9 hours. Online booking is available, just visit 2Go Travel.

EL NIDO, Palawan – CORON, Palawan and Vice Versa

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Photo Courtesy of Montenegro Shipping 

Reaching these two island destinations in wonderful Palawan can get quite difficult. It’s hard to secure low-cost plane tickets to Coron, while the journey to El Nido requires a 5 to 6-hour road trip on top of the flight to Puerto Princesa. Recently, Montenegro Shipping, one of the country’s largest sea transport operators launched the Coron-El Nido and vice versa daily trips using a newly acquired fast craft. This connection basically made Coron and El Nido a 2-in-1 destination for both local and foreign tourists, making it possible to fly-in Coron and fly-out of Puerto Princesa after spending several days in El Nido. It is also now convenient to touch down in to Puerto Princesa, continue to El Nido and fly out of Coron.

Schedule: El Nido (ETD: 6am) / Coron (ETD: 12nn). Travel time  is 3 hours and 3o minutes. Fare: Php 1,760/pax Contact: El Nido Ticket Office at 0928-826-1645/ 0915-092-0358 or Visit: Montenegro Shipping

TABUELAN, CEBU – ESTANCIA, ILOILO and Vice Versa

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Photo Courtesy of Ocean Jet

Looking forward to a cruise that includes nature and island hopping in Visayas? It’s now more convenient to reach Iloilo from Cebu and vice versa without stepping on Negros Island. Recently, old-time fast craft player Ocean Jet Fast Ferries mounted this new route coming from the northern Cebu town of Tabuelan and docking in Estancia port, a gateway to the now-famous Gigantes Island Group in Carles, Iloilo. This is one convenient option for tourists and travelers who want to combine a Cebu-Panay itinerary.

Ocean Jet sails to and from Tabuelan or Estancia once a day only starting October 2, 2016 following this schedule: TabuelanEstancia (ETD: 6am) / EstanciaTabuelan (ETD: 930am). Travel time is around 2 hours and 30 minutes and intro ticket price is Php 600. Contact Information@ Cebu: (032) 255-7560 / 09176380000 / Tabuelan: 0922 573 6050 Estancia: (033) 320 1400

MATNOG, SORSOGON – SAN ISIDRO, NORTHERN SAMAR

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Photo Courtesy of Fast Cat

This is a new route put up by FastCat Ferries, one of the newest operators of inter-island shipping using their newly acquired catamaran designed as a passenger and Ro-Ro fast craft. As a gateway to the Visayas and Mindanao, most of the passenger boats going to Samar usually arrive in Allen Port. But this new destination makes more accessible the otherwise isolated and hard-to-reach island wonders of Northern Samar, particularly, the historical town of Capul Island and the unique Pink Sand beaches of San Vicente. This is also a starting point to other key cities and attractions in Samar and Leyte islands.

Fast Cat plies this route up to six times a day. Rates range from Php 180-Php 280 depending on type of seats. They also offer freight services for vehicles at affordable rates. Visit their website: Fact Cat.

ZAMBOANGA CITY – JOLO, SULU and Vice Versa

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Photo Courtesy of Vincent Paul Sanchez / CC

Despite the supposed unstable peace and order situation in this part of the country, it is still interesting to know that they remain accessible as ever through fast crafts. Weesam Express, which also operates routes in Cebu, Ormoc and Bacolod, has resumed the Jolo, Sulu route from of Zamboanga City this November 2016. They also operate the Zamboanga City-Isabela City, Basilan route.

Trips from Zamboanga City leave at 8am and from Jolo at 1pm daily. Travel time is around 4 hours. Tickets cost Php 800 (Tourist) and are available at the Weesam Ticket Office at Amils Tower, Pilar Street. Please contact (062) 992-3986 or visit their website, Weesam Express for updated information.

These connections are just highlights of the vast coverage and network of routes that these shipping players operate. Please refer to their websites and social media accounts for latest updates on booking information, fares, updated routes and schedules.

Disclaimer: We are not connected in any way to these shipping operators or the host destinations. This is just a practical guide to aid our fellow travelers on possibilities of sea travel and in the spirit of promoting tourism and island tourism connectivity. Photos are grabbed with due credits to the respective companies as indicated.

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