Top 3 Questions from tourists visiting the Philippines


The Philippines welcomes more and more tourists every day. Popular destinations such as El Nido (Palawan), Boracay and Siargao, being praised by the international media, has helped increase the influx of visitors arriving every year. If you are planning your first visit to this beautiful country, you may want to take note of the following.
  • Whats the best way to… ?
If you live in a developed country, chances are you are spoilt for choices in almost every aspect of your life, even if you are not aware of it. At times, we are asked: “Whats the best way to get from (for example) Camiguin to El Nido?’
while asking whats the best way to get from point A to B in a developed country may yield a number of options, in the Philippines, it is very likely that you may get the option of traveling by air (the short way), or by land/sea (the long way). If you are hitting a popular tourist destination from Manila or Cebu, you will have no problem flying direct. If you are going from, lets say, Bohol to Boracay, then you will most likely have a layover in either Cebu or Manila.
  • Whats the best airline?
Similarly, many times we are asked, whats the best airline to fly from point A to point B?
The philippines has many destinations you can fly to, but more often than not, you will not have the best connections.  While most visitors do travel around the same places, if you want to head over to Siargao from El Nido, you will most likely have to fly to Manila or Cebu first. Also, dont expect to find many airline options. Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Sky Jet and Air Juan are the airlines you will find in the Philippines. They are all very similar in terms of service standards and fleets used to service domestic flights. It usually comes down to “whats your budget”.  We have another article with a more detailed description of the main differences of these airlines here.
  • Apo
Yes, this is not a question, but it is at times the cause for missunderstanding or opportunities lost.  Occasionally, we are asked about Apo, and when this happens, we need to answer with another question: Apo what?
yes, we know you are most likely talking about Apo Island. But if you are asking local residents to point you in the right direction to Apo, know that there are a number of options:
Apo Island – Off the coast of Dumaguete, although you can get to it from Siquijor. Great for Diving with Turtles
Apo Reef – Between Coron and Mindoro, usually accessible from Sablayan (Occidental Mindoro)
Mount Apo – Highest mountain (it is a volcano) in the Philippines, located in the island of Mindanao
Apo Whang-Od – Kalinga tattoo artist from the village of Buscalan
By the way, we watched Lost Leblanc’s video on his top 10 places to visit in the Philippines… Apo island does NOT mean Turtle island…
unfortunately for some, luckily for others, it is hard to find good, up-to-date, reliable information for those less crowded but still beautiful destinations scattered across the more than 7000 islands.


Marinduque

Marinduque, is an island located between Tayabas Bay and Sibuyan Sea.  It is part of the Mimaropa Region, (aka Suthwestern Tagalog Region and previously designated as Region IV-B) and is also part of the Luzon island group.  If there is anything that makes Mimaropa known, that would be that it is the home of the Moriones Festival, which takes place every Holy Week, and that together with Batanes, it has the lowest crime in the country.

If you are looking for a quick, long-weekend-getaway from Manila, this may very well be one great option.

What to do in Marinduque?

Marinduque is a fun island to ride around.  It is big enough for you to enjoy a full day of riding and small enough for you to circle it in one day and stop and see some of the sights it has to offer.

If you decide to ride around the island, non-stop, this may take you anywhere between 2 to 3.5 hours.  However, do make time to stop along the way as there are places worth visiting.

  • Beaches and Island hopping – If you are looking to get a tan or chill on the fine sand, head over to the port in Buyabod, park your bike and get on a bangka.  Tell the basngkero (boatman) to take you to Maniuaya Island, Palad Sandbar and/or Mompong Island, where you can jump off the Ungab Rock Formation.  This could all be done in a day, if you start really early, or you could find one that you like and stay a little longer.  Just remember that Palad Sandbar is only accessible during low tide, so plan your visit well if you want to instagram here.
    Alternatively, you can head over to Gasan and visit Tres Reyes Islands, named after the 3 kings that according to the bible, brought gold incense and myrrh to baby Jesus.
    You have a number of very nice beaches around the island, and it is not hard to sdtay away from the crowds, which makes the beach extra special.
  • Boac Cathedral – The pride and joy of the locals.  It is the oldest building in Marinduque and a must if you have any interest in the history of the island and the Spanish influence in the Philippines.
  • If you like nature and the outdoors, you have plenty of options.  You can hike up Mount Malindi and Tarug Peak or you can visit some of the caves the island has to offer, such as, Bathala Caves, Bagumbongan cave or Tarug Cave.  If you want to take a dip in  fresh water, head over to Kawa-Kawa falls, Paadjao falls in Mogpog or Duyay falls.

Where to stay in Marinduque

Marinduque is kind of an off-the-beaten-path destination in the Philippines, and as such, hospitality business options are limited.

If you are on the west coast of the island, near Boac, you may want to check out Eastpoint Hotel.  Nothing fancy, but it is clean, and it serves as a perfect base from which one can explore the island and (very important) have a relatively late dinner within a short walk from the hotel (this hotel only offers some instant coffee for breakfast, but no lunch or dinner).

If you are on the east coast of the island, you may want to head over to Beach Club Cagpo.  Quiet, by a beautiful beach, and has a nice enough restaurant, in case you just want to chill and not go anywhere.

This is also a good base from which you can explore some of the island’s sights.

Where to eat in Marinduque

Marinduque is nothing like most major tourist destinations in the Philippines, and while it is absolutely stunning and it hosts one of the most peculiar festivals, it may not have as many food options other than your regular carinderias (which are always worth a try).

If you are craving for something different (in Marinduque’s context) and want to stray away from adobo and sinigang), 10 y.o. Cafe, offers a very nice menu and atmosphere.  It is the closest you will find (or at least what we found) to your typical hipster cafe you could find in any other big city.  Staff is friendly and they open till late compared to other establishments in the island.

On the other side of the island, tucked away by the beach, you have Beach Club Cagpo, which also has some nice non local food items in a great beach-side setting.

If you are craving for some of the local flavours, you have Kusina sa Plaza, near the Boac Cathedral, but you maight aswell venture into any of the local carinderias you can find along the road and in the different towns around the island.

Geting to and from Marinduque

If you are planning to ride your motorcycle to Marinduque, you have a number of options.  You can get to Marinduque from the port of Lucena, in the Quezon Province, in the island of Luzon, or, you can get to Marinduque from Romblon.

There are 2 ports with a roro service in Marinduque: Port of Balanacan, in Mogpog and the Port of Cawit in Boac.  Find more info on the roro services here.

Check out our map of the different roro ports in the Philippines.

Dalahican Port (Lucena) roro (ferry) price and schedules


If you are traveling by road and intend to ride between islands, you will need to board a roro (ferry). Most islands (especially the larger ones) have one or more ports from which one can load a vehicle and explore different islands.  Read this post to find out about the Dalahican port (Lucena, Quezon Province) roro ferry price and schedules.

Dalahican port is located in Lucena city in the Quezon province in the Calabarzon region of the Philippines.  This port is the jump off point to Marinduque, Banton, Tablas, Romblon and Sibuyan.

There are two shipping lines that operate passenger ferry/roro boats from Lucena (Starhorse Shipping Lines and Montenegro Shipping Lines).  Both offer around 5 boats daily, but schedules are constantly changing and depending on the number of passengers and weather.  Also, you have boats that sail between Luchena (Dalahican Ferry Terminal) and Mogpog (Port of Balanacan), but there are also a number of boats that sail from Lucena to the port of Cawid in Marinduque and then sail to Banton, Tablas, Romblon and Sibuyan.

Trying to contact the companies through phone, e-mail or their social media can be close to impossible, so as a general rule of thumb, if you plan to sail from the port of Lucena, it is a smart idea to bbe there any time between 3a.m. (first boat sails at 3:30a.m.) and noon (if you want to catch some day light on your arrival in Marinduque.

It takes anywhere from 2 to 3 hours to sail between Lucena and Mogpog, while it may take an extra hour if you are traveling to or from the port of Cawid.

Find prices and schedules below.  Some companies will offer discounts for children, students, senior citizens and persons with disabilities, check when booking/purchasing your tickets.  Not all vessels have different classes, some may just have the regular seats/beds and a tourist class with aircon and others may have more than 2 different classes onboard.

 

Information provided is accurate at the time of writing.  If you know of more services which are not listed, please leave a comment below and we will update the post as soon as possible.
To Port of Balanacan, Mogpog (Marinduque)

Montenegro Shipping Lines

Departure times:

1:00, 3:00, 10:00, 12:00, 15:00, 19:00, 22:00, 23:00

Travel Time:

3 hours

Price:

S.U.V./sedan: php 2,340.00
mini bus:
motorcycle under 400cc:
motorcycle 400cc and above: php 936.00

passenger economy: php
passenger premium economy: N/A
passenger business: N/A

passenger terminal fee: php 30.00
vehicle terminal fee (Car/Truck): php 129.00
vehicle terminal fee (motorcycle): php 65.00
vehicle terminal fee on arrival: N/A

Starhorse Shipping Lines

Departure times:

00:30, 03:30, 09:30, 11:30, 13:30, 18:30, 20:30, 22:30

Travel Time:

3 hours

Price:

S.U.V./sedan: php 2,340.00
mini bus:
motorcycle under 400cc: php 936.00
motorcycle 400cc and above: php 936.00

passenger economy: php 260.00
passenger premium economy: N/A
passenger business: N/A

passenger terminal fee: php 30.00
vehicle terminal fee (Car/Truck): php 129.00
vehicle terminal fee (motorcycle): php 65.00
vehicle terminal fee on arrival: N/A

To Port of Cawid (Marinduque)

Starhorse Shipping Lines

Departure times:

16:00

Travel Time:

4 hours

Price:

S.U.V./sedan: php 3000.00
mini bus:
motorcycle under 400cc:
motorcycle 400cc and above:

passenger economy:
passenger premium economy: N/A
passenger business: N/A

passenger terminal fee: php 30.00
vehicle terminal fee (Car/Truck): php 129.00
vehicle terminal fee (motorcycle): php 65.00
vehicle terminal fee on arrival: N/A

To Port of Banton

Starhorse Shipping Lines

Departure times:

16:00

Travel Time:
Price:

S.U.V./sedan:
mini bus:
motorcycle under 400cc:
motorcycle 400cc and above:

passenger economy:
passenger premium economy: N/A
passenger business: N/A

passenger terminal fee: php 30.00
vehicle terminal fee (Car/Truck): php 129.00
vehicle terminal fee (motorcycle): php 65.00
vehicle terminal fee on arrival: N/A

To Port of San Agustin (Tablas)

Starhorse Shipping Lines

Departure times:

16:00

Travel Time:
Price:

S.U.V./sedan:
mini bus:
motorcycle under 400cc:
motorcycle 400cc and above:

passenger economy:
passenger premium economy: N/A
passenger business: N/A

passenger terminal fee: php 30.00
vehicle terminal fee (Car/Truck): php 129.00
vehicle terminal fee (motorcycle): php 65.00
vehicle terminal fee on arrival: N/A

To Port of Romblon

Starhorse Shipping Lines

Departure times:

16:00

Travel Time:
Price:

S.U.V./sedan:
mini bus:
motorcycle under 400cc:
motorcycle 400cc and above:

passenger economy:
passenger premium economy: N/A
passenger business: N/A

passenger terminal fee: php 30.00
vehicle terminal fee (Car/Truck): php 129.00
vehicle terminal fee (motorcycle): php 65.00
vehicle terminal fee on arrival: N/A

To Port of Ambulong (Sibuyan)

Starhorse Shipping Lines

Departure times:

16:00

Travel Time:
Price:

S.U.V./sedan:
mini bus:
motorcycle under 400cc:
motorcycle 400cc and above:

passenger economy:
passenger premium economy: N/A
passenger business: N/A

passenger terminal fee: php 30.00
vehicle terminal fee (Car/Truck): php 129.00
vehicle terminal fee (motorcycle): php 65.00
vehicle terminal fee on arrival: N/A

We board roro (ferries) from Dalahican port in our following rides:

Philippines Weather : When and where to go

You have decided to travel to the Philippines, but now you are wondering, what’s the best time to visit.  Weather may be an issue, and if you have been reading about rainy and dry seasons from other travellers, you are probably worried that you can only travel during the rainy season months, or you are trying to decide when to book your tickets so that you can enjoy the sun at the beach.

The Philippines is a rather large archipelago with 5 different climate zones.  Generally speaking, there is rainy season in the (northern hemisphere) summer months (May/June to September/October) and a dry season the remaining months.

It is important, however, to note that, being a tropical country, weather is quite unpredictable and neither the rainy season brings constant rainfall or dry season is completely dry.  It would be safe to say that dry season brings less rain rather than no rain at all.

Also, don’t let the weather be a deterrent to your holiday plans, and know, that while it may be raining in Palawan, and western and central Visayas, it may very well be dry and sunny on the east coast of the country.  Teak season in many of the destinations in the country may vary.  If for example you are planning to visit during the summer months, and weather is an issue, you may want to avoid the very popular El Nido, Port Barton and Coron altogether, and head over to Southern Leyte and Siargao (unless you are looking for the best waves).

Places like Sagada, Banaue, Manila, Bicol, Mindoro, Panay, Cebu and Bohol are also some of the places that are affected by the rainy season, but this could be a great opportunity to discover some of the less travelled destinations.  You may have seen a lot less from these places on Instagram, but know that this is only because a lot less people go there and not because they are less beautiful.

Typhoons are one more reason for which you may be having doubts regarding dates and itinerary.  The months where most will agree to be the typhoon season months are July to October, but again, tropical weather and climate change make this more of a guide and it is not strange to have storms hit the islands all the way to January.

There are a number of degrees to these storms, and as much as some have been deadly, your best weapon to stay safe is awareness and good reliable information.

If you were to be in an area affected by a typhoon, a good concrete structure, avoiding taking ferries and watching out for potential growing rivers and tides, should be more than enough.

PAGASA is the official agency that monitors weather in the Philippines, so if you are travelling to the Philippines, do keep an eye on their reports which can be found on their website or on their Facebook page.

Batangas Port roro (ferry) price and schedules

If you are traveling by road and intend to ride between islands, you will need to board a roro (ferry). Most islands (especially the larger ones) have one or more ports from which one can load a vehicle and explore different islands.  Read this post to find out about the Batangas port roro ferry price and schedules.

Batangas port is located in Batangas city in the province with the same name in the Calabbarzon region of the Philippines.  This port is the jump off point to many major ports in the Philippines and is one of the ports from which one can leave and to which one can arrive when traveling to and from the island of Luzon.

Find prices and schedules below.  Some companies will offer discounts for children, students, senior citizens and persons with disabbilities, check when booking/purchasing your tickets.  Not all vessels have different classes, some may just have the regular seats/beds and a tourist class with aircon and others may have more than 2 different classes onboard.

 

Information provided is accurate at the time of writing.  If you know of more services which are not listed, please leave a comment below and we will update the post as soon as possible.
To Abra de Ilog (Occidental Mindoro)

Montenegro Shipping Lines

Departure times:

02:00, 06:00, 10:00, 14:00, 18:00, 22:00

Travel Time:

3 hours

Price:

S.U.V./sedan: php 1,872.00
mini bus:
motorcycle under 400cc:
motorcycle 400cc and above: php 936.00

passenger economy: php 260.00
passenger premium economy: N/A
passenger business: N/A

passenger terminal fee: php 30.00
vehicle terminal fee (Car/Truck): php 129.00
vehicle terminal fee (motorcycle): php 65.00
vehicle terminal fee on arrival: N/A

To Puerto Galera

Starlite Ferries

Departure times:

10:00, 18:00

Travel Time:

3 hours

Price:

S.U.V./sedan:
mini bus:
motorcycle under 400cc:
motorcycle 400cc and above:

passenger economy:
passenger premium economy: N/A
passenger business:

passenger terminal fee: php 30.00
vehicle terminal fee (Car/Truck): php 129.00
vehicle terminal fee (motorcycle): php 65.00
vehicle terminal fee on arrival: N/A

To Calapan

Fastcat

Departure times:

00:00, 01:30, 06:00, 09:00, 11:00, 14:30, 18:00, 20:00

Travel Time:

1.5 hours

Price:

S.U.V./sedan: php 1,540.00
mini bus: php 2,300.00
motorcycle under 400cc: php 720.00
motorcycle 400cc and above: php 860.00

passenger economy: php 190.00
passenger premium economy: php 250.00
passenger business: php 300.00

passenger terminal fee: php 30.00
vehicle terminal fee (Car/Truck): php 129.00
vehicle terminal fee (motorcycle): php 65.00
vehicle terminal fee on arrival: N/A

Montenegro Shipping Lines

Departure times:

00:00, 02:00, 04:00, 6:00, 8:00, 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00, 18:00, 20:00, 22:00

Travel Time:

3 hours

Price:

S.U.V./sedan:
mini bus:
motorcycle under 400cc:
motorcycle 400cc and above:

passenger economy:
passenger premium economy: N/A
passenger business: N/A

passenger terminal fee: php 30.00
vehicle terminal fee (Car/Truck): php 129.00
vehicle terminal fee (motorcycle): php 65.00
vehicle terminal fee on arrival: N/A

Starlite Ferries

Departure times:

01:00, 03:00, 05:00, 07:00, 09:00, 11:00, 13:00, 15:00, 17:00, 19:00, 21:00, 23:00

Travel Time:

3 hours

Price:

S.U.V./sedan: php 1350.00
mini bus:
motorcycle under 400cc: php 600.00
motorcycle 400cc and above:

passenger economy: php 199.00
passenger premium economy: N/A
passenger business: php 250.00

passenger terminal fee: php 30.00
vehicle terminal fee (Car/Truck): php 129.00
vehicle terminal fee (motorcycle): php 65.00
vehicle terminal fee on arrival: N/A

To Odiongan (Tablas)

2Go Travel

Departure times:

Monday
21:00
Thursday
22:00
Sunday
22:00

Travel Time:

7 hours

Price:

S.U.V./sedan:
mini bus:
motorcycle under 400cc:
motorcycle 400cc and above:

passenger economy:
passenger premium economy: N/A
passenger business:

passenger terminal fee: php 30.00
vehicle terminal fee (Car/Truck): php 129.00
vehicle terminal fee (motorcycle): php 65.00
vehicle terminal fee on arrival: N/A

To Romblon

2Go Travel

Departure times:

Monday
21:00
Thursday
22:00
Sunday
22:00

Travel Time:

7 hours

Price:

S.U.V./sedan:
mini bus:
motorcycle under 400cc:
motorcycle 400cc and above:

passenger economy:
passenger premium economy: N/A
passenger business:

passenger terminal fee: php 30.00
vehicle terminal fee (Car/Truck): php 129.00
vehicle terminal fee (motorcycle): php 65.00
vehicle terminal fee on arrival: N/A

To Roxas (Oriental Mindoro)

2Go Travel

Departure times:

Monday
21:00
Thursday
22:00
Sunday
22:00

Travel Time:

7 hours

Price:

S.U.V./sedan:
mini bus:
motorcycle under 400cc:
motorcycle 400cc and above:

passenger economy:
passenger premium economy: N/A
passenger business:

passenger terminal fee: php 30.00
vehicle terminal fee (Car/Truck): php 129.00
vehicle terminal fee (motorcycle): php 65.00
vehicle terminal fee on arrival: N/A

To Caticlan

2Go Travel

Departure times:

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
21:00

Travel Time:

10 hours

Price:

S.U.V./sedan:
mini bus:
motorcycle under 400cc:
motorcycle 400cc and above:

passenger economy:
passenger premium economy: N/A
passenger business:

passenger terminal fee: php 30.00
vehicle terminal fee (Car/Truck): php 129.00
vehicle terminal fee (motorcycle): php 65.00
vehicle terminal fee on arrival: N/A

We board roro (ferries) from Batangas port in our following rides:

Sablayan : 3 Days

Sablayan : 4 Days

Manila to Cebu : 1 Way : 9 Days

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