Traveling by Boat or Ferry in the Philippines

Information about ferry and inter-island boat routes in the Philippines...

With more than 7,000 islands in the country, travel by ferry is a necessary form of transport in the Philippines. Journey times can range from under to an hour to over 50, with ferries leaving from the major coastal cities. From Manila, Cebu, Zamboanga and Davao routes are available to, sometimes indirectly, practically every island in the country.

Travel by ferry is economical and offers the opportunity to see parts of the country not afforded by other means of travel. There are four types of boat and ferry transport in the Philippines:

  1. Passenger liners: large ships carry thousands of passengers as well as cars. Tickets are usually bought in advance and passengers are usually required to 'check-in' three hours before sailing time.
  2. ROROs: Roll On, Roll Off  ferries for cars. Tickets usually paid in advance.
  3. Fastcraft: fast means of transport between big islands usually in the form of a modern, air-conditioned, catamaran. Tickets are purchased at the dockside before departure.
  4. Bangkas: small boats for hopping between islands situated in close proximity to one another. Considered the taxis of the sea, motorized bangkas are called 'pumpboats'. Tickets are purchased at the jetty or dock before departure.

All methods of maritime transport are dependent on weather conditions and schedules may be subject to change.

Some of the main ferry companies operating in the Philippines are:

  • 2GO Travel - One of the largest travel providers in the country following the merger of four former ferry companies. Links the major islands by ferry and offers the most comprehensive coverage
  • El Greco - Operates between Manila and Bataan
  • Montenegro - Routes from Batangas and Lucena in the north as far as Surigao and Dumaguete
  • Oceanjet - Sailing from Bacolod, Cebu, Dumaguete, Iloilo, Ormoc, Siquijor and Tagbilaran
  • Supercat 2GO - Part of the 2GO group with ferry services between Batangas, Bacolod, Cebu, Iloilo, Ormoc Calapan and Tagbiliran
  • Super Shuttle Roro - Owned by Asian Marine Transport Corporation and servicing a wide number of ports and islands is a useful tool for searching ferry routes and schedules around the the Philippines.

Manila Ferry Routes

Some of the destinations to and from Manila by ferry can be found below:

  • Bacolod City to Manila
  • Cagayan De Oro to Manila
  • Cebu City to Manila
  • Manila to Bacolod City
  • Manila to Cagayan De Oro
  • Manila to Cebu City
  • Manila to Tagbilaran City
  • Manila to Zamboanga City
  • Tagbilaran City to Manila
  • Zamboanga City to Manila