Getting Around in The Philippines

by - November 30, 2018


This is just a post summarising all my internal travel within the Philippines and so can give you logistics/prices/recommendations on the best/cheapest/easiest ways to get around once you arrive in the Philippines.

Two things to note before I get into the details:

  1. The Philippines is huge so allow time to move from island to island, or place to place. We had a few “travelling days” so factor that in if your booking a trip with a definitive end date. 
  2. I can only speak to what I did personally, but I hope this is helpful! For more on pricing for flights read the second paragraph of this post (click here). 


Flying: 

Some internal flights are very cheap (£20-30) and some are ludicrously expensive (~£100), and there is no obvious reason (like journey time) for the disparity in price. I got 4 internal flights (Manila-Siargao, Siargao-Cebu, Cebu-Busuanga, Puerto Princesa-Manila). I’m crying about my carbon footprint too, but flying is the easiest, sometimes cheapest, and sometimes only way to get around. In total I think I paid around £200 for all 4, and I think Cebu-Busuanga was the priciest. Also note for that flight you are only allowed 10kg of luggage (*eye roll*) so be prepared to load up your hand luggage or pay for extra weight (in my opinion one of the biggest scams out there). 


Once on the Islands..

Siargao:

From the airport to General Luna - there are vans outside of airport and they fill them up with people, so when it is full they go and call your hostel name when it’s yours. P300. Easy. 

From Cebu airport to moalboal:

Get a white taxi (not yellow as white is cheaper) to the Cebu South bus terminal - takes a whole 40-60min because of traffic - mine was P360. Then get the bus from there - just say you want Moalboal and you will be pointed to the bus - P140. Buy ticket on the bus. Easy as and a surprisingly comfortable affair. Is also dead cheap (much much cheaper than getting around Palawan!). When you get there just get a tricycle to your hostel (I paid P100 but have a feeling I was mugged off, but didn’t know how long it would take and that is only about £1.50 so is what it is). 

Busuanga (Coron) airport to your accommodations: 

Same as Siargao - vans outside the airport, give your hostel name, goes when full, drops you one by one. P150. Done. Easy. 

Coron to El Nido: 

There is a ferry everyday at noon. You can buy tickets from the travel shops around town and it’s P1760 (bit expensive if you ask me but cheaper than a P5000 flight). Now if you don’t get stuck on the island in a typhoon like I did, this should be easy. Just get a tricycle to the ferry port (P50-100 depending on where your hostel is but try pay P50). Be prepared for the ferry to be cancelled - it gets cancelled quite often for ridiculous reasons. When you buy your ticket at the travel shop, swap numbers with the person you buy it from and message them at 7am on the day to check the ferry is running. If your ferry is cancelled, you get priority on the next available ferry. I would also advise getting to the port early (you have to be there an hour early anyway) but people will be there to buy the remaining seats if there are any so if you are late your seat might be lost. 
If you get travel sick (like me) take travel sickness pills. It is a bumpy ride. 

El Nido to Puerto Princesa:

P500 van and again you can buy the tickets anywhere, including most hostels and they’ll pick you up from your accommodation. It’s about 5 hours but has a stop where you can buy hot or cold food if you want. Again, I recommend travel sickness pills to those of you who suffer from travel sickness. 
Also be warned that they fill the van. We had 15 people in an 11 seater van at one lpoint. They pick people up and drop them off as you go, and the expect you to share your seat if needed. It’s ridiculous and annoying and I would advice sitting at the back if this happens to you. You can however reserve seats (again, ridiculous) as I learnt when I was evicted from the front seat (where I feel least ill) as someone had reserved it so if you also prefer the front, request it when you buy your ticket (and maybe add that you’re not willing to share without a discount). It was a less enjoyable journey than the public bus to moalboal but it’s the cheapest option.

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