Travelling from Puerto Galera to Iloilo, via Caticlan – costs, time schedules etc.
Time to move. I’m going to Iloilo for Christmas and New Year.
So I say good-bye to the Badladz Beach Resort in Small Tabinay and a tricycle brings me to Puerto Galera Jeepney terminal. There I take a UV-Express Van to Calapan city Pier. The bus station near the public market.
Price for the tricycle is 20 pesos p.p. Price for the Express Van 100 pesos p.p.
Duration: Bus station Puerto Galera to Calapan City Pier: 1.5 hours (depending traffic)
The journey takes you along the Coastal Highway. The sea view from the mountain range that you cross is spectacular. As are the valleys filled with palm trees and calamansi trees.
You pass Tamaraw Falls and villages like Villaflor , San Teodoro and Baco.
When coming closer to Calapan the scenery will change from mountains to rice fields and slowly merging with houses and industry as you approach the city.
From the City Pier in Calapan a tricycle transports me to the port (Calapan Pier)
Minivans from Yellow Van and buses from Dimpelstar Bus Company depart there daily to Roxas.
I take the 12 o’clock green Dimpelstar bus to Roxas RORO terminal. It leaves 12.30 since there aren’t enough passengers and they decide to wait for the next ferry to arrive.
After that, they had to fill up the diesel tank, so when we hit the road it is nearly 1 o’clock. And that is how life is in the Philippines: it is all estimates and a lot of maybe. I guess that is why not many businesses have websites with time tables and prices since it all depends.
Price for the tricycle is 10 pesos p.p. Price for the DimpelStar Bus is 180 pesos p.p.
Duration: Calapan Port to Roxas: 3 hours (depending traffic)
The Dimplestar bus is ok. Not comfortable, but also not very uncomfortable, they are very old touring cars.
They do not sell food or drinks in the buses so get some at the sari sari shop just outside the port area. There is a public toilet (paid) in the port area, just across from the DimpleStar bus, very clean. Five pesos to pee and 10 for the rest. No idea how she checks up on you 🙂
This time you travel the next part of the Coastal Highway and part of the Pan Filipino Highway which goes all the way from the north down to the south of the Philippines. On your way to Roxas you pass lots of rice fields, calamansi orchards, the big lake Naujan, a freshwater lake of 31.37 m2.
You pass through Victoria, Socorro Pinamalayan, Gloria, Bansud, Bongabong and will finally bring you to Roxas port.
You will not end up in Roxas City, the port is actually quite some time by tricycle outside of Roxas. Not much to do there, only a few bars and restaurants, like an Andoks, some sari sari shops and 2 hotels and some hostels there and even some resorts down the dirt road. So don’t worry, if they decide to take out a ferry there are lots of places to sleep or even store your luggage for a while. I did that at since the 4 o’clock Montenegro ferry was no longer scheduled and I had to spend like 6 hours before embarking the 10 p.m. ferry. I took a room at Mandy’s Lodging House, right next to the port entrance. She charged only 400 pesos for the room if you use it only for storage and to use the bathroom. Overnight prices are a little more.
The ticket booth of Montenegro Shipping Lines opens 2 hours before departure time. So for me, that was 8 o’clock. There is also a ferry leaving with another shipping line, at 11 pm, their ticket booth opened around 6 p.m.
Timetable Montenegro Shipping Lines: 8 am, 12 pm, 10 pm Price for the Montenegro Shipping Lines: 408 pesos p.p. (although the sign said 440 pesos) Environmental fee at the Port: 15 pesos p.p.
Duration to Caticlan Port: 4 hours
The ferry was old but well maintained. On board, you can buy simple food like noodles, hot and cold drinks and sweets. It is expensive! So if you want to save money, by water and food in the sari sari shops before you pass Port Security. In the passengers waiting area you can charge your phone.
About 45 minutes before departure you can embark. Make sure you’re first in line, the inside area has a nice lounge, arriving there first will ensure a good seat. Unless you want to sit outside of course. I didn’t want to, it was raining cats and dogs and the wind was cold. So I was lucky to find myself a seat in the lounge area. They play videos to entertain passengers.
There are beds, but I think they are only for chauffeurs of the vehicles that go on board. Since there was no option to book a bed in one of the 2 dormitories.
We left with a 30 minutes delay, and the safety video starts with a prayer for a safe journey.
After 9 weeks on Mindoro, I thought the whole country would go to bed by 9 o’clock and bars and restaurants would close like they do in Puerto Galera town proper. I mean at Badladz lights go off at 9 and sometimes even earlier. What a surprise to find the Caticlan Jetty Port alive and kicking: Shops open, van’s departing and even Ceres busses.
I guess I made a mistake there.
I got on a Ceres Liner instead of a Tour. And although the Liner is there in the port at that ungodly hour and you are feeling like your brains have been misplaced because you are tired as hell after 19 hours of non-stop travelling, you might want to consider waiting for the Tour bus.
They look much more comfortable, and although they go the other way around (over Antique) the longer distance might be compensated by comfort and express. The Liners, well, they are old busses with no shock absorption, roads are horrible if any and it stops every so many meter for people to get in and out. It was a trip from hell.
If you want to travel on to Boracay you will have to wait for the first boat to leave, you can wait in the Passengers Terminal. Lots of shops outside that sell water and food, a nice clean restroom is in the terminal building.
Book your hotel in Iloilo
The fun part: To use the restroom you have to pass security when I did, the alarm went off, nobody woke up to stop and check. All the staff was hanging in their chairs sleeping (with Christmas hats on!! Forgot to take a picture of that 🙂 )
But the scenery was gorgeous, the bus takes you right through the Filipino countryside, with rice terraces, villages and towns. You pass Kalibo, Tapaz and Passi City
Two longer stops along the way to buy yourself some food, use the CR and then off again in the direction of Iloilo. I got off at the Ceres Bus Terminal in Iloilo.
Total amount spent on transportation: 1014 pesos (19.74 euro) *
Total amount spent on ‘others’ (room (most expensive item on this list), toilet, drinks, food) 629 pesos (12.24 euro)
Distance travelled: 495 km
Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites
Currently, she lives in Mexico.
She is an emigration coach and works online.