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How to Reach Boracay from Manila by Boat

 
 

Blame it on my dilly-dallying; I wasn't able to book a budget flight plane to Boracay well before summer, and now the airfare costs are much higher. Last-minute plane tickets cost at least $110 (PhP 5,000)-an amount I wasn't willing to spend. Taking the RORO to Caticlan wasn't an option, either. I didn't want to go through the tiring road-boat-road-boat-road-boat ordeal all over again. Luckily, my friend (a Boracay regular) told me about 2Go Travel. It promised to be one of the easiest and most fun ways to reach the island. In theory, the boat leaves at 9pm from Batangas Port and by 6am, you'll be in Caticlan-Boracay. She suggested I give it a try. I thought, why not?

Batangas Port Ticketing to Boracay

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Waiting Area 2Go Boracay Ferry

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Booking a 2Go Boracay Ticket


I went online (http://travel.2go.com.ph/) and found it very easy to book a ticket to Caticlan. 2Go offers trips from Batangas port every day except Tuesday. I was made to choose from different types of overnight tickets based on type of accommodation: value, tourist, cabin, state. 

My friend usually books ‘value’ tickets since it is the cheapest, but there are some drawbacks:  the cabins tend to get crowded and there is no air conditioning. Sailing cattle class also means hearing all the noise--from the boat machinery to the raging sea to the music from the bar. For a few dollars more, I can afford better. 

But since cabin tickets (for 4) and state suites (for 3) were a bit too expensive and I was travelling alone, I decided to book a ‘tourist’ accommodation ticket, which cost me roughly around $22 (PhP 1,000). The ticket already includes the meal, but you need to pay extra for blankets and pillows. If you book a cabin or state suite, you get the pillows, sheets, and blankets free.

Tourist Class 2Go Manila Boracay Ship Boat

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Tourist Class

Super Value Class 2Go Manila to Boracay Ferry

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Super Value

Cabin Room in the Manila to Boracay Ferry

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Cabin Room

Getting to the Batangas Port from Manila


Since the boat will be leaving at 9pm, I decided to leave Manila at 4pm. I took a JAM Liner bus from Cubao and arrived at the Batangas Port by 7pm—two hours early. 

The first thing I did was to go to the 2Go counter to present my e-ticket and get my ‘real’ ticket. Next, I paid the terminal fee. The lines were short, so it wasn’t much of a hassle. Once inside the port, my baggage was inspected. I then proceeded to the waiting area to be greeted by masseuses and manicurists offering their services to waiting passengers. There were plenty of food stalls around, plus a free water station where you can get your bottle refilled.

The boat (named St. Ignatius of Loyola) finally arrived, and passengers started lining up even before the boarding gate was opened. I lined up along with the crowd. It took a while to get in because our bags were once again inspected, and passengers piled up inside the boat’s lobby.  Finally, my ticket was checked and I was directed towards the tourist accommodation area. 

Lobby 2GO Ferry Manila to Boracay by Boat

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Lobby

Life in 2Go's Tourist Class Area


St. Ignatius of looked a bit old from outside, but the interior was surprisingly modern. There were three sections inside the tourist area , each with about 50 double bunk beds. The bunk was quite small but perfectly fine, complete with a small mattress and a pillow. 

TIP: Blankets and sheets are available at the lobby. Other passengers beat me to the line, so it took me a while to get my  bedclothes. If you want this extra luxury, you need to sign up, give your ID or deposit $2.50 (PhP 100).

Being in tourist class meant lining up for everything, including grub. My 2Go tourist class ticket to Boracay came with a chicken curry and rice meal in a foam food container. Beverages were not included in the ticlet price, but no worries—there was a small convenience shop and a cafeteria-style restaurant that sold juice, cola, and other drinks. This was where passengers with state suite and cabin class tickets were served their meals.

The first 20 minutes of settling in was a bit stressful. There were a lot of very confused people roaming around, and the speakers were blaring with safety reminders and random announcements from the captain. But once everyone settled in, I was free to roam around in peace. 

There were plenty of seating areas inside and on the deck. Outside, there was a small bar, couches, tables, seating areas, and loungers. Some passengers were already drinking beer even before the live band started playing. After a few sets, the singer started accepting song requests from the audience. She even allowed some of the brave ones to belt out songs on stage.

Feeling a bit tired, I went back to my bunk and decided to use the toilet before sleeping.

2Go Restaurant Manila to Boracay Ferry

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Restaurant

2Go's Toilet and Shower Situation


The tourist accommodation area had two public restrooms—one for men and another for women. The women's restroom had several toilet and shower stalls, plus several sinks. It was clean enough that night but did not stay this way; by the morning, it was a serious mess. 

2Go Ferry Deck Manila Boracay

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Deck

Sleeper on the Boat to Boracay


The lights were never turned off during the night, even though most of the passengers were already asleep. The TVs were on the entire time, but you wouldn’t be able to hear the movies. I fell asleep without a problem, not really minding the slow rock of the boat and the sea.  But if you’re a light sleeper, expect your night to be bumpy.

I woke up at around 5am to the announcement that we were close to Boracay’s Caticlan Port.  Then, I heard my name being called out in from the speakers and I was told to go to the lobby. I realized I had not returned my sheets and blanket, so I hurriedly gave them back and claimed my ID.
 

2GO from Manila to Boracay

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Welcome to Boracay!


Way before the boat docked on the port, the crowd already assembled on the lobby, creating a long line that reached the tourist accommodation area. Everyone was ready to get off and head to Boracay–and I can’t blame them for being overly excited. I waited in my bunk until the line cleared out.  From the boat, it was a short walk to the windows where the terminal fee, environmental fee, and boat tickets were paid.

2Go Travel was definitely a win-win choice, at least for me. Not only was it way cheaper than plane tickets–it was also much more convenient than the RORO. I’m pretty sure that traveling by boat to Boracay would have been more fun with a group or a friend. But travelling solo was fine, too—it was just the break I needed. 

Last-Minute Tips

1.Be sure to charge your phones and tablets before you get on the boat, as there is a serious lack of electrical outlets.

2.You don't have to endure the dingy morning restroom. If you can hold it, there are toilets in the Caticlan port.

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