I recently travel by roro from Bogo City in Cebu to Tacloban City in Leyte Province. It wasn’t the most pleasant trip I ever made. We traveled by ferry. A roro is short for roll on roll off, of vehicles for those traveling via way of car. The ferry itself was fine getting there, coming back the ferry was an ice berg. Even I was freezing cold in the Weesam Fast Craft.
A Long Trip to Tacloban from Cebu
The bus ride getting there was miserable. It took over four hours and Ceres Liner made no rest stops along the way. The bus seats over 50 people and there were people standing in the isle way. I did have some amusement while packed in like sardines as several pretty girls were rubbing against me in my seat. One doing it intentionally. If the bus had stopped halfway through, it wouldn’t have been such a rough trip. That no doubt made it worse. There are no rest rooms on these buses and they’ve got over 60 people on this bus. Come on Ceres, stop your buses for a rest break every two hours or so. Sometimes we don’t stop when we make the trip from Bogo City to Cebu City as well.
To make things a little worse, Jessie went to the bus stop in Bogo City and they advised her to be there around 10am. The bus didn’t arrive until 12pm. So we waited two hours at the terminal in Bogo City. From there we went to Hagnaya at the northern tip of Cebu. That round trip added about an hour.
Once we arrived at the Polambato port in Bogo City, Cebu we had another wait. Probably less than an hour but I’m not certain.
The Ferry trip itself was fine. I enjoyed it. We had the crew singing and a gull fishing broke up the boredom that one often has during ferry rides. The captain announced that the crew would be singing Christmas carols and accepting donations for their efforts. I laughed and said he basically just said “Where’s my Christmas.” Jessie said “No.” But I still see it that way. I didn’t get upset, most of the crew on these boats are not making a lot of money. They could probably use the help around Christmas time. The American in me comes out though, they basically have a captive audience and that does bug me a bit.
I enjoyed snapping a few pictures of gull fishing off the stern of the ferry. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my long lens on the camera when the gull presented itself. It seemed to be using the wind wake caused by the boat to help it gain altitude before diving down close to the water and scooping up a fish. When it spotted one it would dive into the water. It appeared to have many more misses than it had success for its efforts. It was hard to tell though, they were small fish and it could have swallowed them. It flew off once, perhaps to feed its chicks as it came back and started the process over again. The Filipinos watching with me were laughing when it dove into the water. I still don’t get Filipino humor.
I took about two and half hours to get from Bogo City in Cebu to Palompon in Leyte. It was late in the afternoon but the sun was still up. We didn’t see much of Palompon as the bus was quickly on its way. It appeared to be a typically pleasant seaside small town in the Philippines.
Jessies’ friend went ahead of us at a quick pace to get us a seat on the bus. It was a good thing. As I was walking toward the bus, I saw a group of Filipinos running toward the bus. I knew then that seats would be hard to come by. We had seats but many were left standing. There is no way I could stand for two hours, at least I don’t think so. Quite a few people did get off at our halfway point and every one did have a seat within about two hours.
I guess I was in a bad mood by the time we got to Tacloban. It irritated me that the bus driver didn’t let us off at the terminal but instead parked the bus. The extra five minutes just didn’t sit well with me after that long bus ride. I needed to calm down. In my defense, I had been traveling now, guided like cattle and packed like sardines for 11 hours. It was 9pm before we finally made it to our hotel, the Tacloban Plaza. So getting to Tacloban from Bogo City in Cebu took 11 hours.
A Longer but more Pleasant Route Back to Cebu
We tried another route for our return trip. Instead of going through Palompon we took a ferry from Ormoc. The bus ride to Ormoc was close two and a half hours. It was actually a van and seating space was cramped. So I remained a sardine but far fewer people on the van and all had seats. It wasn’t terribly uncomfortable and it did have aircon. The bus on the way to Tacloban did not and I never expected it too.
We took a fast craft from Ormoc to Cebu City. The amount of sea to cover is greater but these boats move much faster than your normal ferry. As I remember it, the Super Cat is a bit faster but the cost is twice as much. It took about two and half hours to get to Cebu from Ormoc. There was a movie playing and it would have been a pleasant trip if it had not been freezing in first class. It was very cold. I finally moved to another seat where the air con would not be blowing directly upon me. That helped some. It was raining and the seating in the 3rd class area was wet but I did go out and stand for a while. Jessie choose to stay put and had to be freezing! If it is cold for me, it is cold!
Then we had our normal three hour bus ride from Cebu City to Bogo. It was around 5pm when we arrived in Cebu and going through Mandaue at 5pm is not a great idea. It takes about two hours just to get half way to Bogo City from Cebu City. We did stop at the halfway point on this trip. We usually do stop but sometimes Ceres buses do not stop on the trip from Cebu City to Bogo City.
The trip back to Cebu took about same amount of time but since we had a shorter bus ride with a rest stop the trip was a little easier. I actually took an hour longer to go back to Cebu but the two extra stops where we could move around at will help. We also had a delay of about 30 minutes in Ormoc. I think because of a storm between Leyte and Cebu. We could hear thunder nearby. However, the trip back to Cebu took about 12 hours. If you were headed to Cebu City as your final destination, you could take three hours off that time.
I’m planning on a return trip to Tacloban in the near future. I bought my ticket with Cebu Pacific air last night for P3500 for my round trip. That is costing me about an extra thousand and possibly an overnight stay in Cebu City. I may travel to Cebu on the same day as my flight is late in the afternoon. The point is, I’m flying next time. Jessie will not be able to as we are taking the kids and our ya ya and not everyone has proper ID. I was going to buy tickets for all of us but that prevented me from being able to do so. So on my next trip to Leyte from Cebu, Jessie and I will be traveling separately.
Filed under: Travel In The Philippines
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