Ferries in the Philippines Travel Guide: Routes, Ports, Schedules

Ferries in the Philippines Travel Guide: Routes, Ports, Schedules

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Ferry in the PhilippinesThe Philippines is an archipelago composed of over 7,640 islands, so exploring its many tourist destinations isn’t as straightforward as driving around on a road trip. Apart from taking flights, the best way to get around is via Philippine ferries or sea transfers. Compared to traveling by plane, exploring the Philippines by ferry is cheaper and can give you a more scenic trip en route to popular island destinations like Boracay, Bohol, Palawan, Cebu, and Siargao.

For those who want to explore the country via sea, this guide provides a directory of the most popular ferry ports, available routes, schedules, and shipping lines. It will also answer some frequently asked questions about ferries in the Philippines.

What are the Types of Ferries in the Philippines and How to Book Tickets?

Starlite FerriesPhoto by Starlite Ferries

There are several kinds of ferries available in the Philippines, and what is best for you depends on your travel preferences. 

RoRo (Roll-on, Roll-off)

As its name suggests, Roll-on, Roll-off or RoRo ferries in the Philippines are designed to transport wheeled vehicles like motorcycles, cars, and trucks to different islands in the country. If you are planning to bring your car with you, this is your only option. Some bus companies also offer routes that utilize RoRo ferries, so you can experience it even if you don’t have your own vehicle.

If you are coming from Manila, you can hop on a RoRo ferry and make your way to Cebu, Coron, Puerto Princesa, and other destinations. Other major RoRo ports are Cebu and Batangas.

How to Book Tickets

It is always better to book your tickets in advance, especially with RoRo ferries, since there are only a limited number of vehicles allowed onboard. While some shipping companies allow you to book tickets online or via a call to their customer service hotline, with some companies, you need to physically go to their ticketing offices to reserve your slot.


If you want to experience a bit of luxury and can afford to splurge a little, a fastcraft trip is perfect for you. These boats have air-conditioning and are faster than RoRo ferries. This type of ferry most often service routes within the same region.

From Cebu, you can ride a fastcraft to reach several destinations in the Visayas, like Bohol and Leyte. There are also fastcraft routes between Iloilo and Bacolod and Siquijor and Dumaguete.

How to Book Tickets

Unlike RoRo ferries, you can actually book your fastcraft tickets in the port on the date of your trip. However, it is still recommended to book your tickets in advance, especially during peak season, so you can be assured that you have a slot for a specific trip schedule that you are eyeing.

Passenger Lines

Transasia Shipping LinesPhoto by Transasia Shipping Lines

Passenger lines can carry hundreds of travelers from the port to the destination. Similar to airplanes, these ships are divided into different classes. Taking this ferry type is a cheaper option compared to fastcraft ferries.

Most passenger line companies require passengers to be at the port at least three hours prior to the departure time to make sure there is enough time for the check-in process. Like with flights, you need to board 30 minutes before the actual scheduled departure.

How to Book Tickets

Passenger Line tickets need to be booked in advance with your preferred shipping company. For your convenience, companies like TransAsia Shipping Lines and Starlite Ferries allow you to purchase a ferry ticket via online booking, but if you prefer to book in person, you may also visit the shipping company’s ticketing office.


Bangka in the PhilippinesThese small water vehicles usually have a small motor and outriggers. These are usually used for short-distance trips and Philippine island-hopping tours. These boats can only carry a few passengers at a time, with the bigger boats being able to ferry up to 20 passengers.

You’ll usually find these boats in places like  Boracay, El Nido, Bohol, Coron, Cebu, and Siargao, which are known for their island-hopping tours.

How to Book Tickets

While you can arrange for an island-hopping trip on the day itself, it will be a lot cheaper if you book in advance. You can even book Philippine island-hopping tours online for your convenience. 

What are the Major Ferry Routes in the Philippines?

Ferry routes in the PhilippinesThere are countless Philippine ferry routes plying the country’s seas, but here is a list of the major ferry routes and the companies that service them. Please note that all schedules listed here are subject to change. It is best to contact the company directly for confirmation

Ferry Routes from Cebu Port

Aerial view of Bantayan Island in CebuApart from being home to popular tourist destinations like Kawasan Falls and stunning beaches, Cebu is also the center of commerce and industry in the Visayas region, so it’s no surprise that it has one of the largest network of ports in the country. 

Cebu to Bohol 

Aerial view of Alona Beach BoholBohol is known for its iconic Chocolate Hills, old churches, and stunning islands. Because of its accessibility via Cebu to Bohol ferry rides, many tourists visit it on a side trip after going on Cebu tours.

Ferry companies and schedules:

  • TransAsia Shipping Lines - Once a week

  • OceanJet - Up to 11 times daily

  • Lite Ferries - Up to twice daily

  • FastCat - Up to seven times daily

  • 2Go - Once a week

  • Weesam Express - Four times a day

Cebu to El Nido

Aerial view of Hidden Beach in El Nido

El Nido is home to picturesque limestone cliffs and unspoiled beaches that can be explored via El Nido island-hopping tours. Currently, there are no direct Cebu to El Nido ferries. Instead, you can hop on a ferry from Cebu to Iloilo, then go on an Iloilo to Puerto Princesa boat. From Puerto Princesa, you can take a van to El Nido.

Cebu to Iloilo

Iloilo is a haven for beach and history lovers, as it is home to Islas de Gigantes, a group of islands with white sand beaches and lagoons. The province is also popular for its ancestral houses and heritage churches that you can explore with the help of Iloilo tours. These two provinces can be visited in one trip via Cebu to Iloilo ferry rides.

Ferry companies and schedules:

  • TransAsia Shipping Lines - Twice a week

  • Cokaliong Shipping Lines - Twice a week

Cebu to Surigao

Siargao in Surigao del NorteSurigao City is the capital of the province of Surigao del Norte. After you take a Cebu to Surigao ferry, you can board another ferry to reach the island of Siargao, which is known as the Surfing Capital of the Philippines.

Ferry companies and schedules:

  • Starlite Ferries - Six times a week

  • Cokaliong Shipping Lines - Six times a week

Cebu to Roxas

The capital of Capiz, Roxas City, is known as the Seafood Capital of the Philippines, thanks to its fishing areas and the abundance of seafood in the city. There used to be direct routes from Bogo City, Cebu to Culasi Port in Roxas City, but currently, they are no direct Cebu to Roxas ferries. Instead, travelers can take a ferry from Cebu to Iloilo, then go on a land trip from Iloilo to Roxas City.

Cebu to Bacolod

Bacolod City has earned itself the nickname the City of Smiles, thanks to its colorful MassKara Festival, which happens every October. While there are no direct ferries from Cebu to the City, you can take a ferry from Toledo in Cebu to San Carlos in Negros Occidental. From there, you can take a bus to the City of Smiles and explore it via Bacolod tours.

Ferry companies and schedules:

  • Lite Ferries - Thrice daily

  • FastCat - Thrice daily

  • Aznar Shipping - Twice daily

Cebu to Dumaguete

Manjuyod Sandbar in DumagueteDumaguete is a city located in Negros Oriental that is a popular retirement place in the Philippines, especially for expats. Some Dumaguete tourist spots you can visit when you board a Cebu to Dumaguete ferry include Rizal Boulevard, Silliman University, and nearby Apo Island. For a hassle-free experience, you may book Dumaguete tours.

Ferry companies and schedules:

  • OceanJet - Once daily

  • Cokaliong Shipping Lines - Four times a week

Cebu to Cagayan de Oro

Cagayan de Oro in Misamis Oriental is known as the Whitewater Rafting Capital of the Philippines, thanks to the adrenaline-pumping activity that you can enjoy along the Cagayan de Oro River. Beyond this adventure, there are other Cagayan de Oro tourist spots, including the Malasag Eco-Tourism Village, Catanico Falls, and Kweba de Oro, all of which you can visit when you try the Cebu to Cagayan de Oro ferry. If you want a fuss-free experience, you can book any of the Cagayan de Oro tours available.

Ferry companies and schedules:

  • TransAsia Shipping Lines - Thrice a week

  • Cokaliong Shipping Lines - Thrice a week

  • Lite Ferries - Thrice a week

  • 2Go - Once a week

Cebu to Ormoc

Ormoc in LeyteOrmoc is the largest city in the province of Leyte. The city is home to the picturesque Alto Peak and the serene Lake Danao. It is often used as the gateway to many Leyte tourist spots like Kalanggaman Island, Cuatro Islas, and the MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park. There are many companies you can choose from for your Cebu to Ormoc ferry. You can also book Leyte tours if you are planning to go on a side trip. 

Ferry companies and schedules:

  • OceanJet - Four times daily

  • Lite Ferries - Once daily

  • SuperCat - Six times daily

  • Roble Shipping - Once daily

  • SeaCat - Twice daily

Ferry Routes from Manila Port

The city of ManilaManila is the capital of the Philippines and is also the most populous region in the country. Most international flights to the Philippines also land at the Manila Airport. After exploring the city via Manila tours, you can board a ferry to other top tourist destinations in the country.

Manila to Caticlan (Boracay)

White Beach in BoracayCaticlan is the gateway to the island of Boracay. From here, the famous White Beach and other Boracay tourist spots are just a short boat ride away. There are no direct ferries from Manila to Caticlan, but you can go on a bus to Batangas Port, which has direct ferry routes to Caticlan.

Manila to Cebu

The Manila to Cebu ferry between these two major destinations in the Philippines usually takes 25 hours. The ticket usually includes the use of a bed and meals.

Ferry companies and schedules:

  • 2Go - Five times a week

Manila to Palawan

Aerial view of Long Beach in Palawan IslandPalawan is called the Last Ecological Frontier of the Philippines, thanks to its rich biodiversity. From the capital, you can reach it via a Manila to Palawan ferry. The province itself is home to several tourist destinations, including El Nido, Puerto Princesa, Coron, and San Vicente. Some of the most famous Palawan tourist spots are Kayangan Lake and the Puerto Princesa Underground River, both of which you can conveniently enjoy by booking Palawan tours.

Ferry companies and schedules:

  • 2Go

    • Manila to Puerto Princesa ferry - Once a week

    • Manila to Coron ferry - Once a week

  • Atienza Interisland Ferries

    • Manila to Coron ferry - Up to twice a week

    • Manila to El Nido ferry - Up to twice a week

Ferry Routes from Batangas Port 

Taal Volcano in BatangasBatangas is located south of Metro Manila and is a popular weekend destination for those living in the city. The top Batangas tourist spots are beaches, including Calatagan and Matambungay. Tourists also visit the province to experience diving in Anilao. You may also explore other attractions in the province via Batangas tours.

Batangas to Puerto Galera

A beach in Puerto GaleraThanks to its proximity to the city, Puerto Galera is another popular spot for quick getaways for those living in Metro Manila, and the best way to reach it is via a Batangas to Puerto Galera ferry. This municipality in Oriental Mindoro is famous for its beaches, but there are also other Puerto Galera tourist spots, including waterfalls. Those looking for a stress-free trip can book Puerto Galera tours.

Ferry companies and schedules:

  • Montenegro Lines - Five times a day

  • Galerian Water Transport Services - Thrice a day

  • Island Water - Thrice a day

Batangas to Calapan, Oriental Mindoro

Calapan is a city located in Oriental Mindoro that is known for its colorful Kalap Festival. It is also an emerging diving destination in the country.

Ferry companies and schedules:

  • Starlite Ferries - 12 times a day

  • OceanJet - Up to four times a day

  • FastCat - Six times a day

  • SuperCat - Thrice a day

  • Montenegro Lines - 18 times a day

Batangas to Caticlan (Boracay)

Those who want to go on Boracay tours but are on a budget should consider riding a ferry from Batangas to Caticlan. The journey will take 10 hours.

Ferry companies and schedules:

  • Starlite Ferries - Twice a day

  • 2Go - Once a week

Batangas to Bohol

Virgin Island in Panglao, BoholThere are currently no Batangas to Bohol ferries, but you can still go on Bohol tours by riding a bus to Manila and then catching a Manila to Bohol ferry from there.

Batangas to Romblon

The province of Romblon is made up of several islands, so it's no surprise that popular destinations here are picturesque beaches like Bonbon Beach and Tiamban Beach. Other Romblon tourist spots you can’t miss are Tinagong Dagat and Busay Falls. A Batangas to Romblon ferry ride can take around nine hours.

Ferry companies and schedules:

  • Starlite Ferries - Up to four times a week

Batangas to Roxas

Roxas can be reached from Batangas via ferry. The total travel time is usually around 18 hours. You can explore tourist attractions like Baybayin Beach and Sta. Monica Church via Roxas tours.

Ferry companies and schedules:

  • Starlite Ferries - Once daily

  • 2Go - Once daily

Ferry Routes from Iloilo

Cabugao Gamay Island IloiloIloilo is abundant with natural wonders, heritage sites, and delicious cuisine that make it a great place for a vacation. The most popular of the Iloilo tourist spots is Islas de Gigantes, a group of islands known for its white sand beaches and clear waters.

Iloilo to Bacolod

Since the islands of Panay and Negros are close to each other, an Iloilo to Bacolod ferry will only take around an hour. 

Ferry companies and schedules:

  • OceanJet - Four times a day

  • FastCat - Four times a day

  • Weesam Express - Seven times a day

Iloilo to Guimaras

Aerial view of GuimarasGuimaras used to be a part of the Iloilo province before it was declared a province of its own in 1992. There are plenty of Guimaras tourist spots you can check out during your visit, including Tatlong Pulo Beach and Guisi Lighthouse. Apart from ferries, you can also travel from Iloilo to Guimaras via motorboats. Some Guimaras tours also include sea transfers from Iloilo.

Ferry companies and schedules:

  • F.F. Cruz Shiping - 16 times a day

Ferry from Dumaguete Port

Apo Island in DumagueteDumaguete is a laid-back destination that is one of the top Visayas tourist spots. You can easily explore its natural wonders and heritage sites when you book Dumaguete tours.

Dumaguete to Siquijor

Paliton Beach SiquijorSiquijor tourist spots including Cambugahay Falls and Paliton Beach can easily be accessed from Dumaguete via ferry. The travel time between the two places is usually 40 to 50 minutes. For a hassle-free vacation, consider booking Siquijor tours.

Ferry companies and schedules:

  • OceanJet - Twice a day

Dumaguete to Cebu

Depending on the type of seacraft you will board, the Dumaguete to Cebu ferry can take four to six hours.

Ferry companies and schedules:

  • OceanJet - Once a day

  • Cokaliong Shipping Lines - Thrice a week

Dumaguete to Bohol

Dumaguete and Bohol are two popular tourist destinations in the Visayas. You can easily travel from Dumaguete to Tagbilaran via a two-hour ferry.

Ferry companies and schedules:

  • OceanJet - Once a day

Ferry from Lucena to Marinduque

Marinduque Maniwaya IslandLucena City is the capital of Quezon province and home to St. Ferdinand Cathedral, which was constructed in 1882. From here, you can get to Marinduque via a ferry from Lucena to the port of Balanacan. Some of the tourist spots in Marinduque that you can’t miss are Maniwaya Island and Poctoy White Beach.

  • Starhorse Shipping Lines - Up to 10 times a day

Frequently Asked Questions about Ferries in the Philippines 

Inside a ferry in the Philippines

1. Do I need to book in advance, or can I purchase tickets on the day of travel?

Some shipping companies allow on-the-day bookings, but this may not be the same for all companies, so it’s best to check with your preferred one. Regardless of your preferred shipping company’s policies, it is always better to book in advance, especially during peak season, to ensure that you get the schedule and the seating or accommodations that you prefer. 

2. How much does a ferry ticket cost in the Philippines?

This greatly varies depending on the vessel and the route that you will be on. In general, longer routes that have beds and room accommodations are more expensive than shorter ones with seats. Faster seacraft will also cost more but save you more time.

Take note that some ferries also have different classes. The first-class sections will often be more comfortable compared to economy-class sections but will be more expensive.

3. Are there discounts for children, students, or senior citizens?

This varies per shipping company. Make sure you research the policies of your preferred shipping company, as some will only allow you to apply the discount before you purchase the tickets and not retroactively.

4. What is the baggage allowance for ferry travel?

This will also depend on the type of ticket that you are purchasing. The usual range for one passenger is 10kg to 50kg. Make sure you confirm this with your chosen shipping company before your trip to avoid being charged for excess baggage or being forced to leave some of your items behind.

5. Can I bring my vehicle on the ferry?

If you are boarding a RoRo ferry, yes, you can bring your vehicle on the ferry. Make sure you have all the necessary documents, like the registration, and ensure that your vehicle passes the requirements of the shipping company that you prefer.

6. Are Philippine ferries safe during bad weather?

Philippine ferries are canceled when the weather makes it unsafe for sea travel. The Philippine Coast Guard is in charge of monitoring potential risks and ensuring that sea travel is canceled when necessary.

7. How long is the travel time for ferry journeys in the Philippines?

This travel time for ferries is dependent on the vessel and route that you are planning to go on. A trip can last as short as 20 minutes and as long as over a day. Bigger boats are usually employed for longer routes, and passengers can move around and buy food and other items from shops on board.

8. Can you bring food to ferries in the Philippines?

Most ferries in the Philippines allow food to be brought in as long as it’s not messy to consume. Make sure you always clean up after eating as a courtesy to your fellow passengers and the crew. 

Check in advance if your ticket comes with a meal or if your assigned vessel has a restaurant or dining service onboard. If your trip is long, make sure to pack some snacks and drinks.

9. Are pets allowed in ferries in the Philippines? 

Yes, but only for specific companies and routes. The full requirements may vary depending on the type of pet and the shipping company, but the basic requirements include a shipping permit from the Bureau of Animal Industry, a veterinarian-issued health certificate, an updated vaccination record for rabies and other diseases, and an approved carrier. 

Explore the islands of the Philippines via ferry!

Aerial view of a boat in Moalboal The unique Philippine geography makes getting around the Philippines a bit more complicated and less straightforward compared to other countries. While the quickest way is usually to fly to the different islands in the country, a cheaper, more relaxed, and more scenic route is by exploring via ferry and boats. This will not only allow you to pause and take in the scenery but also to slow down and reflect on your journey.

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