Philippines is a nation with plenty different islands 7,000+ to be exact. Now to connect all these islands there needs to be some sort of way to get around, the islands are far apart so bridges would prove to be very expensive and ugly for the country, airfare is possible but may be too expensive if for some, so there is boat transportation. ‘2Go’ formally known as ‘2Go travels’ is a passenger ferry company in the Philippines, based in manila. The shipping liner has the most inter-island fleet in the Philippines and connects from many islands within the 3 different region, Visayas, Luzon and Mindanao.
‘2Go’ like many other transportations have different classes (called accommodation), and the higher the accommodation, the more expensive the ticket will be. The accommodations are, ‘Mega/ Super Value’, ‘ Tourist class’, ‘ Cabin class’, ‘Suite room’ and States room’. The higher the accommodation the more comfortable the journey, the value class will be the cheapest (depending on destination) it could cost an average of 1,000php (£15). Cabin class and tourist class will on average just be an addition of 200php (£3), lastly the stateroom and suite room which is most expensive at an average of 3,000php (£40+) would be on the region 3x that of a value class however you can be confident whatever the price it’ll be much cheaper than an airfare. However the prices I stated was for a Manila to Cebu trip, every different destination will vary in prices.
Other costs that may be expected are environmental fees and terminal fees which are all dependant on the port or location you are visiting. Food is free with your ticket however drinks and other refreshments are not so you will need a bit of cash to spare.
My journey with ‘2Go’ was an emergency ticket as all airlines were full going back home to Manila from Boracay. Keeping in mind I only used the Mega/ Super value class (as other classes were full the words I would use to describe my ‘2Go’ experience are hot, congested, noisy and tiring but there are the pleasant times. Firstly i’d like to start off with the port ‘Caticlan Jetty Port’ as its called. Although not really a property of 2Go, the port was small and not really well thought out, it was basically an office and a waiting area. The waiting area was very hot and it was just simple plastic seats, no attraction whatsoever and no food vendors after the ticketing barrier. Next the operation, it wasn’t the fact that the departure time was late that was the bad thing. The biggest thing that annoyed me was that there was no organisation to aspects such as the queues or crowd control, some passengers didn’t even have a seat whilst waiting to board. However inside the ferry things proved to be a little better. The super value class was so cheap it seemed like it was intended for the locals and locals only. The only way I could describe it is that it was laid out like an army barracks, it had bunks and they were in rows. For me it was an experience, and I wouldn’t degrade ‘2Go’ for that fact. I like many did try to upgrade my accommodation but the ferry was very full. Even the cheapest accommodation in the ferry were given food vouchers which was served at a certain time, this however I missed as I was deep asleep. The good part of the ferry was the viewing deck at the back which had sun beds and a bar, too bad it was very busy at the time I decided to go up, not a place for me to squeeze in. Other viewing points are on each side of the ferry, at times you could see the beauty of the Philippines, dolphins jumping up and down the clear blue sea with the green islands as the background. Another interest the ferry has are the various canteens and restaurants, spa and a quick mart.
Overall experiencing to travel around Philippines by ferry has its ups and downs, if you would like to experience it I suggest book early and get a better accommodation. The advantages of taking ferry are that it is much cheaper, a suite room is much cheaper than an airline ticket. The disadvantage is obviously the time, it will take you half a day to get from Manila to Caticlan, or the other way round. It just depends what type of travel you are having, if its a budget trip then a boat will be a safe bet against Airlines.