Dusty or freezing
For long distance land transportation in the Philippines you will have to use the bus (e.g. from Manila to Banaue or Caticlan to Iloilo). There are basically 4 types of buses:
Buses usually do not go to the city-centers. They stop at peripheral bus terminals. Small cities have only one terminal. Big cities like Manila or Cebu-City do have several terminals. Here you find the Manila bus terminals.
The biggest terminal in Manila is the Cubao Quezon City Terminal. There are at least 8 bus terminals within one square kilometer. There you find all the big bus companies.
Ultimate comfort is offered by some companies such as GV Florida or Peñafrancia Tours. Their luxury buses have either real beds on the upper deck or have very large business-class seats where you sleep without problems.
Bus fares are very modest. Currently the fare is about PHP 1.00 per kilometer in non-aircon buses, PHP 1.30 in aircon buses and up to PHP 3.00 in luxury vehicles.
Luxury buses usually have a CR (toilet) on board. The other buses stop about every 2 hours. If you feel an urgent need then ask the driver for a short stop and vanish into the bushes.
We strongly recommend to take something to eat and to drink with you. The food offered by flying dealers may be indigestible for your stomach (e.g. balut).
You also will need warm clothes. Aircon buses are freezing cold. A pair of earplugs preserves your hearing from damage because of the sometimes extremely loud disco music in the buses.
The Philippines are an archipelago of 7107 islands. Building a real highway in such an environment is a challenge.
The Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH) was one of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's favorite projects. The 919 Kilometer SRNH was opened to the public on April 12, 2003. Since then it has seen many enhancements and extensions. Today the SRNH is composed of 3 major parts: The western, the central and the eastern routes.
A very special travel adventure in the Philippines is the western route of the SRNH from Quezon City to Zamboanga in south-western Mindanao. You can do the 1280 km in less than 48 hours and without the need to leave your seat.
If you really want to do the whole trip, we strongly recommend to do it in a week's time or even more.
For inquiries please contact: +63 (0)2 995-0192 or +63 (0)917 771-1334
Before you start for the last leg of this trip from Dipolog to Zamboanga we strongly advise you to get a security update of this region.
The southwestern regions of Mindanao are potentially dangerous, not only, but especially for foreigners.
Contact your embassy!
The coach leaves Cubao in Quezon City at 09:00 AM and reaches Batangas at 12:00 noon. Here starts the first ferry trip to Mindoro.
Your bus arrives at 03:30 PM in Calapan on Mindoro Island. The following land trip shows you the beauty of Mindoro and brings you to Roxas in Mindoro Oriental. You arrive in Roxas at 08:30 PM
The next ferry section is during the night to Caticlan, Aklan in the north of Panay where you arrive at 01:00 AM.
The north - south trip on Panay Island passes at 03:00 AM by Kalibo and arrives around 07:00 AM in Iloilo on the southern tip of Panay Island.
From Iloilo you sail to Bacolod on Negros Oriental where you arrive at 10:00 AM. This is just a bit more than 24 hours for the first 652km.
Your coach now crosses over Negros Island from Bacolod to Dumaguete. You arrive in Dumaguete around 04:00 PM.
You leave Dumaguete by the last ferry of your trip and arrive at 09:00 PM in Dapitan on Mindanao Island. A short 30 minutes trip brings you to Dipolog, where the bus arrives at 09:30 PM.
The last section overland from Dipolog to Zamboanga is the longest one. You reach your destination after 8 hours 30 travel time at 05:00 AM.
Filipinos are funny and Filipinos are fatalists. Years ago I rode with a bus from Bacolod to Dumaguete on Negros Island. I chose the older non-aircon bus, so I could take photos without all those curtains and dirty windows.
After about 4 hours travel, short after the city of Kabankalan, where the roads start to climb into the mountains, the bus engine had no more power.
The driver pulled the bus over to the road-side and informed all passengers that the bus won't do it anymore and that we should get off the bus.
When everybody had been out in the sun the conductor passed from one passenger to the other, asked for the ticket and paid back the exact fare from the break-down point to the final destination. In my case it had been about half of the fare I had paid.
We were very lucky. About 10 or 15 minutes later a modern aircon-bus, plying the same route, stopped and we could cool down (freeze!) and reached our destination even faster than scheduled.
Everybody got off the lame bus and waited quietly for the next bus to come. (See the driver and the conductor cut out in the next picture).
The driver and the conductor were visibly not stressed and had their fun seeing me taking photos. This is pure "Bahala-na" philosophy.
While traveling in the Philippines we found many other bus companies. Also when we compiled our database we saw pictures of many small or ancient busses.
But in neither case we could find reliable information about the bus company. If you know one of the bus companies in the list on the right and if you have reliable information such as address, phone number, e-mail address, then please use the form below to send us your information.