While it is not the fastest, safest, or most convenient way to get to the island of Boracay, ferry travel offers a cheaper alternative to air travel, cutting your expenses by half or more. There are numerous ferry options to choose from when planning your trip to the paradise island of Boracay. Most, if not all, ferries and ships have comprehensive facilities, including cafes, shopping and entertainment, making a 12-hour trip more enjoyable.
Boracay by RoRo – Nautical Highway
The Philippine’s Nautical Highway spans a total length of 703kms from Manila, Luzon to the city of Dapitan in Mindanao. Roll-on and Roll-off (RoRo) vessels allow you to take your own vehicle, or ride a bus, to the different stops throughout the journey, which includes Panay Island near Boracay.
Taking a bus from Manila to Caticlan (via RoRo) requires a four-part route. You would have to take a two-hour bus ride from the Cubao to Batangas Port, where your bus would go on-board the RoRo vessel. The RoRo vessel would then embark on a two- to three-hour journey to Roxas Port in Mindoro. From there, a four-hour RoRo trip would take you to the Caticlan Port. Getting to Boracay is easy from Caticlan, especially with the town’s jetty port that serves the island.
You may also take a private car all the way to Caticlan, although vehicles are not allowed on Boracay itself. The RoRo vessel leaves Batangas Port on a daily basis, 08:30. From Roxas, the vessel sails at 14:00, docking at Caticlan by 18:00. Those with private cars could park at one of the numerous secured, paid-for parking lots in the area before setting off to Boracay.
Ferries from Manila to Caticlan
Ferries from the MBRS Shipping Lines leave for Caticlan from Manila North Harbour’s Pier 8. Ships depart every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 17:00 and arrive at Caticlan the next day between 06:00 and 09:00.
Ferries from Manila to Dumaguit
There are also ferries that leave for Dumaguit Island which is located on the northern edge of Panay, about a half hour from Kalibo. Superferries from WG&A serve this route. WG&A has offices in Manila and Kalibo.
Ferries from Mindoro to Boracay
Huge bancas also leave for Tablas Island from Mindoro’s eastern shore. Regular routes approach the Odiongan or Looc port in Tablas Island, where bancas (boats) can be taken to Boracay. This route is rarely used, though, due to the rough waters of the Tablas Straits when the weather is bad.
Since Boracay is actually a tiny island without room for a runway, all it’s visitors must arrive by short ferry trip from Panay Island. The time from landing at Caticlan Airport, transferring to the regularly departing boats, and getting to your hotel is usually less than an hour. Kalibo airport receives larger aircraft and involves a two hours transfer. Small ‘bancas’ service Boracay ferry pier, while the large inter-island ferries arrive in Caticlan on Panay.