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RORO Ferry trip from Batangas to Calapan
[This post has generated a lot of inquiries about fares and schedules for RORO services between Batangas and Mindoro. I would like to clarify that what I wrote about is on one experience we had on a trip about 2 years ago. I am not connected with any of the ferry companies nor am I connected with the port authorities. For more info/details, here as some useful links:
Montenegro Lines: http://www.montenegrolines.com.ph/index.php?nav=4
Port of Batangas: http://www.ppa.com.ph/batangas/about.html
Port of Calapan: http://www.ppa.com.ph/Calapan/cal_about.htm
Following is the original post:
Due to rough seas, there were no SuperCat trips between Batangas and Mindoro when we arrived at Batangas Port one Thursday morning. It seemed that there was only one fast ferry under the banner of SuperCat that plies the Batangas-Calapan route and it was on hold in Calapan due to rough waters. Later in the day though I would theorize that there might not have been enough passengers that morning between the cities and a decision had to be made not to make the trip, with the convenient and irrefutable reason of rough seas.
RORO Ferry ticket (left) and passenger terminal fee ticket
A view of two RORO ferries docked at the Batangas Port. One was operated by Montenegro Lines’ Marina Ferries and the other by Starlight Ferries.
Passengers boarding the ferry Reina Hosanna. Some vehicles, mostly trucks were already loaded on the ferry. Others would have to wait until passengers have boarded the vessel.
A view inside the ferry where vehicle and freight are positioned and secured for the voyage. People form a line before the narrow stairway to the passenger level.
Passengers climbing the narrow stairway to the passenger deck of the Reina Hosanna.
A view of the Batangas Port from the upper (view) deck of the ferry right above the passenger deck. Trucks can be seen boarding (rolling on) the ferry. The orange things are lifeboats lined along the rear of the passenger deck.
A provincial bus arrives to board another RORO ferry, the Starlight Nautica, which was scheduled to leave an hour after our scheduled departure. There are many bus companies plying the western nautical highway route , which can take the traveler to Caticlan, the jump off point for Boracay Island.
Reina Hosanna crewmen raise anchor.
A view inside the passenger deck – seats were cushioned but mostly dilapidated and obviously requiring re-upholstery. The cabin seemed to be originally air-conditioned and we were lucky that the weather was fine and not so hot that day. Some passengers went to the upper deck to get some air.
Rough seas along the Verde Island passage to Calapan. We actually saw two fast craft going the opposite direction during our almost 3-hour voyage to Mindoro. One was a SuperCat and another was a FastCat, and they were traveling despite the same rough waters shown in the photo!
Another ferry preparing to leave Calapan Port.
Crew throwing a line to the port as our ferry docked at Calapan.
Passengers disembarking from the ferry.
Vans waiting for passengers bound for various destinations in Mindoro including those in Mindoro Occidental on the other side of the island.
It was my first ferry ride in a long time. The last one was a fast ferry trip using the SuperCat service from Cebu to Tagbilaran, Bohol. That was in the afternoon and was quite a rough ride, too. I think shipping lines should not balk on the safety and comfort of passengers. People would be willing to pay a higher fare if the vessels are in better condition and facilities such as seats are well-maintained. I can only imagine the traveling conditions during the peak periods when a lot of people would take these RORO ferries as they are usually the cheaper and practical option between islands. –
Batangas Port RORO Passenger Terminal
In a previous post on the Batangas Port, I featured the newer passenger terminal for fast crafts or fast ferries and large outriggers (katig). This time, I am writing about the Roll-On, Roll-Off (RORO) passenger terminal just across the road from the fast ferry terminal. Heading to Calapan for a meeting there, we were disappointed that we could not take a fast ferry (i.e., SuperCat) to Mindoro. SuperCat ticketing staff informed us that fast ferry services were suspended due to rough seas between Batangas and Calapan. And so to be able to make our appointment, we had to take the slow ferry, which is actually a RORO ferry to Mindoro.
Passengers can purchase their tickets from one of the booths just beside the terminal. Various shipping lines provide services between Batangas and the islands of Mindoro and Romblon.
Schedules and fares of ferry services are posted on the windows of each shipping lines’ booth.
Montenegro Lines operates the most frequent RORO ferry trips between Batangas and Mindoro. RORO ferries leave Batangas every hour for destinations in Mindoro and there is a 24-hour service between Batangas and Calapan. We paid PhP195.00 for a one-way trip to Calapan, Oriental Mindoro.
Waiting area outside the terminal, which can become very crowded during holidays. One passes by this area right after paying the terminal fee (PhP 30.00) prior to entering the terminal building.
Convenience store at the ground floor inside the passenger terminal. At the ground floor are several other eateries where passengers can purchase and eat meals before boarding a vessel.
The passenger terminal had clean restrooms at the time we were there. I just hope these restrooms are of similar conditions during the peak periods of travel.
View from across the passenger terminal showing berths for large outriggers (katig) that people can opt to take between Batangas and Mindoro. These are popular for people heading to the resort town of Puerto Galera. These rides can be quite bumpy (and dangerous) so there are concerns regarding safety.
Seats and shops inside the passenger terminal. On the right is a passenger having a pedicure inside the terminal. My companion was asking me about the women who were carrying small chairs around. Upon observation, we found that the answer was that these chairs were used by women offering manicures and pedicures to waiting passengers.
The waiting area is located at the second level of the terminal.
Passengers can get snacks and souvenirs from the small shops at the terminal waiting area.
When boarding was announced, people filed out of the waiting area to walk across towards the pier. There is a walkway connecting the terminal to the pier.
Passengers descend the walkway towards the ferry we were to board. Shown in the photo are people walking past trucks waiting to board the RORO ferries.
While many passengers travel light, there are some who probably had a lot of luggage because they were coming from longer trips (e.g., flew in from abroad) or maybe taking a long vacation.
Fellow passengers walking towards our ferry to Calapan.