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We were glad that we were able to get on either the SuperCat or FastCat for our return trip to Batangas after a meeting in Calapan. For one, this meant that our travel will only be an hour, 1.5 hours less than a trip on a regular RORO ferry. The RORO ferry schedule also didn’t favor an early arrival in Batangas considering we also had to travel back to Metro Manila. The SuperCat staff earlier didn’t sell us tickets because they were not sure there would be SuperCat trip in the afternoon given the conditions at sea.
SuperCat staff had to assist passengers as they boarded the vessel due to the rough waters that frequently lifted the vessel and make one lose his/her balance.
Another photo showing staff assisting boarding passengers. Each passenger had to go one at a time and at intervals due to the movements of the docked vessel.
Inside the craft, it was obvious that this was a much better vessel than the regular RORO ferries plying the same Calapan-Batangas route. The seats were more comfy and the interior was clean and obviously well-maintained, and that includes the toilets on the vessel. There was airconditioning and staff were more professional and attentive to passengers (probably taking after airline flight attendants). There were few passengers so some people had entire rows to themselves.
Passengers may place their bags or things under their seats or in front of them as there were no overhead compartments or space for stowing luggage and other items. Passengers with no one beside them put their bags on the empty seats instead.
The crew served us some simple snack comprising of peanuts, a cupcake and a fruit drink. There were items like sandwiches, junk food and other drinks available at the bar inside the SuperCat but choices were limited and I learned their stocks were already depleted as this was the last trip for the day for the SuperCat. There were no night time fast craft trips.
I tried to get photo of what was showing on the television screen but the choppy waters combined with the dim lighting didn’t favor my BlackBerry’s camera. There was only one screen and it’s size is obviously not suitable for passengers seated farther from the front. It didn’t really matter because it was only a 1-hour trip between Calapan and Batangas when using the SuperCat.
Dim lights as passengers disembark from the fast craft. Outside, crewmen assisted passengers who might lose their balance due to the instability of the vessel due to the rough waters.
It was already drizzling when we got out of the terminal and rain was pouring as we drove out of Batangas and unto the STAR tollway.
[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:
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. –