It’s the season of Lent- most people I know will take this opportunity to go out of town to break their usual routine and as a breather from their stressful city life. The summer heat is also intolerable that’s why both local and international tourists head to beaches like Boracay to cool down.
We all know that a large part of a traveler’s budget goes to Airfare and accomodation (especially if you haven’t planned ahead of time and most seat sales are already gone). As a budgeted wanderer, we definitely know how to have fun without spending a lot. If you dont mind spending about 15 hours (from Manila to Caticlan) to more or less 22 hours (to Ilo-ilo) inside a bus then this mode of getting to Panay (Aklan, Boracay, Antique, Capiz and Iloilo) is definitely for you.
From what I know there are three bus companies offering trips to Panay and these are Dimple Star, RM Liner and Valisno. Its better to get tickets right at their ticketing office at least a week before the date of departure.These bus companies have terminals at EDSA Taft Pasay, Cubao and Alabang. Ticket prices depends on your destination and if you’re taking an Ordinary (Non-AC) or Airconditioned bus. Price average is about Php 1000.00.
Different bus companies also have different departure and arrival time. Dimple Star usually departs 10 or 11am while RM Liner departs a little late at 1pm. Most of the companies have daily trips except for RM Liner that doesnt have a trip during mondays. And since this is a combination of Land and Sea travel (Via roll on/ roll off ferries) travel time is very dependent on weather, land and sea conditions, and sometimes availability of ferries at the ports of origin like in Batangas and Roxas Mindoro Ports. So again if you have the luxury of time then why not try this route…lol.
Most people taking this route are the locals of Mindoro and Panay Island especially if they have so much to bring (like their entire house…hehe) since the bus companies only charge a little as compared to airline companies that charge too much especially if you have excess baggages. Aside from being able to take with you an entire-lifetime-worth-of-clothes and food and all that you can think of, this route is also for people who are a big fan of road trips and appreciates the sea and the sceneries (view of the islands and the sunset) that it can offer.
So we’re done with the good side and now let’s talk about the downside of this route.
Comfort is a major issue if you opt to have this mode of getting to Panay. Imagine sitting inside the bus for most of the trip and getting on and off the bus even in the wee hours of the night- which can leave you feeling sleepy or drowsy the day after (Sorry wasn’t able to take pictures during the night ‘coz im just using my ipad and photo quality was really bad). It would be better I guess if you’re going to take this mode when going back to Manila and not when you’re just starting your vacation (but still it’s your call). For people going to Boracay, you also need to consider especially if you’re planning to take Dimple Star – it actually reaches Caticlan at around 1am. So you’ll be staying at Jetty Port until the first boat trip to Boracay which is around 5 in the morning unless you want to charter a ‘bangka’ which can really be pricey!
Having a tight budget shouldn’t let you from travelling or at least enjoy what this world has to offer. Sure it can be really uncomfortable at times, but as what the saying goes- ‘you can’t really have the best of both worlds’. Its either you travel in comfort and pay the price or take the more adventurous and budget-friendly routes. Soon you’ll realize, sometimes its better to take what’s uncomfortable and learn from your experiences…
‘Til next time guys! Happy wandering!
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