matnog-roro_middle

The roro in Matnog, Sorsogon

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Travelers ready to board the Santa Clara roro ferry in Matnog, Sorsogon.

theLOOP map_bicol.gif 1300H and I was just at the nick of time that I arrived at the pier after a long journey. I was still able to catch the roro ferry in Matnog, Sorsogon bound for Allen, Samar and was thankful enough since I was spared of waiting another two hours for the next trip.

What I like about the Matnog – Allen route is that its just short: one hour and a half compared to longer roro trips (about 4 hours and more) that I had before like the Palompon (Leyte) – Danao City (Cebu), the Argao (Cebu) – Loon (Bohol) or even later, if you’re lucky to clock in at 4 hours the Caticlan (Aklan) – Roxas (Mindoro Oriental) routes. Here, you just sit, or watch the seascape or ruminate on the historic San Bernardino Strait, eat some snack and, BANG, your already at your destination!

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Get your tickets here!

What I just don’t like about these ports is that there are just too many fees to pay. It would have been acceptable if they just charge you one rate inclusive of the ticket, terminal fee and insurance but they do not:

  • tickets (P90)
  • insurance (P15), and
  • terminal fee of P11.20

Now, do you know why the 20 centavo rump? When I headed to the teller’s booth, the one collecting is a lady guard dressed with her uniform but doing the function of a collector. She will ask for P12 and if you don’t ask for your change, she won’t give it to you. If you do bug her, she’ll frown, makes this unpleasant expression and hesitantly give what she really owes you! To think that there are so many passengers paying this insurance and most of these people are just too shy or are intimidated to ask for their change.

In other places, like what I experienced before in Oslob, Cebu, once the pump boat from Amlan in Negros Oriental arrives, you are charged a fee for using their wharf! Its just so annoying and inane. But I’m digressing. 🙂

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A Davao bound bus getting into position.

The roro and ferries that make what the government recently has been proclaiming as the nautical highway is really a blessing. Just hop on a bus in Pasay or Cubao and after a couple of stops, sleeps and many many hours later, you’re in Davao. No boring sea and horizon scapes. Instead, you get to see places even from your window only. But just be prepared to forgo some comforts.

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Looking at the pier, she’s unmindful of the sea gypsies asking for coins below.

There is no lack of sea gypsies who will incessantly beg you for coins. It seems everywhere in big ports. Its in the piers of Manila, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro and even in Tabaco Albay bound for Catanduanes.

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A passenger gobbling up a quick snack to tame hunger pangs.

The ferry was quite crowded since it was 30 December. But fortunately, I was still able to find a seat to rest and gather my bags. Many were standing along the sides.

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With nothing to do while the roro is on its way, why not doze off?

Doze off even for just a catnap. Or enjoy overpriced snacks offered at the canteen or from itinerant vendors selling native rice cakes, balut, or barbecued pork and chicken. Or even get some magazines or newspapers from another.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

36 Comments

  1. Sidney
    March 2, 2008 @ 9:22

    What I like in your pictures is that you caught daily life as it is. Not the touristic images most people would take. It is a very interesting documentary.

  2. estan
    March 2, 2008 @ 16:22

    Sidney, I think, there are just too many websites dealing with tourist images. What I don’t find are accounts and photos that in some way or the other show how these places really look like with its people, environment, customs, etc. especially to one that is geared on Philippine travel along the not so known path.

    Also, I don’t want this website to be a travel information blog where the latest offerings, promos and the usual sponsored posts will be featured. There are too many Philippine travel blogs that are covering it. I guess, being an avid traveler, this is the next best thing on how I can share the joys and travails of being on the road.

    Thanx for the comment.

  3. nina
    March 4, 2008 @ 2:25

    Hey Estan, guess what I saw today: http://www.planetbicol.com/category/estan/

  4. estan
    March 4, 2008 @ 11:12

    nina, thanx. i’ll check the link later as it doesn’t seem to work right now.

  5. nina
    March 4, 2008 @ 12:11

    Well basically, it’s a site that used your photos tagged with Bicol from flickr.

  6. estan
    March 4, 2008 @ 12:33

    well, the downsides of tagging and rss. its here to stay.

  7. chai diaz
    July 31, 2008 @ 15:45

    hi, can you possibly tell me the schedule of roro from allen to matnog and vice versa…

    thanks!

  8. estan
    July 31, 2008 @ 16:41

    chai, i’m not sure about the schedule. try googling for it.

  9. chai
    August 1, 2008 @ 13:46

    ah ok. thanks anyway… 🙂

  10. The alternate Pilar - Masbate water route to Cebu | langyaw
    October 5, 2008 @ 2:45

    […] get home via the shortest way, I decided to take the Pilar (Sorsogon) – Masbate – Cebu route. The Matnog – Allen trip via Samar and Leyte is also another possibility but I’ve already passed there before. Of […]

  11. mao
    October 6, 2009 @ 9:47

    are the ferries new? it’s going to be our first land trip here in Manila going to Gensan.. tnx

  12. cheloyola
    March 20, 2010 @ 18:39

    sana maenjoy ko paguwi ko papuntang davao this coming may 15, 2010…
    this could be my first time to travel alone….. hope i can meet new friends while in travel,,,, make sure it will be safe ha,,,

  13. jojo
    August 13, 2010 @ 8:09

    I would like to know how much is the freight charge for an Isuzu Elf unit from Allen to Matnog & vice versa. Is the driver already free of charge?

  14. estan
    August 13, 2010 @ 8:15

    @jojo, sorry, i don’t have any info. better check at the pier na. typically, the driver is free.

  15. grace
    October 1, 2010 @ 0:02

    where can i get info regarding shipping pe foam insulation from manila to davao

  16. estan
    October 1, 2010 @ 0:18

    grace, don’t know about that.

  17. Mary Grace E. Espina
    May 7, 2011 @ 15:20

    Hello….good day…..i’ve never been in Matnog port…..i am planing to go to Roxas city capiz and they said there is a roro going there….i am located in sorsogon city…..is it possible for me to ride a bus in matnog going to roxas city capiz….kindly help me to know which bus is going to roxas city capiz?….thank you so much….

    God Bless…
    Mary Grace E. Espina

  18. estan
    May 8, 2011 @ 0:00

    @mary grace, I doubt kung meron. Better go to Masbate – Cebu – Negros – Panay.

  19. Brenttche03
    December 27, 2011 @ 0:27

    hi everyone.. nice maganda na ngeun ang matnog at allen.. hnd na katulad ng dti!!!!…

  20. Anonymous
    December 27, 2011 @ 8:20

    that’s nice to know Brent

  21. Rhomeo C.Manaog
    March 11, 2012 @ 18:13

    nICE.IM GOING TO TRY WALKING FROM LUZON,VISAYAS AND MINDANAO!WHO’S WILLING TO HELP ME?TEXT ME AT 09195967497

  22. ben
    March 15, 2012 @ 9:02

    hi there. Great info you have as i will be trying this route with my car in going to Mindanao by May. kindred spirits… i also hate it when i am not given what is due mine. i always ask for the change. In fact when I go to Catanduanes, I prepare the exact 11.20 pesos. It’s a pleasure seeing the collectors faces as I count my 1 to 11 pesos and 5…10…15…. 20 cents. Hahaha.

  23. Mike
    April 4, 2012 @ 20:42

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Eyes-City-and-Island/122951704409171 please post here your wonderful trip..we talk more about travel in the entire archepelago

  24. bakasyonista
    April 5, 2012 @ 13:22

    ASK KO LANG PO KUNG MERON SCHEDULE NG FERRY BUKAS APRIL , 2012 TO MATNOG? PLEASE REPLY PO, NASA TACLOBAN NA KASI KAMI. SALAMAT

  25. bakasyonista
    April 5, 2012 @ 13:23

    APRIL 6, 2012. salamat po.

  26. [email protected]
    August 9, 2012 @ 18:32

    hi estan! J suggested this route when going to biri. at first, i was hesitant of the roro crossing. But I guess, the travel time was not as bad as I thought it was.

  27. estancabigas
    August 9, 2012 @ 21:53

    mabilis lang ang travel izah 🙂

  28. jhon
    February 7, 2013 @ 9:35

    pwede po ba malaman/mahingi ang contact number kung san pwedeng makuha ng ticket/s? from matnog-allen (v/v).salamat po

  29. estancabigas
    February 8, 2013 @ 4:45

    walang number. just go to the terminal at matnog or allen

  30. lettty lures
    February 28, 2013 @ 10:48

    pwede pong malaman kung magkano ang gastos kung isasakay namin ang kotse from matnog, sorsogon up to davao?

  31. elvira llona
    February 14, 2015 @ 14:50

    Magkano po fare matnog to cebu…plzzz answer

  32. Johnella
    December 28, 2015 @ 23:28

    Everyday po ba Ang byahe from matnog to Cebu?how long it takes and how much?

  33. estan
    December 28, 2015 @ 23:48

    Walang Matnog-Cebu. Matnog-Allen lang several times a day

  34. Raul felicidario
    April 13, 2016 @ 10:42

    My biyahe po ba from bicol to cebu?how much po ang fare?dadalhin q kc motor q s cebu..thank you

  35. Lydia S.dela Cerna
    March 2, 2017 @ 15:30

    Hi plano naming magbyahe to mindanao galing pasay city pwede ba makahingi ng info as route guide namin from pasay to matnog port,first time kc namin to travel by land,pati roro fees din thanks and more power.

  36. estan
    March 4, 2017 @ 20:03

    Lydia, I don’t know the roro fees. For route, just follow highway directions.

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