Speak of Cebu and images of the Sto. Nino, the province’s patron, comes to mind. And so does the valiant Lapu-Lapu, sweet mangoes, the famous lechon, guitars and beaches. But it is more than that. Cebu is a special and beautiful place. It is also my home.
I hate it when commuting on both sides of Cebu and Mactan and stuck in the rush hour traffic on both sides of the bridges. The slow tedium of the flow is infuriating. Couple that with the long travel time and the frequent stops of boarding and alighting passengers just adds up to the frustration. “…this meditative scene just presented itself… that feeling of inner peace that just arrests you.” Well, I haven’t paid much attention about the ferry plying the Mactan Channel thinking that it’s old and dilapated until I was forced by necessity when I visited Cordova doing research for my pabuto post. And oh boy, I was in for a surprise. Why didn’t I try this before?!
The first time I tried it was when I was going back to Cebu from Cordova. It was overcast, the sea was still and it was already late in the afternoon. As the ferry was calmly cruising along the channel, slicing through the waves, this meditative scene just presented itself (left). I was overwhelmed!
It has been a long time since I had a contemplative trip. That feeling of inner peace that just arrests you. It envelopes and you can’t do or think of anything else but just look and ponder. It was the same moment I had when I first gazed at the Batad rice terraces or even the majestic Tumauini Church. To think that it was a very short trip made it all the more memorable.
The Metro Ferry terminals are located in Pier 3 in Cebu and Muelle Osmeña in poblacion Lapulapu City in Mactan Island. At just 12 pesos plus a 1 peso (!) terminal fee, it’s one of the cheapest rides that one can avail of in going to either side of the Mactan Channel without the hassle of traffic and polluting vehicles. It’s clean, well maintained and fast with only 15 minutes travel time. What’s more, reaching these departure and arrival points are readily served by taxi and jeepneys waiting outside the wharves.
Speaking of Muelle Osmeña, this is an old wharf that goes back to the Spanish colonial period. Pilgrims to the Birhen sa Regla enshrined in the once beautiful old church of Opon (sadly, it was demolished by a Dutch priest to give way to a modern but architecturally unmoving structure) used to arrive here as it is just at the foot of the church. Today, a 19th century faro or lighthouse still stands that greet visitors as they alight from the boats.
Will it take you long to wait? Think again. There are seven 112, 148 and 314 seater ferries with four plying at any one time with just a 5 minute waiting period before one leaves for the other side. During passenger season especially the Sinulog, Christmas holidays, feast day of the Birhen sa Regla (Our Lady of the Rule) and when one of the bridges are repaired, all vessels will be serving. It’s that convenient.
And lastly, the Cebu – Mactan cruise just provides beautiful alternative views of Cebu and Mactan that has it’s own surprises. You should take this fast, clean and cheap alternative when traveling both islands.