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Fast, cheap cruise, why didn’t I try this before?

This is a multimedia post 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?!

A very serene view during my first cruise. It was one of the most contemplative travels I had in a long time.

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.

19th century structure that greets the visitor at the Muelle Osmena in Lapu lapu.
19th century structure that greets the visitor at the Muelle Osmena in Lapu Lapu City, Mactan.

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.

22 thoughts on “Fast, cheap cruise, why didn’t I try this before?”

  1. I didn’t know there are ferries going to and fro Cebu and Mactan. I should try this too when I stay long in Cebu. By the way, I just passed by SM Cebu when I dropped off momentarily from the Superferry 19 last January 6.
    Excellent photography you have here, as always…

  2. Whenever I would go to Opon, I just walk from my house to Pier 3 and ride the ferry. I enjoy quite well my channel crossing seeing the sea so close and the boats passing by and the sweet smell of the middle channel. I would bring my youngest son and a grandson with my wife to visit the church on some occasion.

  3. i’m returning to city in a few weeks time…don’t know if i can take this ferry.

  4. As an Oponganon all my life, I love these ferry boats. They disappeared in the 80s such that only the barge at Ouano persisted which I used frequently when I was in high school and college. Then Ruping came and all the other ferry boats came back.

    Now, the Ouano and Cabahug boats are gone. Only the route you described is active and is probably here to stay. Which is all good!

    I love your picture of the Muelle. Lots of memories here. I grew up a block away so I know its every nook and cranny.

  5. son

    mangutana lang unta ko unsa’y sakyan gikan sa muelle osmena padong sa mactan airport aside sa taxi..salamat kaayo.

  6. that’s true. hindi ko to alam. bihira din lang kasi ako makapunta dyan sa side na yan. siguradong maganda nga ang view sa cruise na yan. maganda din kasi open lang yung both sides. kaya kita talaga ang view.

  7. that is definitely a great tip specially to those who will join the sinulog festival there in cebu. thanks for the info.

  8. pardon pero nakatawa jud ko nimo kay karon pa ka ka-try ani.
    this is what we took when we go to mactan last year.
    fast and easy, no traffic, good sight, kewl breeze while traveling.
    i definitely prefer this over crossing the mactan bridge. especially that i love shortcuts.

  9. Dodong, what I know was that prior to the bridge, a ferry served the route. Fast forward last December, I was told about this one and when that opportunity rose, I took it. I was very much delighted 🙂

    Joy, thanx for the visit!

    pinoyapache, the smell at Pier 3 is sometimes unbearable 🙂 but once you’re in the channel, its not a problem and the views are good.

    tutubi, you should try this one if you can.

    son, i’ve emailed the answer to you. way jeepney magadto sa airport pero hassle na kaayo kung mag tricycle ka. taking the taxi is the most advisable thing to do.

    Farl, thanx for that little bit of history.

    dong, you should try it if you can

    lawstude, no problem 🙂

    bai islander! musta na? hehehe… mao lagi, karon ra jud ko kasakay ani. i just realized that i’ve been missing this ride. i would really prefer it than taking the land route except when going to the airport.

  10. wala mo gi try?… daghan ka siguro kwarta hehe

    nindot bai.. cant say i will try pud kay di man ko tig-anha sa cebu hehe

  11. bai, ako ni gi try. mas ganahan ko ani 🙂

  12. nindot baya sakyan ang ferry kaysa sakyanan

  13. I must admit a ferry ride interests me most than a land travel. So, if there’s a chance for me to ride a ferry, it should be…

  14. this route is my preferred option when traveling to mactan on the commute

  15. Hoz

    I’ve been told when taxi drivers want to “plus 100 pesos” to Mactan or vice versa the ferry is a good inexpensive alternative.

  16. rovs

    nice blog!!
    btw, do you have any idea how long will it take us to reach it from mactan airport by taxi?
    also, do you have any idea on the schedule of ferry leaving muella osmena? like, every 20 mins,every or hour?

  17. rovs, from the airport, i think it’s just around 5-10 minutes. the ferry leaves every less than 15 minutes.

  18. Alicia

    Meron bang Ferry from Cebu to Bacolod or Iloilo?

  19. @alicia, none po. just regular boat for iloilo but meron ferry from Toledo to Escalante or San Carlos

  20. does anyone kind enough to tell the last possible ride from pier 3 to mactan, what time is the last trip?

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