How to take the ferry from Manila to Coron

Taking the ferry from Manila to Coron can be a challenge but the good news is the transportation system, namely the ferries, are slowly getting better. Coron, while popular for tourists, is still a small island group with a limited amount of Filipinos living on it. Ferry companies mainly cater to locals, not tourists so we are the after thoughts in many ways.

No matter who takes you to Coron, you will end up at the same place and it will be a overnight trip. Some of the boats are nicer than others and some are cheaper than the last one. The other factor is where in Manila Bay they leave from. There is something to serious consider.

There are benefits to taking the ferry from Manila to Coron over just jumping on a plane (Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air, and SkyJet serves Coron). You save a night in a hostel, you can relax and unwind and just gather yourself. There is also the factor that ferry travel is normal much cheaper.

You have to figure out what works for you and do what benefits you the most. For me, I enjoy the ferries in the Philippines and I do not mind the long trips too much. (I have done that marathon ferry from Iloilo to Puerto Princesa too!)

Ferry from Manila to Coron: Companies

The first one is the largely commercial option that is called 2Go Travel. They run twice a week (leave Manila on Tuesday and Fridays) to Coron on their way to Puerto Princesa and back to Coron on their way back. They get to Coron early Wednesdays and Saturdays and they and they come back the next afternoon picking up people heading to Manila.

The ferries themselves are quite nicer than the other companies and they have much bigger ships (and faster). It is a full blown commercial operation. They run everything on the ship at premium prices to get your money. Of course, prices in the Philippines is much different than prices in the United States or Europe. A basic ticket starts at around $25 and goes up from there.

The next option would be Atienza Shipping. They are a company that is mainly for the people of Coron. They leave towards the weekend. (Ask your hostel to call them to confirm. The number is 2 986 3118) and it is a 16 hour trip from whenever you pull out of Manila. The last time I made the trip, the cost was P1,100.

They have a few older boats that are used to mainly move produce and livestock from Palawan to Manila for the people. This is a great way to meet some real local people in the Philippines that are not somehow connected to the tourism industry.

The third option that I know of leaves from the same place that Atienza Shipping leaves and also leaves around the weekend. It is called MV Sea Journey. It is an older fishing boat and it goes to Coron and then to Cuyo. This is the also the link to the Cuyo Group without going through Puerto Princesa. They are also P1,100.

The only way I know to find out the information about them to go down to the booking station and ask them. They operate very similar to the other company but they just go to Cuyo instead of Palawan Island. That’s the only difference. However, like most locally owned companies; information is not easy to come by.

Security Concerns exist

As I said, both the Atienza Shipping and MV Sea Journey are in the same place and that is called Basco in the port of Manila. It is not safe by any means. It is a very rough area and even if the ship leaves late, I would be by sundown if you are not familiar with the Philippines or are a risk (women and children). Basco has been that rough for a very long time and that will not change anytime soon.

A mixture of extreme poverty, drugs, drunkenness, and every other addiction has left people in some pretty desperate conditions. They could see a white person walking down the path after dark as an opportunity to make some money for a fix or even some food. It is basic security measure to consider in an area ran by crime and drugs.

2Go Travel is on the other side of the port in a secure facility that are armed guards. As a commercial venture, they have an image to protect and because of that, the safety concern is not as serious as with the other companies. However, the cost of the security is built into your ticket so you pay more to use their ferries.

If you are interested in general security measures for American livings outside the United States, I have put together an article to help people think about how to remain safe while in dangerous countries. 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Complete guide to Fagalii Airport in Apia, Samoa

Just on outskirts of Apia town, the capital of Samoa is Fagalii Airport. It is here that you would go to fly to American Samoa using smaller eight seater planes. It is not much of an airport and you might miss it if you are not looking for it but it is useful for the purpose it was designed for: for planes to take off and land. Read More “Complete guide to Fagalii Airport in Apia, Samoa”

Tags: , , , , , ,

Guide for Faleolo International Airport : Gateway for your Samoa Holiday

If you are thinking about a Samoa holiday, you will have to fly into Faleolo International Airport. It is the only international airport and only one of two in the whole country. The other one is Fagalii Airport. However, if you are going anywhere but American Samoa, this is the only one that matters.

The days of the US military using the airfield for fight are long gone and as a result, the airport has been used by the Samoans since the end of World War II. It was only able to handle smaller jets until a major upgrade in 1984 that made it the main airport for the Samoan chain. Until that point, people flew into Pago Pago International Airport and took a smaller plane across.

A few years ago, the Japanese government help remodel the terminal and expand it and now it is a pretty large terminal for no more than travel than they see from international locations. Samoa is still lacking the numbers of visitors that New Zealand and Fiji are able to put up.

As Samoa has recently launched Samoa Airways, it will be hubbed at the airport. They have plans to serve Auckland, Sydney and Brisbane.

Using the Terminal at Faleolo International Airport

As mentioned, with the help of the Japanese, the terminal has been built out in recent years and it is quite big considering the traffic that the airport gets. It is an open concept so there is no air conditioning and there is no way for them to close the terminal.

The ground floor has the check in counters, the waiting area for people flying out of Samoa and the arrivals with immigration on the other side.

There is a second floor to the terminal that is for people watching planes arrive, some little shops to buy things to take home and a little restaurant with Samoan comfort food.

AirlineDestination
Samoa AirwaysAuckland
Air New ZealandAuckland
Virgin AirlinesBrisbane, Sydney
Fiji Airways Nadi, Hawaii
Talofa AirwaysPago Pago

One thing about the arrivals is that they are mostly in the middle of the night. This is because of aircraft scheduling and I understand the government is working with the airlines to fix this problem. I am not sure where the process is currently.

This means that you will probably be stuck at the airport most of the night when you leave. You need to be there at least an hour before and the flight tend to be delayed as a norm. It sucks but it is part of the Samoa holiday experience.

If you was planning on free wifi in the terminals like there is in many airports around the world, you can forget it. There is no such thing as free wifi anywhere in Samoa, airport or otherwise. The best you can do is charge up your laptop to play some Call of Duty to pass the time.

This will not be as issue if you are flying to American Samoa using Talofa Airways. They only operate during the day and there is not normal major delays from what I am told from readers who have made the trip. (I have not been back to Samoa since they started operations)

Check in and Immigration at Faleolo International Airport

This is pretty straight forward, just like anywhere in the world. You just walk up to the corner, check in, check your baggage and walk over to the Immigration counter to get stamped out of the country. Nothing out of the ordinary.

What you might find a little outlandish (I personally do) is the terminal tax to leave the country. It is not tourism friendly to expect people to pay to leave the country. However, the government of Samoa does it anyways. The fee is currently 60 Tala or $25 US Dollars at Faleolo International Airport.

Otherwise, you just go into the waiting area and the long wait for the plane to arrives begins. As I said, it will probably be delayed. Most, if not all, planes do come late in Samoa but that is just part of visiting the country. Late is on time in the Samoan Islands.

When arriving, make sure you have some type of onward travel though.

Samoan food
Samoan comfort food can at Faleolo International Airport

Food and Drinks at the airport

As normally, the best option is getting something before you come. In Apia, the options are even limited but a quick stop at McDonalds can be a smart move for leaving out of Faleolo International Airport. It is not just the food is more expensive there, the food is even there to buy in some cases.

If you didn’t eat before you came, there is really three options: a small restaurants off the airport grounds, a snack shop on the second floor and a small coffee shop in the waiting area.

I do not remember the prices but I am sure they are not cheap. Nothing is cheap in Samoa and the airport is even more pricy.

Faleolo International Airport
Taxi drivers at Faleolo International Airport are con artists

Getting to the Airport

This is where travelers have to be careful. The taxi drivers at the airport are some of the most dishonest I have seen in the world. This is not even a joke. They will rob you blind. They will tell you that the fare is $50 which should about $20. It is over 40 kilometres to the city so this is fair. However, when you get to Apia, they will make you pay $50 US Dollars instead. If you use a taxi, consider yourself warned.

The other options are wait until the first bus start running and wait for it on the main road. It is normally $3 or less to make the trip. It can be crowded but that is part of the Samoan culture. This is the option that I normally use when traveling.

The other option is that Aggie Grey’s Hotel does have a shuttle bus that go to the airport to meet most flights for $25. It is well worth looking into if you are arriving when they are at the airport. I just personally can’t comment on their service.

This is the one thing that the government of Samoa and Faleolo International Airport really needs to focus on, not trying to bankrupt the country with a new airline.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hating travel bloggers? Misplace anger against bloggers is dumb!

There is several fits of rage against travel bloggers right now. There is one brewing in England that has gotten to the point that traditional media is picking it up. There is one brewing in the Philippines concerning a blog and the President of the country. Then, there is one brewing in Missouri, my home state as well. Read More “Hating travel bloggers? Misplace anger against bloggers is dumb!”

Tags: , , , ,

Missing Missouri : Travelers get homesick some times as well.

I am an American. I am not one of these guys that pretends that I am not or is downright ashamed to admit it. I love America and yes, I voted for Donald Trump. Having lived outside the United States for so long, it makes you miss the good hearted Missourians that really care about people and you know that smile is real. Read More “Missing Missouri : Travelers get homesick some times as well.”

Tags: , ,

Dating a Fijian woman is interesting : My experince with dating local in Fiji Islands

I opened my email this morning to a message from a reader who wanted to know what dating a Fijian woman is like. Well, I guess it is a good thing that I do have some experience in that area. In short, dating a Fijian does have some benefits but it also has some limitations. All in all, it comes down to perferance and if you can live in a country without dating and sex or not.  Read More “Dating a Fijian woman is interesting : My experince with dating local in Fiji Islands”

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Going to school while traveling the world: How to continue education as a traveler

One of the things I have been doing is slowly continuing my education while away from home. While it can be harder, it is very possible. For people who travel often sitting in a traditional classroom is not normally an option. What is some of the benefits and some of the limitations?  Read More “Going to school while traveling the world: How to continue education as a traveler”

Tags: ,

Thankful Travel Blogger takes a trip down memory lane!

I am about to turn 37 in five days and Thanksgiving has just past. I want to take some time and remind myself (and tell you) about some of the things I am thankful for. When we live a world of haters and angry trolls online, it is easy to forget just how blessed we really are. We have life. We have breath. We have dreams. Any man with a dream is blessed!  Read More “Thankful Travel Blogger takes a trip down memory lane!”

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

What the Samoa passport scandal means to travelers to the Samoan Islands

There is a scandal underway concerning Samoan passports. It seems to go all the way up to the Prime Minister (not a surprise) and involves several levels of leadership. Part of this is being blown out by a mysterious guy named OLP (clearly not his real name). However, it could have some indirectly effects on travelers to Samoa. Read More “What the Samoa passport scandal means to travelers to the Samoan Islands”

Tags: , , ,

Why I support Donald Trump and stand against Rodrigo Duterte!

Last night, I was is a discussion that I really did not want to have. It was with another blogger that doesn’t like the fact I am support the “pussy grabber.” (Never mind all the cases of Democrat and sexual harassment in offices!) He thought it was hypocritical of me to be a Trump supporter and a traveler. I do not see that one has anything to do with the other. Read More “Why I support Donald Trump and stand against Rodrigo Duterte!”

Tags: ,