Well, I embarked on a backpacking trip – something I haven’t done before – traveling on a segment of bus, ferry and air travel from Manila to the city of Ozamis in Mindanao. It was one very tiring and long journey but with the fun and excitement and everything that came along the way – the amazing countryside views and that side trip to Boracay, Kalibo and Cebu – that backpacking trip was one of the best trips ever.
This way of traveling is money-wise tested to. So anyone adventurous but tight on the budget, try this out. For a total of Php 5,000 pesos, I had one cheap and exciting travel adventure from Manila to Ozamis City in Mindanao with side trips to Boracay and Cebu. Try it! Here’s how.
Manila to Batangas City
Bus travel from Manila to Batangas was a scenic journey that kept me awake throughout the approximately 2-hour ride. I took a BLTB bus and from the bus terminal in Pasay, the route hurled all the way to SLEX or South Luzon Expressway. I can’t believe how soothing it was watching from the window typical Manila rush hour scene of busy people rushing in every direction eventually turned into green scenery of hills and quieter suburban picture as the bus went on its way from traffic-jammed highway to countryside road with less or no traffic at all.
Batangas to Caticlan
The 2Go ferry servicing between Batangas- Caticlan route is my recommended getaway transport from Batangas City to Caticlan. Leaving Batangas Port at 9PM and arriving Caticlan at 6:30 on the morning, I find enough time to recharge for the next day’s adventure. With my economy class ticket, I had a bunk bed of the ferry’s open air accommodation. I realized how relaxing it was dosing off in fresh air instead of air-conditioned one. And that was just a prelude of what I was about to experience once the ferry gets to Caticlan port and into the island of Boracay where I would spend the remainder of the day.
World popular resort Boracay Island is just a boat ride away from Caticlan. A side trip to the island is a good choice to make the trip more exciting. And “YES” I did a side trip to Boracay, enjoyed the beach for half of the day and had my experience of Boracay after dark.
Caticlan to Kalibo
I slept in Boracay overnight and just before dawn, I left the resort island and headed for Kalibo to catch my Cebu Pacific Air flight for Cebu City. I actually enjoyed the one-hour travel from Caticlan to Kalibo. I can’t imagine how homey it was observing Kalibo countryside view and early morning typical rural scene which is no different with the day-to-day scene from the rural village I grew up. Home to the popular Ati-atihan Festival, I should have spent a day exploring Kalibo but as I already had booked cheap promo air ticket for Cebu City, that left me no choice but had to board the flight.
Kalibo to Cebu
This was really one amazing 30-minute flight. It was a daytime scenic flight actually and flight path from Kalibo to Cebu was sort of Philippine islands sightseeing tour. From the moment the plane took off from Kalibo International Airport until touched down in Mactan International Airport, I really had a great time enjoying the views. The sceneries above 32,000 feet were stunning and from my window seat I spent the time watching down below all those fantastic aerial views of many beautiful tiny islands the plane passed over, the blue seas and the cloudless sunny blue skies that day. With Cebu Pacific Air promo ticket that I booked online, that was one priceless scenic flight. Before the plane touched down Mactan International Airport I realized I captured plenty amazing photos mid-air. Can you imagine that!
I am not more into shopping but in some way a bit obsessed in dining 🙂 🙂 :). So touching down Cebu, my mind started to remember those restaurants I knew in Cebu from my previous visits. When it comes to dining in Cebu, I want nothing but to taste Cebu’s bests. It’s not fair to mention just a few but unfortunately I managed to visit just two of Cebu’s finest. I had dinner at Majestic Restaurant in SM and on the next day I had lunch at Cnt Lechon for that tasty Cebu lechon.
Looking for cheap but quality Cebu hotel is not that hard. Cheap Cebu hotels are just everywhere around. So, for overnight stay in Cebu, I stayed in Sugbotel, a budget-friendly hotel close to shopping malls and very near to the pier where Mindanao bound ferries docked.
Cebu to Ozamis
After sleeping in Cebu overnight, I had the whole day exploring around Cebu – did some shopping and sightseeing. By evening, I was onboard Trans-Asia 2 bound to Ozamis City. I was occupying a two-person occupancy cabin – complimentary from a friend. It’s cozy with comfy bed and I think I was in the quietest part of the ferry. The ferry left Cebu City at 8PM and arrived port of Ozamis City at 6AM on the next day.
The thrills, the scenery and everything that comes along the way on my travel from Manila to Mindanao were so full of fun and excitement. Try it too!