How to get to Boracay from Iloilo City

Everything I read on the internet or was told by locals on how to get to Borcay from Iloilo City was wrong.

Ceres Bus:

First thing to note is that the Ceres bus no longer stops at Tagbak terminal (Oct 2016).  I repeat, if you want to take this bus, DO NOT GO TO TAGBAK TERMINAL.  You need to go to the New Ceres Terminal which is about 1km down the road.  If you want to sit around waiting for a van to fill up, you can go to the little shop across the street from Tagbak.  I took the bus.  It took over 7 hours which is much longer than I head read.  Had I known there was even a chance it would take that long, you’d never have gotten me on that bus.  The roads were under construction and there was a number of times where only one lane was open on the road and we’d have to wait 15-20 minutes for the lane to clear so we could proceed.

When you get to the New Ceres Bus Terminal, everything is pretty straightforward which is very different than the total chaos (and no signs) at Tagbak Terminal.  All the buses are in one row and each lane has a sign saying where it’s going.  You just get on the bus and someone will come to collect the far partway through the journey.  You’ll want to take the bus to Caticlan which is where the jetty port to Boracay is.  The bus drops you right at the jetty so there’s nothing to worry about there.

When you get off of the bus, it’s worth looking around for a minute as there are a number of ferry companies.  You’ll pay a base ticket fare of up to 100 pesos for the aircon boat and 25-30 for the open air (Oct 2016).  After that, you’ll need to pay a terminal fee of 100 php and an environmental fee of 75.  It’s worth noting that you’ll probably be able to get on a boat immediately, but it won’t leave until it’s got a few passengers on it already.  I messed up and took the air con ferry and they rushed me to the boat and then I sat there in the freezing cold for 25 minutes until it actually left.  Take the open air boat.  They are smaller, cheaper and fill up faster.  And if it sinks, you won’t be trapped down below….

Wifi on the bus never worked for me.  The aircon worked and it wasn’t too cold.  As far as buses go, it was fine.  The TV programs were actually pretty good.

When you get off the jetty, there is a line of trikes.  There is a sign with set prices, but I think it’s bullshit.  I paid 120 php to get to Station 2 which is about halfway up the island.  The traffic and roads are terrible so it took probably 25-30 minutes to get up there.  I tried to haggle the price down briefly, but it didn’t work.  I think locals pay 20 php each to take those rides on Boracay so we’re definitely getting ripped off, but after the 7+ hour bus ride I didn’t have any energy to fight it.  Getting to Borcay from Iloilo City was such a long miserable journey.

Where to stay in Iloilo City?

I stayed at the Go Hotels Iloilo which is attached to a Robinson’s mall and has a Starbucks right next door.

I actually chose this place because it was close to the mall and according to Google, there was a vegetarian food stall in the food court.  I couldn’t find it so dinner ended up being beer and nuts.  Tough times.

As for the hotel, it was clean and comfortable enough.  Nothing fancy, but the location is great so I’d stay here again.  I paid $28 in Oct, 2016.

Since it’s connected to the mall, there is a supermarket within a 2 minute walk as well as a food court, various shops.  There is also a convenience store about 50 metres from the hotel entrance.

 

 

How to get from Bacolod to Iloilo City

Figuring out how to get from Bacolod to Iloilo City was pretty easy.  I took the ferry over today.  I used GrabTaxi to go from 6th Street in Bacolod to the ferry terminal.

The taxi cost 68 pesos.  I imagine there is a way to do it via jeepney for much less.  Depending on where you are staying in the city, it may also be walkable.

I planned to take the 15:45 ferry to Iloilo City and I used Ocean Jet because their schedule and pricing was all online.  I arrived at about 15:20, bought a air-con/tourist class ticket for 200 pesos.  The ride took about an hour.  The aircon room below was really cold so as long as it’s not the middle of the day in the summer, I’d just sit up in the open-air area next time.

You can check the Bacolod-Iloilo City schedule here.

When you get off the ferry, you’ll see a million taxi dudes.  I don’t know if they are all terrible or not, but I just walked past them and out the gate.  If you are going to the Iloilo City proper, you could probably walk, but the pollution and traffic aren’t very fun.  I took a trike for 50 pesos to the Robinson’s which also houses the hotel I stayed at.

I stayed at the Go Hotels Iloilo which is attached to a Robinson’s mall and has a Starbucks right next door.  I chose it for the location.  It was comfortable enough.  It’s a non-smoking hotel, but my room had a faint smokey smell to it.