Traveling from Cebu to Manila by RoRo Bus? Is it really worth it?
If there’s another chance, I won’t even think about trying Cebu to Manila bus trip again, unless I’d run out of options.
RoRo Bus is the only company that offers Cebu to Manila Bus service.
The 36-hour ride and transfers between buses and ferries from Cebu all the way to Manila were exhausting. I’m not used to long hours of travel. However, that time I didn’t have much choice but to take the option. Although at first, I thought it would only take 24 hours of shuffling between buses and ferries according to my online search. But it actually took 36 hours. I was dead tired when I finally arrrived in Manila.
The reason why I had to take this route was an upcoming trip to Bangkok for a meditation course that I signed up online. I didn’t expect I’d pushed it through. I didn’t have work and had no funds at all. Just thinking about how to get passed the Immigration stressed me out already. I knew they could be strict for unemployed Filipinos to travel abroad.
Why Did I Take the Cebu to Manila Bus Trip?
I was eyeing for a cheap flight but I didn’t find any. I expected it because I made the decision to pursue the meditation course less than a week before my flight to Bangkok. My next option then was traveling by sea via 2Go Vessel. Unfortunately, it was fully booked.
I was losing hope and about to give up the trip when I found a blog about Cebu to Manila land trip. I didn’t know this cheap option was possible. However, there’s one drawback. It’s a long trip that takes 24 hours, or so I thought. But it turned out to be a 36-hour trip.
I had no choice but to take the long land trip to Manila. The trip is serviced by RoRo Bus, and they have everyday trips.
I purchased the tickets in the North Bus Terminal. They sold them from 10:00 AM to 08:00 PM. Every day, they give out 47 equivalent bus seats so be there early to snag a ticket.
I was in the North Bus Terminal five minutes before they opened the sale for tickets. There was a queue even before 10:00 AM, so be sure to get there as early as possible.
Trip Summary (Cebu >> Masbate >> Manila)
- By bus from North Bus Terminal to Polambato Port which is north of Cebu
- An overnight ferry from Polambato Port to Cataingan Masbate. The bus is carried in the ferry.
- Riding the same bus from Cataingan Masbate to Sta. Cruz. This is the end of the first trip. You need to buy another bus ticket in Sta. Cruz bound to Manila.
- Another bus from Sta. Cruz to the Port of Masbate arriving in Pilar Port
- Ferry from Pilar Port crossing the other side, then a bus all the way to Cubao, Manila
Commonly Asked Questions:
How much is the ticket?
The total Cebu to Manila bus fare is Php 2200. There are two tickets. Cebu to Masbate costs Php 900, and Masbate to Manila is Php 1300.
How long is the trip?
Are there any other additional costs?
Yes, terminal fees cost Php 20 and Php 30 in Cebu Port and Masbate Port respectively.
What are the other schedules of the bus?
There’s only one trip per day from Cebu to Manila, and the bus leaves at 08:00 PM every day so be sure to be at the starting point (North Bus Terminal Cebu) before 08:00 PM.
Can I reserve a ticket?
No. To be fair, they don’t offer ticket reservations. If you can’t get a ticket on your preferred day of the trip, you don’t have a choice but to wait for the next day’s trip.
The Actual Trip:
*Cebu to Masbate
Before 10:00 AM of May 3, I went to the North Bus Terminal to buy a ticket. I thought it would be a direct cebu to manila bus trip, but the ticket issuer gave one ticket from Cebu to Masbate only which cost Php 900. He explained that we needed to buy another ticket for Manila when we reached Masbate.
The RoRo bus left the North Bus Terminal at exactly 08:00 PM.
The tickets have seat numbers so be sure to follow them.
After approximately two and a half hours, at 10:30 PM, we reached Polambato Port which is in the north of Cebu. We were asked to pay for the terminal fee of Php 20 before boarding the ferry. The ferry had sleeping bunkers so we were sleeping the whole night.
Note: The ferry carries the RoRo bus as well so you’ll ride the same bus when you reach the other side of the port.
I didn’t notice what time the ferry left the port but I heard someone said around 12:00 AM-midnight. Morning came and we reached the Port of Cataingan Masbate at 06:00 AM. That’s 6-hour sea travel. We stopped for a few minutes to have breakfast in a restaurant there.
We went on and rode the same bus all the way to Sta. Cruz where we, particularly those who were heading to Manila, were asked by the driver to alight. We needed to transfer to another bus. We arrived in Sta. Cruz at 08:00 AM.
*Masbate to Manila
Where we alighted, there’s a small hut. This is where tickets from Masbate to Manila are sold. There were less than ten of us who were going to Manila that time. We were wondering why we were dropped in Sta. Cruz instead of the city. They said it’s difficult to get tickets in the city since buses are usually full when they reach the city.
So we bought the second ticket that cost Php 1300.
Note: Both tickets include the ferry fee already.
So we waited in Sta. Cruz until around 09:00 in the morning. Shortly, another RoRo bus bound to Manila came. We traveled for another 2 hours. At around 11:00 AM, we reached the Port of Masbate for another sea trip. We paid Php 30 for the terminal fee. It wasn’t until 12:00 PM that the ferry left the port. We were on standby for almost an hour which gave us time to have lunch.
At 12:00 PM, the ferry left the Port of Masbate for Pilar Port. The travel was for 4 hours so we arrived at the Pilar Port at around 04:00 PM. We rode the same RoRo bus to reach the final destination which was Cubao.
We reached Cubao at 05:00 AM the next day. It’s a whopping 36-hour trip and two transfers of buses and ferries.
The travel was energy draining as I’m not really used to traveling that long in buses and ferries. But I didn’t have a choice because I was looking for a cheap travel option. It’s to score an experience, too. Honestly, it was exhausting for me.
This isn’t to discourage you, but if you don’t mind the long hours of travel, by all means try this route.
There was one thing that I loved about this trip. We passed by Albay and saw the famous Mount Mayon which is known for its perfect cone shape. I got a video of it while in the bus. It’s my first time seeing it so I was really happy. I’d say that’s the silver lining of that long trip apart from the cheap cost of traveling.
So, would I recommend traveling from Cebu to Manila bus trip by RoRo Bus? If long hours of land travel doesn’t exhaust you, then it’s go for it. For me, I don’t see myself doing it again unless I’d run out of options.
The good thing is the experience. If you’re up for some experience and want to see other provinces of the Philippines (Albay, Bicol), then try it.
Still dreaming of traveling,