Commuting from Iloilo to Boracay is quite easy. Most people from Iloilo take a bus to Caticlan then take a ferry to Boracay. But we’re going to explore the different options available so you can decide how to get there best.
To understand how to get to Boracay, let’s take it step-by-step starting from our end goal, Boracay. Boracay is a small island north of Caticlan. Getting there is quite simple, all you need is to take a short ferry ride from the Caticlan Jetty Port. This is pretty straight forward and if you get lost, people there would be more than willing to help.
To get to Caticlan, most tourists fly into the Godofredo P. Ramos Airport, or more popularly known as Caticlan Boracay Airport (MPH), from either Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila or Mactan International Airport (CEB) in Cebu. The great thing here is that there are local flights that go to Caticlan including a flight from Iloilo International Airport (ILO), but more on that later.
Now the meaty part, commuting from Iloilo to Caticlan. You have four options on getting there: by bus, by van for hire, by car (rentals), or by plane. Let’s explore these options.
Bus to Caticlan
Taking a bus from Iloilo to Caticlan is the most common option that people take because it’s the easiest and the most comfortable option. To get there, you first need to get to the Ceres Northbound Terminal in Jaro, Iloilo City from wherever in Iloilo you’re coming from. The terminal is accessible by public jeepney, but you’d most likely have to take several rides to get there. To save you from all the hassle, just get a taxi.
At the terminal, just ask for the bus going to Caticlan and you’re good to go. But before you do, here are a few other helpful information:
Iloilo to Caticlan Bus Schedule
If you’re from the Philippines you already know that there’s no such thing as a bus schedule here and if you’re a foreigner, welcome to the Philippines. 😁
Kidding aside, the first trip going to Caticlan is at 4:00 am and the buses arrive at around a 30-minute interval. Last trip to Caticlan is at 6:30 pm. The schedules may change to it’s best to contact them to confirm. Here’s the listed Ceres Liner Iloilo contact number: (033) 320 3163 / (033) 321-2591. Word of warning, people have complained about the difficulty of reaching a Ceres representative whether it’s online or thru phone. Just be a little patient with them.
Iloilo To Caticlan Bus Fare
There are two kinds of buses you can take to Caticlan: the air-conditioned bus (also called the tourist bus) or the non-airconditioned bus (also called the regular bus). Aircon buses cost P387 per passenger. Regular buses are cheaper, but I don’t recommend riding one as a tourist, specially with the Philippine heat. Even aircon buses can be hot for some people, just imagine how much hotter it would be for a regular bus.
Travel time from Iloilo to Caticlan is around 6 hours, on average (expect it to be longer as the traffic slows as it nears the Caticlan Jetty Port). It’s not surprising if you consider that Caticlan is in the very northern tip of Panay Island and Iloilo City is in the south. Here are a few tips to make your long trip bearable.
- Bring some snacks. The Ceres Terminal has a convenience store and some restaurants so you can have a full belly before your trip. There’s a small toilet in the bus in case you need to “go” but I don’t recommend using that unless you really need it. Instead, just wait for the bathroom stops.
- Maximize the bathroom stops. The bus will make around three bathroom stops along the way (I say around because the driver may skip a stop depending on the travel time). So, in case you decided not to bring snacks, this is a good opportunity for you to grab snacks and/or go to the toilet. Just make sure to bring some coins with you as the mini terminals you’ll be stopping at asks for “donations” for using the bathroom. This would also be a good time to get out of the bus and stretch your legs.
- Consider staying at the back of the bus. If you’re planning to sleep for the duration of the trip, sitting at the front may interrupt your sleep. Let me explain. The bus to Caticlan is not a non-stop service. The bus driver will be regularly stopping to pick passengers up and drop them off along the way. People going on the bus will bump into you as they walk along the aisle. And since the buses are almost always full when they leave the terminal, standing passengers will be staying near the door in front of the bus, so more chances of their backpacks hitting your face (that does happen from time to time).
- Bring some entertainment. Remember, this is a 6-hour bus ride, unless you can sleep for the duration of the trip it would be rather boring. Bring a book or download a few movies from Netflix for offline viewing.
Iloilo To Caticlan Van For Hire
If you’re not familiar with Vans for Hire, or what the locals refer to as V-Hire, it’s basically a van version of a bus. You don’t necessarily “hire” the van, van drivers pick up passengers the same way a bus does and you just pay your trip fare.
Iloilo to Caticlan vans for hire are a good option if you want to get there faster. Instead of spending 6 hours on the road with a bus, you’ll spend only around 4 hours. One important thing to consider is that v-hires are not as comfortable as riding a bus. It’s not an uncommon practice for v-hire drivers to stuff a 12-seater van with 16 people.
Other things to note about Iloilo to Caticlan Vans for Hire:
- There are no “official terminals”. You can get a v-hire near the Ceres Terminal entrance. It is possible for them to move to a different location but it’s most likely going to be within the area. You’ll often be approached by a v-hire dispatcher as you go to the terminal to “encourage” you to take a v-hire instead of a bus.
- There are no “scheduled” bathroom stops. V-hires may stop at the same stops that buses stop at for a bathroom break but that’s totally dependent on the driver. This could be a good thing if you’re really in a hurry but problematic if you really need to go. Most drivers will accommodate you if there’s a need to go to the toilet, if you’re willing to go in the bushes. 😅 #I’mNotEvenKidding
- V-hire also drops off and picks up passengers. Like buses, v-hires are not non-stop. They will pick up and drop off passengers along the way. They’re still a faster option as there are fewer passengers to pick-up and drop off than buses.
- You might need to pay extra. V-hires typically costs about the same as a bus, but they might ask you to pay extra. In case you have a lot of luggage, they’d ask you to pay extra so that your luggage would occupy a seat (usually the same price of the fare but totally depends on the driver). Or if the van’s not full yet, instead of waiting for more passenger, the current passengers will split the difference between the price of the empty seats.
Buses are still far better than v-hires but if you’re in a hurry, it’s an option to consider.
Another option for commuting from Iloilo to Caticlan is by driving a rent-a-car (or commonly rent-a-van). This of course is the most comfortable and most convenient of all transportation option but can be expensive. A van carrying 10 passengers can cost up to P8,500. This is a good option if comfort is more important for you than the cost. Also, great if you want to take the time to stop and visit the places that you pass by along the way.
A couple of things to consider for renting a car:
- Sedan or van? Depending on the size of your group, you might want to consider renting a smaller sedan than a larger van. Sedans are typically cheaper than a van however vans are more common.
- Hire or self-drive? Typically, cars and vans for rent come with a driver but there are a few that has self-drive options.
Car rentals give you the freedom when traveling so it’s a good option to consider. Besides, who doesn’t want to go on a road trip. 😉
Iloilo to Boracay Plane
This option is rather interesting. I’ve previously mentioned that there’s an airport at both Iloilo to Caticlan and there are local flights that go that route. The interesting part is that there is no direct route between those two destinations. Flights go from Iloilo to Manila then to Caticlan or fly from Iloilo to Cebu to Caticlan. Some flights even fly from Iloilo to Manila to Cebu before finally going to Caticlan.
Of all the travel options, this one can be the shortest at around 3.5 hours if you get an Iloilo to Cebu to Caticlan flight. That’s if you don’t consider the fact that you’d have to arrive at the airport early to check in, potential flight delays, etc. Also, it’s the most expensive with flights ranging anywhere from P2,800+ to P12,500+ per passenger.
This option is good if you… want to ride a plane. Seriously, I don’t know why you’d want to spend on an expensive plane ride for a potentially longer travel time than its land counterparts. But the option is there if you want to take it. #nojudgement.
Now on my header I did say Iloilo to Boracay Plane not Iloilo to Caticlan Plane because you can actually ride a charter plane directly to Boracay. There are some seaplanes like the ones from AirJuan that can fly directly to Boracay in under an hour. This is a great option if you’re in a hurry and the flight costs at a reasonable P3,500.
That’s about it. Did we miss any travel option? Which travel option do you think is best? Let us know in the comments.