The RO-RO Connection (Part 7)
Continuing the journey from Matnog, Sorsogon brings us to Allen, Samar via sea travel. The Matnog-Allen RORO link covers a total distance of 12 nautical miles equivalent to approximately 45 minutes to an hour of travel by RORO.
Cargoes and passengers that pass through the port of Matnog going to the Visayas have the option to either disembark at either Lo-oc, Allen or Dapdap, Allen.
Approximately 2,000 buses bound for Mindanao cross the Matnog-Allen link every month. These bus services are being provided by Philtranco Bus Company and Bachelor Transit.
A total of 10 RORO ships operated by three shipping companies call at the Port of Matnog, Sta. Clara Shipping (with four RO-RO ships); and its sistercompany Penafrancia (with three RORO ships) and Maharlika Shipping (with three).
Sta. Clara & Penafrancia connect Matnog, Sorsogon to Lo-oc, Allen, Northern Samar while Maharlika connects Matnog to Dapdap, Allen.
ALLEN. Allen, Samar is located at the Northern part of the province of Samar. Two RORO ports in Allen connect to Matnog, Sorsogon. Port of Allen in Barangay Lo-oc is mostly preferred by passengers because travel time from Matnog Port to Allen (Lo-oc) takes only an hour (12 nautical miles from Matnog).
Another port, the PPA-operated Port in Barangay San Isidro, which is also used to serve passengers and cargo from Matnog to Allen, has long stopped operation due to poor performance (low passenger volume, cargo throughput and longer distance (17 nautical miles from Matnog).
Allen, Samar – Tacloban, Leyte – Liloan Southern Leyte (land travel via the San Juanico Bridge)
Upon disembarking at Allen, Samar, the journey continues via land travel taking you to Tacloban, Leyte, home to the famous San Juanico Bridge.
San Juanico Bridge crosses over the picturesque San Juanico Strait connecting the islands of Samar and Leyte, and provides a major link between northern and southern Philippines through the Pan-Philippine Highway.
The 2.16-kilometer bridge that spans the width of San Juanico Strait joins the provinces of Samar and Leyte. It was considered an engineering feat ahead of its time when it was constructed in 1973. The San Juanico Bridge is the only one of its kind in the country, thus becoming a tourist attraction.
Connecting Tacloban City on the Leyte side and Santa Rita town on the Samar side, it offers many striking views, especially the islets of the province. It is approximately io minutes from downtown Tacloban City and is accessible by passenger jeepney, bus, motorcab or private vehicle.
Liloan is located at the southernmost part of Southern Leyte and the 417 kilometer land trip from Tacloban to Liloan takes around 3-4 hours.
Liloan-Lipata RO-RO Route (Sea Travel)
It takes about 3 hours from Liloan to Lipata, Surigao via RO-RO. Two bus companies operate the Lipata- Liloan route. These include the Bachelor Express serving the Tacloban-Davao and Ormoc-Davao and vice versa, and the Philtranco plying , the Davao-Manila route. Aside from these two bus companies, trucking companies serve the Lipata-Liloan route either going all the way to Manila or end at Tacloban City from Mindanao.
In terms of passenger arrivals, during summer, port statistics are good because students travel back to the province, and then at the start of school. The year 2006 was a year of calamities for Southern Leyte.
The year 2006 was not a good year in terms of cargo throughput and passenger arrivals. The slackening of passenger and cargo throughput has been partly attributed to the presence of other travel modes/destinations, In the past, the whole of Mindanao was not served by SRNH. Today, from Zamboanga, one can link up with Dapitan, from Dapitan with Cebu , with Iloilo , with Dumaguete, and with Siquijor.
Lipata, Surigao del Norte is also known as the Gateway to Northern Mindanao from the Visayas via the Eastern Seaboard Nautical Highway.
Central Nautical Highway
1. Port of Pilar, Sorsogon
2. Port of Aroroy, Masbate
3. Port of Cawayan, Masbate
4. Port of Daangbantayan, Cebu
5. Port of Cebu, Cebu City
6. Port of Tubigon, Bohol
7. Port of Jagna, Bohol
8. Port of Mambajao, Camiguin
9. Port of Benoni, Camiguin
10. Port of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental
Central Nautical Highway
Leading the RO-RO Caravan, President Arroyo inaugurated in April 2008 the Central Nautical Highway – the last main trunk line of the Strong Republic Nautical Highway. The major RO-RO links comprising the central nautical highway include:
Pilar (Sorsogon) – Aroroy (Masbate)
Cawayan (Masbate) – Daang Bantayan (Cebu)
Mandaue (Cebu) – Tubigon (Bohol)
Jagna (Bohol) Mambajao (Camiguin)
Benoni (Camiguin) – Balingoan (Misamis Oriental)
Manila to Pilar, Sorsogon (Land Trip)
It takes 10 hours to cover the 588-km land trip from Manila to Pilar, Sorsogon. The municipality of Pilar serves as the gateway for Luzon to Mindanao via the island provinces of Masbate, Cebu, Bohol and Camiguin. The nearby municipality of Donsol (Sorsogon) is home to the whale-sharks (butanding) while the neighboring province of Albay is home to Mt. Mayon.
Pilar – Aroroy RORO Route (Sea Travel)
PILAR. At present, the existing municipal feeder port in Pilar is used for the Pilar-Aroroy RO-RO link. A RO-RO ramp was constructed in the port to make it RO-RO capable. There is, however, a plan to develop a new RO-RO port in San Antonio, Pilar. Travel time via RO-RO from Pilar to Aroroy is approximately 1 hour.
AROROY. The PPA developed a RORO terminal adjacent to the existing municipal feeder port in Aroroy. This port represents the new point of entry to the province of Masbate.
Masbate is one of the country’s developing island provinces. Connecting the province to both Luzon and Cebu would provide the province access to a larger market. Main products produced in Masbate are livestock (cattle), copra, and mineral products (like gold and manganese). With the opening of the Central Nautical Highway, Masbate’s direction of trade is no longer north bound (i.e., from Masbate to Luzon). With the completion of the RORO terminals in Cawayan and Daang Bantayan, south bound trade (to Visayas and Mindanao) is now being facilitated through RO-RO. It is expected that the Roxas-Caticlan experience of Mindoro Oriental will be replicated in Masbate. The increased economic will aid the rapid development of the province.
Aroroy to Cawayan (Land Trip)
It takes about 5-6 hours of land travel from Aroroy (North) to Cawayan (South) spanning a total distance of approximately 125 kilometers . The port of Cawayan is the jump-off point of Masbate to the Visayas.
Cawayan – Daangbantayan RORO Route (Sea Travel)
The RO-RO trip from Cawayan, Masbate to Daangbantayan, Cebu takes about 5 to 6 hours and covers a total distance of 50 nautical miles.
CAWAYAN. The PPA rehabilitated and expanded the existing wharf in Cawavan to make it a RO-RO capable port.
DAANGBANTAYAN. The Daang Bantayan RORO terminal development is a project of the provincial government. The port is located in the northern tip of the Cebu Island.
Daangbantayan to Mandaue (Land Trip)
The road network from Daangbantayan to Mandaue is good. It takes about 3 hours to traverse the 13o-kilometer stretch.
The City of Cebu is the capital of the Province of Cebu. The presence of large urban areas in its immediate and outlying vicinity has transformed the City of Cebu as the urban core and commerce center, with a pattern of activities that respect no boundaries due to the unrestricted and avoidable flow of goods and people. The prime destination of these movements is the areas and/or vicinities of Carbon, Magallanes, and Colon Streets, with the Central Business District (CBD).
The city, as a regional center, continues to radiate its influence to the rest of the Visayas and Mindanao regions. It must be noted that for the last four decades after World War II, the City of Cebu has metamorphosed as the center of education and culture; the hub of sea and air transport; and the center of trade and commerce.
The most famous of all historical landmarks in Cebu City is Magellan’s Cross that was planted in Cebu shores by Ferdinand Magellan in April 14, 1521. marking the spot where the first Catholic Christians – Rajah Humabon, Queen Juana and about 400 followers were baptized by Fr. Pedro de Valderama. Another interesting tourist landmark is the Fort San Pedro, which is considered to be the smallest and oldest tri-bastion fort in the country. Built in 1738 this served as the nucleus of the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines. The Basilica Minore del Santo Nino is the only basilica in the Far East. The Basilica houses the Country’s oldest religious image – the Miraculous Image of the Holy Child Jesus more popularly known as “SENOR SANTO NINO”. The Sinulog Festival is a major celebration every first month of the year in honor of Senor Sto. Nino.
The island of Mactan houses the Mactan Export Processing Zone and world class resort-hotels (Mactan Shangri-la and Plantation Bay).
Mandaue – Tubigon RORO Route (Sea Travel)
MANDAUE. The main ports of Cebu are located in Mandaue City. All port in the Cebu province are under the supervision of the Cebu Ports Authority (CPA). The Mandaue (Cebu) – Tubigon (Bohol) RORO route is one of the two routes that existed prior to the establishment of the Central Nautical Highway. The RO-RO trop takes about 2 hours.
TUBIGON. The municipality of Tubigon is approximately 54 kilometers northeast of the City of Tagbilaran, the capital of Bohol. Four shipping companies serve the Mandaue-Tubigon RORO Route – Rolly Shipping Lines (1 trip per day), Kinswell Shipping Lines (2 trips per day), Island Shipping (1 trip per day), and Jadestar (2 trips per day).
The island province of Bohol is the rice granary of the Visayas. It also produces coconuts, bananas, corn, vegetables and various root crops. Its municipal waters teem with the most delicious blue crabs, aside from being a very rich fishing ground. It is also the habitat of countless rare tropical fishes. Bohol is home to the tarsiers (smallest monkey in the world) and the famous Chocolate Hills.
Tubigon to Jagna (Land Trip)
The land trip from the Port of Tubigon to the Port of Jagna takes approximately 2 hours and covers a total distance of 81 kilometers
Jagna-Balbagon RORO Route (Sea Travel)
JAGNA. The PPA upgraded the existing port and developed a RO-RO ramp for RORO operations. The RO-RO trip from Jagna (Bohol) to Balbagon (Camiguin) takes about 5 hours. Gothong Shipping provides a direct RO-RO service from Jagna to Cagayan de Oro once a week.
BALBAGON. The Port of Balbagon is located in the capital town of Mambajao, Caminguin. Aside from the R0-R0 service between Jagna and Balbagon, Asian Marine Transport provides a RO-RO service between Camiguin and Cebu once a week. Cargoes consist mainly of agricultural products such as copra, coco lumber, bananas, lanzones, among others.
Balbagon to Benoni (Land Trip) The land trip from Balbagon to Benoni is approximately 45 minutes to an hour and covers a total distance of 17 kilometers.
Benoni-Balingoan RORO Route (Sea Travel)
There are three terminal ports operating in the Province of Camiguin. The main port of entry to Camiguin is the Port of Benoni (Mahinog), and minor ports at Balbagon (Mambajao) and Guinsiliban. The Port of Benoni is part of the last leg of the Central Nautical Highway.
BENONI. The Port of Benoni is located in the southern part of Camiguin. It has 2 reinforced concrete piers and 2 RO-RO ramps. The Port of Benoni is the busiest port in Camiguin Province with three shipping companies operating on a daily basis – Corrales shipping Company (with two vessels: M/ V Hijos and M/V Dona Pepita), Philstone Shipping Corporation (with three vessels: M/V Kalinaw, M/V Yuhum and M/V Royal Princess), and Asian Marine Transport Corporation (with two vessels: Super Shuttle 1 and Super Shuttle 6).
Travel time from Benoni to Balingoan is 1 1/2 hours. The average number of ship calls is seven per day. The port experiences congestion during the Holy Week when Camiguin is visited by close to 60,00o tourists to be part of the local Lenten celebration called “Panaad.”
BALINGOAN. Located at Balingoan, Misamis Oriental, the Port of Balingoan is about 84 kilometers from Cagayan de Oro City. Balingoan Port is the nearest jump-off point for passengers/tourists and cargoes going to/coming from the Island-Province of Camiguin. It has three RORO ramps. The Port of Balingoan boasts of a new passenger terminal. There is, however, a need to upgrade and rehabilitate the existing pier. Part of the development plan is to convert the port into a domestic port once the international port will be opened in Cagayan de Oro.
There are three shipping companies with 7 vessels operating at the Balingoan Port: One serves the BalingoanGuinsiliban route (the Super Shuttle Ferry 9 operated by Asian Marine Transport Corporation), and the rest serving the Balingoan – Benoni route. Average travel time is one hour and 15 minutes.
Cargoes at Balingoan Port consist mainly of copra and coconut lumber (from Camiguin) rolled on through trucks (to and 6 wheeler types) usually bound for Cagayan de Oro.
Balingoan to Central and Southeastern Mindanao
From the Port of Balingoan, trucks and buses can go east to Surigao and Agusan, to the southeastern provinces of Mindanao (South Cotabato and Davao) through the BUDA highway – cutting through Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon, or go west to Ozamiz.
The eastern part of Mindanao is home to large agribusiness ventures – Dole Philippines and Del Monte Philippines. Davao and South Cotabato export tuna and other marine products. Bukidnon, like South Cotabato, produces corn. The province of Misamis Oriental houses the PHIVIDEC Industrial Estate while Iligan City is home to some heavy industries (steel, cement).
to be continued…