If you’re doing the Philippines right, your top ten list when you leave should look something like this:
- Island hopping forever, beaches!
- Seriously, what the hell are you waiting for?
- Getting some Vitamin Sea in your life.
- Did I mention the white sand beaches?
- Oh, and we have incredible islands.
- May I suggest visiting one of the beautiful beaches?
- Awesomely fun islands
- Insanely beautiful beaches
- Island hopping.
- Enjoying the white sand beaches.
Ocean Jet Ferries in the Phillipines
I think by now you get the point. However, getting to all of those islands and beaches is not as easy. To say that the Philippines is spread out (7,600 islands) is a massive understatement. The most popular method for tourists to get around, of course, is by airplane, and CebuPacific – the Philippine’s low-cost airline – allows you to get to a good variety of beautiful islands or nearby cities. However, even that can entail half-day bus trips and arduous local boat rides if you want to get to many of the other islands. For many of the Filipinos, who LOVE to travel in their own country even when they make limited salaries, paying for plane tickets all the time isn’t tenable.
Luckily, there is a good solution – at least in the Visayas central island region of the country (where most of the good stuff from our top 10 list is!).
Called OceanJet Fast Ferries, it’s a massive convenience for travelers and tourists who want to get from island to island efficiently (i.e. not taking all damn day), with minimum hassle, and with similar comfort to flying – hence the name, OceanJet. I’ve taken a few OceanJet boat rides before, and I lucky enough to have a terminal right in my home port in Dumaguete.
Formed in the 1990s as a freight shipping company, OceanJet soon expanded into one and then two fast crafts to bring passengers across waters to diversify their services and better compete. They now have five high-speed crafts (according to their website, which tend to be outdated here) as well as three newer model high-speed crafts.
They currently have regular routes between these islands:
That covers a good circumference of the Visayas, and fills an important transportation need for many people in the region, locals and foreigners.
Similar to the airline and airport model of traveling, OceanJet prides itself on having nice terminals, with high security, modern conveniences like air conditioning, big-screen TVs playing while you wait, and a few little shops and kiosks to buy snacks, food, water, or gifts.
You’ll also notice that the terminals are better organized than the usual chaotic and crowded boat terminals. The crafts, too, are great – well-spaced out with air conditioning that blows so cold you usually need a sweatshirt, more plasma TVs blaring popular movies, and workable comfort rooms (bathrooms).
You are assigned a seat, which is great so there’s no jostling and worrying about someone taking your seat if you get up to walk around, and the seats even recline a little like airline seats.
If you get seasick, you’ll find that these boats are big and powerful enough to minimize the pitching feeling of the waves, and I do believe they are safer than most local ferries. They save you time, too, as it takes me only 50 minutes to cross from Dumaguete over to Sijiour Island, where the local boat might take 1 hour 20 minutes or such. From Cebu to Bohol, for instance, is approximately a 3-hour ride which isn’t bad at all considering.
They do have limited schedules on different days and times of the year, so check carefully (they have a different ticket office than the regular ticket office at most ports), and it will cost you a little more – maybe $8-$10 for a one-way ticket.
Try out OceanJet the next time you want to tackle another number on our top-10 list!