Islandhopping 101: Life’s Lesson-Reckoned While Traveling The 0ff The Beaten Path



Having been on the road, and at sea, for countless times over the span of seven years, I feel I had a better confidence to go on a solo flight once again without a slight vexation of getting adrift over so many uncertainties – the reason? personal gain outweigh the risk. The sight of foreign backpackers roaming around the city street and off the beach made me think of doing a modest wayfaring of my own; and so, here I go again getting ready for my next island hopping trip which I’m about to begin few days after New Year’s celebration.

“Why you keep on traveling that far, what’s the drama?” A curious friend once asked me.

I still remember vividly when I first step on a backpacking trip way back 2008- two weeks after I resigned from my previous job as a Chief Steward of a prestigious club in Makati City- I boarded a bus in Araneta Bus Terminal (Cubao) heading down south by way of Bicol, Samar, and Ormoc (Leyte) looking for ideas; searching for an answer to my life’s conundrum. The moment I step-out of the bus after 29 hours of back-breaking, and butt burning trip I finally got an answer.

In my own perspective, back-packing, wandering off the beaten-path, and/or Island hopping are all synonymous to mind/heart probing. Often times solution or ideas are not easily found inside one’s home,  you need to go outside the box and stare over the horizon; see inspiring scenery, clear some clatters over one’s head; whilst, having a moment of peace and tranquility for days to a week could freshen one’s mind, and eventually ideas will surely pops-out. Trying it myself, after moments of contemplating I was surprised to find the answer to the puzzle of life, it was all along the corner waiting to be tapped on.

Looking at the vast empty space of the sea, the seemingly distant islands over the horizon that grew larger every minute served as a form of meditation on finding my sanity, self awareness, and heart. During those years of traveling I met no one who came near of disclosing to me how the world works,  no learning institution either had successfully thought me the same craving that I yearned- it was upon series of walk to some of the Off the beaten-track then came a revelation of the teaching of life:

 My Life’s Purpose 

Having been working on Food and Beverage Industry for almost twenty years, honestly 124I got drained. The mere presence of bosses screaming day-in and day-out, the office politics (Pinoy style) that works like sickening, the heated competition over position and pay; the drama, and the intrigued were too much for me until one day I said, “I need something new,  something different.”  It was one of the most daring decision of my life which I did not regret, and I’m glad the heaven above showed me the right way. Financially, I was a little off (unlike before when I was working) but the peace of mind while living a meager life far away from the hectic schedule of city living, and the travel I did once in a while are far more rewarding.

“Tomorrow is tomorrow.
Future cares have future cures,
And we must mind today.”

Sophocles, Antigone

 Reality bites, but that is the Reality!

129“You can’t have all the pies and eat it” say’s my former boss. I agree wholeheartedly, sometimes you need to choose which life is best for you. Most the time you need to choose between what your brain tells you to do, and what your heart is yearning you to do! The reality is, in choosing the latter you may let go as well of the former (or vice versa)- the decision I made on not to live on a chaotic city, and rather dwell on unpretentious way of life is not without complexities- but the bottom line is,  it made me happy!

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

Robert Frost

 Hope for the Best, Expect for the Worst!

123Going to several stage of career failure, I said I had enough. The mere experience of failing one life adventure after another was a bit overwhelming, and yet it keep on  coming. The good side of all of these head/heart aches are the lesson you learn out of it. Every failure turns out to be a valuable education not keenly thought in any classroom; they’re like a priceless scar that often leaves you like a battle hardened soldier bruised after grueling engagement- and I darn like it- a reminder that after all I’m simply a human being….

“All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Samuel Beckett

  Each of us has a fight of its own

122I mean who hasn’t, right?  Is there anyone in this world who is free from trouble of his own? The more I see a laughter on their faces, the more I see troubles hidden behind it- I admit I’m one of those guilty.  Take for example the perception of building one’s career, seems to be very easy if you will follow the step by step instructions, just study your lessons, and took the necessary exam as instructed, then graduate; next is get employed and earn the necessary job experience for a couple of years, perhaps from different companies and there you go the secret of success! But then where’s the challenge? Where’s the excitement of the up’s and down?

Let’s say you took a different approached, somewhere were few people took the road less traveled. Often, the not so famous approach is the most difficult, and few dare to take the risk because only few only succeed; but for those who are man enough and took the challenge, would soon face the exhausting conundrum of events …

“Hard is trying to rebuild yourself, piece by piece, with no instruction book, and no clue as to where all the important bits are supposed to go.”

Nick Hornby

And there you are a man standing tall against all the boys- fighting against odds- and his worst enemy is himself.

 The Only Constant in this World is rather Change

117The beauty of all of this facet of life is, it never last that long. When facing a difficult problem early on my life I finally felt the old adage “When it rains, it pours!” And so it is, indeed, but I also grasp the idea that after the storm comes a calm sky, and such  beauty it invites every weary heart to  pick-up every little pieces and start all over again – everything seems to change for the better, and I felt good about it.

“All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.”  


Last but not the least, learn to laugh once in a while, for we Filipino’s have it, no matter what the situation we have at present – bad to worst- we bring along friendly laugh, because we knew that after the storm comes a fine weather.

What’s yours?

Happy New Year to one and all… And be safe!






Featured Philippine Ports: Port of Dumaguete

Rizal Blvd. Dumaguete City

View of Dumaguete City bay area


Dubbed as “The City of Gentle People”, Dumaguete City is bounded on the southeast by Bohol Sea and Tañon Strait in the north. Tañon strait (a major sea lanes) connects Visayan Sea to the Bohol Sea, and is regarded as a protected fishing ground.

Dakbayan sa Dumagueteis the Capital of the Province of Negros Oriental, and considered as one of the fastest developing cities in the Philippines. The proximity of the location, and the convenience of the modern and affordable Land, Air, and Sea transport access from Manila, Cebu and Bacolod City, makes Dumaguete the ideal jump-off points to the enchanting Island of Siquijor-as well as the Island paradise of Sumilon.  And because of these natural location, the warmth hospitality of the people, and the tropical climate of the province; large numbers of foreign and local tourist/vacationers visits  the many serene beach resorts of the northern coastal town, as well as the majestic dive paradise in the south particularly Apo Island (boasting their one of the best community managed marine sanctuaries in the country).


Dumaguete Lighthouse and Passenger Terminal

Philippine Ports Authority’s Port District of Visayas (PPA-PDO Visayas) manages the six (6) Port Management Office in the three geopolitical regions in the visayas (except for the Ports/Wharfs in the city or Province of Cebu, which is under the operational and administrative supervision of the Cebu Port Authority), and this include the Port of Dumaguete City.

By virtue of the Executive Order No. 254 in 1950 and formalized by the R.A. No. 1173 of 1954 thus created the Subport of Dumaguete.

PMO-Dumaguete has the jurisdiction of the Management of all government and private ports in the Province of Negros Oriental and Siquijor Island since 2002. This government ports handle both passenger and cargo traffic, while privately owned and/or maintained piers, and/or wharves are generally utilized for the shipment of cargoes coming from local as well as International shipment (with the exception of few wharf that serviced passengers like Maayo Shipping in Tampi, in the town of San Jose). These three (3) government ports/terminals are:

TMO TandayagApproximately 18 kilometers North of the City proper is the town of Amlan. The Port itself has a total land area of 2,150 square meters with an open storage area of 800 square meters. Its berthing facilities consist primarily of;

One (1) 12-meter by 24-meter reinforced concrete wharf and;

One (1) 15-meter by 20-meter reinforced concrete beach ramp

Tandayag Port is accessible only to small vessels going to and coming from Bato, Samboan in Cebu Province. This port also serves as an alternate pier for docking of small vessels in case Dumaguete Port is not operational. To view ferry schedule, you may click the link below:

Cuadro Alas Navigation Lines 2015 ferry sched here

TMO Guihulngan Approximately 116 kilometers north of the City, this port provides access to via small ferry vessels plying the route between Basak, Guihulngan and Tangil, Dumanjug, Cebu. Port facilities include an L-type reinforced concrete finger pier 6-meter wide by 55-meter long, and a berthing area of 99 meters with six (6) cleats mooring fixtures.

You may check ferry schedule here: 2015 sched

TMO LarenaIs the main entry point to the province of Siquijor. It can accommodate ships of up to 1000 gross tonnage. A Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) was built to complement the Roll-on Roll-off transport system, fast craft and ferry boats now plies directly to and from Dumaguete or Bohol on a regular basis. There are also ferry boat trip connecting Cebu, and Plaridel in Iligan on a weekly basis.

Port of Dumaguete is the main gateway to the province of Negros Oriental and is also a  major link to Mindanao’s passenger and cargo traffic, and forms part of the western seaboard’s  Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH).

Other National/Municipal Port:

1. Bais City- Jump off point for Dolphin watching

2. Siquijor, Siquijor

3. Sibulan-Jump off point for passengers to and from Liloan, Cebu

4. Malatapay, Zamboanguita- Jump off to Apo Island

Private Port under jurisdiction of PMO Dumaguete includes:

1. Caltex Philippines Inc.(Tandayag, Amlan)

2. Candanay, Siquijor

3. Central de Azucarera de Bais in Tanjay

4. Pryce Gass Inc. in Brgy. Awaan, Ayungon

5. Dumaguete Coconut Mills Inc. (DUCOMI) in San Miguel, Bacong

6. Orica Nitrates Phils. Inc.(Former Dyno Nobel Phils. Inc.), Bacong

7. Herminio Teves Co. Inc. (HTCI) in Tolong Sta. Catalina

8. Maayo Shipping Inc. (Tampi, San Jose)

9. CAB Port in Luka, Tanjay City

10. Phil-Am Timber Co.(PATIC)

11. PETRON Phil. Inc.(Amlan Fuel Depot)

12. Lo-oc Lead Ores Inc. Port in Lo-oc, Ayungon

13. Tambisan San Juan, Siquijor

14. United Robina Sugar Milling Corp. (URSUMCO) in Manjuyod.


Port Location:   Dumaguete City Negros Oriental, Philippines

Port Name:   Port of Dumaguete

Port Management:   Philippine Ports Authority, PMO Dumaguete

Address: Port Area Lo-oc, Dumaguete City Negros Oriental 6200

Phone:   (035) 225-0973  Fax:  (035) 225-0974


Web Site:

Latitude:   9° 18′ 43″ N

Longitude:   123° 18′ 46″ E


Port Type:   Pier, Jetty or Wharf

Port Size:   Small

Harbor Characteristics

Harbor Size:    Small

Harbor Type:   Open Roadstead

Shelter:   Fair

Turning Area:   Yes

Maximum Vessel Size:   Up to 500 feet in length

Good Holding Ground:   No

Water Depth

Channel 76 feet – OVER (23.2m – OVER)
Anchorage 76 feet – OVER ( 23.2m – OVER )
Cargo Pier 11 – 15 feet (3.4 – 4.6 meters )
Mean Tide 2 feet


Compulsory:   Yes

Available:   Yes


Telephone:   Yes

Telegraph:   Yes

Radio:   Yes

Lifts & Cranes

0-24 Ton Lifts:   Yes

Mobile Cranes:   Yes


Provisions Yes
Water Yes
Fuel Oil Yes
Diesel Oil Yes

Ship Repairs:   Limited



PASSENGER TERMINAL Temporarily housed in a 265 sq. meter, 60 person capacities, fully air-conditioned one story renovated building. With amenities such as clean restroom, a nursing or breastfeeding room, food and beverage kiosk are also available for passenger waiting to board a ferry.

As safety and security procedure all in-coming/embarking passenger are required to pass to a walk-through metal detector, and have their baggage check by in-house baggage X-Ray machine inside the Terminal Building. Terminal fee cost only 15 Php for each passenger.


Three reinforced concrete Finger:

Pier 1 :  30 x 166 meter

Pier 2 :  16 x 80 meters

Pier 3 :  12 x 162 meters


One 9 x 11 meters and One 12 x 12 meters

CONTAINER YARD:  1,945 sq. meters


Passenger Traffic

Disembarked 371,095*
Embarked 387,714*
Total Passenger Traffic 758,809*

*2008 un-official Summary

SHIP CALL 7,286*
CARGO (Inward/Outward) 393,878 metric tons*
TEU (Inward/Outward) 13,554 TEU*

*Un-official Summary (Source: PPA Port Statistic/2008 File)


Dumaguete Port is currently under expansion. The project task is to reclaimed few hectares of sea to accommodate more container ships.

Port expansion includes excavation of existing seabed along the beach of Brgy. Lo-oc behind the PPA-Dumaguete Office. Constructing of back-up area, mooring and fendering system, drainage, fencing and Port lightning. Target completion is on the 6th of June 2010. Once completed, Dumaguete Port will be much wider by about 1.5 hectares and can accommodate two Inter-Island vessels, berthed simultaneously and with abundance of cargo space for storage and warehousing. The project covers 6,700 square meters and has a cost of P394 million.

Adjacent to Pier 2  fronting  Philippine Coast Guard and Bureau of Custom’s offices is the construction of the new Passenger Terminal costing 50 million pesos, which will soon to be completed. It would be equipped with enough facilities to handle large number of passengers, a fully-air-conditioned building, and with better aesthetic compared to other passenger terminals in other cities. The facility according to its designer was specifically outlined to blend with the architecture of the city. It has a semi-second floor area and can accommodate 1,300 passengers. The City Government has pushed for a Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) over the past years as it noted an increased in the number of port users in this city.

FERRY/RORO Transport Operator in Dumaguete Port

The following are list of Shipping companies that operates passenger ferries in and out of Dumaguete.

  1. Aboitiz Transport System
  2. Sulpicio Lines
  3. Delta Fast Ferries 
  4. Ocean Fast Ferries or OceanJet
  5. Montenegro Shipping Lines
  6. Asian Marine Transport
  7. Cokaliong Shipping Lines
  8. Trans-Asia Shipping Lines
  9. George & Peter Lines
  10. GL Shipping Lines
  11. Oceanic Shipping Lines
  12. Aleson Shipping Lines

Shipping destination in/out of Dumaguete Port

For updated RORO/FERRY schedule, please click here: 2014 RORO/FERRY sched


Superferry 1/5

Offers once a week trip to and from Dumaguete, their itinerary for this route is: From Dumaguete it will depart every Wednesday at approximately 09:45 in the morning and arrives to the Port of Cebu at around 2 pm (Approximately no less than 4 hour trip). Then at around 5:45 in the afternoon it will sail again for Manila, thus arriving the next day at Pier 15 around 6 in the evening (24 hour trip).

For Manila to Dumaguete, Superferry 1/5 departs from Pier 15 of South Harbor every Monday at 10:45 pm. Then arrives on Tuesday 11:00 pm at Cebu International Port, then finally depart for Dumaguete at 2 am Wednesday morning.

Note: Schedule is subject to change, please check superferry website for further infos.

M/V Princess of the Carribean

Leaves Dumaguete for Manila every Monday at 1 pm

Leaves Manila for Dumaguete every Wednesday at 12 noon

Note: You may check their website for further infos.


Two pioneer RORO shipping companies are still active to date in this Visayan route, these are Cokaliong Shipping Lines and George & Peter Lines (GPL). While Ocean Fast Ferries Inc. is the only fast craft company that serves Dumaguete.

Their schedules are listed as follows:


Departures are everyday of the week except Monday. Departures at 12 midnight and arrives at Pier 1 Cebu City at around 6 in the morning (Approximately 6 hour run).

Please click here for schedule: Cokaliong Shipping Lines


Cebu-Dumaguete route: Mon/Thurs/Fri at 10 pm.

For Dumaguete-Cebu City route: Thursday at 10 am/Friday at 11 pm.


Cebu – Dumaguete via Tagbiliran route:  Daily 6:00AM & 3:35 PM

Dumaguete – Cebu via Tagbilaran route: Daily 7:30 AM & 2:20 PM

Please click to this link to view complete schedule: Ocean Jet


With distance of only 44 nautical miles southwest of Dumaguete, most of the ferries can cover this route for about 3 ½  to 4 hours. RORO serviced to and from Dapitan/Dipolog started only in 2003 (Pioneer on this route is the shipping company George and Peter Lines, serving this area since early 80’s).

Since then the number of RORO ferries and Operators have increased due to the growth of Passenger and Cargo traffic. While Dipolog City has Galas Feeder Port, Dapitan City meanwhile has RoRo ramps at Pulauan Port, which form part of the Strong Republic Nautical highway (SRNH).

To date there are five (5) Shipping lines servicing this route, these are:


MV Filipinas Iloilo

Departs to Dapitan every Tuesday / Thursday / Saturday at 7 am

Departs for Dumaguete Tuesday / Thursday / Saturday at 4 pm

MV Filipinas Dumaguete

Departs to Dapitan every Wednesday / Friday / Sunday at 7am

Departs for Dumaguete every Wednesday & Friday at 4 pm


Ciara Joie

Departs daily from Dipolog to Dumaguete at 10:30AM

Departs daily from Dumaguete – Dipolog at 4:00AM


Super Shuttle Ferry 12

Daily : Dumaguete – Dapitan at 5:00PM

Daily : Dapitan – Dumaguete at 5:00AM


Maria Beatriz and Maria Helena

Daily at 6 am (ETD) and 5pm (ETD)


MV Georich and/or MV Zamboanga Ferry

Please click the link for updated schedule  and Fare. George and Peter


Referred  by locals as the “Tagbilaran City Tourist Pier”. The Port of Tagbilaran is the city’s main seaport and is located on the northern edge of the city. Travelers to and from Bohol island uses this port as its main mode of entry. Bohol particularly Tagbilaran surpasses Negros Oriental and Siquijor in terms of volume of domestic and international visitors. The insular Port of Tagbilaran was also adjudged as one of the region’s healthy port by the Department of Health.

Please click the link of Ocean Fast Ferries Inc. to view detailed schedule, fares and promotion provided above.


Siquijor has three (3) Passenger Port/Wharf in the whole province, it serves as docking and berthing for fast craft, ferry boat and motorized banca that carries passenger and cargo traffic from Dumaguete and nearby provinces. These Ports are:

TMO Larena formerly known asthe town ofCanoan” during the Spanish period, is the main entry point and major hub for commerce and business activities in the whole island of Siquijor. Shipping Lines that has schedules:

Delta 1 & 3 (Delta Marine International Pty.Ltd.) – Daily

M/V Marie Kristina (Montenegro Shipping Lines) – Daily

Villa Shipping Lines – MV Canoan Jet

Tanjuan Shipping – LCT Engatan/ LCT St. Joseph

GL Shipping Lines- M/Bca Jaylann 2

Siquijor is the Capital of the Province.  Siquijor Port/wharf serves as one of the most important port in the province (next to Larena Port).  Fast Craft and Motor Banca Operator serve this route:

Delta 1 & Delta 3 (Delta Marine International Pty. Ltd.) – Daily

Delta Car Ferry – Daily




MBca Prima 1

Villa Shipping Lines – Canoan Jet

Lazi wharf

Lazi wharf are visited by boats/ships from Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental and Northern Mindanao. Copra, peanuts, tobacco, livestock, maguey and kapok are exported from the island through this port.

MV Siquijor Island (Orlines Sea-Land Transport Inc.)

Minor wharf for Motorized Banca:

Solong-on, Tambisan Siquijor to Dumaguete v.v – MBca Prima 1

San Juan Siquijor to Dumaguete v.v -MBca Bienbe, MBca Siquijor II, MBca Siquijor Princess.


PORT of  CAGAYAN is located in barangay Macabalan facing the Macajalar Bay in the northern coastline of Mindanao, approximately 97.9 NM southeast of Dumaguete City. Cagayan de Oro particularly Port of Cagayan is the Gateway to Northern Mindanao’s passenger and commercial traffic. The port is a modern International Seaport situated near the estuary of Cagayan de Oro River; it has an anchorage depth of 18 meters and is around 400 meters from the shoreline. Shipping Company that serves from Dumaguete to this Port v.v-Cebu Ferries Corporation (Subsidiary of Aboitiz Transport System).

Cebu Ferry 01 – Every Sunday at 10:30 AM (from Dumaguete) Arrival Sunday at 5:30 PM (Cagayan).

Please click the link for added info: Cebu Ferries

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 The schedules and fares posted above are sourced from the ticketing booth found at Port of Dumaguete and/or Ports in Siquijor.  The information provided herein is accurate for the time being, but subject to change as per shipping operator’s policy please be guidedOther pertinent information regarding Shipping Operator, Port terminal policies, and fees can be found at their own website or at designated ticketing office found at said above Ports. 

The Shipping schedules provided above were painstakingly gathered from different sources and updated every now and then- without being paid or getting any commission from any shipping companies. Your continued patronage (please share it to your Facebook acct.) and generous contribution -any kind- to make this website fully operational will be highly appreciated.

Photos and images provided herein are property of its author, and any use outside of this website without written consent constitutes a violation of copyrights.

Disclaimer: The author shall not be held liable for any harm -personal or business related- caused by factual errors, omission and/or any unforeseen mistakes (I strive to make it accurate as much as possible, but being human, it does happen). Furthermore, any comments/or statements raised by yours truly are of personal opinion only and does not in any way reflects the opinion of any authoritative bodies unless stated.

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