Traveling to Occidental Mindoro on Christmas holidays

Getting away from the precarious city life will always be a good idea during holidays. There’s no other option but to revive one’s soul with sea, sand and sun for your own kind of buffer zone in Occidental Mindoro. But doing it during Christmas holiday got to have some serious thinking if you’re not that much of a social animal.

If you’re not used to rubbing elbow with others on board boat to brave distance for a chance to experience Occidental Mindoro, you might take your steps back. But hey, it’s Christmas holiday! Crowded boats are expected.

However, let me offer some tips and insights for others to have an idea what to expect in case some urban legends decide to break free from concrete jungle to green and blue paradise Occidental Mindoro.

Terminal Crawl

Batangas City Port is not that bad at all. Its size has blown out in the past years in an effort to accommodate hundreds, or probably million containers coming in and out every day. Maritime vessels of all sorts loaded with economic products and merchandise occupy a large portion of the still developing port. Large structures went popping like mushrooms to house imported cars. But much for passengers.

Years ago, passengers bound for Oriental Mindoro awaits at the left side building and while Occidental Mindoro occupies a building at right wing of the port. I have to admit, I’m not sure about this. But two years ago, I went to Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro. We were ushered at the left side. Then last January 4, passengers going to Calapan and Abra de Ilog, Occidental Mindoro were crowded the first floor of the terminal at the right side.

I am certain about it since I get to hear personnel calling out passengers for Calapan whenever a vessel is all set to sail.

People returning to the island bring with them bags, boxes, 32 inches TVs and others. I am supposed to take 6:00am trip, and there we were. Lucky are those who came earlier, they had the luxury of throwing down their body weights on chairs lined up at the first floor.

So as not to give blurred lines, but always expect a crowded waiting area or terminal building during holidays. If you’re nursing some arthritis or something, take your medicine ahead of time and let your body absorb its power before making your way to the Port.

Why is that?

Buying ticket is already something to struggle with. Worst case scenario, you’ll have to fall in long line before you could get yours. From there, you might as well need to burn your legs standing waiting for your boat to get off the hook.

Take a peek to see what it’s like on board a crowded vessel bound for Occidental Mindoro during Christmas holiday. December 23, 2019.

Waiting Pill

Coming early will always give you the opportunity to claim a throne. But then again, the waiting game is another problem. So make sure you bring your gadgets to kill time with.

If you have your own car, you’ll be made to park and wait at the Marshalling Area after going through vehicle inspection. Traveling at day time is fine. However, make sure your car’s air conditioning system is in good working condition. There’s no roof at the Marshalling Area. If you have your baby with you, that’s one hell of day to be in the open field without shade.

How about the back packers? Well, they’ll be at the waiting area building. One can always go hungry while waiting. But that shouldn’t be a problem. There’s a 7-11 store at the first floor of the building. At the second floor, stalls are there with different gastro remedies. And it’s good to know they now have charging stations. We commend the management for that.

THE WORLD IS A BOOK AND THOSE WHO DO NOT TRAVEL READ ONLY A PAGE.

Saint Augustine

Boarding Ocean Queens

There are three companies serving the Batangas – Abra de Ilog route and vice versa. There’s Montenegro Shipping Lines, Starlite Ferries and Orange Navigation.

Montenegro Santa Soledad
Montenegro Shipping Lines Santa Soledad passengers’ deck. January 4, 2020.

The three of them accommodate both passengers and vehicles. While they may detail other boats depending on weather situation, Montenegro Shipping Lines’ Santa Soledad is currently assigned to the route.

Visit sites:

Starlite Ferries Pacific on the other hand is running the show for Starlite Ferries. And during my last trip, Orange Navigation assigned the bulky RORO Master 5 which, for most of the time, prioritizes cargo trucks.

Starlite Ferries Pacific and Montenegro’s Santa Soledad meanwhile leans more in favor of private cars as passenger bus.

Santa Soledad
Off season at Santa Soledad’s canteen. January 4, 2020.

They both have air-conditioned rooms for passengers which is no where to be found in RORO Master boats. If we got it right, Santa Soledad charges additional P50.00 if you wish to cool things down. Pacific’s air-conditioned passengers’ area is free of charge. So again, you have to beat the odds to get the best seat.

But worst comes to worst during holidays, be prepared to sit on the floor or just hang around outside for a load of free sea breeze.

Montenegro Santa Soledad
Catch the breeze and enjoy your meal at Santa Soledad’s veranda. January 4, 2020.

Food Hood

The trip takes 2.5 hours in an average both for Montenegro and Starlite Ferries. Passengers have long testified that RORO Master vessels take longer hours going back and forth. In between, you’ll probably get hungry.

BM Philip Ramirez for VG?

Again, if you are traveling on Christmas holiday, expect passengers to crowd the vessel’s canteen. So better yet stack up foods in your bags before hitting the road.

Santa Soledad
Hungry passengers storm Montenegro Shipping Lines’ Santa Soledad for a cup of hot noodles. December 23, 2019.

We have been traveling for years. But admit it or not, we always find ourselves in a rabbit hole, forgetting to bring our own food and get trapped with the vessels’ hefty priced items.

Schedule

I’ll make this one short. Here’s the schedule of their trips.

Starlite Ferries

Batangas City to Abra de Ilog

  • 1:00 AM
  • 9:00 AM
  • 5:00 PM

Abra de Ilog to Batangas City

  • 5:00 AM
  • 1:00 PM
  • 9:00 PM

Montenegro Shipping Lines

Batangas City to Abra de Ilog

  • 2:00 AM
  • 6:00 AM
  • 10:00 AM
  • 2:00 PM
  • 6:00 PM
  • 10:00 PM

Abra de Ilog to Batangas City

  • 2:00 AM
  • 6:00 AM
  • 10:00 AM
  • 2:00 PM
  • 6:00 PM
  • 10:00 PM

RORO Master/Baleno

Batangas City to Abra de Ilog

  • 3:00 AM
  • 7:00 AM
  • 11:00 AM
  • 3:00 PM
  • 7:00 PM
  • 11:00 PM

Abra de Ilog to Batangas City

  • 3:00 AM
  • 7:00 AM
  • 11:00 AM
  • 3:00 PM
  • 7:00 PM
  • 11:00 PM

Except only during unavoidable circumstances, the schedule remains the same.

So, care still to ride with us? We’ll be glad to have you.

Lastly, during holidays, passengers outnumber the vessel’s crew. In case of emergency, make sure you know how to take care of yourself during the voyage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.