The Philippines is an archipelagic country, with big islands, small islands, and even tinier islands. The country is beautiful and there’s a lot to explore. The 2 best ways to go about exploring Pilipinas is either thru flying or sailing, taking a boat or an airplane.
There is a third transport option and that is to go for land trip say from Luzon to get to Mindanao. But this option is time consuming and challenging. You’d be hopping from one bus to another multiple times, unless you have your own vehicle. But even if you do have a car to drive and put on Roro boats (roll-on, roll-off marine vessels) to cross islands, please reconsider, be kind to your body and sanity.
To simplify things and for the purpose of this sharing, I am just going to compare 2Go Travel and Cebu Pacific Air.
Boat and Airline
2Go Travel is one of the leading passenger shipping companies in the Philippines. This sea transport company operates routes in 18 islands of the country.
In Luzon, they services the ports of Manila, Puerto Princesa, Coron, Batangas, Romblon, Odiongan, Caticlan, and Roxas.
In the Visayas, 2Go serves Cebu, Dumaguete, Bacolod, and Iloilo.
In Mindanao, the following are the ports of call: Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Dipolog, Zamboanga, Iligan, and Ozamiz.
Online booking of tickets is available on travel.2go.com.ph.
Here are the latest 2Go shipping schedules.
When it comes to airlines, the leading budget carrier is Cebu Pacific Air. This airline company goes to almost all major hubs in the country from Batanes to Tawi-tawi.
To book Cebu Pacific tickets, you may do so online at cebupacificair.com.
Comparing Advantages and Disadvantages
To take a boat or an airline? To travel via 2Go or via Cebu Pacific? Which is best? Let’s compare on a select criteria.
First, free baggage allowance.
Unlike airlines like Cebu Pacific which only allows 7 kilos of free hand carry baggage, 2Go gives its passengers 50 kilos of free personal baggage allowance. This I think is 2Go’s major advantage over flying.
Boat passengers may bring all the pasalubong that they want and stuff all into multiple luggage. Airlines only allow one hand-carry bag with weight not exceeding 7 kgs.
Second, travel duration.
Flying brings passenger faster to destinations several hours ahead of sailing. 2Go could not compete with Cebu Pacific on this aspect.
Example: Manila to Cebu via 2Go estimated travel time is 23 hours or almost 1 day. On the other hand, Cebu Pacific can bring you in Cebu from Manila in just an hour.
Are you press for time? Choose airline travel.
Third, domestic transport network.
Cebu Pacific has the advantage of serving more domestic routes versus that of 2Go from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
Although 2Go operates routes unserved by Cebu Pacific too.
Example of these 2Go routes are Batangas to Romblon, Batangas to Caticlan, Caticlan to Roxas, etc.
Fourth, ease of paying for tickets booked via online.
In this criteria, I think Cebu Pacific has the upper hand. Both companies offers online booking but the airline has the payment option advantage.
Cebu Pacific accepts cash payment aside from credit card and debit card. 2Go only accepts credit and debit card for now.
Cebu Pacific also has a lot more accredited payment centers like LBC, Cebuana Lhuillier, 7 Eleven, etc as opposed to that of 2Go’s payment centers.
Fifth, ticket rates.
When it comes to ticket rates, the cheaper one is usually the option which offers promo fares.
If there is a Cebu Pacific piso fare promo then without an actual check, I’ll tell you that flying with Cebupac on P1 base fare comes out cheaper versus sailing via 2Go.
This will become ’50-50’, i.e. no significant price difference if there is a piso fare tickets available on Cebu Pacific and there is a P5 crazy sale tickets available on 2Go for the same destination and travel date.
A. If the boat ticket rates and the airline ticket rates are the regular prices, then usually 2Go will come out cheaper versus Cebu Pacific.
Here’s an example, let’s get the fare from the official websites of these two companies for travel date December 18, 2020, route Manila to Coron. Again, the scenario is no promo on both 2Go and Cebu Pacific for this route and departure date.
On 2Go Travel Manila to Coron fare is P2,413.82 for sailing December 18, 2020.
On Cebu Pacific Manila to Coron fare is P5,317.28 for travel date December 18, 2020.
In this example, 2Go is cheaper versus Cebu Pacific.
B. If Cebu Pacific is offering promo tickets and 2Go Travel is not, there is a good chance that it will be cheaper to book airfare.
Let me give you an actual example now for the same travel date and same route. I am going to get the fare of Manila to Cebu for July 5 on both Cebu Pacific and 2Go Travel.
Take note that today, June 5, 2020, 2Go does not have a promo, but Cebu Pacific offers as low as P488 base fare promo rate.
2Go ticket price for July 5, 2020 sailing Manila to Cebu is P1,147.91 on Super Value Class accommodation. Meal(s) and Linen already included in fare.
Cebu Pacific lowest ticket price for July 5, 2020 sailing Manila to Cebu is P1,026.56.
In this sample, Cebu Pacific is cheaper by around P121.35.
C. If there is a promo in 2Go but none in Cebu Pacific, the boat ticket will tend to come out less expensive.
D. If there is a promo deal on both 2Go Travel and Cebu Pacific, chances are the airline ticket will be more affordable versus the boat ticket.
So, Which is Which?
Above sharing is based on the price checking I’ve done today and my personal assessment on both transport companies. I urge you not to rely solely on the info I shared, do check other sources to have more perspective on boat versus air travel.
And if price is a big consideration, before purchasing tickets, I recommend that you check the rates first on 2Go and Cebu Pacific websites before you finalize decision.
So which is the best travel option to go for on the next trip?
It really depends on your situation, where you want to go, how fast do you want to get to the destination, if you want the more affordable ticket, etc.
But if you ask me, honestly, I’d go for airline travel over sea travel 99% of the time. My biggest consideration is the time it gets me to where I want to go. I want to maximize the limited vacation days and I think I can do that best by choosing to fly.
But hey, if you want to get somewhere faster but at the same time you want to save your funds, I suggest that you wait for Cebu Pacific to offer their best deals like piso fares, and then you book it.
Lastly, for both airlines and boats, ticket booking via websites, apps, and online travel portals are the best ways to be ahead of other passengers who are also trying to score the best airfare deals. Promos are limited, so be among the first to book.
Enjoy exploring the Philippines!