I love encouraging people to travel especially travel within the country to see and experience the best spots and top attractions of each provinces in the Philippines. Wag maging dayuhan sa sariling bayan ika nga. But traveling can be really expensive if you don’t plan well and if you don’t do your research, unless well you are rich and is not restricted by any travel budget. But for the average Pinoy, hard-earned money must be spent wisely.
The good thing is even if you are traveling on a shoestring budget you can still go to the best locations and tourist destinations in the Philippines; you just need to scout for affordable options. So if there are choices wherein you can save as much moolah as you can, grab it! What can be more affordable way to travel great distances than by train?!
(Well, unless there are piso fare deals from budget airlines then that’s another story.) And what is the Philippines most famous train? The Bicol Express!!!
The revival of the Philippine National Railways Bicol Express is indeed a welcome news to every adventure seeker. Let’s all go to Bicolandia via this famous train ride! Summer is near; plan your gimmicks and vacations and get to Bicol’s Top Tourist Spots!
Sakay na sa Bicol Express Patungong Bicol!
PNR’s BICOL EXPRESS IS BACK ON TRACK!
With the operation of Philippine National Railways’ Bicol Express getting to the best attractions of the Bicol Region has become easier and faster. I hope you can try out riding this famous train to get to Naga if you’re planning to check out Camsur’s Wakeboarding Complex. Right now, the last stop is Naga and the train does not reach Legazpi yet but hopefully soon. Once it does, going to Albay to see Mayon Volcano or to Donsol in Sorsogon for Whale Watching or to Caramoan Island will be faster and more affordable.
Ride the PNR Train 611 from Manila to Naga and PNR Train 612 from Naga to Manila.
WHY BICOL EXPRESS STOP OPERATING IN THE PAST?
For a few years PNR Bicol Express stopped its operation after many of its railway tracks suffered from Bagyong Milenyo that hit South Luzon very hard, compounded by the subsequent looting of the railway tracks. Mahal ang bakal kaya ayun some people stole part of the tracks to be sold to junkyards.
It took years for the train’s management Philippine National Railway to fix the train track to Bicol and make Bicol Express available to passengers again. I guess they also waited for new coaches to arrive to replace the old ones and then these coaches have to be fitted to the train. All these improvements to the train must have taken awhile before things become smooth sailing again for PNR. But the awesome news is the route Manila Tutuban Station to Naga Central Station and back is operational once again. Awesome!
Sidenote: I used to pass the PNR railtracks in Calamba’s informal market everyday and when matiming ako na approaching na ang train and you can hear the loud warning horn, it always bemuses me to see how fast the tinderas fold up their makeshift tables with their goods, and in a flash clear na yung tracks to give way to the Bicol Express. Once it passes, in a blink, yung nagtitinda are back again on their respective places complete with their huge umbrellas. The mini market is back to ‘normal’, parang walang nagyari hehehhe 🙂
FARE RATE BICOL EXPRESS
Bicol Express ticket prices and fees is sourced from the PNR Official Facebook Fan Page. Consult their page to know the latest changes to the ticket prices.
Note: Children below 3 feet are free to ride the train. Fare Minimum is P146 (Economy) and P193 (Reclining Aircon).
T-611 and T-612 has the same fare. If you choose Family Sleeper ticket price is flat rate of P950 while for Executive Sleeper its P1,425. The Economy seat in the train is very affordable at only P416 while the Reclining Aircon is P548.
For those going to PNR Lucena Train Station or any train station in Quezon province the fare is even lower if you ride Economy, it starts at P146 and gradually increases the farther you get.
PNR sometimes offers discounted rates. Watch out for Bicol Express promo deals as discounts can be as high as 30% off – this way you can save on fare even more. Senior citizen discount applies, I don’t know if they offer student discount for the train ride.
For the list of ticket prices and fare rate to ride the Bicol Express, refer to the matrix below:
TICKET PRICES FARE RATE BICOL EXPRESS
BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE FOR PNR’s Train to/from Bicol
All accommodations: Free baggage allowance is limited to 20 kilos per passenger provided your baggage can easily be stored in the overhead baggage rack. Damage dimension should not exceed the measurement: 0.30 x 0.45 x 0.90 cms. I am not sure what cms means, but I would think it’s for cubic meters.
If there are 4 people in your group then you’d get 100 kilos of free baggage allowance from Bicol Express (5 pax x 20kilos per head = 100 kilos). Make sure that your baggages are small enough that it can fit on the baggage bin. And motorcycles, bikes, bulky items etc are not allowed to board the passenger coaches of the train as it will block the narrow passageways. I am not sure if there are special coaches for goods, products etc. You have to contact PNR for that.
BICOL EXPRESS TRAIN BOOKING AND RESERVATIONS
Book early as a lot of passengers are interested to go to Bicol Region via train. 2 or 3 days ahead of your departure will be a good time as any to secure your train tickets. You may need to do an even earlier booking during peak season like Penafrancia Festival, Holy Week, Undas and Christmas. The good thing is PNR usually operates additional train during these seasons but reserving early is still the wisest move.
Reserve your seats before boarding the Bicol Express, you can contact PNR for booking and reservation at:
Manila / Tutuban Station – (02) 319 -0048 or (02) 319-0044
Lucena – (042) 661 – 2990
Naga – (054) 698 – 2132
Online booking for Bicol Express is still not available for PNR’s Manila to Naga and Naga to Manila trip. Please contact Philippine National Railway to know how to pay for your ticket reservations for Bicol Express.
EXPECTED TRAVEL TIME VIA BICOL EXPRESS
10 hours is the expected travel time if you commute by Bicol Express but there had been instances when the whole train trip from Manila to Naga was around 12 hours. Hopefully there will be no long delays or mga diskarel along the track so smooth yung byahe.
Bicol Express has a scheduled daily trip from Naga Central Station to Tutuban Manila at 6:30pm. The train Manila Tutuban to Naga Central Station also leaves by 6:30pm. Be there at the station early to avoid siksikan ng pasahero.
TRAIN STOPS AND BOARDING STATIONS
Bicol Express from Manila will pass by the provinces of Laguna and Quezon before reaching Bicol Region. There are train stations along the route where you can wait to board the Bicol Express to get to Naga or from Naga to Metro Manila. These are the train stations: TUTUBAN; ESPAÑA, PASAY ROAD, ALABANG, LUCENA, HONDAGUA, RAGAY, SIPOCOT, LIBMANAN and NAGA.
BiCOL EXPRESS ACCOMMODATION AND FACILITIES
There are four options for you if you want to take the train to Bicolandia:
2. Reclining Aircon
3. Family Sleeper
4. Executive Sleeper
The Economy is non-aircon and you’ll be sitting the whole trip to Bicol Region while the Reclining Aircon is more comfortable as you can recline your seats to be more comfortable.
If you are with your barkada , family or with a big group heading to or coming from a Bicol getaway or simply going home to Bicolandia, choose to buy train tickets and take the Bicol Express Sleeper Coaches. The sleeper coaches are more comfy compared to riding buses. There are accommodations that fit solo and group travelers.
The family sleeper bunks are comfortable, with reading lights for those who wants to wile away the time by reading and also comes with carpeted flooring. It has 2 upper beds and 2 lower beds with curtains that you can ‘close’ to have more privacy. If you are solo you can still opt for the Family Sleeper but you will be bunked with other people, but that is okay as you have a curtain that you can use to hide yourself from the others. 🙂
There is also the Executive Sleeper for solo travelers; you’ll be alone in your little piece of train heaven 🙂
The Bicol Express Dining Car is attached to the Executive Sleeper. I am not sure if those with accommodations on other coaches can get to the dining car but I would suppose so. For confirmation, contact PNR.
How far is Naga from Manila? You are looking at more or less 380 kms so comfort is a big deal if you are traveling long distances.
RULES IN THE TRAIN STATION AND INSIDE BICOL EXPRESS
Here are some of the rules that you must comply with if you want to ride the Bicol Express to go to Bicol. This list is not complete, please check with PNR for the full details on the do’s and don’t’s:
- Eating, Drinking and Smoking is not allowed.
- Under the influence of alchohol or drugs.
- Live Animals.
- Flammable products like kerosene, paints etc.
- Playing radios or any medium that creates loud noise and disturbs fellow passengers.
- Big bulky items like bicycle, motorcycles and whathaveyous.
SECURITY OF PASSENGERS
There are PNR Policemen in every train that looks after the welfare and safety of passengers as well as train maintenance staff like conductor who oversees the operation.
Anyhow, that’s it. I hope you will find this post useful. I gathered the data from the Official PNR Fan Page; I went through all the latest comments and replies of PNR as well as checked the updates so I can collate as much information about the Bicol Express. Sharing it to everyone as it is Penfires mission to share info and tips to make your Philippine Travels more affordable.
Please visit Philippine National Railways fb page if you have specific questions on accommodations, fare rates, train stops, reservations and other questions or call them up for faster reply.
Discover Bicol’s hidden treasures! Sakay na sa Bicol Express! Pagdating mo ng Naga and gutom na, make sure you try out the famous Bicolano dish of the same name.