Travel & Transportation

Sea Travel Tips for the Philippines

Written by Patrick

Air travel is the fastest and most convenient way to get around the Philippines.  But with thousands of islands in the country, traveling by air is not always possible.  Some destinations can be reached by sea only and besides, this mode of transportation is cheaper than traveling in an airplane.  Additionally, traveling by sea is one way to truly experience the Philippines and take a glimpse of its culture.

Sea travel has greatly improved in the country over the years.  The government is continuously upgrading the ports and regulations are in place to maintain the peace and order.

If you are traveling to the Philippines anytime soon, here are some sea travel tips you may want to know.

Research your ferry prices and schedules

Several shipping companies serve various seaports in the Philippines.  You can check their websites and official social media pages or call their hotline to know their price range and schedule.  Doing so will give you an idea which ferry suits your itinerary and budget.

Book in advance

Once you have decided which ferry and schedule to take, you may want to book in advance if possible.  Doing so will guarantee you a seat especially during peak season.  Additionally, some ferry companies offer discounts and promos to those who book early.

Traveler relaxing on a hammock.

Caption: Allow greater windows of time between activities.

Allow greater windows of time for activities

Despite the schedule, delays in departure and arrival is a common scenario in the Philippines.  It is therefore a good idea to allow greater windows of time between activities and getting from one island to another to avoid messing up your itinerary and eventually cause you stress.

Check the weather

Traveling during the wet season (June to November) can disrupt sea travel.  Keep yourself updated with the weather forecast to help you prepare and decide should the government prohibit sea travel for everyone’s safety during typhoons.

READ MORE: Climate of the Philippines

Bring your own food and water

For short ferry rides, this may not be necessary but if you will be on the ferry for hours or overnight, bringing your own food and water can save you money as these can cost a lot more when you buy onboard.  The choices on food can be limited as well.

Life jackets on boat.

Caption: Life jackets on boat.

Check the availability of life jackets

And familiarize yourself with emergency exits too.  Better prepared than sorry, right?

Reduce alcohol intake

Drinking too much alcohol can affect your balance, memory, speech, and judgment that could result in accidents, injuries, and other dangers.  Reserve the alcohol when you’re already on the island where you can get wasted without endangering yourself and those around you.

Be prepared for seasickness

Sea sickness sure can dampen the mood.  If you are prone to seasickness, take medications such as promethazine, cyclizine, and meclizine before the trip.  Some of these medicines are best taken two hours before travel while some 30 minutes only.  You may also want to consider sucking on mint candies, getting some fresh air, and drinking lots of water.  It also helps to avoid heavy meals as well as acidic, greasy, and spicy foods.

Reading and using your phone or gadget for long periods of time can also aggravate sea sickness so it is best to put them down.

READ MORE: What’s In Our Medicine Kit?

Bring waterproof bag for your valuables

This is recommended if your activities include island hopping and water sports.  Store your mobile phones, valuables, and change of clothes in a waterproof bag or dry bag when you are out exploring the islands.


Tip From Patrick

I always carry a Camelbak Hydration Pack with me when traveling. Not only does it allow me to pack all my daily gear and snacks, but it also has a 3-liter water bladder which holds enough water to get me through the entire day. Check it out below. I literally NEVER leave home without it when traveling!

Wear appropriate footwear

Choose shoes with non-slip soles to help maintain traction therefore preventing you from slipping and having accidents.

READ MORE: Travel Gear

Regardless of the ferry, type of accommodation, and schedule, always remember to stay alert while still enjoying the ride.  After all, you’re on a vacation.  Make the most of it!

READ MORE: Traveling by Ferry in the Philippines

Any Philippin Sea Travel Tip that should be in the list?

About the Author


Patrick is an entrepreneur, digital nomad, explorer, and photographer. Patrick is always in search of fun and adventure. He is well travelled throughout the world, and although location independent, his home base is Phoenix, Arizona in the USA. Patrick loves island lifestyle which is no wonder why he is so interested in spending time in the Philippines with it’s over 7,000 islands. Patrick created this site to share his knowledge of and experiences in the Philippines with Filipinos as well as other foreigners.

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