The backpacker route: Donsol to Cebu


Philippines. From Donsol (West Philippines) you can get to Cebu via a boat and ferry.

The first boat you need to get is to ‘Masbate’. This leaves from Pilar port daily at varied hours (Pilar is a 30 minute jeepney drive fromDonsol) .

The jeepney is an experience in itself. We were lucky enough to ride on the roof!

The journey from Pilar to Masbate takes 2-3 hours depending on whether you choose a fast or slow boat.
On a Sunday we arrived in Pilar Port, but we didn’t really have a particular boat option. There only seemed to be one ticket office for a 3 hour boat to Masbate that left at 1pm. So we jumped into the cramped Catamarang and off we went.
From Masbate you will need to get a ferry to Cebu. We were told in Donsol that these depart at 6pm every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and arrive at 8am the following day. When we arrived in Masbate, this was not the case.
After our 3 hour boat journey from Pilar, we was told by the tourist police that the transasia boat actually no longer runs to Cebu city? How true this is we’ll never know but basically most information advertised in Donsol is wrong!
There is however, a boat that goes from Cataingan (South of Masbate) to Bogo (North Cebu) everyday, at 12pm and at 7pm.
The nice tourist lady gave us a lift to a hotel called Novo, where we stayed for the night in Masbate.

The next day we grabbed a tricycle to the Masbate city bus terminal at 8am, and caught the 2 hour bus journey to Cataingan at 9am. They leave every hour and the bus cost 120 PHP per person. We also paid for an extra seat for our backpacks as there is no space to put luggage anywhere.
We was told that the ferry from Cataingan takes 8 hours. However we arrived at the Port just after 5.30pm. Something to take into consideration if you want to take the 7pm boat. The cost 455 PHP per person. Luckily for us this ended up being beneficial as Bogo is to the North and is a lot closer to Malapascua Island where we were heading. If you are looking to go to Cebu city, you would have to get a bus from Bogo following your ferry journey.

According to the Masbate government website the Transasia actually still runs. It’s all very confusing and I’m not sure how true everything is on any sites or what you are told after this cafuffle.

All in all, other than the hassle of being given completely wrong information, the ferry ride was pleasant and each person has a bed. There is a toilet and lots of space for you to walk around the ferry.

There is also a very small shop but it’s only serves snacks so make sure you bring lots of food for your journey!

 We unfortunately didn’t and could’ve starved, but thanks to the kind heart of a lovely Filipino lady, we had a lunch of rice and pork; she just casually had bags of this with her to share ha.


7 thoughts on “The backpacker route: Donsol to Cebu

    1. Hi Narissa, thank you so much I have literally just put up a post today as I was nominated by someone else too! I will add a thanks to you in my current post:-) I really appreciate your nomination x

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hey,

    Thanks for this post.

    I am looking at doing the journey in the reverse order so heading from malapascua Island to Donsol. Do you have any idea if this route works the other way round and any idea of frequency of ferries? I’m looking at doing it at the end of this month!

    Many thanks

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi,

        Thanks for replying. I can only find a few other travel blogs that have done it but no reliable info on times so just gonna head over to the port today and hope!


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