Early R&R–on a not-so-slow boat to Boracay

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05:21 AM August 18th, 2012

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By: Linda B. Bolido, August 18th, 2012 05:21 AM

BOARDING at Caticlan for the trip back to Batangas. Photo
by Linda B. Bolido

If you are going to Boracay and have time to spare—when the monsoon is no longer dumping tons of rain all over the archipelago, of course—you may want to consider taking a not-so-slow boat (ship, actually) and begin the “rest” part of your much-needed R&R (rest and relaxation) even before you get to the popular holiday destination.

With all the aggravation caused by flying these days—long queues at check-in counters, waiting at departure areas that is sometimes even longer than the flight itself, overbooking that can get you bumped off, delays or cancellations—there is every good reason to find other modes of transport to get to Boracay and other destinations in the Philippine archipelago.

After all, you need to put yourself in the right mood to make the most of your time for rest, relaxation and recreation. Stressing yourself over moveable, even uncertain, flight schedules is definitely no way to start a holiday.

The almost eight hours’ leisurely trip to Boracay on a 2GO ship, a virtual floating hotel, gets you to the island rested and relaxed and energized for some serious recreation.

Alternative travel mode

A COVERED viewing deck allows passengers to have their meals as they enjoy the sight of some of the country’s more than 7,000 islands. Photo
by Linda B. Bolido

Young Stephen Rey Tagud, a hotel and restaurant management graduate who is executive vice president and chief commercial officer of 2GO Travel, says, “We want to make (ships) a real alternative travel mode” for Filipinos looking for convenience and comfort and have time to spare.

2GO ships, which sail from the Batangas City port, offer accommodations to suit anyone, from Ro-Ro passengers and budget travelers to people willing and able to pay more for more private quarters. The accommodations range from open-air or air-conditioned dormitory-type quarters, both with shared toilet and shower facilities, to suites with their own bathrooms.

Families or companies on outings, or individuals, are sure to find something suitable to their needs and their budgets on 2GO ships. Even passengers of vehicles that take the 2GO Ro-Ro ships get their own bunks so they can sleep in comfort without paying extra, as sleeping amenities are already included in fees charged.

If your destination is the resort island of Boracay, where recreation can be as exhausting as being back at work with all the interesting activities you can do—jet skiing, paraw (sailboat) sailing, banana boat rides, bar-hopping, among others—traveling on the 2GO ships, one of them captained

by Eugenio Radam with Alain Frigillana as hotel (vessel) manager, will let you get all the rest and sleep you need and be energized and revitalized for the hectic days and nights ahead.

 

Interisland scenery

And, if you travel in the daytime, you get to enjoy the scenery—some of the country’s more than 7,000 islands. 2GO has two ships plying the Batangas-Caticlan, Aklan route (passengers transfer to ferry boats to get to Boracay). You can leave Luzon in the evening and catch up on your sleep and take the daytime return trip to enjoy the sights, or vice versa.

Banish from your mind images of overcrowded ships where people are packed like sardines. On a 2GO ship, there is plenty of room so you do not have to worry about anybody crowding you or invading your space. Limits on numbers of passengers and cargo weights are strictly enforced.

 

Ideal for kids

STEPHEN Tagud. Photo
by Linda B. Bolido

For young kids, it is an ideal way to travel as they do not have to be confined to their seats, even if only for a short period of time. They can run around freely and safely even without constant parental supervision, as staff and crew members are always nearby to ensure everyone’s safety and security.

Tagud, who worked in some top hotels abroad, says, “(Our) main goal is to make traveling fun and comfortable for all passengers.” And that includes children. He says, on smaller boats, parents can rent children’s books and other reading materials and board games to keep kids occupied if playing and watching television start to pall.

“On bigger ships that travel longer distances (like those going to Mindanao), we have playrooms. Kids can even listen to stories,” he says.

Tagud says 2GO, which currently operates 19 ships including freight vessels and the Supercat ferry service between Cebu and Bohol, organizes “stopover” cruises for groups like schools and companies. Travelers can take a slight detour and see some other place before proceeding to their destinations.

But he hopes to have real cruises around the Philippines soon to let travellers really enjoy the various destinations in the archipelago and put a trip along the country’s nautical highway on every Filipino’s must-do list.

 

Seamless transfers

Tagud says they also make transfer from sea to land, including hotel, as seamless as possible by offering travel packages that cover port transfers (the company can arrange transport to and from Batangas port for those starting from Metro Manila) and even hotel accommodations.

In Boracay, the company has partnered with Hotel La Carmela, located so close to the beach, right where the action on the resort island is.

Visit www.2GO.com.ph. For group sales, call tel. 5287842, 5548777 local 9038-9042. The 2GO Group, Inc., a Negros Navigation company, has offices at Times Plaza Building on United Nations Ave., Ermita, Manila; tel. 55487777.

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