Traveling In Cebu

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There quite a few ways to travel in and around the province as well as in the city of Cebu. Here, you will have an opportunity to see a few photos of those ways. I have traveled almost every possible way, in order to navigate around the city as well as in the province of Cebu, as well as other provinces in the Philippines. After viewing these still photos, you may want to view some videos of traveling around the province of Cebu, by Jim Sibbick. (Links to the videos are provided in the left column as well as the bottom of this page.) Now, please sit back, relax and scroll down this page, to get an idea of what it is like to go traveling through Cebu City, the province and elsewhere in the Philippines.



A Jeepney waiting in traffic near the Mandaue City Public Market.


"The Jeepney, which is one of the most common means of travel in the Philippines, was first used as transport after the second world war. Enterprising Filipinos started converting troop carriers which were left behind by departing American troops, for passenger use. The design was essentially unchanged for many years but now we have the modern Jeepney that you see above." - Jim Sibbick.


The conductor of a Jeepney is usually a guy who hangs on the back, and will be either a friend or family member of the driver. His responsibility is to call out the route and to get passengers to ride on the Jeep. He will yell out, "Lugar! Lugar!" (Here! Here!) or beat on roof with his hand to let the driver know when to stop to drop off passengers. If you are riding a Jeepney that doesn't have a conductor, and you are near where you need to stop, simply take any coin and beat on the handrail, or say, "Lugar lang," (just here) and the driver will stop at the nearest Jeepney stop. The fare ranges from Php 4 to Php 7 in the Metro Cebu City area.


I have seen as many as 40 - 50 passengers on a Jeepney, at once. However, the larger numbers of passengers are usually in the province, similarly seated as the passengers on this bus (photo on right), where Jeepney travel is more commonly used to go from town to town. This would not be allowed in the City of Cebu though, as the driver would be ticketed for over-loading. Typically though, they are allowed 3 additional passengers (within the city) during rush hour, to hang on the rear of a Jeep. The 'rush hour' in Cebu runs from about 4:30pm - 7:00pm, daily.


Here is a tricykad, or a non-motorized bike with seating for up to two persons. These types of 'taxis' are used for more localized transportation, typically operating within a more localized area, than that of tricycles, habal-habal  motorcycles or other similarly motorized transportation.


This picture was taken of Jim Sibbick circa 1995. (He's sitting in the middle of the five guys on the motorcycle.) This is a very common way to travel, but usually for more hilly or mountainous travel in areas of Cebu Province, or other, similar terrain in the country. This form of transportation is commonly called a Habal-Habal.


This picture was taken at the end of a nine kilometer journey, all up hill, from the town of Palompon, Leyte to Jim's family's house, which is located in barangay Liberty, Palompon.


In some areas, as in the mountainous area of Dumaguete, where we lived for six months, the motorcycles had on them welded running boards, extended rear seating, and another seat on the fuel tank in order to carry as many passengers as possible up and down the mountains. The standard fare for a Habal-Habal is Php 5 to Php 10. To take you up to the "Top", or "Tops" overlooking Cebu City, you will be charged Php 30 per head, one way.


"Habal-Habal" is from the word "habal", which means sex (love making) in Cebuano and Bisaya. The passengers on the motorcycle 'appear' as though they are having sex. I have personally seen as many as 6 passengers on single a Habal-Habal. Of course, there were all Filipinos riding.


This picture is a tricycle, which is quite a common form of transportation in Cebu City, Mandaue City, Consolacion, Lapu-Lapu, as well as other many other cities in the province. This one happens to be in Mandaue City, when I photographed it. These vary in size and shape, depending on where you are in the various provinces and cities. This is the mid-sized tricycle, somewhere between a tricykad (above) and a Pedi-cab (below). It can typically carry up to 4 passengers, but I have seen more Filipinos riding them. However, at 6 passengers, it will be fully loaded.


You may also see these set up in various other styles, other than to carry passengers. They are used to carry animals, grain, rice, tools, lumber, etc. from one point to another. However, no matter how these vehicles are setup or what body style they have, they are typically called tricycles. (There are specific names for given body styles. But, I will not go into that here, as it would take me forever to go through the list of names on this page.) The fare for riding is generally Php 4 or Php 5.


This is another version of a Tricycle. These are called Pedi-cabs. Personally, I call them tricycles on steroids. They are quite common in Tagbilaran, Bohol and in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental (as well as other areas of the Philippines). Now, while there are some within the province of Cebu, they aren't as popular as the smaller tricycles (as shown above).


The Pedi-cab pictured just above, belonged to a good friend, now deceased, Charles Henley. He was a retired school teacher who lived in Dumaguete the last couple of years of his life. He was a fine man and friend, and one who helped me out a lot during the time I knew him.


Anyway, the motorcycle that powered Charles' Pedi-cab was a Honda TMX 155, which Charles purchased from the Honda dealer in Mandaue City, Cebu. The typical fare for a commercial Pedi-cab is Php 4 in most areas of Dumaguete City. That fare is good for up to 2 kilometers, an additional Piso (Php 1) is added for each kilometer thereafter.


These, however, can carry all the passengers a tricycle can (usually 5 or 6), as well as other goods simultaneously.


The Pedi-cabs in Tagbilaran, Bohol and are very similar to the ones used in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental. Generally, you can look at the Pedi-cabs as serving the needs of in town travelers, just as a Jeepney would in a larger town or city, like in Cebu City. The smaller towns simply don't offer enough passengers, nor are the towns large enough for a Jeepney to navigate through, thus being able to generate enough money from passengers. However, in the provincial areas (outside the cities), the Jeepney will make its money on town to town routes.


The vehicle pictured to the right may also be called a tricycle. In some parts of the country, in Mindanao for example, it is called a Motorela. It is just another design of the common tricycle, which is designed to carry passengers and goods from one part of town to another.


I happened to shoot this photo while on holiday on Bantayan Island, Cebu Province. In fact, it was during the Santa Fe Town Fiesta, which was held from January 6th through January 16th, 2008. Anyway, there are several different styles of tricykads and tricycles here, this being one of them. There is a full motorcycle inside the metal body, with an axle under the rear to carry the bulk of the weight of passengers and goods.


The use of a taxi is quite a common way to travel throughout the city, and into various areas of the province of Cebu. Most foreigners, and wealthier Filipinos who don't own personal vehicles tend to travel this way, as apposed to the above ways I have listed thus far.


Although it is more convenient to ride in a taxi within the city, they are more costly than other forms of transportation. Flag drop for a taxi in Cebu presently is Php 30. The meter then rings up Php 2.5 for each 300 meters afterward (2005 rates in effect). Incidentally, if you need taxi service in Cebu, check out this website: Cebu Taxi Service


Onward. Some families will purchase a multicab (multi-cab) Jeepney for their personal use, or the vehicle may end up as a family service Jeep due to a failed business attempt. On the left is a picture of Jim Sibbick's family's Jeepney. This is one of many body styles of the ever so common multi-cab, a popular vehicle for personal and business use in the Philippines. This one was licensed to carry 12 passengers, but the business failed even with many customers riding. So, his family converted it solely for family use. A prime example of the result of many business ventures here, unfortunately.


Another form of transportation is via personal vehicles. Here, you see another body style of the ever so common multi-cab. Spare parts are in abundance, as these vehicles are seen everywhere. The one you see here belonged to my friend Larry, who lives in the area of Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental. Actually, he lives in Valencia, a town adjacent to Dumaguete City, on the mountain. Anyway, these little trucks are a bit tight for a larger guy, but are very reliable and sturdy.


I have driven a number of different multi-cabs during my time in the Philippines. In fact, I used to have a neighbor who would rent one to me fairly often. I paid a few hundred pesos per 24 hours rental, plus the fuel I used while I had it in my possession.


Typically,  when you go to buy multi-cab vehicles, they can run anywhere from about Php 90,000 to Php 165,000, depending on options chosen. They are usually not new, as they are considered second-hand, or surplus vehicles. However, I have recently seen new ones in the country. Most multi-cabs typically come from Japan. Upon entry into the Philippines, they must be converted from right-hand drive, to left-hand drive, before they are allowed to be licensed and legal for on road use.


The multi-cab is one of two vehicles I purchased after I returned to Cebu. I got them both in 2007. The other was a Honda XR-200 dirt bike. I bought it for its rugged ability to handle all sorts of road conditions, asphalt, dirt, concrete, and the occasional muddy road, virtually impassible by many other four-wheeled vehicles.


If you decide that driving is not your cup of tea, there are other forms of transportation which you can use to travel while in the province. You can travel to all points of Cebu Province by V-hire or by Ceres Liner, the local bus line in Cebu. Incidentally, if you find yourself  traveling through Mindanao, the buses look the same as Ceres Liners, but are called Bachelor's Express. The same company owns both lines. The owner of Ceres Liner is based out of Bacolod, Negros Oriental.


If you are using either service (v-hire or bus), they are the cheapest ways to travel great distances. For example, you can go from Cebu City to Badian, a town on the opposite (west) side of the island, by V-hire for Php 80. Or, you can It is a little over 2 hours ride. I often take a but from Carcar to Lilo-An, Santander, which is located on the southern tip of Cebu, for Php 135. To get to Santander would be about a 3.5 hour ride from Cebu City South V-hire Terminal. From Carcar, however, it usually takes from 2.0 to 2.5 hours, depending on the time of travel. (Early am travel is usually best.)


So, as a visitor, if you want to go around the province and see sites, or if you want to go to one specific part of the province, I would suggest going by V-hire or bus over most other forms of transportation available. Both ways would be pretty comfortable, with the bus allowing much more room for its passengers.


There is one detail I feel should mention about V-hires and buses. If you don't have religion prior to boarding a bus or V-hire here in the Philippines, you can be guaranteed of having it prior to reaching your destination. I won't go into details here. But, the rules of the road of the west... well, simply do not apply here in the Philippines.


A bit of advise, do not sit near the front of the bus or V-hire, as you would, quite literally, be the first at the scene of an accident. Sit more toward the middle these vehicles, if at all possible.


Another way to travel in the provinces, is by "Skylab". The image to your left was taken by my friend John Mitchell, while in Mindanao. Skylab is a habal-habal (motorcycle), usually built in a few different styles, allowing his passengers to, quite literally, hang their feet over the highway as he rides down the road on the motorcycle. It's truly amazing to watch the driver of a Skylab habal-habal. They never lose their balance, passengers or cargo. What's more amazing is, to see how long these motorcycles last, taking this sort of abuse day in and day out, for years on end.


To the right is another image of a Mindanao skylab, or habal-habal that I took while on a recent trip through Mindanao. After all these years, I still find it amazing to see the drivers' ability with  passengers and cargo as they balance the load and ride down the street like there is nothing to it.


You can view the Filipinos who ride these amazing vehicles anywhere from about Butuan, Agusan del Sur, to about Tagum City, Davao del Norte. Trust me, when you see one coming down the road, it will not take you long to recognize it for what it is.


Just when you thought I was done - here is another way to travel, the most common, is by your own two feet. Many times we find ourselves in an area where we can't get through any other way (a story about an early visit to Hilongos, Leyte immediately comes to mind, that I will have to share with you sometime).


There are many places throughout the province of Cebu, as well as in other provinces, where you just have to hike in and/or out of an area. The picture on the right shows something similar. These folks are walking through a rice field, somewhere in the Visayas, perhaps on Leyte.


Of course, there is yet another way to travel around and through the province, by carabao. Yes, I said carabao. Carabao here, you may know them as water buffalo. While cheaper than any other means of travel (with the exception of the picture immediately above, you can ride a carabao, which is actually pretty common here.


In fact, I have to say that I see people riding these beasts of burden more often than ever imagined. Typically, you will see a farmer riding one to his field and even while working the field, on occasion. Although, generally he will be behind the animal with reigns in hand.


In addition to traveling within the province of Cebu, there is the option of leaving the province, to continue your quest elsewhere in the Visayas. If you want, you can travel outside the province via land or by water. You can travel by fast craft (Ocean Jet or Supercat) or by boat (pictured on the right), which is a much slower vessel which usually takes several hours (5 or 6 hours normally, but up to 24 say from Cebu to Manila) to arrive at the port of an adjacent province. As I have said, you may also go by land, then across to other provinces by barge or ferry.


Inside the slow boat, you can sleep, as there will be little else to do during a 5 to 6 hour trip (shown below) from Cebu to Leyte. Typically, these boats will depart during evening or late night hours. They then arrive in the wee hours of the morning, at the destination. Pictured here the bunks in the open area aboard. Most of the boats do offer an upgrade to an air-con room, however, take a blanket, or be prepared to rent one (Php 20). The boat captains generally believe in having the first class room cool enough to hang meat. You still sleep in similar style bunks as in the open area. The fares on these boats range widely, so please consult the shipping companies for current rates.


We have a departure schedule for quite a few shipping companies on this site. Please click on Ships and Fast Craft to view the current information we have obtained.


We also have some files on our Video page that you may want to view. Please feel free to do so, at your leisure. We feel as though you will enjoy them.


Photo Credits: "Jeepney/Bus with passengers" and "Gothong Ship" - Jim Sibbick, "Habal-Habal" and "Rice Farm Walk" - Kerryn Anderson, "Carabao" - By Nide Sibbick, "Red Multi-cab" - Margie Gadsden, "On Bunks" - Athena Gage, "Tagbilaran Pedi-cab" and "Mandaue Tricycle" - Jim Richter, "Ceres Liner" - Larry Henderson, "Skylab_01" - John Mitchell, all other images - Paul Petrea















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Revised: 01/28/11 14:01:13 +0800