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Bacolod to Cebu Land Trip for the Family

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Bacolod to Cebu Land Trip

For the first time ever, our little family traveled and took the Bacolod to Cebu land trip. It involved a tiring 8-hour trip that included a Ceres bus ride and a RORO transfer till we got to Cebu.

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Where land meets the sea .. Our Ceres bus boarding the barge going to Cebu.

Family Travel to Cebu

Our little party was headed to Ormoc City in Leyte for my niece’s wedding. From Bacolod, the only way to get there is through Cebu City. And since we haven’t booked cheap flights going to Cebu, we decide to take the long and hard way — land trip.

Our Bacolod to Cebu Land Trip

We just call it land travel, as opposed to air travel, but it is actually a combination of a ride on a Ceres bus and of the bus sailing on a barge. Since Cebu is on another island and is quite far from Bacolod, it takes a little more than eight hours in all to get there.

Related: In Cebu, we visited the Upside Down World Cebu and stayed for a night at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

Securing Tickets

We went to the Ceres Terminal (south) in Libertad two days before in order to ask for the schedule and if we can buy tickets in advance. Our trip of choice was the 9:30 pm so that we can just sleep overnight and not mind the long trip. That way, we will just wake up in Cebu already. We were also told that the we can buy the tickets on the day.

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The ticket area was nothing but a table. And we had so many bags. So most of the people traveling at night are men–not families. And there we were.

Hubby got to the terminal around 6:00 pm on the day of our trip but was told that ticketing opens 2 hours before the trip. So he went home again, picked us up and then we hurried to get there at 7:30pm. The ticket selling did not start until it was around 8:20 pm.

About the Ceres Bus

In contrast to the Ceres North Terminal, the south terminal was not renovated. It is not air conditioned either so the other people waiting just smoked around us. That was the downside. I found it hellish trying to get some air without the smell of combustion or cigarette smoke. This continued for about another hour until we were able to finally board the bus.

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Inside the Ceres bus. The air conditioning was already on when we boarded so it was a welcome treat.

But when we got on the bus, our fussiness subsided. We were on the Bus No. 55111–the conductor made sure that I remembered our bus number. The bus was new, fully air conditioned, has a TV, and a portalet. Seats were comfortable and no smoking was allowed.

However, that is not the big plus. It was the bus driver and conductor. They were both very amiable and in good spirits, especially the driver. He greeted everyone when he came onto the bus and was in good humor all the way to Cebu. I wish I can say the same for me. Additionally, he was very helpful. The several times we had to get off the bus, he helped me with my stuff, as he saw me struggling between our hand carried bags and Shane. So this is a big shout out to the good job of the staff of Bus 55111 that traveled from Bacolod to Cebu on July 4, 2018.

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Our Ceres bus 55111 bound for Cebu. Thanks for a great ride!

I would also like to mention something . From the many bus drivers and conductors I have encountered that night, I have assumed that Ceres Liner has included good looks and pleasing personality to their qualifications.

Ceres Bus Fare (aircon)

So here’s the aircon Ceres bus fare and tariff (as of July 2018) for the Bacolod to Cebu land trip. This includes the passage fee for the barge.

  • Full – P585/pax
  • Kids – P490/pax
  • Luggage fee – P30

Our total fare was P2150 (around US$43).

How Our Trip Went

From the Ceres south terminal, below is the timeline. We left on July 4 and arrived the following day.

  • 09:45PM – Our Ceres bus pulled out from the terminal. It was a bit delayed but it was okay.
  • 11:15PM – We arrived in the town of Don Salvador Benedicto. It was a rest stop. Some people (like us) just stayed in the bus while others took different kinds of breaks (toilet, snack, smoking, or just to stretch).
  • 11:30PM – We left Don Salvador Benedicto.
  • 12:45AM – We reached San Carlos City. The bus spent some time at the LITE Shipping Vessel office because they had to purchase our tickets for the barge.
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At the LiTE Shipping where our bus conductor bought our tickets for the barge. The fare is already included in the bus ticket.
  • 1:3oAM – Boarding on the barge. The people walked going up the sea vessel where the passengers had bunk beds to sleep on. Meanwhile, the buses and other vehicles went to the lower part of the barge. Again, all the commuters were reminded of their bus numbers so as to make sure that they board the same one they reached San Carlos City in.
  • 02:00AM – Barge left the port of San Carlos City.
  • 04:00AM – Ceres bus arrives on the port of Toledo Cebu. We immediately left thereafter for Cebu City.
  • 05:30AM – Arrival in Cebu City bus terminal.
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The port in San Carlos City is nice and clean. The pre-departure area has a scanner and is air conditioned. Toilet is also clean.

Based on our timeline, our estimated travel time was eight hours. Except for Shane whom Dad had carried, we were not able to sleep straight. We had to wake up every time there is a stop or that we had to go down. That broken up sleep was really tiring.

Will We Take the Family Land Trip Again?

We took the Cebu Pacific flight back to Bacolod from Cebu. Our total airfare was only P2,500 (roughly US$50). With the little price difference, we were so much comfortable in the plane and the 30-minute flight already brought us back home.

The hubby used to take the Bacolod to Cebu land trip when he was in college. But he traveled solo. Meanwhile, I would travel with my own family back then and I was already in high school.

This time, it’s different. Bringing along young kids can be very tiring, especially that the little one still needed to be carried. Hubby says that maybe, things are gonna be better if we took this trip during the day. The body is supposed to be awake anyway so the hop-on, hop-off style would not be so bad. Maybe, but then my strength gets drained because of the heat.

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When you’r taking the last trip, you will find several shipping vessels docked at the pier. You will know which one to board because it is all lighted up (aside from the barker). A beautiful sight actually.

So I dunno. We are on a stalemate. I would like to try the Ceres bus to Sipalay and Don Salvador Benedicto only. But maybe not straight to Cebu.

How We Prepared for the Trip

Here are some of the things that we did for this land trip.

Luggage Distribution

Given that we have two young children and hubby would have to carry most of our stuff, we had to pack carefully. But since this is a one-week trip that included swimming outings and a formal event, we had to pack different sets of clothes. We had to consider that there might not be ramps, so the wheeled luggage we brought were the small ones. Papa had a big back pack while he also brought a backpack for my laptop.

Load up on snacks and drinks.

If it were up to hubby and I, we can go overnight without eating. But since we have kids with us, they each brought a back pack. They have neck pillows, light snacks like cookies, milk boxes, and some heavy snacks. Our helper prepared for us some mini siopaos and boiled eggs. Not only do the kids like boiled eggs, these are the safest and most filling snacks for them. It could last us until lunch the following day. While we could buy snacks or meals on the boat, I would rather eat what we have brought  for the safety of the kids.

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Mini siopao and boiled eggs for our snacks, aside from biscuits and milk boxes.

Neck pillows

This is like a trans-atlantic flight and involved a lot of sleeping. Neck pillows are your friends. But since we have so much stuff, we were content with a couple of neck pillows–one each for the kids.

Bring lots of sanitizer/alcohol and baby wipes.

The barge has bunk beds but they don’t offer linens or pillows because it’s just a short trip anyway. The neck pillows came in handy. But of course, they don’t clean the beds. I had to spray and wipe the three bunks we occupied. And since I have girls, the tissue, alcohol, and wipes are great for sanitizing public toilet seats.

Jackets and hats

This was an overnight trip that was spent mostly in air conditioned areas. To keep the kids warm and avoid getting colds, we have brought jackets and hats for them. These are kind of like travel staples for us. They carry these in their backpacks. That way, they can just take them off when it gets warm and wear them again when the temperature drops. And to keep them in tip top shape, I bring their multivitamin and Vitamin C supplements.

Pray…hard

We prayed for everything–safety, good weather, good companions, and pretty much everything, including remembering all our luggage. I get seasick, so I had to pray for a comfortable trip. It’s just such a long journey for me. haha

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8 thoughts on “Bacolod to Cebu Land Trip for the Family

  1. Overnight trips are always kind of rough . . . they get your sleep all off-schedule. I can’t imagine doing it with little ones! But you seemed to have pulled through quite nicely with your Bacolod to Cebu land trip.

  2. I would not have liked going somewhere with air conditioning. I can only imagine the kids didn’t like it either. Wow, you for traveled at night with your kids, my kids would not like traveling at night. Seemed like they did well for you all.

  3. It is always a shame when there is no air conditioning. I think I could overlook some of the cons for the affordability of the Ceres bus!

  4. I can’t believe there is only a tad difference in the transportation costs. You made a right choice of taking the plane instead of the bus back to Bacolod!

    1. True true! It was quite an adventure taking the Ceres bus to Cebu. After all, it was an overnight trip. But I don’t think I would want to take it again. haha

  5. Wow. You and your family do travel a lot! That is good for the children, it gives them a learning experience they cannot get from textbooks. If getting from Point A to Point B, I’d rather fly or ride a train than a bus. The comfort is worth the extra cost.

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