Biri Island Series: En Route Cebu to Calbayog


I needed to reach the town of Lavezares in Northern Samar on a Wednesday to rendezvous with friends coming from Manila for our trip to Biri Island. I was to travel by boat from Cebu to Calbayog, take a jeepney from Calbayog to Allen then from Allen to Lavezares since there are no direct flights from Cebu to Catarman, the nearest airport town in the northern area of Samar, Philippines. Following this route is cost-friendly too instead of travelling via Cebu to Tacloban by plane or Cebu to Ormoc by boat.

I didn’t buy boat tickets in advance since I thought that there were daily boat trips to Calbayog. But on a late Sunday night, while double checking the online boat schedules in the Philippines, I realized that I needed to travel to Calbayog Monday night to be there on time to meet up with friends, Christian and Jerome.

Cebu to Calbayog boat trips only run 3 times a week following the Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule. Thinking that I only had less than 24 hours to prepare for everything, without the assurance of getting a boat ticket yet, made my head spin. I tried hard to keep myself calm and made sure I didn’t panic. I only had two options at that time – forget about the whole trip to Biri Island since there’s also a typhoon coming or try my luck. Another dilemma that struck me was that Christian of was arriving Monday morning from Iligan. I promised I’d tour him to the southern destinations of Cebu while waiting for his 10pm flight back to Manila. But with the boat leaving at 7pm Monday, it was impossible to join him as I have not packed yet.

I decided to try my luck in finding a boat ticket instead of cancelling the whole trip. When I dropped by the ticketing office at Pier 1 in Cebu that Monday morning, I learned that the shipping company that I was trying to find has ceased their operations. I was told that the Cokaliong Shipping Lines is the only company that goes to Calbayog from Cebu. However, a print out was displayed on the booth saying that tickets will be sold at 4pm.

Cokaliong Main Ticketing Officethe spacious Cokaliong Shipping Lines Main Ticketing Office

That’s when I knew that it was still possible for me to push through the trip to Biri. I decided to head over to the main office of Cokaliong Shipping Lines to buy my boat ticket for Calbayog.

boat schedule Cebu to Calbayogboat fare from Cebu to Calbayog

I am a cheapskate so I just purchased the cheapest ticket, which was under the Economy class. Later on I would discover that the economy section gets humid and tends to get noisy because of the sound coming from the ship’s engine.

cebu to calbayog boat ticketP850.00 boat ticket from Cebu to Calbayog + P10.00 terminal fee

After I bought my tickets, I fetched Christian at Fort San Pedro before dropping him off at the Cebu South Bus Terminal to visit some of the old churches going south of Cebu. When I reached home, I hurriedly packed my stuff and made a run for the port of Cebu.

Calbayog bound boats from Cebu are docked at Pier 1. While on my way to the pier, Christian texted that he won’t make it in time for his trip back to Manila. He failed to double check his flight schedule and thought that his flight was at 10pm but in reality, it was at 8pm. He was still at the town of Argao at 5pm. So it was decided that he’ll just travel to Biri from Ormoc, Leyte the next day.

Cokaliong Shipping Cebu to Calbayog

By 7pm, the boat left. I didn’t bring any food with me so I decided to visit their canteen to see what food I could buy for dinner. I ended up buying two barbecue sticks, 1 puso (hanging rice – their last stock), and a bottled water. I passed by the Tourist cabin on my way to the canteen. The air-conditioned cabin was so tempting that I had to restrain myself from transferring since I was travelling on a limited budget.

Port of Maguinoo Calbayog Samar

By 6am, the sound of the boat’s horn woke me up. We were almost near the Port of Maguinoo in Calbayog. As soon as the ship lowered its plank, we started disembarking. As I passed by the port’s open space, I saw a bus bound for Tacloban. There were also vans and jeepneys going to Catarman and Tacloban. I approached one of the barkers and asked where’s the jeepney bound for Allen. He pointed at the red jeepney that was parked outside.

Port Maguinoo Calbayog Samar

Once I spotted the Calbayog to Allen jeepney, I got inside. It would be another 2 hours before I arrive in Allen, Samar. I was not in a hurry. I know that my friends won’t be arriving till the next day. A few minutes after, the jeepney sped off on its way to Allen. Along the way, the driver would drop off and pick up passengers. If not for the stop-overs, I would reach Allen in less than 2 hours. But for the time being, I just dozed off to sleep while hugging my backpack on my lap.

Total Expenses:

850.00 – Cokaliong boat fare from Cebu to Calbayog
10.00 – Terminal Fee
250.00 – Globe Prepaid Load
58.00 – Dinner inside the boat (barbecue, rice, bottled water)
1168.00 – Total Expenses Cebu to Calbayog

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This post is part of my Biri Island Adventure series.
For more information on the previous posts, please refer to the links below:

Majestic Rock Formations: The Hidden Gems of Biri Island
Biri Island Series: En Route Cebu to Calbayog  <— you are here now 😉
Biri Island Series: Looking For Affordable Places to Stay in Allen?
Biri Island Series: Side Trip to Spice of Life Beach in Allen
Biri Island Series: Waking Up Biri Early Morning
Biri Island Series: Biri Rock Formations Tour Activate!
Biri Island Series: The Hills are Alive in Magaspad
Witnessing the Sunset at Magasang in Biri Island
Waiting for Sunrise at the Bel-at Rock Formation in Biri
On Being Stranded at the Caranas Rock Formation
Learning How To Drown in the Natural Pools of Biri Island


  1. Hi Doi! Ask ko lang po if you think it’s easy for a girl to backpack there solo? The last time I did it locally was in Siquijor. Hehe. Thanks a lot! 🙂

  2. Hi Doi what is the easiest way going to biri island because i was planning to take a cebu pacific going to calbayog then Allen to Lavezares. I”m a solo traveler and i guess it is safe to travel alone in biri island.

    • Hi Gaya,

      Yeah, I guess the easiest way is via Calbayog if you want to fly to Samar. There’s also Catarman Airport with PAL but that’s coming from Manila, I think. Anyway, the best route once you land in Samar is indeed travelling to Allen then to Lavezares. As for safety, Biri Island is a safe place to travel solo. Even the whole of Samar. Have a safe journey 😉


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