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As I say in my post about Malapascua, you only really come to this island for SCUBA diving.
It was time to move on to Biliran Island. But, first, I had to get to Ormoc.
BANGKA TO MAYA:
If you are staying in the ‘Green Zone‘, it is an easy walk to the port.
Make your way to the small wooden building that sits over the water.
You buy your PHP80 ticket at a small table that sits on the sand.
You are taken to the bangka in a small boat. This costs PHP20 each. They may try and charge you another PHP20 for a large backpack or suitcase – don’t let them.
I caught the 7:30am bangka and we landed in Maya at 8:15am.
BUS TO POLAMBATO (BOGO):
Buses pull up at the Maya Bangka Port regularly. You just need to wait for one. One pulled up just as we arrived.
These buses are usually heading all the way to Cebu City. They go via Daanbantayan, the west coast road, through Medellin to Bogo.
From the drop off, you need to catch a Trike for PHP40 to the Polambato Ferry Port which is 3kms down the road.
Boats leave from here to Cawayan (on the Masbate west coast), Cataingan (on the Masbate east coast), and Palompon, Leyte.
The ferry to Cawayan does not leave every day. The ferry to Cataingan leaves daily at midnight.
PALOMPON MINIVAN TO ORMOC:
The ferry landed in Palompon at 2:45pm.
There are Trikes waiting for you as you disembark. As usual, ignore them and walk out of the ferry port.
You will find a bus station full of Jeepneys and Minivans. You cannot get to Biliran Island from Polompon. I needed to get to Ormoc.
There are no Jeepneys to Ormoc … you have to catch a Minivan. This is a Filipino Minivan (the smaller kind). The seats are not as comfortable as the ‘Tourist’ Minivans and they cram the people in.
Because it was a smaller van, my suitcase did not fit under the back seat (and there is no luggage storage behind the back seat). I had to pay full fare for my suitcase. The price to Ormoc was 2 x PHP110.
MY HOTEL – THE ORIENTAL PENSION PLAZA:
I had not done my ‘usual thing’ and pre-booked my accommodation. Mainly because when I left Malapascua I didn’t know have far I would get and where I would end up.
In the Minivan I tethered up my smartphone and got online to AGODA.COM. In Ormoc there are very few options: 4 to be exact. All ‘budget’.
Accommodation in The Philippines is, generally, a problem for GRANDPAckers … the accommodation is poor value for money. Everywhere. Anything less than PHP900 per night is likely to be backpacker and below the required GRANDPAcker Standard.
It looked good in the online pictures and came with Cable TV.
It had a better review score than the ‘competition’.
I booked 2 nights using my Credit Card; I wasn’t in any rush.
The Minivan stopped at the central bus terminal.
It was a short walk from there to my hotel.
The room was disappointing – how they can think that it is worth PHP2,000+ is beyond me. Many of these places do this on purpose so that they can attract you with a big discount. They got me!
Once again, there was no wardrobe – so, out came my washing line (again).
In fairness, the aircon was good (and quiet) and the TV had English movie and sports channels (sometimes you only get local channels).
But, there was no toilet paper, no toiletries, and the towels were small enough to be face towels.
There was a cockroach in the ensuite – that I despatched immediately.
There was no toilet seat.
There was no shelf for the sink – so, nowhere to put your toothbrush.
The trip from Malapascua Island to Ormoc is a long but easy one. Door-to-door it took me 10.5 hours.
My total cost was PHP675. But, for 2 GRANDPAckers budget PHP1,100.
There is nothing ‘endearing’ about Ormoc – you come here because you are in transit.
There is nothing ‘endearing’ about the accommodation either – and I booked the best room in the hotel that had the highest review score.
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