One of the best way to discover Manila is to visit places that has become a huge part of it’s development. During the Spanish colonization, Pasig River has become a major part of Manila’s transportation and trade system. Unfortunately, the river that used to be clean has turned into a waste basin during the last decades. The river instantly became a dumping site by thousands of families lining the bank while some factories found the fastest way of dumping harmful chemicals and sewage.
My first experience traversing the Pasig River was when Nina invited me to explore Binondo and Intramuros along with fellow travel bloggers via Pasig River Cruise.
I live near UST and I can easily go to Binondo but I still decided to join them in Guadalupe to experience the river cruise for the first time. It was around 8am when we finally boarded the ferry which is still half empty. En route, the air-conditioned ferry that can accommodate 150-passenger passes Makati Area where you can see the back of Makati City Hall – probably one of the best governement buildings in the country today. After passing the old Sta. Ana Racetrack, you will see a stretch of slum area, just like the pasig river – this totally reflects on the economic status we have today.
Life under the Bridge
The seat inside the ferry is pretty comfortable and it is equipped with clean restrooms. Braving the smelly Pasig River, I decided to stay in the outside deck to take photos but we were asked to go back to our seats when the ferry approaches the Malacañang area since taking photos of the palace is prohibited:( as if Im interested to take photos of the tiny president:)
This is not a Swimming Pool
In just couple of minutes we finally reached Escolta – the second to the last station. Overall, I was completely impressed on their facilities and the service as well. I wish DOT can promote it more by encouraging more travel and tour operators to promote Manila by utilizing the ferry service. More than just the ease of travel, I think experiencing the cruise will also help build awareness about the river’s current state.
Brief About Pasig River Cruise
Pasig river cruise service kicked off in early 2007 offering seamless water ways connectivity services from Barangay Pinagbuhatan to Intramuros. As the project kicked off it connected five stations – Escolta, PUP, Sta. Anna, Hulo and Guadalupe. However, the service has been extended to 17 stations and one way journey is close to 30km. The seamless cruise services are managed on separate upstream and downstream lines.
Some of these include – musical entertainment, HD TV, Comfortable washrooms along with in-station facilities such as waiting seats with security guards.
Nina and Ryan in Fort Santiago
Tourists can get to discover thumping sites in Binondo and Intramuros in a cheaper way through Pasig river cruise. They can book their itinerary before hand and get down at Binondo and explore Chinatown, Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz or Binondo Church. You can either walk or board the next ferry to reach Intramuros and explore the magnificent architecture through Lourdes Church, San Francisco Church and San Nicolas de Tolentino Church.
Fresh Lumpia @ New Po Heng
Other heritage sites can also be discovered through Pasig river cruise as tourists can easily get down or board the scheduled cruise. The Pasig River Cruise service operated between the following 17 stations:
- Plaza Mexico – Intramuros, Manila
- Escolta – Binondo, Manila
- Lawton – Lawton, Ermita, Manila
- Quiapo – Quiapo, Manila
- PUP (Polytechnic University of the Philippines) – Santa Mesa, Manila
- Santa Ana – Santa Ana, Manila
- Lambingan- Punta, Santa Ana, Manila
- Valenzuela – Barangay Valenzuela, Makati City
- Hulo – Barangay Hulo, Mandaluyong City
- Guadalupe- Barangay Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati City
- Pineda – Barangay Pineda, Pasig City
- San Joaquin – Barangay San Joaquin, Pasig City
- Bambang – Barangay Bambang, Pasig City
- Kalawaan – Barangay Kalawaan Sur, Pasig City
- Pinagbuhatan Acasia – Barangay Pinagbuhatan, Pasig City
- Maybunga – Barangay Maybunga, Pasig City
- Nagpayong – Barangay Pinagbuhatan, Pasig City
- Tickets are priced at Peso 25, Peso 35 and Peso 45
- Students are offered discounted tickets at P20 only.
Why it is Preferred
- Tourists can reach Binondo and Intramuros from Mandaluyong area. The much appreciated aspect is that dont like city taxi, the ferry fares are super competitive.
- One can get to explore the ultimate charm of the places through Pasig river cruise.
- You can buy tickets in advance.
- The end to end distance is only 30km which can be covered in utter comfort by the passengers.