How to deal with riding small boats in the Philippines?

Getting a boat ride is a must when you travel the islands of the Philippines. Some of the boats that goes to virgin islands don’t have any protocol. Learning to deal with them requires skills and experience so here are my tips learned from my experience.

  1. There are no fix time when they will leave or arrive so you have to be patient waiting. They are like jeepneys that can just come and go.
  2. If they tell you that that it will take long hours for the boat to get filled and leave, don’t believe them. The boats are usually small and can get filled up fast with passengers. They just want you to hire the boat exclusively.
  3. If you have the money it is better to rent the boat exclusively to avoid over loading.
  4. There are no fix rates in some of the rides so learn how to deal with the price. If you have lots of money don’t haggle anymore. Think of it as helping in giving jobs to the people.
  5. Talk to other waiting passengers and ask where they will go so you can share the boat expense.
  6. Most of the time they don’t have a life vest. So if you don’t know how to swim you must have one or get a kick board for swimming.
  7. Don’t leave your things at the boat and go somewhere while waiting for other passengers because they can leave anytime.
  8. To ensure safety don’t take the ride if the weather is bad. Some boat men will insist to continue the travel even if the weather is bad.  Things can get nasty when you are in the middle of the sea already. I guess they just want to earn money so much that safety can be compromised.
  9. Overloading is common to some boats. So be prepared and trust your judgement.
  10. Don’t eat too much before a boat ride. You might end up vomiting your food.
  11. Use a dry bag when you go island hopping to ensure your gadgets are safe.
  12. Don’t wear shoes. Bring your slippers all the time.

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