Updated : Apr 21, 2016 in Philippines

Milagrosa Ferry from Iloilo to Palawan

Are you looking to go from Boracay to Palawan via Iloilo. The good news is that you can do it with Milagrosa Shipping. The bad news is you will be in a very long ferry trip. It is really two trips on the same boat with a day trip to Cuyo, Palawan.

With the challenges of flying (via Manila), you might be just as well off to look at the ferry. It is a adventure but that is why backpackers are in the Philippines. This is no Hawaii, after all. (Note: there is a flight from Iloilo to Puerto Princesa on Cebu Pacific now.) 

Why I recommend the Milagrosa Shipping trip over a flight

I could give you a few reasons but these two are the main ones that would interest most people.

  • A free day trip to Cuyo Island
  • Two free nights of a place to sleep

Think of this way: you are paying P500 a night for a place to stay normally. If you save P1000 there alone; your trip is only between P100 and P500 to start with. That is very cheap. It you add in a side trip to Cuyo on top of that and you are really getting a great deal in my opinion.

As far as prices goes, (I know that interest everyone) the lowest class starts at around P850 then each class goes up P150 until P1400. I normally get the “tourist class” for P1,215. It is nicer and fully air conditioned.

The only real downside to the ferry is you leave at eight in the evening and arrive at Cuyo at nine the next morning. You continue on to Puerto Princesa at three in the afternoon and arrive in Palawan at around nine the next morning. As I said, it is a long trip.

How to get the Milagrosa Shipping ferry to Palawan

If you are coming from Boracay (most people would be), you will grab a Cere Liner to Iloilo. The bus will stop at the new Cere Liner terminal in Jaro. From there, grab a jeepney going downtown. After you are there on the main road, get a jeepney to Lapaz area and tell them Milagrosa or “Palawan ferry.” They know it.

Note: If you are coming for Bacolod City in Negros, the new ferry terminal is just around the corner from them. It is maybe 100 meters or so. It is not far at all.

Once you get to the terminal, just go over to the office and wait for one of the boys working to come in to sell you a ticket. Just fill out the form, pay the fare and wait until it is time to board. Simple as that.

Check out my article on CNN’s iReport on Palawan. 

Some basic tips for the Ferry from Iloilo to Palawan

As I said, it is a long trip so I would stop at Robinson’s Place in downtown Iloilo and pick up some food for the trip at the Supermarket. They have most things and you can get some good snacks for the long trip. Something getting stuff in Cuyo will be a challenge.

Another thing I would do (and do each time) is load up on stuff to read or movies to watch. The tourist class does have electricity in it so you can catch if you need to. I normally read a book on my Kindle along the trip. Killing two birds with one stone.

The last thing I would suggest is bring some medicines if you get seasick as this is a very long trip. It is better to be prepared than not. Remember the Boy Scout’s motto!

What about this Cuyo Island?

Cuyo PalawanCuyo is honestly one of my favorite places in the Philippines and it is coming along quite nicely. It is what it is: a small and remote island chain in the Sulu Sea. This is why it is a charm…. it is hard to get to. There is not the demand for air traffic so only the committed traveler even make here beside people passing through on the Milagrosa Shipping ferry.

My suggestion is walk down the beachfront to Nikki’s Pension. They have a little restaurant that is full of meals for less than a dollar and it is a great place to chill. They even have wifi or did the last time I was there. I think they can even rent you a motorbike to run around the island.

The other thing you might want to do is get online at the internet cafe. You can walk to the next block and use the cafe at Feroland Hotel. It seems to be the one with the strongest connection!

Lastly, if you forgot something at Iloilo, there is a small general store (they call it the supermarket) that you can find basic options for the rest of the trip.

All in all, Cuyo is a nice place to break the overly long sailing experience up. I love to wonder around with my camera and take pictures.

Update as of March 2016: the internet in Cuyo is very bad and there is nothing PLDT wants to do to fix it. Wifi was worse than dailup.

Have you made this trip recently?

If you have taken the ferry from Iloilo to Puerto Princesa, Palawan (or the way back); let me know any new details. I would also love to hear your experiences as well. It is a long trip but in my opinion, it is worth it to stay around from the airport in Manila. No one comes to the Philippines to see the airports.

Also, if you have questions, leave a comment and I will do my best to answer them.

I recently took the trip again and here is a Vlog from that trip! Thank you, Milagrosa Shipping.


  • Hi Pete,
    Thanks for posting this infos. I am thinking of taking the ferry as what you did. Sounds more fun than flying. May i ask – where did you get the free night sleep? Do you mean ”sleeps in ship?”
    How long is the stay in Cuyo island and what time is the departure to Puerto Princesa….I know, i shouldn’t be counting when holidying.
    Many thanks and best regards

  • Hi Pete. I just wanted to add some info for those going the opposite direction (Puerto Princesa to Iloilo) as I tried to catch the ferry in April and there was very little info online. You have to buy your ticket at the respective ferry companies in Puerto Princesa. Milagrosa has a ferry on Thursdays at 3pm and Montenegro on Mondays. Milagrosa’s office opens at 8am, shuts around lunch for 1-1.5 hours and closes at 4.30pm (which is early for Philippine standards). Montenegro appears to be open later, but when we went at 5pm there was a line of people and no one in the office. We turned up on Wednesday arvo to find Milagrosa’s office closed and then when we went the next morning first thing the Milagrosa Thursday ferry was fully booked and so was the Montenegro Monday ferry, so we ended up booking a flight the next day (which was 6x the price of the ferry). My advice would be to be flexible (as you may have to book a flight instead or go back to El Nido or someplace else for a few days) and get to Puerto Princesca by early afternoon at least a day before the ferry you want to catch.

  • There are lots of other options for “chill and fill” than Nikki’s but unfortunately they rarely if ever get a mention even though they are the true Cuyonons who deserve the recognition especially from folks like you who should know better. One only has to open ones eyes and mind to see beyond the obvious to get an authentic feel for small places rather than repeating over and over again ad nauseum the lazy persons obvious choice. Beyond that we like your work.

  • Hi Peter! Do you think it’s safe for me take the Milagrosa ferry? I’m from Brazil and here it’s hard for a girl to travel alone. I’m traveling by myself and it’s my first time in Asia. Thank you very much for the informations. It was very clear.

  • Hi peter, do you know how much is the fare for vehicles going to Palawan. We are planning to bring a car. Thanks for the info helps a lot.

  • Hi peter! Do you know the fare of vehicles for this trip. We are planning to bring with us a vehicle. A van to be exact. I tried to search on google but there is no info about it

  • Hello Peter, is there a website where i can find out when the ferry starts from Iloilo? And do you know if there is a ferry goes from coron to Manila? I can’t find anything in the internet. Hope you can help me, thank’s a lot! 🙂

  • Hello, thanks for all the information, very useful, as I am looking for a way to go from the Visayas to Palawan without taking a plane.
    Do you know if it is possible to stop for a couple of days in Cuyo? meaning taking the next ferry from Cuyo to Palawan? Thanks!

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