Transit: Roro Bus to El Nido from Puerto Princesa Palawan

The Roro Bus at San Jose Terminal Puerto Princesa
The Roro Bus at San Jose Terminal Puerto Princesa

(Update: January 26, 2015) “…you can feel that Palawan is ready to hit the big-time in 2013” says Lonely Planet as it recommends this vast archipelago of Palawan islands as one of the Top 10 Best Regions to Travel in 2013. I couldn’t agree more as things are looking bright now in the region especially in the El Nido area. Despite the 6-hour bus ride from Puerto Princesa, it doesn’t stop people from discovering this wonderful destination even now that the Roro Bus to El Nido made travel a lot easier and comfortable.

Leg room inside the aircon Roro Bus
Leg room inside the aircon Roro Bus

The Roro Bus to El Nido

Before, people only have the old and cramped non-aircon Eulen Joy Bus and several van companies that ply the El Nido-Puerto Princesa route. The entrance of Roro Bus since last March 2012, owned by the same company of Montenegro Lines offered another option with newer buses and much comfortable travel. After riding the bus several times already here are several reasons why I liked this bus option

  • It is cheaper (Php 483 Php 380 on aircon and Php 250 Php 290for non-aircon)
  • It has hourly bus schedule starting from 4am to 10pm
  • More leg room than vans
  • Newer and more comfortable seats
  • Leaves on time even if not full
The non-aircon Roro Bus to El Nido
The non-aircon Roro Bus to El Nido

Aircon vs Non-aircon Roro Bus

I’ve tried both type of buses. Aside from the obvious difference on air-conditioning and price the travel time differs. I can’t say it’s not comfortable with the non-aircon as it is quite windy on the way but the bus often stops to pickup passengers along the way (especially on school days when students also ride the bus to and from the school) often times extending my travel time from only 6-hours to 7 hours at times. In contrast, the aircon can go as fast as 5 and a half hour but if it does pick up passengers it can go a little over 6 hours including the regular 30-minute bus stops in Roxas and Taytay.

Best Views

I’m very particular on seats that offer a nice view on the road especially when traveling during the day. Coming from Puerto Princesa, the coastal view on the right seats is very good until the stop at Taytay. From there the view on the left seats which includes the Malampaya Sound and several islands as it approaches El Nido town.

Road Condition

The road condition have improved a lot through the years. While there are some patches of construction work along the way, the winding road up to Taytay is mostly paved. From Taytay to El Nido, it’s a series of rough roads with patches of paved ones.

Going to the San Jose Bus Terminal from the airport

The Roro Bus is stationed at the new San Jose Market and Bus terminal. The easiest way from the Puerto Princesa airport is not necessarily the cheapest. Tricycles can take passengers directly to the bus station from Php100-140 depending on your haggling skills.

If you want it cheap and are not in a hurry, just walk outside the airport and take the Php 8 blue tricycle to the junction. Ask to be dropped there and you can take a multicab to the San Jose market for Php 13. The multicab’s last stop is at the San Jose Bus Terminal.

The El Nido Integrated Terminal
The El Nido Integrated Terminal

El Nido and Puerto Princesa Bus Schedule

As of January 2015, all the transport going in and out of El Nido are located in El Nido Integrated Terminal. Both buses (Roro and Cherry) as well as the numerous Vans are located across the market. Other buses going to other parts of El Nido are located here.

Puerto Princesa to El Nido El Nido to Puerto Princesa
Non-Aircon Aircon Non-Aircon Aircon
4:00 am 6:00 am 4:00 am 6:00 am
8:00 am 10:00 am 8:00 am 10:00 am
12:00 nn 2:00 pm 12:00 nn 2:00 pm
4:00 pm 6:00 pm  4:00 pm 6:00 pm
8:00 pm 10:00 pm  8:00 pm 10:00 pm
Contact Details: 0999.787.9469 Contact Details: 0998.184.6761
*Data updated as of January 26, 2015

Cherry Bus Alternative

(Update March 4, 2014) Check out my post on Cherry Bus to El Nido here.