Pasig River Ferry 2021 Update: Bimodal Travel in Manila

Pasig River Ferry at Escolta

It’s the Chinese new year and I wanted to revisit Binondo, the oldest Chinatown in the world. I knew celebrations this 2021 will be quite different due to the pandemic. But since I haven’t been to this part of Manila, I thought it would be interesting to bike around the area. This time, I went bimodal too. Trying out the Pasig River Ferry service from Guadalupe to Escolta, then back to San Joaquin, Pasig in the evening. So how is it like to travel on a water vessel with my folding bike this pandemic?

Pasig River Ferry Service

The Pasig River Ferry Service (PRFS) has got to be one of the most inconsistent form of transport in Metro Manila. Since reviving its operation in 2007, operation has been on and off. It is sad to see how underutilized this form of commute is. Boat commute is fast, comfortable, and scenic. Aside from the inconvenience of hyacinth overgrowth once in a while and storms, there’s little traffic by the river. Other countries like Singapore have used their ferries as attractions and transport. I think we should too.

Late 2019 and early 2020, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), which runs the line restarted promoting the service amidst traffic getting heavy in the metro. They even offered free rides for months. Then the pandemic happened. Service halted. By mid-year around August 2020, PRFS ran again to service frontline workers. By September and October 2020, they have opened the line for public commuters.

Escolta Pasig River Ferry station
Escolta Pasig River Ferry station

Ferry Stations

Even with the Pasig River Ferry service running, their operations seems to be hush-hush. They don’t post schedules on their Facebook page so it’s hard to get info. Good thing I live in Pasig and there are at least 3 ferry stations easily accessible from my area. I biked to Guadalupe station and tried my luck. I arrived at noon and luckily, there’s a ferry leaving for Escolta at 12:30 PM.

Boarding the ferry at the Guadalupe station
Boarding the ferry at the Guadalupe station

Guadalupe is one of the 11 stations running along the river line. Here are the list of stations:

EscoltaMuelle dela Industria, Escolta, Manila Citybeside Jones Bridge
LawtonManila Citynear Quezon Bridge, Plaza Lawton and Post Office
PUPPUP Mabini Campus, PUP, Sta. Mesabeside the Philippine Coast Guard Station
Sta. AnaPedro Gil Street, St. Ana, Manila Citynear the Sta. Ana Public Market & Savemore
LambinganBautista Street, Brgy. 897, Zone 99, Punta, Sta. Ana, Manila Cityacross Tomas Earnshaw School
ValenzuelaA. Bonifacio Street, Makati Citynear Bonaventure Garden Homes, Riverside Studios Manila & LTO Makati District Office
HuloCoronada Street, Mandaluyong Citynear the Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned
GuadalupeJP Rizal Extension, Makati Citynear the MRT Guadalupe Station at Commercial Mall
San JoaquinSan Bernardo Street, Pasig Citybetween Sumilang and Bambang Bridge
MaybungaDr. Sixto Avenue, Pasig Citybehind Maybunga Barangay Hall
PinagbuhatanEusebio Avenue, Pasig Citybeside the Coast Guard Station at C6 Bridge
Passenger waiting area in Guadalupe station
Passenger waiting area in Guadalupe station

Ferry Schedules

I think I understand why MMDA doesn’t post fixed schedules at their Facebook page as each station varies. And schedules may change overtime especially this pandemic. But one thing common.

  • PRFS Operates from Monday to Sunday* with first strip around 6:30 AM (from Pinagbuhatan) last trip at 5:30 PM (from Escolta)

*San Joaquin at the moment only operates from Monday to Saturday. So it is best to check with the nearest ferry station on the current schedules.

This one is for Guadalupe to Escolta station. Among the ferry stations, Guadalupe is probably the most active and strategic since it is near the Guadalupe MRT station.

Morning TripAfternoon Trip

Here’s an updated schedule posted by the MMDA Pasig River Ferry Service Facebook Page. (Updated as of March 6, 2021):

MMDA PAsig River Ferry trip schedule
MMDA PAsig River Ferry trip schedule
Face mask and face shield are required
Face mask and face shield are required

Fare Matrix

At the moment the PRFS is FREE.

Things to Know Before Riding the Ferry

Since we’re still in the pandemic era, here are reminders before going for a ferry ride:

  • Face mask and face shield are required when entering the stations.
  • Bring a valid ID.
  • Contact tracing form and manifesto will need to be filled up and signed
  • A ticket/stub will be given which will be dropped off at the station where commuter will alight
  • Try to arrive 15 minutes before departure
  • The ferries operate on a reduced capacity (one-seat apart unless you live on the same household)
  • Folding bikes are welcome on board as long as they are folded.
  • Video and photography is not allowed in the Malacañang area (between PUP and Lawton stations)
  • Schedules may suddenly change depending on river and weather conditions
Passing by Quezon bridge and Arroceros park
Passing by Quezon bridge and Arroceros park

Ferry Ride to Escolta and back

I never though I’d be excited to ride the Pasig River Ferry again. I can’t remember the last time I did. It offers a different perspective of the city aside from the city roads I usually traverse. Guadalupe station was clean and orderly aside from the minor constructions being done. Staffs at all the stations I passed through were very helpful and accommodating. Kudos to everyone at Guadalupe, Escolta and San Joaquin stations. Some observations:

  • Pasig river looks (and smells) cleaner. Didn’t notice any fishy stench
  • I love the murals along the river. It made the scenery more vibrant.
  • I boarded two different boats. I’m not sure on how many fleets are operating at the moment but I like the bigger boat on my way back to Pasig.
  • Boarding and alighting was smooth. They also leave on time.
  • I enjoyed the sunset ride. I think the city skyline looks wonderful in the evening by the river.
  • It did made Manila more accessible by bike from Pasig or Makati.

For updated information on the Pasig River Ferry service, follow:

Facebook: MMDA Pasig River Ferry Service
Twitter: Official MMDA Twitter

Bimodal Ride: Pasig River Ferry to Manila
Escolta as starting point when biking around Manila.
Bringing my bike along for the ride
Bringing my bike along for the ride
Bimodal Ride: Pasig River Ferry to Manila
One of the murals along Guadalupe
Bimodal Ride: Pasig River Ferry to Manila
Bird murals near Lambingan station
Bimodal Ride: Pasig River Ferry to Manila
Murals near Valenzuela station
City at night view from Pasig river
City at night view from Pasig river
Bimodal Ride: Pasig River Ferry to Manila
Sunset river cruise