Commuting and Fares in Albay, Camsur and Camarines Norte

Monday, August 11, 2014

Cagsawa Ruins, Albay

Commuting in Bicol is relatively cheap and easy although the tricycle tariff could be quite confusing at times. Base fare for tricycles and jeepneys is PhP8.00. But there are areas within the town or the city where the drivers charge higher. It is sometimes debatable what tricycle drivers consider “far”. For instance, we were charged a “round trip” fare for a one-way ride from the Naga Central Station at Cory and Ninoy Aquino Avenue to Magsaysay Avenue, which was barely a seven-minute drive. Drivers charge higher on the assumption that they will have no return passengers so they lose money on gasoline.
That was not the case for us though because the driver picked up a couple of passengers halfway through our trip to Magsaysay Avenue. A complaint presented itself to me, but the complaint of my rumbling stomach proved to be stronger. 

In most areas in Bicol, a “round trip” costs PhP40.00.

In other places in the Philippines, a “round trip” is called “special”. It simply means you pay for the full capacity of the tricycle, which usually is between 4 to six people, depending on which part of the Philippines you’re in because tricycle designs vary. So it’s considered a “chauffeured” ride (in a bumpy three-wheel, part-time amphibian vehicle), if you may. 

 “Round Trip”
Naga City
When the driver told me that we had to take a round trip, I asked him how and waited for him to give me directions. I actually thought he was trying to tell us to go somewhere else to board a different ride. He explained to us, sour-faced, that we just had to pay him PhP40 for that trip. Some of them may assume that you understand what “round trip” means and may lightly resent you for asking. But I just have to say that people in Bicol are generally kind and courteous. Not once in our entire trip did we feel threatened or offended by anyone, not even when we walked in the dark Bagasbas beach in Daet.

Once you have the term “round trip” sucked up in your vocabulary, begin to haggle. A couple of times I brought down round trip fares for PhP30 per trip instead of PhP40. Surprisingly, the drivers agreed without a trace of resentment and just happily drove us where we needed to go. Each trip was less than seven minutes long so PhP30 was not a very successful exercise of the penny-pincher in me.

Buses, Vans and Soon Trains

Bicol has a very organized transport system. Bus and van terminals are clean, but don’t expect to find decent rest rooms—a sentiment that’s true even among most of our malls and restaurants in the country.

Vans are the preferred transportation among travellers because they’re faster, so if you’re pressed for time it’s always wiser to take the van. Even the bus dispatcher advised us against taking the bus to Daet because the trip would take 3 ½ hours.

“You look like you can afford the van fare. The trip will be a lot shorter,” he said knowingly. And repeated it three times.

We heard over breakfast on our last day that Bicol is also slowly rehabilitating its railway system. The colossal dream is to extend it all the way to Metro Manila. I like the sound of that.

How Long, How Much

Legazpi, Albay to Naga, Camarines Sur  - 2 hours – PhP130

Naga to Daet, Camarines Norte– 2 hours- PhP180

Within Legazpi City

A jeepney ride within Legazpi City will cost you anything from PhP8 to PhP15. When in doubt about your direction, flag a LOOP 1 or LOOP 2 jeep and ask the driver if your destination is within their route.

Within Albay

Commute is via jeeps, vans and buses and getting to the farthest point from Legazpi City will not cost you more than PhP150. There are special trips that you will need to hire a vehicle for like Hoyop-hoyopan Cave because public transportations do not go that way. It’s a 15-minute ride from the main road in Camalig to the cave. You can hire a tricycle in Camalig for PhP100-150. 

Commuting in Bicol is easy, so worry not. Just go and have fun!

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