Review: Manila-Bataan ferry ride in less than an hour for P450

I have been to Bataan a few times, and while I am usually a fan of bus rides and the window scenery that comes with them, sometimes long rides can be a hassle when on a tight schedule, especially on overnight trips .

So when I heard about the ferry going to Bataan, I was interested to try it out. The ride to Orion terminal would take less than an hour, and will be departing from Mall of Asia’s seaside terminal. From there, Mariveles (the jump-off for our group’s Five Fingers island hopping) would be just 45 minutes by land. Travel time is significantly  shorter as opposed to around 5 hours of bus ride to Mariveles.

And so our group went to Mall of Asia’s Esplanade terminal early on a Saturday for the 630 am trip. We were there past 5 am, waiting for the counters to open.

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Mall of Asia’s seaside terminal

I also saw other guests checking in, some claiming their tickets, others buying on the spot. Rate for the Manila-Bataan ferry (particularly Orion Terminal) is currently P450 for online bookings, while walk-in rate is P799. Big difference! Best to book online, then.

(Just this May 16, the Manila-Fab Mariveles route opened, too, cutting the travel time even shorter. No need to take a 45-minute land trip from Orion Terminal to Mariveles.)

As we already booked our rides beforehand, we just had to present our valid IDs.

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After lining up, we got this yellow sticker tickets, which were to be worn on our clothes.

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I love the flag designs on the wall of the waiting area.

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It was more fun to wait outside, though.

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Waiting for the terminal to open

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Taking in some of the scenery first

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Getting close to boarding time! Now the skies are lightening.

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Gates now open!

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The cutest coast guard!

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First look at the ferry boat!

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How the seats look like from outside

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Coming in to smiling staff

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The seats look comfy

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Our seats are perfect for groups – family and friends! Everyone here is busy browsing online as the ferry has Wi-Fi!

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Window seat for my friend Mai!

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My friend Pau taking a photo of the morning scenery

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Taking in Manila’s skyline before we leave

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Ferry starting to move!

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Saw sea birds along the way

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There is also a TV to keep guests entertained during the ride. Still, Wi-Fi won for our group! And there were sockets for charging, too!

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The restroom looks clean.

It was a smooth, comfortable ride. I was even able to take a short nap after browsing a bit online using the boat’s Wi-Fi.

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Approaching Orion Terminal in Bataan

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We have arrived!

We had arrived in 50 minutes. Upon disembarking, we looked for the free public transportation that would take us to Mariveles. There are free rides that would take passengers to different points in Bataan. Take a look out for the vans and ask around when you get there.

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Found the van for Mariveles! There is another van bound for Dinalupihan, which will be passing by Balanga, the province’s capital.

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Yes, we’re in Bataan! Saw a lot of mountain scenery on the way to Mariveles

We took the 3:15 pm ferry back to Manila the next day. We rode our hotel’s van on the way to Orion terminal. We also had the option to take a public bus, if we wished. As our ferry rides were booked in advance, too, we just again had to present our IDs. We got the yellow sticker tickets again before exploring and sitting at the waiting room.

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Where we got our tickets

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Orion Terminal’s waiting area is quite big compared with MOA’s seaside terminal.

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You can even get free drinking water at the terminal. As I always bring a water tumbler with me on trips, I appreciate this!

While waiting for our ride, we were all asked to line up or bags for inspection. It was fun watching the cute dogs sniff them one by one.

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Cutest bomb sniffer!

We boarded the ferry to Manila and had the same smooth, comfortable ride we had on the way to Bataan.

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We rode the same boat on our way back.

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Boarding the ferry

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Cheery crew

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Back in Manila after 50 minutes!

I would recommend this trip if you are in it for the shorter travel time and comfort. Because of our short ride, our group still had the time and energy to

Ferry trip bookings and schedules:

There are and multiple trips to Bataan daily, to Orion port and Fab (Mariveles) port. See schedule below. Fare for online booking is P450 for Manila-Orion, and P499 for Manila-Fab (Mariveles). Book online through 1Bataan  Integrated Transport Sytem’s website. Walk-in rates are P749 and P849, respectively. For promos and updates, check their Facebook page (This was how we initially found out about a fun run in MOA and the alternate routes going to the seaside terminal).

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Current trip schedules. Photo from 1Bataan Integrated Transport System Facebook page

If you are doing the Five Fingers tour like we did and you have more time to stay in Mariveles, I recommend taking the Manila-Fab Mariveles route as your trip would be just around 1 hour or a little over 1 hour (50 minutes ferry, 10-15 minutes to jump-off point to Five Fingers).

If you are just doing an overnight tour of Five Fingers, though, I recommend taking the following routes:

Manila-Orion 630 am (Then take the 45-minute free shuttle to Mariveles)
Fab Mariveles-Manila 2 pm 

Where to stay in Mariveles, Bataan

If you are going to Five Fingers like we did or if you are traveling to Mariveles, check in at Oriental Bataan for a comfortable stay, which is also perfect for a staycation, scenic hilltop views, and a relaxing dip at the pool. Check my review of Oriental hotel here.

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Oriental Bataan has comfy, tastefully decorated rooms.

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Oriental’s circular pool

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