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 23, 2014) “…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.

El Nido and Puerto Princesa Bus Schedule

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: Globe – 0917.597.1189, Sun – 0922.890.1044, Smart – 0908.920.2568 Contact Details: Globe – 0916.492.6977, Smart – 0921.255.2765
*Data updated as of January 23, 2014

Cherry Bus Alternative

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

104 Responses to “Transit: Roro Bus to El Nido from Puerto Princesa Palawan”

  1. Thanks for the tip amigo. I’ve noticed during my last trip to Puerto, the tricycle drivers sometimes arbitrarily charge more than the standard rate/s if they notice that the passenger is from out of town.

    Reply
    • That’s why people should be aware of the fees there. I was told by a traffic enforcer that that I should not allow the drivers to overcharge and told me the correct fare

      Reply
  2. So the system to El Nido is already very organized, your post is very helpful. I want to go there, kaso wala akong kasama!

    Reply
    • Rina padua

      Kasama is not a problem, its a safe place.
      I went there with my sister but I did my adventure solo with the aid of a local tour guide.

      Reply
    • Hi BertN! It doesn’t have a toilet but it stops every 2 hours for snack and pee breaks in Roxas and Taytay. :)

      Reply
  3. is there a need for seat reservation? or we can just go directly to the terminal and purchase aircon bus tickets?

    Reply
      • Gen De Vera

        Hi the numbers posted no longer works :( if you could please update it with new numbers it would really be helpful :) Thank you so much!

        Reply
  4. provet pal

    Hi, I just want to correct that the multicab’s last stop is not actually in San Jose Terminal. Just tell the multicab driver to drop you off there since multicab only passes the terminal and it goes far from there. But in going back to the city proper, there are multicabs already park in the SJ terminal.

    Reply
  5. chisato

    Hi, me and my friends planning this coming July. okay lng bang mag travel ng ganun month dun kahit tag ulan na? Thanks for the info :)

    Reply
    • Hi Chisato! Pwede pa naman, though if the waves are strong, it may prevent you from visiting some islands pero El Nido is okay to visit all year round

      Reply
  6. Hey ! Are you sure about the schedules ? I read on internet that there is bus only during the morning..
    Thank you in advance ! =)

    Reply
  7. Sir, do they have a bus terminal in el nido? We’re planning to take the 10pm sched, but im a bit worried about the arrival time and as to where we’re gonna stay.

    Reply
    • Hi Loy! Yes, they do have a bus station which is near the El Nido Market. If you leave at 10pm you’ll be arriving around 4am so it’s best to contact a lodging and advise them on your arrival

      Reply
  8. salamat po Sir, my flight to Cebu is 12:35pm. Sa tingin po ninyo makahabol ako sa flight ko even on the very first trip na 4am from EL Nido to San Jose Terminal ? tapos from San jose terminal to Airport pa … sana maka rating ako sa airport atleast mga 11:15 am … sa tingin po ninyo maka abot po ako? maraming maraming salamat po and hope to hear you soon … God Bless us all

    Reply
    • Hi Rose! It’s possible since I’ve taken the 4am bus a few times already but that could also stretch your luck. The 4am bus is kinda slow, I would be in Puerto usually 10:30-11am. But if the bus gets delayed by some other reason you can might miss your flight. So it’s a gamble :)

      Reply
  9. Nimrod

    Hi! If we take the 10am roro bus from el nido to puerto princesa. Abot po ba kaya sa 650pm flight namin? What do u think would be the best time for our 650pm flight? Thank you..

    Reply
    • Possible po pero it would be stretching your luck, especially kung school or work days there might be delays. So if you can leave earlier mas okay :)

      Reply
  10. hi! just want to ask.. upon arrival at el nido. do the hotel/resort usually pick up their guests? is there public transpo around elnido? tnx

    Reply
    • Hi Gliza! It really depends on the hotel you are lodging in if they have pickup service or not. Best to ask them. In case no, there are tricycles there 24 hours on standby :)

      Reply
  11. Mischa

    Hi…, peak season po ba sa el nido ng jan,.? Mas better po ba na book na kami ng hotel,o d kaya dun na kami mag hanap..
    Thank you po sa info ..keep it up!

    Reply
    • Yes! Late December is the start of the peak season in El Nido, napupuno yung mga accommodations dun :)

      Reply
  12. arvis

    Good day, could you please recommend a nice affordable place to stay in el nido? Thank you -arvis

    Reply
  13. Hi. Thanks for the comprehensive post!

    Question: Do they put your stuff in the luggage compartment or is there an overhead bin? If there is a luggage compartment, how safe is your luggage if left in there during potty breaks?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • You can put your stuff on the bus compartment. If you have small bag they do have an overhead compartment

      Reply
  14. hello there, we’re planning a trip on the 4th week of January 2014 to El Nido. Unfortunately, we’ve heard in the news that El Nido is in a state of calamity including some areas going to El Nido due to typhoon Yolanda. We would like to know if it’s a good idea to plan a short vacation there on January.

    Reply
  15. Hi

    11:30am po ung dating namin sa puerto princesa airport. Aabot kaya kami sa 12nn departure ng RORO Bus sa San jose terminal to El nido? Okay ba ung new Cherry bus lines?

    Reply
  16. Notice that last update mentioned that RORO bus is out of service temporarily. IS it back on schedule now?

    Reply
  17. Hi,what do u mean that roro bus is on limited capacity? The same pa rin po ba ung sched ng roro bus or the cherry bus..coz wr goin to el nido this jan po..atleast may idea lng.. Big thanx!

    Reply
    • I’d recommend you go for Cherry Bus. I was told Roro only has lesser buses now and most of them non-aircon.

      Reply
  18. Hi,
    I have a flight booked for April (I know, long ways away!)… but it is supposed to land in Puerto Princesa at 5:20am.
    In your experience, how much time will we need to get to San Jose Terminal, and would we be able to catch the 6:00am Air condition RoRo?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Frank! It’s possible but it’s stretching your luck to thin already. If you’re gonna hire a trike straight to the terminal it would take 20-30 minutes at least. But take into account that you need to claim your baggage and possibility of delay in flight

      Reply
      • Thanks for the advice Ferdz! It seems that it would be less hassle, and quicker for us to get on the road by negotiating for a Van, Esp. since we would still need to pay for a tricycle to the bus terminal. +Your site has been a fantastic resource for us while planning our trip. Keep it up! =)

        Reply
  19. Hi Ferdz – do you know if either company offers private transportation? We are running a Holy Week trip in April and will be going from PP to El Nido. I’ve not made any transportation arrangements yet. The group will be coming across from Dos Palmas resort in Honda Bay and heading up from there.

    Reply
      • Thanks, Ferdz. We need a larger vehicle than Daytripper offers. The ones we used when we were there with you last year, were really all smaller than we’d like. Ideally we want two seats for everyone so people will have room for their gear. It seems to be a challenge to find something in the “middle”. Especially online when it’s not always clear if they’re counting the Jump seats as seats – to us, they really don’t count. We want the isle to stay clear to people can move around to shoot, if need be. Then, of course, pricing is also a consideration. Are their websites available for the comopanies you mentioned?

        Reply
        • I guess it’s better to hire either Roro or Cherry then. You have to contact them directly since they don’t have websites :)

        • Okay, thanks. I’ll check it out. FYI – we just cancelled our 2014 trip for this year. Karl is running a Holy Week tour on Cebu and Palawan and we’re focusing on filling it – We plan to be back for a main tour in 2015, though. I sure enjoyed my time over there. I hope to visit Palawan and El Nido some day!

        • Thanks for the heads up Kat! Good luck on the Holy Week tour, I’m sure it would be eventful! :)

  20. Hi ferdz

    Im indonesian who will travelling to el nido this march..which is im so excited about it.. your blog is really helpfull.. but i want to ask you some question

    1.do you have any info about underwater river in puerto princessa? My flight will be landed by 9am,.. im planning to spend time at PP until 5 pm… then off to el nido.. but i really have no clue about how much times it consume if i take underwater river..

    2. About RORO bus, is it still operating? Any update schedule?

    3. My flight from puerto princessa to manila is 6pm.. what is the best time for me to take for the hus leaves el nido?

    Thanks you so much…

    Reply
  21. Hi,
    ask lng po ako kung anu yung pinaka malapit na magandang beach sa el nido from el nido market?…

    at saka iisa lng ba

    Reply
    • There are three beaches in El Nido. The one in Corong-corong, town beach and also Caalan. I prefer Corong-corong

      Reply
  22. called the number for cherry bus. person who answered said he is no longer with cherry bus. :)

    Reply
  23. Hi Ferdz, thanks for this helpful resource. Me and my partner will be going there on the first weekend of June. I just want to ask if there are any vans available in the aiport that will travel to El Nido directly. We are planning to just go directly to El Nido after landing. Our ETA is friday at 4:25pm. Please help! thanks

    Reply
  24. thanks a lot ferdz… your information really helps a lot to those first timers like me. i will check your friend’s fb page and see what they can offer. God bless.

    Reply
  25. hi ferdz,
    thanks for the great information in your blog. i will be finishing the tao philippines trip in el nido at the end of march and the trip arrives back in el nido around 5 or 6 pm. i would like to take a bus that same night to PP so i can catch a flight the following morning. is this reasonable or is it a bad idea to arrive in PP in the early morning before sunrise? we would go straight to the airport from the bus terminal. are there tricycles or taxis waiting at the bus terminal all the time to take people to the airport? how long is the drive between the bus terminal and the airport? thanks so much for your help! and also, do i have to book a bus ticket in advance? or can i book it that day?
    mathew

    Reply
    • Hi Mathew! Thanks for visiting. Yes it is possible to take the night bus to PP. Just make sure you still have enough time for any contingencies that may happen. If you’re flight is around 8am onwards it’ll be safe. Travel time from the San Jose terminal to the airport is around 20-30 minutes. Yes, there are trykes there already in the morning and they may charge about 100 pesos up. As for the Roro or Cherry, if it’s not peak season, you can just book that day.

      Reply
  26. Hi ferds, is it safe to travel at night from pps to elnido ? Our time of arrival in pps is 545 am,may 5th. Im planning to explore the city and take the 9pm bus to elnido by cherry liner. You think it will be safe ? I enjoyed reading your blogs . It’s a big help.Thank you and God bless.

    Reply
  27. Hi po. Pupunta po kami sa El Nido this coming March 24. Kelangan na po ba namin magpareserve for the bus? Or okay lang po kahit dun na lang bumili ng ticket? BTW, sobrang napakahelpful po nito lalo na for first timers na tulad ko.. :)

    and gusto ko po sana malaman, what happened sa RORO? :O

    Reply
    • Hi Ayen! Pwede ka bumili ng ticket on the spot, provided na hindi peak season at punuan. Salamat, back in operation na po ang RORO. Alternate sila ng Cherry Bus

      Reply
  28. Hi! plano ko pong magtour sa El Nido this coming April and wanted to bring my sister along with me and of course by hearing the news she insisted on bringing her husband syempre ako daw taya… :) the thing is 30k ang plano kong budget naming tatlo (5days stay) in your opinion kasya na ba yun? with tours? food accommodation? pedeng pagkasyahin?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  29. hi ferds..thanks for the very informative blog you have..been reading it..got some ideas for my palawan trip..like you i also love to travel…if you were to choose which one would you take?cherry or toro?ty..

    Reply
  30. pwilliams

    Any suggestions on where I can get a private van for hire to el nido?

    Reply
  31. Mapster

    Hi ferds! We’ll be going to El Nido this March 21. Would you prefer taking RORO bus over van? We prefer comfy yet not so long travel time. Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • I’ve always been taking the Bus. Vans aren’t bad, they are even faster but I prefer the comfort of the bus :)

      Reply
      • Minerva

        Hi Ferds! Thank you so much for creating this blog, it’s very helpful God bless you…
        by the way, i have a question, i am planning to visit El nido via PPS by the end of April 2014 for 2 days and flight back from PPS airport to MNL at 6:25AM. We are planning to take the late bus at 10:00PM will that be enough to catch our flight? What would you suggest? it will be a big help..

        thank you in advance.

        Minerva

        Reply
        • Hi Minerva! It would be possible to catch your flight checkin if there would be no hassle along the way.

  32. Minerva

    Thank you for your reply Ferdz, one more question. You have experienced night travel from ElNido to PPs right? is it safe?

    Reply
    • I’ve travel overnight only from PP to El Nido without a problem. So I think it’s quite safe other way around :)

      Reply
  33. Hi there! I find your blog really helpful. Just wanna know if we can still find affordable accommodation when we get to El Nido even without booking in advance? Our travel date will be on the 6th of April. Thanks you very much

    Reply
    • Hi Anne! Since it’s the peak season it’s best to book in advance. I have some friends who recently went there and told me most of the lodgings were already booked. While it is still possible to find accommodation, you really have to look for it on your own :)

      Reply
  34. Minerva

    Hi Ferdz,

    Hope you doing fine, by the way, our plans to visit El Nido is end of April, do I need to make a reservation for RORO bus? or other transportation?

    Thank you in advance,

    Minerva

    Reply
    • Hi Ferdz,

      Read your blog and the comments here, the infos are really helpful thanks for posting it. Tanong ko lang sana – plano kasi namen this May 03 to go to Palawan, 8:50am yun arrival namen sa PP airport, aabot pa kaya kame s 10:00am trip ng RORO Bus to El Nido. If not, magkano po kaya kung magrerent kame ng van papuntang El Nido and ano yung mas prefered nyo RORO BUS o renting a VAN? Gusto asi namen yun makarating kame ng El Nido as early as possible kasi yun pinagbookan namen na hotel baka i-NO SHOW kame pag nalate kame ng 2-4hours ee.

      Another thing, ok lang ba malate ng check-in ng 2-4hours s hotel na pinagbookan namen? sorry for asking, baka kasi may naexperience ka nang ganito, it would be really helpful to us for your advise.

      Thank you sa blog and sa mga infos dito. Keep it up. :3

      Reply
      • Hi Nico! If you have no delays in your flight and there’s no traffic, you can make it for the 10am departure. For VANs, it’s best to contact eulen joy express at 0918-653-4017, 0926-699-870

        As for the check-in lodgings and hotels each have different policy. It’s best to call them up and let them know you are going to be late.

        Reply
  35. WOW! This has been very helpful! I am planning my El Nido trip and I luckily stumbled upon this! I am hoping that I won’t encounter any problem such as buses not leaving on time especially coming back from El Nido to PP because it would surely suck if I miss my flight back to Manila. But other than that, this post is a blessing to any traveler who has never set foot in PP and is planning to go to El Nido.

    Reply
  36. Hi Ferdz,

    I tried calling the numbers above for the Puerto Princesa to El Nido trip but all 3 are no longer in service. Would you happen to know any other numbers? Our trip to Palawan would be on the 23rd of May, would it be recommended to book a bus trip in advance? We are planning to take the 10pm trip. Also, would you recommend booking the accomodation at El Nido in advance or is it better to look for one once we arrive there? Appreciate the help!

    Reply
    • I you can’t contact them, just be early at the bus station. It’s still the peak season and there are no assurance of empty seats. If you can book advance in El nido it would be much better. Lodging can get filled up easy these days. It’s better than walking around lugging your packs under the heat of the sun

      Reply
  37. Jen M.

    Hi Ferdz! I am planning to take the 6am aircon Roro bus from El Nido back to Puerto Princesa. My flight back to Manila is at 12 noon. Will I make it?

    Reply
    • Hi Jen! I don’t think you’ll make it. Best time of arrival would be 11am, no more time for check-in. You can alternatively take a 5am VAN and you could have a chance to arrive earlier

      Reply
  38. Arlene

    Hello! Thanks a lot for the great info.. My fiance and I will be going to El Nido this Christmas season and this is a very good guide for us. :)

    Reply
  39. Doan Cong Kham

    Hi I’am Kham, I’m from VietNam, i’ll have a flight from Cebu to Puerto Princessa at 07.08.14, I’m going to stay in PP at 11:55AM, I want to take the 2:00 PM to El nido 07.08 & take back from El nido to PP at 10:00pm 08.08.14. How do you think about that, can u help me book a ticket.Please contact me through my email: doancongkham@gmail.com Tks very much. I have 5 people.

    Reply

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