This guide is designed to help you get from Manila to Batangas Port. It all starts with getting to the bus terminal in Pasay, so let’s begin there.
Getting to the Bus Terminal in Pasay, Manila
The Pasay / Buendia terminal may not be where your journey to the port of Batangas begins, but this is the point that everyone in Metro Manila will need to go through to get there.
There are several P2P (point to point) bus companies that have direct routes from Manila to the Batangas bus terminal, but it was more rare to find one company that takes you directly to Batangas Pier. If the pier is your destination, you should keep reading because going this route saves time, money, hassle, and physical labor if you are bringing bags with you.
I used JAM liner (jam.com.ph) because they seemed to have the most modern and comfortable busses. Furthermore, this company makes the long trip between Manila and Batangas several times a day (via Pasay of course).
The JAM Terminus is on the extremely busy corner of Taft Avenue and Buendia Avenue in Pasay. It is very important to note that Buendia Ave is also known and labeled 'Sen. Gil J. Puyat Ave', so do not let this throw you off.
The Buendia Terminus is where many local bus lines terminate and most local taxi drivers are very familiar with this area so, getting to this location with the simple directions of “Buendia Terminal” should be easy enough, aside from some typical Manila traffic. The LRT has a nearby Buendia stop as well.
Navigating the Busy Buendia Terminal
The terminal, or terminus as they are officially called, is little more than a few busy blocks where a collection of bus companies have stations. The blocks in Pasay where the JAM terminal is located has nearly every fast food option that you can imagine; along with street vendors, pharmacies, and just about anything else you would want or need. If you want to have a meal or buy snacks for your trip to Batangas, it is perfectly OK to wait until you get to Pasay, just build in a few extra minutes tso you’re not late for your bus..
When you are ready to go, it is important to note that there is no ticket window or sales office inside the terminal. As with just about every location in the Philippines, you pay your fare to the conductor on the bus. The fee as of 2018 was less than 170 PHP Philippine Pesos.
Take a moment while you are shopping for snacks to make sure to have small bills for the conductor or you will be forced to wait for everyone else on the bus to pay before you get your change back. It is polite and considerate to everyone else when you have as close to exact change as possible.
The buses are typically parked and lined up in the back of the depot with the final destination clearly labeled on the front window of each bus. Because Batangas is the most frequented trip, the next departing bus is sometimes parked right in the front of the building.
Before you jump on the bus, note that the terminal is a great place to take a bathroom / washroom/ comfort room break . You can expect the bus ride to Batangas pier to take about 2-3 hours and there is no restroom on the bus.
The Bus Ride Itself
These modern, air conditioned busses by JAM Liner are quite comfortable, but if you are tall by Filipino standards legroom will be kind of lacking. Someone that is 5’10” or about 180cm, or taller, will notice this lack of space. That extra space most likely goes towards adding more seats.
There are very few amenities that are more highly cherished in the Philippines than a personal aircon vent above you. Having a good quality air conditioning is one thing, but to have your own port above your head like in an airplane, that is quite the luxury for a point to point bus trip. There will usually be a recent movie playing as well. Both added to comfort to the trip and aided the passage of time.
Getting out of Manila on the SLEX during mid day can take a considerable amount of time, but it is not you that needs to worry about it. You can sit back and watch the business of the city slowly dissipate as you move outside of the metro. Once on the freeway, you really get moving! The scenery is far more interesting once you get past Alabang. There you will see palms lining the highway and decent views of the volcanic Taal lake to the west.
Batangas Bus Terminal: This is NOT Your Stop!
It is not uncommon for people to ask the driver to "parre" at seamingly random places along the route. A gas station, a rest area, a remote roadside bench; the driver obliges to stop and let them off. And likewise, drivers are likely to pick up passengers at unplanned stops along the route. Passengers mean money.
The most important thing to remember is this: Do not get off at these intermediate stops. DO NOT GET OFF, even to make a quick restroom break. The drivers will not wait for for any passengers, so therefore, anyone getting off will be stuck waiting to flag down the next bus. Plan ahead and have everything you need before boarding. Take your CR break before getting on the bus and this 2-3 hour trip should be a breeze.
A few hours later (2-3 depending on traffic) you will pull into a huge bus terminal in Batangas City called the Batangas Bus Terminal. THIS IS NOT THE JETTY PORT! It will be very tempting to get off here because the name contains the words ‘Batangas’ and ‘Terminal’ and there are restrooms and food vendors everywhere. This is only a land based terminal. Getting of here would mean a tricycle, taxi, or jeepney ride to get to the Jetty Port. Most P2P bus trips from Manila, Cubao, and Pasay end here, but the advantage of riding with JAM Liner is that they take you the last few kilometers (about 6 of them) to Batangas Pier, or Batangas Jetty Port.
Finally at Batangas Pier
The bus' final destination, Batangas Pier or it can be also known as Batangas Jetty Port, is just a few kilometers away from the quick stop at the bus terminal. You will be greeted by a line of locals waiting for you, as you disembark. Some are selling food, some offering to help you with your bags. Unless you are completely exhausted, just know that the pier and passenger terminal is just a 5 minute walk away, so you may not need to pay for help.
This port is the largest passenger port outside of the NCR (National Capital Region of Metro Manila) and you will find this place to be the gateway to most of the Philippines, by sea. While low cost domestic airline travel has boomed in the last decade, many Filipinos still choose to save the money and take long journeys from here to destinations such as Boracay, Cebu Cityor even Puerto Princesa, Palawan! The building that most passengers will be looking for is the passenger terminal, Terminal Three, which is also largest building in the area. This area sees a lot of first time visitors, so is also very clearly labeled with signs.
Once inside the passenger terminal, you will have many options of destinations and just as many companies to choose from to take you there.
"The boat is about to leave" is a common line you will hear.
Don't rush a decision on choosing a company because they tell you this line. Just about any company will be willing to wait for you because they want to fill the boats as completely as possible before leaving.
The pier is another great opportunity to take a bathroom break and pick up some snacks for your next boat ride. Where are you off to now? Check out some more ideas here. Happy travels!