Misamis Oriental

Misamis Oriental opens new sea routes to Camiguin, Bohol, Southern Leyte

Uriel Quilinguing

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Misamis Oriental opens new sea routes to Camiguin, Bohol, Southern Leyte

VIEW. A view in Misamis Oriental, including a port in Balingoan town.

Municipality of Balingoan FB page

The new routes include those from Misamis Oriental towns to seven ports in Bohol, Maasin in Southern Leyte, and Camiguin Island

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Three newly established sea routes linking Misamis Oriental to seven seaports in Bohol, Camiguin, and Southern Leyte provinces are now available for shipping firms, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) announced.

MARINA-Northern Mindanao director Annabell Lagas unveiled the three approved sea lanes during a post-Seafarers’ Day forum in Cagayan de Oro on Thursday, June 29.

These routes include Balingoan, Misamis Oriental to Jagna, Tagbilaran, and Tubigon ports in Bohol; Balingoan, Misamis Oriental to Maasin port in Southern Leyte; and Jasaan, Misamis Oriental to Guinsiliban, Benoni, and Balbagon ports in Camiguin.

The pier in Balingoan, which serves as the primary sea passage to Camiguin island, has experienced congestion at its passenger terminal and a queue of tourists and motor vehicles even before the pre-COVID-19 pandemic times and again in 2022, particularly during the month-long Lanzones Festival in October.

Bohol natives who wish to reunite with their families and celebrate fiestas in May each year travel from as far as Misamis Occidental to Camiguin via Balingoan port, taking a passenger vessel from Balbagon port in Mambajao, Camiguin to Jagna, Bohol.

Balingoan seaport is approximately 85 kilometers or a two-hour bus ride from Cagayan de Oro and 118 kilometers or two and a half hours from Butuan City. 

The Jasaan port is less than an hour’s ride from downtown Cagayan de Oro, the regional capital city of Northern Mindanao.

Jasaan Mayor Redentor Jardin said the connecting trips from the Camiguin seaports to his town would provide convenience to travelers from nearby Lagonglong, Balingasag, Villanueva, and Tagoloan towns, as well as those from Cagayan de Oro.

Jardin, however, acknowledged the limited parking space for vehicles near the Jasaan wharf. He also said a 200-meter entrance road to the port area from the highway is too narrow.

Misamis Oriental Governor Peter Unabia has proposed five new sea routes, but only three were approved because the other two lacked roll-on-roll-off (RoRo) seaport facilities.

Unabia, who chairs the Infrastructure and Utilities Development Committee of the Regional Development Council in Northern Mindanao, submitted the proposal in December of last year.

Lagas said the decision to open missionary routes for RoRo vessels is now made at the regional level.

RoRo vessels provide one or more direct connections between ports that do not have existing shipping services due to geographic limitations or lack of market viability.

Aside from serving passengers, RoRo vessels also use ramps to load and unload vehicles loaded with cargo, utilizing wheels or tracks.

Lagas said they would grant the authority to acquire vessels through importation per Memorandum Circular No. 104, which aims to implement the government’s policy of liberalizing vessel acquisitions.

The vessels should not exceed 20 years. Marina records show that the average age of the 4,491 registered passenger vessels operating on various domestic routes nationwide last year was slightly over nine years.

MARINA will then issue a letter of approval to the shipping operator proposing the route to commence vessel operations while securing its Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC).

Upon receiving the CPC, shipping companies may benefit from five years of investment protection and a 50%discount on regular fees for all applications and the renewal of ship documents, licenses, certificates, and permits.

In March 2019, MARINA inaugurated 27 missionary routes, including Loay, Bohol to Cagayan de Oro; Lipata, Surigao del Norte to Dapa, Surigao del Norte; and Siaton, Negros Oriental to Dipolog City. – Rappler.com

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