GenSan, being a port city, gets a lot of shipping traffic throughout the year. Recently however, a majority of its arriving and departing vessels have been for cargo. While GenSan does have passenger ferry service from a number of shipping lines, many of these services have stopped operations over the years. One of these companies is 2GO Shipping, which halted its passenger service from Makar Wharf in 2012. The drying up of passenger service would not do for the city that is the “Gateway of Region XII – SOX”, so the local government has worked to reconnect 2GO and GenSan anew.
On the first workday of the week, that dream was realized when 2GO Shipping Lines’ MV St. Michael the Archangel docked on Makar Wharf Monday, October 29. This is the first arrival of a 2GO passenger service to GenSan after six years, and its triumphant return was personally welcomed by two of the most powerful women in the city LGU, namely Vice-Mayor Shirlyn Nograles and Michelle Solon, Tourism Council President for SOCSKSARGEN. The disembarking passengers and crew were also greeted by a rousing musical ensemble courtesy of the Holy Trinity College Drum and Lyre Corps.
The return of 2GO passenger ferries was yet another achievement of the GenSan LGU’s ongoing campaign to drum up more companies and investors to either set up shop in the city, or return after a long absence. Vice-Mayor Nograles, in a statement marking the occasion, said of the local government that “Together with the Mayor (Ronnel Rivera), we wanted to position Gensan as a gateway of Region 12,” a significant step having been taken with the revival of commercial passenger vessel operations to and from Makar Wharf. With the help of the local tourism council, they aim to further improve GenSan’s tourism industry and expand on the city’s offering tourism packages to entice more tourists to come over by ferry.
2GO’s passenger ferry services to and from GenSan – Makar Wharf initiated its first booking period after its six-year break from October 22 to 29 for a sailing period of October 22 to 31. It offers the following ferry route connecting GenSan and five other ports in the following sequence: Manila, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao and Gensan, then vice versa. One 2GO passenger ticket from GenSan all the way to Manila will be priced at P1,500. Interestingly, an earlier ad for the ferry service swapped out Cebu for Zamboanga, with a ticket from GenSan to the latter worth only a thousand pesos.
Passenger ferries of 2GO will be expected to dock at GenSan twice a month. Aside from 2GO, another passenger service connecting GenSan to Balut Island in Davao Occidental will begin operations at Makar Wharf starting on either November or December.
Image from Facebook – LGU GenSan