290,000 travelers pass through Cebu ports

290,000 travelers pass through Cebu ports
File Photo

A TOTAL of 290,854 passengers visited piers and ports in Cebu in time for the Kalag-kalag celebration for this year.

An umbrella term used by the Cebuanos in their observance of the All Saints’ Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls’ Day (Nov. 2), Kalag-kalag is a cultural and religious tradition in the predominantly Catholic Philippines.

Mary Knoll Lague-Bolasa, spokesperson of the Cebu Port Authority (CPA), said on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023, that these numbers encompass passenger arrivals and departures recorded over five days, from Oct. 27 to 31.

There are a total of 151 ports in the Cebu islands, with 123 of them operated by private firms.

On Oct. 27, the CPA recorded 51,963 passengers. It then recorded 71,157 passengers on Oct. 28; 71,603, Oct. 29; 50,192, Oct. 30; and 45,939, Oct. 31.

The CPA recorded 125,310 passengers from Oct. 28 to Nov. 1 in 2022.

Bolasa attributed the increase to the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) conducted on Monday, Oct. 30, which was declared a special non-working holiday by Malacañang. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. issued Proclamation 359 last Oct. 11 declaring the Election Day as a non-working day to encourage Filipinos’ participation in the BSKE.

No untoward incidents

Bolasa said no untoward incidents had been reported by their port safety and security teams, adding that CPA’s heightened alert status implemented through its Oplan Biyaheng Ayos is still in effect until Sunday, Nov. 5.

“We are expecting a steady high number of passengers daily for the duration of Oplan Biyaheng Ayos,” she said.

Bolasa urged travelers, especially those returning home after the holidays, to book their tickets in advance to avoid long queues at ticket booths. This measure also helps prevent exploitation by scalpers who resell boat tickets at inflated prices, she said.

To avoid overcrowding and ensure the safety of passengers, Bolasa said the CPA will strictly impose the “No boat ticket, No ID, No Entry” policy.

The CPA is expecting the number of passengers to rise starting on Thursday, Nov. 2, as the public return for work on Friday, Nov. 3, which was not declared a holiday by Malacañang.

More passengers

Lucio Lim, president and chief executive officer of Lite Ferries, said his company had served more passengers than during typical long weekend crowds in the past.

“More passengers than usual because of the extended holidays, and there was also an election. Many people went home for the election,” he told SunStar Cebu on Wednesday.

He added that he had not received reports of interruptions in their operations in the past few days, saying, “Our operations were smooth.”

Lim mentioned that due to the increased travel demand during the Kalag-kalag season, there were fewer cargo trucks but more passengers and vehicles being ferried.

Colorum buses

Meanwhile, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Central Visayas (LTFRB 7) urged the riding public not to patronize colorum buses.

LTFRB 7 Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. said last Oct. 27 that colorum public utility vehicles are deemed unsafe due to their lack of required roadworthiness tests.

Reynaldo Elnar, LTFRB 7 chief transportation development officer, told SunStar Cebu on Wednesday that they had not been able to apprehend any driver of colorum buses so far.

He added that intensified inspection will last until Monday, Nov. 6, to accomodate the trips of returning passengers.


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