Islands Group ventures into Island Banca Cruises

The increasing demand for island-hopping and other sea-based activities in Cebu prompted entrepreneur Jay P. Aldeguer to open a new company dubbed the Islands Banca Cruises, Corporation, to provide decent transportation facilities in bringing visitors to different islands in Cebu and neighboring provinces.

“Island hopping and other sea-based activities are part of leisure itinerary of a tourist that is visiting Cebu because of the beaches and islands. I see the opportunity of providing a transportation facility through ‘banca” that will offer good service and amenities,” Aldeguer said in an interview.

“Cebu is known as one of the top dive destinations in the region. Great dive sites, such as Mactan’s Gilutungan and Nalusuan island marine sanctuaries are a short 20-30 minute banca ride from Mactan Island. Visitors are given good service on board with welcome drinks, hot/cold towels. We also offer ‘chill-out’ parties on board’ cruising the Mactan channel,” he said.

Islands Banca Cruises will start the trend on professionalizing the standard of services offered by the “Island Hopping” banca facilities off Mactan Island, Aldeguer said.

At present, the company has maintained three “banca” units for a start, Aldeguer said adding that he is planning to acquire a 20-30-seater Island Hopping banca in the next few months.

A banca is an archetypical Philippine boat, fundamentally, a sturdy, deep-hulled outrigger canoe designed primarily for inter-island transport. Despite being very simple, almost rustic, a banca is a stable, reliable and fast vessel.

An Island Banca, on the other hand, is a more streamlined, elegantly styled, and efficient version of the traditional motorized banca, fondly called a “pumpboat.” It combines the versatility and speed of a classic banca, with the convenience and reliability of modern transport and travel. – Ehda M. Dagooc

From the Freeman (June 2008)