Bicol express returns

The train service to the southern region (from which the famous spicy dish was named after) is back. Chugging and snaking its heavy metal body through a 10- to 11-hour track ride, the Bicol Express makes a formidable competitor to the lazy boy bus rides and the quick plane trips.

Offering three types of service, commuters to Naga City can choose to ride in a reclining seat (Php548.00), a family sleeper (Php665.00) or an executive sleeper (Php998.00). Seeing that it was cheaper than a bus ticket (for the just-concluded CamSur International Marathon weekend), we tried the reclining coach going to Naga and the regular or family cabin on the way back to Manila.

It did not disappoint.

Although I was expecting a grander albeit newer exterior, the train’s interiors are clean, spacious and well-lit.

The reclining seats are located at the last two coaches with a 50 – 60 passenger capacity. It has overhead baggage cabins and one LCD TV. The leg room is wide (I could stretch my legs!) and the seat’s back reclines to almost 300 degrees.

The sleeper cabins are located at the first two coaches with one cabin good for four people. It has double decked beds sized roughly 2 by 7 (feet). It is long enough for you to place your baggage inside. For privacy, each bed has thick curtains secured by velcro tapes. Once drawn, you can use the bedside light to freely move around inside.

Toilets are located between coaches two and three with one cubicle each for men and women. A wash basin is located outside each cubicle.

Passengers can board the Bicol Express at Tutuban, Espana, Pasay Road and Alabang. Provincial stopovers are Lucena, Hondagua, Tagkawayan, Ragay, Sipocot and Libmanan. For tickets and helpful information, best to call the PNR seat reservation hotline at +632 319 0044 or 319 0041 local 104.


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29 responses to “Bicol express returns”

  1. […] posted here: Bicol express returns « Always Wandering Share and […]

  2. Yay to you. :) Been meaning to ride that train, erm, because it was used in some Hong Kong movie I like. Hehe.

  3. you got to try it already?! wow! i’m glad it did not disappoint.. hope to try it one of this days.

    1. hope you’ll enjoy it when you do!

  4. The executive sleeper sounds luxurious, even better than the 29-seater bus, hope they extend the route all the way to Legaspi soon. I would love to try it too.

    1. it probably helped that we were too tired from the run. we slept really well that night. :))

  5. So excited to try this too! I’m itching to revisit Bicol to explore the region further.

    1. yey! go, go, go! i want to ride it again when it extends its route.

  6. wanna try going to manila riding the train..hope they can fully recover the train’s trail up to Albay so i don’t have to go to Naga City.

    1. hopefully this will be available soon! :)

  7. wow thanks for the info! I’m planning to go bicol this december!

    1. you’re welcome! hope you found it useful. :)

  8. how about booking? are they accepting advance booking?

    1. yes, they do. you can call the PNR seat reservation hotline at +632 319 0044 or 319 0041 local 104. when you give them your details, they will give you the deadline for purchasing the tickets.

  9. I’ve been meaning to take this train just for the heck of it! Thanks for the info. The executive sleeper seems like a nice choice for me. :)

    1. you’re welcome and have a safe trip. :)

  10. Katie, I tried the sleeper coach when I went home for the Undas. It was quite comfortable and definitely better than the bus ride. :)

    1. i couldn’t agree more! :)

  11. I should have read this before taking the bus back from Naga- that was a bit of a nightmare with all the roadworks and checkpoints.

    1. it has its own downsides. :)

      1. chiefmadapple Avatar

        Sorry, did you mean that taking the train has its downsides? (Because yah, definitely, the bus is one unpredictable ride, especially when we had to wait for 1 full hour for 3 passengers at one stop.)

      2. yup! the train we rode had screens and grills over its windows. i thought i could get a “view” of the countryside during the trip. haha. turned out, they had those in place as a precaution. apparently, those living by the railroad tracks have a habit of throwing things at the trains.

      3. chiefmadapple Avatar

        In Vietnam, one of our friends had a bag of feces thrown at him and it hit the train carraige wall and splattered everywhere! I don’t know if its just fun for the kids, jealousy (that other people have and they don’t) -or- both.

      4. ack. too bad for them! we heard bottles (of beer most likely) hitting the coaches in the middle of the night during our train ride.

      5. I’m in the process of researching a documentary on the feces throwing on the Bicol Express among other things. If you could possibly email me:, it would be very much appreciated.

        If anyone else has any experience with the practice of throwing things at the Bicol Express I would be keen to hear more about your story.

  12. This is good news in Bicol. If this will happen everything will improve and our economic would grow.. I would like to campaign if there will be like this in Cebu..

  13. I’ve been a fan of the PNR especially the Bicol Express. Tried it for a couple of times. Though my only concern for now, and according to PNR this is just temporary, is the extended travel time. From 10 hours, they had it at 11.5 as the trains are running in caution due to several accidents the trains got into.

    It is just sad that PNR, being a GOCC and under the DOTC, is not receiving any budget from its umbrella department (DOTC). The government doesn’t seem to show any interest in the full rehabilitation of our railway system. Even Sec. Roxas did not includ the PNR in the DOTC budget he submitted in the Senate (before being transferred to DILG). Everything was roads, ports, airports. Though LRT and MRT lines only serve the metropolis, they receive billions of pesos in investment while PNR, serving the Manila-Bicol corridor, seemed forgotten. So kudos to the PNR Management for successfully reviving Bicol Express despite of the circumstances. Even the Manila Commuter services. We should all be grateful that this company is still making all ends meet despite of the below-par service we sometimes need to endure.

    Also, I’m looking forward to daytrips to Bicol. According to PNR, they are now studying this option.

    1. I agree! Albeit compromises have been made in order to prioritize infrastructure projects with maximum and immediate impact, i.e. roads, ports for tourism and trade and the commuter lines; there really is a lot to improve. The Philippines is moving forward, AND we will get there. :)

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