Between Cebu and Manila, a momentary life at sea

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Traveling across an archipelago means traversing a country largely by sea — even as airfare has become cheap thanks to budget carriers. A photographer captures a fleeting glimpse of a life on board a long ride from Cebu to Manila. Photo by JENNY PEÑAS

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Since the advent of budget airlines, it's been faster and cheaper to travel long distances by plane. Now more than ever, Filipinos are travelling the length of the country for work and leisure. But is it really, as one airline says in their tagline, “for every Juan”?

Inspired by the long rides I took with my family on ferries to Palawan, Mindoro, and Boracay over a decade ago, I booked a trip from Cebu to Manila and documented the 24-hour boat ride. I took portraits of my fellow passengers, asked who they were and why they’re on board, and captured a momentary life at sea.

1.jpg The ship is crowded and bordering on chaotic, but at opportune moments on deck when it is just ship and sea, the view can be something. Photo by JENNY PEÑAS

2.jpg Roy Malingin, 17, accompanied his mom on a business trip to Manila. They manufacture classical acoustic guitars. Photo by JENNY PEÑAS

3.jpg Sheena May Shanz, 18, and Virgo Abalde, 28, from Iligan City, off for a holiday to Manila. Photo by JENNY PEÑAS

4.jpg Danilo Arriole, 77, is off to visit family. His long-lost relatives found him on Facebook. They paid for his trip along with his other siblings so they could all have their overdue reunion. Photo by JENNY PEÑAS

5.jpg Matthew Te Water Naude, 25, and Nina Woermann, 21, South Africans on a trip around the world, en route to Manila from a surfing trip in Siargao. Photo by JENNY PEÑAS

7.jpg Isay Nertudan, 19, and Nas Nasser, 18, on vacation with their families. Photo by JENNY PEÑAS

8.jpg Richard D. Nuñez, 23, is travelling for work. She has clients in Manila and she juggles being a hair and makeup artist and a dance instructor. Photo by JENNY PEÑAS

9.jpg Primitiva Bariga, 63, and Carmelita Moreno, 61. One of them is going to Manila to visit her daughter, the other is coming home to Manila after a trip to Mindanao. They just met that day on board. Photo by JENNY PEÑAS

10.jpg Bobby Laroya, 35, and Via, 2, father and daughter on holiday to Manila. Photo by JENNY PEÑAS

11.jpg The waves of the route are calm, protected by our islands. During this time, the ship passes by Panay and then Mindoro the next day. Photo by JENNY PEÑAS