Author Topic: Trip to Baguio Pt. 1  (Read 543 times)

Offline Peter

  • Sr Member +
  • Sr Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 150
Trip to Baguio Pt. 1
« on: March 23, 2018, 10:05:02 AM »
Trip to Baguio Pt. 1

We’ve just returned from an extended trip to Baguio. What was planned as a weekend (Friday-Sunday) stay turned out to be quite a bit longer. LOL!

We traveled up by Victory Liner bus. The 06.30 departing Olongopo for Baguio, got to our Barangay around 06.50. Nice clean bus, no smells, nearly empty. The OAP seats at the front were unoccupied, so the conductor told us to use them. He also pointed out the sign re. the wearing of seatbelts when traveling in the front seats. The belts were lap restraints, which took me a little time to unravel, as I think we were the first ones to use them since the bus was manufactured. LOL! The bus had a high level, digital speed display and an alarm sounded when 90 kph was exceeded. That didn’t happen very often.

The bus stopped, for around 15 minutes each time, in San Fernando (Pampanga), Dau, Tarlac and Sison.

San Fernando. A Victory only terminal with one sari-sari type store. Toilets are clean.

Dau. A very large, shared operator, terminal, with many food stalls, but they weren’t, as far as we could see, of the highest standard of cleanliness. Didn’t dare go and look at the toilets!!!!

Tarlac. A Victory only bus terminal, has 3 small food stalls and the toilets are clean.

Sison. A Victory only bus stop has many clean, food outlets, including a fresh brewed coffee stall. 3 varieties on offer : Barako, Benquet and one other I forgot to note. There is also a stall which sells piping hot, rice and vegetable soup, as well as a “Mr Donut” outlet. Barako coffee, donuts and soup are well recommended! We had our own insulated, travel mugs, so just filled them up instead of using the fairly soft cardboard type, coffee cups provided.
The toilets are clean and there is a cleaner at a desk in front of the toilets collecting a voluntary PhP 5.00 donation.

All Victory Liner’s own terminals and stops, are under cover, so no problems if it is raining.

Travel was on national highways, apart from San Fernando to Dau, which was on the NLex/SCTex.

We arrived at the Baguio Victory Terminal at 14.15, slightly stiff, but quite pleased with the overall journey.

Around 6 hours actual traveling time.

To be continued........


Peter

« Last Edit: March 23, 2018, 10:14:11 AM by Peter »
Noli nothis permittere te terere.
Virtus autem corruptibilis est,
summa virtute prorsus corrumpitur,

Offline Lee2

  • Administrator
  • Sr Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3,277
Re: Trip to Baguio Pt. 1
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2018, 10:19:37 AM »
Thanks for the report, I will be looking forward to the followup.
:) Happily married since 1994 & live part of the year in Cebu and the rest in S. Florida.

Offline Peter

  • Sr Member +
  • Sr Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 150
Re: Trip to Baguio Pt. 1 + Pt 2
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2018, 02:30:58 PM »
Just for you Lee  8)

Trip to Baguio Pt. 2

Highlights and Lowlights.

Highlights.

1. One morning we went to a Fish Pedicure Spa on Session Road.
10 or 12 years ago, we took our daughter and 2 of her cousins to the Manila Ocean Park, which had recently opened after refurbishment. In there was a Fish Pedicure Spa, which had the dirtiest water I’ve ever seen in a public establishment. Large pool with room for 40 or 50 people to dangle their smelly feet in. Needless to say, we didn’t partake.

The one in Baguio is really an eye-opener in how it should be operated. Feet must be washed before immersing them. The padded bench was just big enough for the three of us to sit with our feet in the tank. Nice clean water, low lights and soft music. Small towels and soft slippers provided. 20 minutes cost PhP 300 for 3 of us, partly using a “special for 2 for 1 promo” rate. Normally PhP 150 per.

2. We had an excellent meal afterwards, in Il Padrino, Session Road. 3 full meals, 2 large coffees and a large bottle of water, for less than PhP 800. Pleasant serving staff and nice ambience. Clean toilets. We recommend this one.
Looking across the road from Il Padrino towards the Fish Spa, my wife noticed the Spa was next door to a Sushi restaurant. Is that where the Garra Rufa go when they grow up into big fish I wonder? LOL!

3. Grab taxis are operating in Baguio. Where our daughter has her rooms is a bit off the beaten track (there are no passing taxis in her cul-de-sac) and although just a 10 minute walk (for her) uphill to SLU, is a bit of a problem for me. Grab charges PhP 20 on top of the meter rate of a flag-down taxi, to pick us up at the front of her building. Excellent service. Thank you Grab!

4. With reference to #3, when in the town proper, it’s quite easy to flag down a taxi from the roadside. A little in short supply early morning and around tea time, as most are engaged in taking folks to work or home, according to one taxi driver we spoke to. But we didn’t have to wait more than 8 or 10 minutes at any time, for a free one. Most taxis are SUV types and we only saw a few saloon car taxis in the time we there there. All the ones we used were clean and the drivers were smartly dressed. (Edit added - All the drivers we used spoke excellent English.)

5. Baguio Main Market. Very clean, dry floors with wide (12 feet?) walkways between the facing stalls. Congrats to the Municipality for showing how it can be done.

6. We managed to find “Baguio Special” Blueberry jam in the main market. The wife also stocked up with a dozen jars of strawberry jam and half a dozen of peanut brittle. All for less than half the price of our local market.




Lowlights.

1. WiFi internet access is quite “spotty” in Baguio, as is the mobile (cell) signal reception. Trying to get onto a public network in SM or the like, takes some time. So for most of the time there, well nearly all of the time, we didn’t access it. Didn’t miss it either.
Just switched off the smartphone and let “Real Life” came back into play. LOL!

2. I normally swear by Shakeys, but the one in SM Mall, ground floor, is the pits. The staff try, but were let down by the supervisor on duty when we were there. My wife’s sandwich meal was served at 17.50, daughter’s pizza at 18.10 and my pizza at 18.25. Both pizzas were bulk standard off the menu. Ordered bottle water (on the menu) but none available. In an SM Mall? Come on! We had just finished the now cold pizza, when the supervisor slapped the bill cover on our table and walked away without a word. Not even our bill, but another table’s! Only 3 tables occupied in the restaurant, with more staff than patrons, so how on earth did she get it wrong? When I requested ours, it took 3 attempts by me and 2 by my wife to get any response. Bill was nearly PhP 1,5000 and was definitely not worth it. Give this Shakeys a miss, is our recommendation.

3. One afternoon we were at Cinnebon (lower level near the supermarket) in SM Mall. A dirty, unshaven “western” looking individual was asleep, slumped really, on one of tables. Plastic bag of something on the floor next to him. As we walked past, the wife said, “He smells!” Wonder why security, plenty around, didn’t do something about him?

4. And the perennial - Traffic density and smokey Jeepney PUV’s. ‘nuff said!!!!!!

To be continued.......

Regards,

Peter
« Last Edit: March 23, 2018, 02:42:11 PM by Peter »
Noli nothis permittere te terere.
Virtus autem corruptibilis est,
summa virtute prorsus corrumpitur,

Offline Lee2

  • Administrator
  • Sr Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3,277
Re: Trip to Baguio Pt. 1
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2018, 02:47:44 PM »
Thanks Peter for the update, you had me worried with number 3 right after number 2 and then beat me to my concern about eating the fish for lunch, lol, fish feet lunch, augggg disgusting thought..  8)

As with the last, looking forward to any followups, these types of reports are excellent for us to learn from, I had planned to get up that way a number of times but for one reason or another it just did not work out, maybe one of these years, so the reports always help people like me to know what we may be in for and what to avoid. thumbsup
:) Happily married since 1994 & live part of the year in Cebu and the rest in S. Florida.

Offline hoz

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 25
Re: Trip to Baguio Pt. 1
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2018, 05:30:05 PM »
Timely report, my wife and I are flying into Clark next month for a tour of the Cordillera and coast. We were advised (by Victory) to make our way to Tarlac as Baguio bound buses travel through that station more often than Dau. 

We will stay in Baguio twice, once on the way up to Banaue for 2-3 nights and again coming back to head over to the coast.


Offline Peter

  • Sr Member +
  • Sr Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 150
Re: Trip to Baguio Pt. 1
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2018, 02:44:55 PM »
Timely report, my wife and I are flying into Clark ........... advised (by Victory) to make our way to Tarlac as Baguio bound buses travel through that station more often than Dau.  .......

Hoz.

Just a quick check, so please don't think me too forward.

Have you already arranged some sort of transport to Tarlac from Clark? Depending on what time your flight arrives, there may be little or no transport/taxi available at CRK Arrivals to take you to Tarlac, as CRK is quite a laid back airport.

I don't know if there are direct bus/UV-Express van service from CRK to Tarlac, but last time I drove in our van, from CRK to Tarlac SM Mall (which is about 500m straight down the road from the Tarlac Victory terminal/stop)  it took me around 80 or 90 minutes, using the faster route of the SCTex.

The Dau bus terminal (open 24 hours) is only about 15 or 20 minutes from Clark International arrivals, depending on the traffic, and the route is all in town, as opposed to open countryside. This may be a "safer" option if you're arriving after dark and are planning to use an unknown driver/taxi combo. You'll have to go there (Dau) anyway to get a bus to Tarlac, as far as I know, if you're planning on using a public "inter-city" bus service.


Peter
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 02:58:39 PM by Peter »
Noli nothis permittere te terere.
Virtus autem corruptibilis est,
summa virtute prorsus corrumpitur,

Offline Peter

  • Sr Member +
  • Sr Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 150
Re: Trip to Baguio Pt. 1
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2018, 04:17:45 PM »
Trip to Baguio Pt. 3

A quick update on SM Mall operation.

There is a stall selling (mmmm! delicious) filled muffins of various types on the first floor facing the escalators. Normally PhP 40 each, but after 8 at night, they clearance sell, 3 for PhP 100. I can recommend the chocolate fudge ones. Extremely good value at that price and very more-ish!

If you need a taxi, there is a queueing system in operation. In the evenings, it can stretch back 70 or 80 feet and take forever to get to the front.

However! If you are a senior (me), PWD (me with my walking stick) then there is an area by the kerbside, just outside the door, marked with a priority sign for Seniors, PWDs and Buntis ladies. It can save a lot of time and pain in the knees, if you qualify. Just ask the door security folks and they’ll see you right.

Return Trip.

Again, by Victory Liner.

We booked 3 days in advance at the Victory terminal in Utility Road. The booking office is upstairs and there is a lift to the left of the stairs. There are a number of day buses to Olongopo, with last one at 16.30. There is one night service at 23.35, which we opted for. The OAP/Senior seats are not bookable.

(We also saw Victory buses with signage for Pasay and other Manila destinations.
See < https://victoryliner.com/TerminalGuide.aspx > for their bus routes/schedules/fares.)

On the night, we took a Grab taxi (cost PhP 70) to the terminal.
Grab drivers do not get out of the vehicle when they pick up passengers. Our driver was apologetic, but that’s company policy. I can understand why, as some have been robbed at out-of-the-way pick up points, at "dark o'clock."
He did get out and unload the luggage when we got to the terminal.
We got there in plenty of time and the wife had time for a 20 minute chair massage. The 3 electronic, massage chairs are just to the left of the ground floor stairs, by the (online) MetroBank ATM, near the lift.
There is plenty of seating for waiting passengers, as well as 3 or 4 sari-sari type stalls. (And a Mr Donut and coffee again!)
We were near the front of the queue, so the conductor gave us the front OAP seats when we boarded.
The bus was fully booked (the conductor said the night service is always full) so the dozen or so “stand-by” hopefuls were left at the gate, apart from the 4 who got on and took the seats us old ‘uns had booked, but were now in the front seats.

As there was no one booked to get off until Dau, after the 15 minute stop at Sison, the driver took the SCTex, joining at Urdaneta, all the way to the Dau exit of the NLex, bypassing Tarlac. Another 15 minutes stop at Dau, then back on the NLex to San Fernando. We bypassed the SF terminal and went straight onto the national highway towards Olongopo. We were dropped off in our barangay at 04.30.

Just over 4 and a half hours of travel, which isn’t bad at all, as it used to take me the same time, with a 30 minute break at ChowKing in Rosales, when I drove us up there, in the van.

Thank you Victory Liner for 2 convenient and safe trips. We’ll do it again, as it beats driving ourselves, as well as saving a fortune on not having to buy fuel for our van. LOL!

Here endeth the final part.

Peter
« Last Edit: March 24, 2018, 04:25:38 PM by Peter »
Noli nothis permittere te terere.
Virtus autem corruptibilis est,
summa virtute prorsus corrumpitur,

Offline hoz

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 25
Re: Trip to Baguio Pt. 1
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2018, 07:30:35 PM »
Thanks for the concern. I haven't been there and all my research has been on the net, which I realize can be spotty. We arrive Clark   6pm from Cebu. Spend the night in a hotel (Devera). Up early next morning for bfast and ride the Rabbit to Tarlac. Supposed more Rabbits running between Tarlac and Angeles than other buses from Dau.
In Tarlac we transfer to Victory lines via tricycle and then on to Baguio. Victory said there are hourly buses from Manila  that stop in Tarlac headed for Baguio.

Any information you can give is appreciated.

Offline Gray Wolf

  • Sr Member +
  • Sr Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 5,076
Re: Trip to Baguio Pt. 1
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2018, 12:17:16 AM »
If you are a senior (me), PWD (me with my walking stick) then there is an area by the kerbside, just outside the door, marked with a priority sign for Seniors, PWDs and Buntis ladies. It can save a lot of time and pain in the knees, if you qualify. Just ask the door security folks and they’ll see you right.

We visited Baguio in 2011 along with my 86 y/o mother. After shopping at SM we walked out the door and saw the long line waiting for a taxi. One of the young men working the line saw my mom and ushered my mom, me and my wife to the front of the line. We were in our taxi within 1 minute and on our way back to the pension house. Sweet!  :)
Louisville, KY USA

Offline Peter

  • Sr Member +
  • Sr Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 150
Re: Trip to Baguio Pt. 1
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2018, 11:04:21 AM »
Hoz.

Looks like you've got it covered. I don't have any info about Rabbit Bus Line, as I've never been on one.

Long story, but they are not allowed to operate in the Bataan, not even to pass through, and it's been that way for more years than my wife can remember.

Hope your trip goes well for you both.

Peter
« Last Edit: March 25, 2018, 11:13:11 AM by Peter »
Noli nothis permittere te terere.
Virtus autem corruptibilis est,
summa virtute prorsus corrumpitur,

Offline Peter

  • Sr Member +
  • Sr Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 150
Re: Trip to Baguio Pt. 1
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2018, 11:09:44 AM »
Jack,

How everyone here treats the old folks, is really a big plus in living here.

It took me some time to be comfortable with the "mana po" sign of respect to elders. Especially when a babe in arms was held up to offer it.

Nice tradition.

Peter
Noli nothis permittere te terere.
Virtus autem corruptibilis est,
summa virtute prorsus corrumpitur,

Offline Gray Wolf

  • Sr Member +
  • Sr Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 5,076
Re: Trip to Baguio Pt. 1
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2018, 01:37:04 AM »
Jack,

How everyone here treats the old folks, is really a big plus in living here.

It took me some time to be comfortable with the "mana po" sign of respect to elders. Especially when a babe in arms was held up to offer it.

Nice tradition.

Peter

Yes, it took me a while to get used to the mano po gesture. But after a few years and a little more understanding of the culture I find it refreshing that some people on the planet still have manners. It's also a bit comical to have my nephews barkada visit, great me, and then come up on the rooftop to drink me with me, laugh and tell stories. Great people!
Louisville, KY USA

 


bisaya, cebuano, cebuano lessons, bisaya lessons
Romantic Tagalog