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Trip to Baguio Pt. 1

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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........


Thanks for the report, I will be looking forward to the followup.

Just for you Lee  8)

Trip to Baguio Pt. 2

Highlights and Lowlights.


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.


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.......



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

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.


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