Saturday, February 15, 2014

My Travel Notes: Baguio City

My little nook for a second in PMA Baguio

I wish my family and I could have spent more days in Baguio. With this trip, we were only able to do a few things, at our leisurely pace, of course. We have allotted 4 days in this trip but since Baguio is far from where we are, the commute each way can easily eat up one day.

But before I continue on this woeful afterthought, let me share a summary of our brief experience in the summer capital of the Philippines. It won't be a string of disappointments and regrets, I promise. Because even if we were hard pressed with time, it was one of those few instances in our lives, that we get to bond as a family outside the comforts of home.

Getting There

From Cebu to Baguio

My family flew from Cebu to Manila early in the morning, for our 9AM bus trip to Baguio. For the sake of being accurate, my parents headed to Cebu City from our hometown the day prior. Just imagine the ordeal of the getting there part that they had to endure.

From Singapore to Baguio

Meanwhile, I hopped on a red eye flight from Singapore and it took me almost 4 hours to reach Manila.

Victory Liner Bus Terminal in Pasay, Metro Manila
Not too weary yet for our 7-hour bus ride to Baguio.

Finally, from Manila to Baguio

It wasn't some big holiday in the Philippines so, we were at least assured of no frantic rush in bus terminals that time. But we bought our bus tickets in advance, nonetheless. With our geographical location from Manila, we only have the liberty of buying our tickets online and that left us with Victory Liner. I told my brother to book the bus tickets while I was in-charged with the plane tickets. 

However, Victory Liner's website doesn't accept credit card payment aside from Paypal. You can only make a reservation on their website. Then, they will reply to you their confirmation through email, together with the bank information for you to do a money transfer. Once they confirm your deposit, they will send the actual tickets through post and send through email the tracking details at the same time.

For more information, they have a detailed procedure in their website.

It's a rather complicated process but it works. I guess that is the most important. I hope they contemplate more on e-tickets though.

★ Where to Stay

With only a limited time, it was without question that we stayed close to the center. Hotel Veniz rightfully fit into that. It is a stone's throw away to Burnham Park. It sits at a corner to Session Road, where essentially a major part of Baguio breathes and thrives. It also makes a good jump-off point for any destination in and out of Baguio since many jeepney terminals surround the area.

I may have banked on location more than the quality of our stay because it could have been a lot better. Firstly, our room was on the third floor with small windows that open to a wall and if it weren't spacious enough, it may induce slight claustrophobia. Secondly, the bed covers, pillows, and towels had obviously seen much better days. Our only consolation was the hot shower. And lastly, the complimentary breakfast buffet was chaotic. To be fair though, maybe there were more guests than their breakfast room can handle. The following day, we decided to have breakfast early to avoid the crowd. If it's too much of an effort to drag yourself early, the hotel has a cafe that is almost empty during breakfast time. You have to order a la carte though and separately pay for it.

If location isn't that much of a concern, there are other hotels that you can consider. I have hopes on the newer ones and I hope I'm right.

★ Food

 It is now in my consciousness that I regard food to be the integral aspect whenever I travel. It doesn't mean I really have to pig out to prove my point. To dedicate a separate post about it, time and again, explains just that.

★ Getting Around

We got around Baguio by using their public transport, taxi and jeepney. The city is easy to navigate because it has these terminals of jeepneys, situated in the city's center. It may not be a real deal terminal per se because jeepneys only gather along a certain area by the road. But at least, it has the start and end destination concept. The jeepney basically goes around a loop. It comes back to the terminal and queues for its turn again. It is convenient enough and not to mention, it is the cheapest way to get around aside from walking, that is.

★ Safety

As my parents retired early in our room, my siblings and I ventured through the night in search for somewhere we can hang out. At times, we passed along dark side streets, with a faint street lamp to guide us. Though it helps that Baguio doesn't tuck in early, with a good number of people still in the streets at night. Anyway, Baguio is like any other city where common sense and your intuition can keep you safer.

★ Duration

A four-day trip is a short visit to Baguio, considering the two days out of it are spent for the actual travel. In our case, the weather has made it more cramped because heavy rains are a different matter to deal with. With that said, we may have a grand time in those two days alone but a couple of days more will definitely be a nice treat. 


There has been much effort put into this trip, financial and physical efforts for example? But even then, the time that we spent being together, laughing at each other's silliest jokes, picking on each other's antics and the misunderstandings included, was something we can never trade off with anything in this world.

This somehow makes me less guilty with how my mother replies to me whenever I tell her about my travel plans for myself. With a tinge of pain in my heart, she asks me when I will let her come with me in such travels. But I'm taking it one trip at a time. Baguio down and more to go! Seize the moment, eh?

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