Let’s start with some tips that I’d like to share with you. These are the things I learned in my trips to the country’s summer capital.
TRANSPORTATIONBaguio is around 5 hours away from Manila if you travel non-stop. Victory Liner is the most popular bus line for Baguio getaways. You can also travel by car. I wouldn’t recommend traveling by car if you are not a seasoned driver. Why? First, the long drive is tiring. Second, the terrain is crazy! The roads are sometimes narrow and very, very steep. Third, I would rather relax and sleep in the duration of the trip than drive. It’s a vacation, remember?
There are 2 bus choices – De Luxe and Regular Aircon. De Luxe buses are non-stop. They have a Portalet inside. There is also a “stewardess” on board. (Frankly, I don’t know what her purpose is. During our 5-hour trip, no one bothered to call her. All she did was eat and use the Portalet.)You are also given a bottle of water. The fare costs around Php700+.
I wouldn’t recommend the De Luxe bus if you have motion sickness. My son suffered a lot during our first trip. I also got dizzy. This is a non-stop bus so you don’t have the luxury to go out and breathe some fresh air. I also feel that this is not for younger kids as they need to stretch and go out and be in a different environment from time to time. De Luxe buses are also bad if you have arthritis, fibromyalgia and other muscle/bone disease. You don’t want your legs to fall asleep.
On this trip, we opted for the regular aircon buses. These buses are much cheaper, around Php300+. Travel time is around 6-8 hours depending on the traffic. There are 2 stopovers – 1 in Sison, Pangasinan and the other in Tarlac. I always look forward to these stopovers as they are my chance to stretch and walk around. My hips and legs still hurt though after the trip but that’s because I have a history of fibromyalgia.
If you are traveling with a Senior Citizen or PWD, they get a discounted rate.
Victory Liner buses have free WiFi onboard.
Traffic is terrible during holidays so we decided to beat the rush by booking early and going home early. We went home on Maundy Thursday. Traffic in EDSA was terrible but going down from Baguio was okay. There were many road constructions going on so travel time was longer. The roads in Baguio are also under construction.
HOTELSThere are many hotels in Baguio. Most offer a breakfast buffet with the hotel rate. You must be strategic when booking hotels in Baguio. Where do you want to go? This is the question you need to answer before booking. If you plan on staying in the city and just go to SM Baguio, the local malls and restos and the market, then book a hotel that is near these places. Think about convenience when traveling to and from the hotel.
Microtel by Wyndham is a hotel that is connected to the Victory bus terminal so it’s super convenient. When you arrive, just go up the lift to the second floor and walk through the bridge connecting the hotel and the terminal. This is also great when you are leaving because you can ask the hotel’s bell man to bring your luggage to the terminal. If your bus is already there, he will also load them into the bus.
Hotel rates go up during holidays.
There are many restaurants in Baguio. You can find them on Session Road and in the malls such as SM. Vegetables are super fresh in Baguio. Locals always eat vegetables in their meals so you can expect them in your buffet breakfasts.
I’d have to be honest though. Most meals I had were bland. Rose Bowl and Good Taste dishes were too bland for me. O’ Mai Khan was okay but a bit on the expensive side. Ocha is our favorite. There are also the usual fast food joints such as McDonald’s, KFC, Army Navy, Shakey’s , Pizza Hut, etc. Just be aware though that they don’t serve the same menu as in Manila. Mom said that Sbarro food there was terrible. It was bland and the baked ziti was too sour.
Hotel buffet breakfasts are very convenient but you are limited to what is being served. I will talk more about this in the coming days. You can also read about some of my past food adventures in Baguio here.
More tips to come so stay tuned!