One of the top tourist destinations in Luzon and the whole Philippines is Baguio City. Almost everyone I know wishes to travel to Baguio to experience its cold weather even for a single moment. Baguio is a lot different weather-wise compared to the rest of the Philippine archipelago.
Those who live in Manila and North Luzon provinces are lucky as they can make a short trip or a weekend quick getaway to the City of Pines quiet easily. Unlike us who lives in the scattered islands of Visayas and far away landlocked provinces in Mindanao, Baguio vacation requires more time planning.
Field Trip Boy: Cebu and Baguio on the Philippine Map
Baguio is located in Benguet Province and belongs to Region 1. It is around 250 to 260 kilometers north of Manila. This famous city is considered as the country’s summer capital and tourists arrives in droves especially when temperature rises up in the lowlands during the summer months of March to June.
UPDATE: Thanks to Penfires reader Mr Robert Tican for sharing info that Benguet Province used to be part of Region 1 but this was in the 80s, now Baguio City and its province belongs to the Cordillera Administrative Region or CAR. Thanks Robert!
Actually, let me correct that, Baguio is a popular getaway destination all throughout the year. When we climbed to Baguio mid of January 2013, I was really expecting that since its off-peak season, there will be fewer tourists and we won’t have a hard time getting to this highland city. Lesson: Don’t assume hehe.
I booked our tickets months before when I chanced upon a promo fare from Cebu Pacific. I realized too late that the reason the tickets were cheap (P2,600 round trip tickets for two pax) going from Cebu to Manila to Cebu is that everyone else is coming to Cebu for Sinulog 2013 weekend.
When that realization hit me, I wanted to bang my head hehehe but the Baguio – Manaoag – Divisoria Trip turned out to be awesome so no regrets whatsoever. \o/
Touchdown Manila NAIA Terminal 3 Airport!
I am hoping to make this post useful especially for those travelers coming from Visayas and Mindanao who are first timers in Manila and who are looking for some travel advises and commuting tips in getting to Baguio.
If you are coming from VisMin, you are probably flying to Manila just like we were. Your plane will land in Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 or simply T3. To get out of T3, you have these options:
Airport Coaster – Pasay Rotunda – Victory Liner Terminal in Pasay Tramo
There is an airport coaster that plies from Terminal 3 and ends in Pasay Rotunda during day time, not so sure about night time or until what time these coasters are available. Ride this one; you’ll pay just P20 per pax. When you get to Pasay Rotunda, you need to cross EDSA via the nearest footbridge. Once you do, you should now be beside Metropoint Mall or Kabayan Hotel. Victory Liner terminal is walking distance from there, actually a bit far close to 1 kilometer.
If you arrive at night or your bags are too heavy, don’t use this direction tip, ride a taxi instead to get to the Baguio bus terminal of Victory Liner in Pasay Tramo from airport.
Airport taxi to Victory Liner Terminal Pasay
Alternative, you can get a taxi from T3 and ask to be brought directly to Victory Liner in Pasay. Yellow airport taxi fare is estimated at P150. Cost of taxi ride is higher during rush hour as you’ll be braving intense Edsa traffic.
We rode a taxi from T3 to Pasay Victory Liner; reason is that we arrived past 12midnight so walking the whole stretch from Pasay rotunda to bus terminal is a no-no.
Remember that I said I was pretty sure that there were few tourists and finding a bus won’t be a problem. I was wrong heheh. When we arrived at the bus terminal in Pasay Tramo area, the ticketing officer said that the available tickets are for the 5 AM trip. Say whaaaat. We can’t lose 5 hours waiting for a bus. Time is precious hehe. So without second thought, Titus and I decided to go to Cubao since there are more bus terminals with bus routes going to Baguio from there.
Getting to the Bus Terminals in Cubao
We crossed EDSA via the footbridge nearest Victory Liner to get
to the other side. I have to be honest and say that the walk was a bit comfortable. It was past midnight and Manila streets at night are not so safe. We walked fast, crossed the bridge to get to the Jollibee across the street where we can find Cubao bound buses.
We vowed to make our Baguio 2013 do it yourself tour as cheap as we can make. So taking a taxi from Pasay to Cubao was out of the question. We have to take the bus. Our rationale for this is that hopefully those who may land on this blog and wants tips in getting to Baguio on a shoe string budget will be able to get some idea on how to do it.
We hailed a bus with “Cubao” signage. But before we board, we ask for confirmation if the bus will pass by the bus terminals for Baguio. Affirmative, says the conductor. Please drop us off in Cubao bus station. ‘Sure’ says the conductor again.
Carrying our backpacks, we unload from the bus beside 5 Star Bus Terminal when we reached Cubao. Victory Liner is across the street (southbound), so we took the footbridge to cross EDSA and get to the Victory Liner bus terminal.
There were tons of passengers waiting. Ohhh noh. We approached the ticketing counter and saw an announcement on paper which was plastered on the window. ‘Now Issuing tickets for 6AM Trip’. OMG!
We then heard the security guard calling ‘those who are holders of 2 AM tickets please board now’. We saw a long line snaking through the terminal; curious we asked what the line was for. The guard says it’s the ‘chance passengers’.
Apparently, VL issues tickets for maybe 50% of the seats, this figure was just my guess might be higher. Then leave the rest of the seats for chance passengers. But there were lots of chance passengers!
Over the past few days prior to our trip to Baguio, the city’s temperature is always on the news for its unusual chill. I guess many people also wants to experience the reported 9.5 to 11 degrees Celsius and it was a weekend, so lots of visitors and tourists are climbing to Baguio for a quick getaway near Manila.
We lined up with the rest of the chance passenger but the way things were going, we’ll still be at the bus station when the sun rises. At that point, we were already discussing going to Manaoag in Pangasinan instead of heading straight to Baguio.
After 20 minutes in the line, I was already ready to switch bus and go to Manaoag, when a guy from behind our line went out of the terminal. Came back after a few minutes and murmur something to his companion. Then both of them leave the Victory Liner terminal in haste. Titus and my senses perked up, hmmm, something fishy here. They must have found a way to get to Baguio faster and easier.
It took us only a minute to decide to find out what could make the ‘turncoats’ leave. We call them ‘turncoats’ because they did not stick it out with the most famous bus line that can get you to Baguio – Victory Liner. Hehehe.
We followed them out. Lol.
When we were outside the Victory Liner Cubao terminal, we saw Genesis Bus Terminal at the other side. Just a few meters away from 5 Star Terminal where we first got off the bus we rode from Pasay. We can see from afar that Genesis have a Baguio bound bus waiting for passengers.
‘Dang, we should have just taken Genesis bus at first instance. Now, we have to cross the footbridge again’ was on my thought.
My knapsack was getting heavier by the minute and the thought of crossing the footbridge again is far from desirable. Instead of climbing back on the footbridge, Titus decided that we walk further on the left. We can’t see the turncoats on the footbridge so there must be another bus terminal nearby unless those two took a taxi to get to the other side. We walk a few steps more and finally asked someone if there is a bus bound for Baguio aside from the Genesis which is across the street.
‘Yep, there is an available Baguio bus on Dagupan Bus Line terminal’.
DBL terminal was just a few more steps. Our grins must have been wide lol. We found where the turncoats went to. Yesss!