Before this recent trip(June 5-7, 2012), there was only one time I rode a bus COMING from Baguio, and that was in 1987(Victory Liner ECONOMY bus...no air conditioner, lots of passengers, and SEVERAL stops). I was banking on a certain vehicle, but unfortunately...ah never mind. Bygones!
Almost always, we ride SUVs, family vans, or sedans(I don't recall ever riding a plane because we love stopping over the different provinces before reaching Baguio...when Japan and the Philippines joined forces to build The Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) from 2008 onward, life of the motorists going to Northern Luzon became easier. In 2009, Dad, his classmates, and their families road a chartered luxury bus, and rode this liner with my brother Karl last year or a couple of years back, but I did not.
My brother, RJ, died last May 21 this present year, so dad decided to treat us to one of RJ's favorite cities, Baguio. Since we no longer have a van and the family car was going to be used by my sister-in-law to work, dad booked us at Microtel Inns & Suites(just above the Victory Liner Terminal) and the most logical thing he did next was to book us Deluxe Bus seats to Baguio(we got our tickets to Manila their in Baguio).
I like it. It's not as spacious as the buses I rode going to Bicol, but it has enough elbow room. There's a stewardess there for "our" concerns, and she will try to solve it. She will also serve an ultra light snack(so if you're a heavy eater, eat at the terminal or elsewhere, with enough time to allow your food to digest, before the trip.
The drivers are experts and it's a non-stop trip(less than 6 hours to 6 hours). We arrived in Baguio safe and sound(the trip to Manila was similar).
Check the website for schedules, rates, reservations, and other information. The website is updated from time to time.
Senior Citizens and Persons with disabilities have a 20% discount.
There's WiFi inside the buses(but always be aware of your surroundings...like anywhere in the world, there are those who take advantage of people totally immersed in the WWW in public places...we were lucky that we had good bus mates).
Check out their Facebook Fan Page too!
Since all air links to Baguio has been terminated the only way you can get to the summer capital is via land using a car or a bus. From Manila you can try taking a bus from stations in Cubao or Pasay with journey time totaling around 6 hours depending on stops. If you are taking a car you need to pass by the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and/or the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). Passing through provinces such as Tarlac, Pampanga, La Union you get to Baguio using either the Kennon Road which was built by the Americans when the Philippines was their colony or the Marcos Highway.
Please contact RIGOR at 09087217354. He will gladly tour you in Baguio City and some sites around Benguet. He will be your driver, tourist guide and at the same time photographer in the whole duration of the excursion. Take note that he does take good pictures too. We met him during our October 2010 trip and was recommended by MR. CESAR (09274957399) of the Mabuhay Post, a DOT accredited information center, wherein tourists are assisted, if needed, upon arrival at the bus station.
Our trip was a pleasant one because of him and we felt bad after not being able to give him a tip for his service. He was even kind enough to carry our shopping bags, and also insists on closing the doors of the car for us even if we contended he need not to, instead he will always say, "Ito po and trabaho namin, Maam."
busses are not allowed in the kennon road. If you have private transport, kennon road is the shortest and less hassle with regards traffic and vehicle stress. The big earthquake of 1991 however have made major cracks on the mountain side that landslides or rockfalls may be problem during exceptionally heavy downpour.
Marcos highway is usually all weather, and safer when its raining. But its long upward gradient is a punishment for the vehicles using it. Since all trucks and buses from the south are forced to use Marcos highway, its a pain to overtake them in the upward climb towards Baguio. Most of the major bus companies plying this route have reliable busses, so its not much of a problem. Victory liner almost have a 24 hr on the hour trips between Baguio and manila, and are generally reliable. They do need reservation for their aircon trips.
You wouldn't worry riding taxis in Baguio. Aside from the fact that the fare is a lot cheaper, drivers don't take advantage of the tourists. They only ask for the exact fare and will really give your change no matter how small it is. Who said nobody is trustworthy anymore?
The Victory Bus Liner Station is in Upper Session Road, Brgy. Marcoville, Baguio. There is a trip to Cubao and Pasay every 30 minutes. Fare from Baguio to Cubao is P449.
The Victory buses we took to and from baguio were both new and in good condition. There are about 2-3 stops each way.
from the towns of La Union there are 3 roads leading to Baguio City
1st - Kennon Road (nearer if youre from Aringay or Rosario). take it if you want to see the water falls, and the nice view of mountain sides. but this road is very risky during rainy season. do not to take it when there is heavy rain. rocks, stones will fall down the road.
2nd - Marcos Highway (nearer if youre from Rosario or Agoo). take it if you want to see the sundown, there's a place in this road where the seaview is magnificent. perfect for a photoshoot. i remember the head of Marcos being put up as a structure near this road and anyone passing can see his face. but it was destroyed, i dont know what the reasons are. anyways, this road provides a smooth ride for the passenger and for the auto.
3rd - Naguilian Road (nearer if youre from San Fernando or Bauang). this road is nearest to San Fernando. this road stood the earthquake test (hahahha!) i remember it was the only open road from baguio leading to places out of baguio.
generally, all roads will take around less than 2 hours (at most) to reach Baguio.
Baguio to Asin Hotspring
merong route ng jeep going in and out of asin. i am not pretty sure where the terminal is, but you can always ask folks around, the town's folk i mean, and not the tourists (since there are many in baguio).
the previous terminal, believe, is near the market. it is at the back of city hall, there's a road leading to the market. i dont know if it is still there.
take the jeepney ride since it is cheaper and you get to experience the ride. the people won't eat anyway. =) so enjoy your trip.
along the way to Asin, you will see lots and lots of shops of wood carvings. the folks there can speak english and iloco. they are not pretty trained to speak tagalog but they will understand you.
before leaving the jeepney going to the hotspring, you better ask the driver what time is the last trip going back to Baguio (remember, you are in Asin, Benguet ... =) if you prefer to go home before the day ends...
Victory liner bus co is one of the top bus company in the metro that takes passenger from Cubao (aurora ave) to Baguio City. They even have the express bus which guarantees 5 hours travel time from Manila to Baguio (normal travel time takes about 7-8 hours depending on the traffic).
We spent almost more than half an hour looking for the station where we can board the jeepney direct to Tam Awan. We asked a couple of locals and each gave a different direction. We finally got to the correct "station" where the jeepneys are bound for Tam Awan. It is not actually a station but a designated lot where the jeepneys are parked - It is behind the City Market, along the Zandueta St and Hilltop Road. (You will pass through the Abanao Square and a Chowking fastfood outlet).
Fare to Tam Awan is : 7.5pesos and journey about 15minutes
Look at more pictures attached for location of the Tam Awan "station".
To get to Sagada, we board the last Lizardo Trans bus at 1.00pm from the Dangwa Bus Station (near Baguio City Market) in Baguio. The bus is aircond and the seats are so-so. The journey takes 7 hours, fare is 220pesos. The bus passed by La Trinidad and made its way up to the winding and scenic Halsema Hwy. (Pls see my travelogue on Halsema Hwy on Sagada's travel page). You can sit on either side of the bus to view Halsema Hwy as the bus will make its wind around the mountain. The bus will make short stops at little villages on the way for you to use the washroom.
There are earlier buses bound for Sagada at the Dangwa Bus Station and there are other buses which are non aircond at the Slaughterhouse Road (which are bound for Bontoc and you need to take a Bontoc-Sagada bus) which is further up Dangwa Station. Unless you have got no choice on the timing of the bus, I suggest you board your bus from the Dangwa Station. D'Rising Sun buses also ply this route.
We boarded the Partas bus at Vigan's Partas Station at 1.45pm. Journey to Baguio takes about 5hours. We arrived at Baguio's bus terminal at 7.15pm - it was pretty dark then. Fare is 299pesos. The bus is A/C and quite comfortable.
When going to Partas station in Vigan, make sure you tell correctly to the driver which station you want to go as there are many bus stations in Vigan - all at different places.
See picture upon arrival at Baguio at night..
Your choice : jeepneys and taxis (lots of them in Baguio)
Jeepneys - for short distance. Usually 7.5pesos per trip
Taxis : metered taxis. (can't really remember the pricing).
* Did not see any tricycle in Baguio though.
Probably the best way to get to Baguio City is via the trusty Bus. Bus drivers can really drive up to the mountain city with their eyes closed despite the zigzags and all other obstacles. You can check out either Victory liner or Philippine Rabbit. We always take Victory liner from Pasay or Cubao. The Pasay Station is just below the 1st quarter stretch of the flyover along EDSA.
Fare is around 300 pesos per person for an aircondition bus. The travel time ranges anywhere from 5 to 7 hours depending on the traffic. We usually like leaving around 12 midnight so we'd just have enough time to sleep and be on our feet when we get to baguio. The bus stops at least twice during the trip to let the passengers go to the john. There are meals served at the stops so grab some.
When you get to baguio, take a cab and tell him where you're suppose to go. Or if you have not booked yet, ask him to bring you to the nearest inn.
In Baguio, you'll see a number of friendly mega taxi drivers who instantly become your tour guide. Try asking their opinion for places to go to and they'd gladly bring you there. Plus, if you are lucky enough, they might even have folk stories (whether legendary or spooky) about it. As you pass by some spots, ask your friendly driver to tell you about it and politely ask him where you are. TIP: get a map of baguio and check out the routes so you have an idea. Maps are available at the local bookstore. You'd find them in gasoline stations too.