BAGUIO: Victory Liner First Class: Nonstop Bus from Manila to Baguio

June 29, 2014

Photo courtesy of Victory Liner website


BAGUIO: Victory Liner First Class: Nonstop Bus from Manila to Baguio

I never considered taking the bus to Baguio because I always thought it was too inconvenient and the trip too long. I was forced to consider this option during our Baguio trip last May when my 16-year old daughter informed me she couldn't miss training on the day we were supposed to leave for Baguio. Eventually, she joined us and it was my husband who used her ticket when an emergency at work occurred and made it impossible for him to join us on the day of our family's departure for Baguio.


If you want to take public transportation from Manila to Baguio, I highly recommend this bus. 


Why I chose this bus for my 16-year old daughter to take:



1. It's non-stop.

This means that it's safer because the bus doesn't stop at any other place. I only have to make sure she arrives at the Cubao bus terminal safely and her next terminal will be at Baguio already where I will be there to meet her. 

Being non-stop, it also means there will be no other people flagging the bus and riding it at any place between the terminal and their destination like regular buses do.



2. The seats are 2 x 1 configuration.
This means I can choose a single seat where she doesn't have to seat beside a stranger and be forced to talk to strangers.

3. You can choose seats upon booking.
This means I can choose the single seats when you buy the ticket in advance.

How to book:


There are two ways to book:

1. By buying ticket in advance at the terminal where you will ride the bus.
Note: You can only buy the ticket at the terminal where you will ride. This means you can only buy tickets for the Cubao to Baguio route at the Cubao terminal, and the Baguio to Cubao route at the Baguio terminal.
2. By buying the ticket online 8 days in advance at http://www.victoryliner.com/reservations/. Tickets will be sent by courier.
Note: You can only buy the ticket online 8 days before your departure date.
2. You can book tickets online at www.victoryliner.com 
 Check out my post: How to Book the Victory Liner Bus Online
Ticket we bought

Price:
750 pesos one way

Terminals offering this service:
Cubao and Pasay terminals
Daily schedules from Pasay first class bus: 
01:15AM,06:15AM,11:15AM,01:15PM, and 11:45PM .
Daily schedules from Cubao first class bus:
12:15AM, 10:15AM, 12:20PM, 02:15PM, 08:15PM and 11:15PM.
Baguio terminal: 
Daily schedules from Baguio first class bus: 
1210am, 110 am, 210am, 910am, 1010am, 1110am, 1210pm, 110pm, 610pm, 1010pm, 1110pm 
Travel time:
4.5 hours

Where the bus passes:
NLEX-SCTEX- TPLEX until Urdaneta, Binalonan, Pozzorubio, Rosario then Marcos Highway to Baguio.

Amenities and Privileges at Victory Liner First Class
1. Private Lounge
The first class bus waiting lounge is the air-conditioned area behind

2. Spacious 2 x 1 seats


3. With comfort room
Comfort room is at the right


4. With free water and snack
5. With newspaper
6. With Wifi


Where you can ask questions: 

AT TWITTER: https://twitter.com/VictoryLinerInc 
BY SENDING A FACEBOOK MESSAGE at https://www.facebook.com/victorylinerinc

My tips:

1. But the tickets at least 3 days in advance. Anyway it's refundable with 10 % penalty charge.
Refund policy:
Present your ticket within 30 days from buying the ticket.They will refund you the price of the ticket minus 10% charge. At the current price of 750 pesos. The amount you refund will be 675 pesos (750 pesos minus 75 pesos charge).
It's necessary to buy the tickets in advance because the buses are full especially if you travel during the summer. At the time my husband took the bus last May at 10:00 AM on a Friday, the passengers bought tickets in advance and the people who arrived at the terminal to buy the tickets on the day of departure are chance passengers already. There were at least 8 chance passengers during his time.

Terms and conditions at the back of the ticket

Victory Liner tickets are no longer refundable but it is still rebookable. Check out the back of the ticket below. The ticket was purchased April 2017.



2. Be at the terminal 30 minutes in advance
As I mentioned earlier, there are several people on wait-list and will take your seat if you're late.

SAGADA: Recommended Attire for Spelunking in Sumaging Cave

June 16, 2014

SAGADA: Recommended Attire for Spelunking in Sumaging Cave

What happens in Sumaguing Cave:

1. You slide down dry and wet rocks.






2. You crawl through small holes to get to the other side.



3. You scale walls to get to the other side.



4. You climb rocks.






5. You get wet.




Therefore, the attire you need are:

1. Clothes that protect your body, especially your arms and legs from scratches when you bump or slide against the rocks.

2. Clothes that dry easily when you get wet.

3. Lightweight outdoor shoes that has a strong grip and dries easily.


This is the attire I came up with:



Rash guard top from SM Department store: 499 pesos 
Leggings from SM Department store: 499 pesos 
Aqua shoes from SM Departments store: 250 pesos



For the price of around 1250 pesos, you have the most appropriate clothes for spelunking. At the same time, these clothes can also be used for swimming in the beach. So it's not waste of money to buy them even if you intend to go spelunking only once.

Other accessories I recommend you bring:


1. Head lights

If the gas lamps brought by the guides accidentally turn off, your group won't be left in pitch-black darkness. It's very dangerous to be in pitch-black darkness in this cave. 



2. Go Pro camera with headstrap.


Photo courtesy of Amazon.com
This is the best video camera that you can bring because you can cover this activity hands-free. You need both hands to survive this cave.

With the fish eye lens of the Go Pro camera, it will be able to record everything you see in the cave. 

We brought our regular digital camera but we didn't hold it. Gareth, our guide, took all the pictures for us.

Of course, if you're alone, it's best to have a headlamp rather than a Go Pro camera strapped to your head. This is my suggestion if at least one in your group already has a head lamp strapped to his head.

Unfortunately, we forgot to bring our Go Pro Camera so I cannot share the video with you. 



You can wear t-shirt, shorts and slippers. However, the disadvantage of wearing these are as follows:

1. If you wear a regular t-shirt , it won't dry immediately after it gets wet, unless it's a dri-fit shirt. 
With mostly cold weather in Sagada, you may not be able to walk back to your inn after the spelunking because of your wet clothes.

2. If you wear shorts, it will not protect your legs from scratches, when you climb on rocks. 

3. If you wear slippers, the guide will ask you to go barefoot in some parts of the cave when you need a more precise grip from your bare foot. 
If you wear rubber shoes, the guide will also ask you to remove it and go barefoot. The guides, however, allow aqua shoes during spelunking, because it's lightweight, has the grip and won't absorb a lot of water in the parts of the cave that are submerged in waist-deep water. 

BAGUIO: Shalan di Kabadjo, Camp John Hay: Best Place to go Horseback-riding

June 14, 2014

BAGUIO: Shalan di Kabadjo, Camp John Hay:
Best Place to go Horseback-riding

Shalan di Kabadjo is located at Camp John Hay, beside Le Monet hotel. Since we're staying at Le Monet Hotel, it's very convenient to just book a ride for the kids and then continue resting inside the hotel. It's very convenient for those staying at Le Monet Hotel to go horseback-riding at Shalan di Kabadjo.

But even if you're not staying at Le Monet Hotel, I still highly recommend this place for horseback-riding because of the following:


THE RATES ARE CHEAPER IF YOU WISH TO GO OUT OF THE RIDING CIRCLE. 

These are the rates of Shalan di KABADJO. 
If you want to go outside the riding circle,  this is cheaper than the rates at Wright Park shown below because at Wright Park,  you pay additional 300 pesos for the guide on top of the 300 pesos horse rate. 

These are the rates at Wright Park



THE RIDING CIRCLE AND BRIDLE PATH IS LESS CROWDED.





THE BRIDLE PATH IS A WOODED PATH WITH LOTS OF PINE TREES.






THERE ARE LOTS OF PARKING SPACES IN THE AREA.


THE ADULTS WHO WAIT FOR THEIR KIDS RIDE CAN EAT AT THE FILLING STATION BESIDE SHALAN DI KABADJO.

The Filling Station
Le Monet Hotel is at the left.
Shalan di Kabadjo is at the right.

WHAT MY KIDS SAY ABOUT RIDING AT SHALAN DI KABADJO:

1. They love riding inside a wooded area full of pine trees and plants.

2. The path is so cool because it goes along the side of the mountain.

3. They were taught how to ride by the handlers, who were really nice to them.

4. They were allowed to gallop with the horses while the handlers carefully supervised them to keep them safe.
My tip: You should lock your knees and be in a somewhat standing position when you gallop to avoid having a painful butt after riding. That's a tip from one of the handlers, according to my daughter.


Overall, for adults, horseback-riding at Shalan di Kabadjo is stress-free compared to horseback-riding at Wright Park where you compete for horse and parking space, especially during the weekend.

SAGADA: St. Joseph's Resthouse: Best Accommodations in Sagada

June 10, 2014


SAGADA: St. Joseph's Resthouse: Best Accommodations in Sagada


Sagada is a sleepy and remote town in the Ifugao Province. They often say it's like Baguio before Baguio became commercialized. Since it's very remote and  hard to reach, the available accommodations are usually basic and backpacker style. Of all the accommodations I found for my family of 6, I found St. Joseph's Resthouse to be the most suitable and best accommodations in Sagada. 

Why I love St. Joseph's Resthouse

ACCOMMODATIONS:

1. The large cottage we booked is spacious and clean.
It has 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom.
This is the large cottage we booked.
It has a 2 floors: the ground floor and the loft.
They gave us "Hartzel" cottage.

Our room key

The first room in the first floor

The second room on the first floor.

The loft with 2 double beds

The stairs to the loft

The dining table is under the stairs to the loft.



2. The cottage amenities are sufficient.
a. They have hot water showers. Water pressure is strong.


b. They provide linen, towels, soap, and toilet paper.

3. The grounds are peaceful and the gardens well tended.


4. They have spacious parking.


The entrance to the parking area is at the back of resthouse.

The entrance to the parking area

The spacious parking area 



LOCATION

It's at the center of all activity:

1. It's near the municipal tourist information office

2. It's near the jeepney terminal.

3. It's near the grocery and fast food court.

4. It's walking distance to SAGGAS (Sagada Genuine Guides' Association) office.

5. It's walking distance to the famous Sagada restaurants like Yoghurt house, Lemon Pie house, Pinikpikan Haus, etc.

6. It's walking distance to the entrance of sights like the Sumaguing cave and Lumiang burial cave.


The stairs along Staunton Road leading to St. Joseph's Resthouse 

This is the view from the stairs shown in the photo above.

The big red building has mini supermarkets and fast food restaurants (turo-turo style).

The area in front is the jeepney terminal.

The small building at the right is the Municipal Tourist Office.

The road at the right of the big red building leads to Lumiang Cave, Sumaguing cave, 

famous Sagada restaurants, and the SAGGAS office. 



RATES
We booked a large cottage at 3500 pesos per night, without breakfast, good for 6-8 persons.

EASY BOOKING
You can make reservation by email at saintjosephresthousesagada@yahoo.com or texting cellphone no.. +639185595934 or +63 927 236 0344.
There is no downpayment necessary to hold your reservation. You must confirm the day before you arrive. Full payment is made upon check-in.
Full payment is made at reception upon check-in.

Van hire advertisement I saw at reception.



CONS:
1. The cottage has no tv.
2. There is free wifi only at the lobby/reception.
3. There is no daily  housekeeping.
  • If you need new towels, you have to surrender your old towels at reception and exchange it for new ones.

Contact Information:
Saint Joseph Resthouse
Poblacion, Sagada
2619 Mountain Province
Philippines

Deal Grocer Voucher Review: La Creperie Provençale: P500 Worth: Delightful Crepes, Desserts, Drinks & More

June 3, 2014


Deal Grocer Voucher Review: 
La Creperie Provençale Restaurant


I bought 4 vouchers of La Creperie, for a total of 2000 pesos worth of food. I planned to visit several times during the summer after I bring my kids to summer classes. But I never got around to passing by. So I consumed the vouchers in one visit. The good thing about this voucher is they allow take-out so I dined in and ate some of what I ordered and took out the rest of and shared with my family.

Price: 

300 pesos for 500 peso vouchers worth of food, drinks. This translates to 40% discount in food and drinks

Food:

What I ordered for dine in:


My favorite at La Creperie:

French Onion Soup 

with Gruyere cheese
(P295.00)


My new favorite:

The Spoiled Mummy

Fresh strawberries, peanut butter, bittersweet chocolate and oatmeal walnut crisp topped with salted butter caramel.
You really feel like a spoiled mummy after eating this. HAHA!

(P345.00)


What I ordered for take-out:

Quatre Fromages
Savory crepe with Gorzonzola, Fontina, Cheddar and Mozzarella cheese,
with roasted garlic, mushroom and arugula
(P395.00)

Truffled Mushroom and Sausage Pasta
with cream based truffled mushroom sauce and fennel infused Italian sausage

So flavorful that you can share one order with your companion!

(P385.00)

Super Christine
Crepe with fresh strawberries, homemade strawberry jam covered with home made bitter sweet chocolate and whipped cream
(P265.00)


The crepes below are the more popular ones with my kids:
Mango Peach Nutella
Fresh mango and peaches inside a regular crepe, with hazelnut spread inside and on top
(P245.00)


Oreo Cookies and cream
A marbled blend of regular and sweet and chocolate crepe batters with crushed oreo cookies , bittersweet chocolate and vanila ice cream
(P245.00)



My conclusion:

The voucher is worth buying. The original price of food at La Creperie is a bit expensive but the quality of food is really good. I don't really mind paying for good food. But with the 40% discount given through the dealgrocer voucher, this becomes true value for money.

The voucher is easy to use especially because they allow take-out. It's a bit difficult to get parking at this branch. I passed by several times and discovered that the best time to visit is in the morning around 10:00 AM. I was able to dine at this restaurant around this time.

Without the discount, I would eat again at La Creperie. But it's definitely worth watching out for new vouchers on sale, which usually happens during low season when students are on vacation. This branch is located near Ateneo, Miriam College and UP and experience low sales when the students of these schools are on vacation.

La Creperie Provençale
Loyola Heights88 Esteban Abada St.Loyola Heights, Quezon City(0932) 511-2371