I don't usually write about the transits to and from my trips, but my recent outing to Sagada made me think twice regarding this aspect of travel writing. The fifteen-hour bus trip to the highlands certainly did get my attention. So without further fanfare, I'm opening up a new chapter regarding my walks, and as a tribute to one of my travel heroes, Ferdz Decena of En Route, I am naming these my En Route series.
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My original plan for the coming Holy Week was a three-day trip to Bicol, unfortunately, the people we were supposed to go to in Camarines Sur went to Manila and visited us instead, leaving me with three whole empty vacation days. With just a few days left ‘til my pending days off, I was left scrambling for a place to go to in lieu to my trip down south.
It came down to two places; Ilocos, which I have already visited before, or Sagada, which I know absolutely nothing about. As I got deeper into researching about Sagada, Ilocos seemed to fade into nothingness. Sagada appeared to be so beautiful and magical as was testified by the many sites dedicated solely to that Shangri-La in the sky.
One hasty preparation and a few goodbyes later and I was on my way to the longest solo adventure I had to date.
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With all the regular night trips booked, the earliest I got reserved was a 1am trip. Straight from work, I headed out to the Victory Bus Liner station in Caloocan to find it swarming with waiting passengers. After falling in line to get in, I had to inch my way inside the hot terminal just to get near to one of the buses bound for Baguio. I was then able to talk to one of their drivers and asked if I can board the earliest leaving buses if there are no-shows.
Luck of lucks, they do have a no show and with a front window seat to boot! I rushed aboard like crazy, wishing the bus would rocket off right away before the conductor decided that there was an error, and the seat owners are now on the station and I should vacate my seat and wait standing one more hour in the humid people-filled station. It was a relief when the bus finally closed its doors and started its long trip into the night.
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The ride to Baguio took six hours, with two stops for snacks and quick washroom breaks. There may have been a few more stopovers, but since I was asleep most of the time, I can only remember two.
I just love stopovers, especially during night trips. Quick hot noodles, lugaws, balots, chicharons, coffee breaks and a chance to stretch your sleeping muscles. It’s one of the things I really look forward to during long trips and I make it a point to always go down whenever there's one.
I finally arrived at Baguio around 6am. The air was freezing! I quickly grabbed a cab and headed at the Veniz Hotel for breakfast. After twenty minutes of waiting for my order, I was informed that they ran out of longanisas and I was asked if I would just like to order another instead. But no, I really want my garlic sausages for breakfast.
Went down then to the nearby stalls at Burnham Park instead and got my Longanisa fix via the 4 Kids Eatery. Not as good as Veniz's but beggars can't be choosers I guess.
I figured since I'll be arriving at Sagada late anyways, might as well take my time in Baguio.
So there I was, trotting off to Burnham Park with one heavy backpack full of camera equipment, a heavy tripod slung on my shoulder and a paperbag full of clothes. I sat myself on one of the stone benches overlooking the park's boating lagoon, bought myself a steaming hot coffee from one of the roaming vendors in the area, enjoyed the sun ascend across its golden waters and watched the many playful boats of the lagoon gracefully glide by.
Victory Liner Caloocan
Address: 713 Rizal Avenue Extension, Caloocan City
Telephone: (02) 361-1506 | (02) 361-1510
Baguio Fare: Php450.00 (one-way only)
Baguio Schedule: 7:00AM | 9:00AM | 2:00PM | 4:00PM | 11:30PM