While we've spent a bit of time planning trip, we have failed to consider actual travel logistics. We've booked our hotel, decided on our budget and laid our IT plans for the entire duration (I even included the expected times) but have totally ignored how we're going to and from Baguio.
We've left at my unit around 9 on a Thursday evening and have chosen to go by bus to victory Liner Pasay. Traffic was moderate and the bus was jam packed. Arriving there we saw the long lines that lead to the ticket office. The one I asked was going to Dau and was instructed to go to the first window. I was ecstatic seeing only 3 people there but my happiness was short lived. At the counter it read that they are already fully booked till Saturday. In my head, sure, we could go, but then what? We need to be back by Sunday!
Not giving up yet, we've traversed from there by foot to all the nearby bus stations, all with the same status. We've ended up in Pasay Taft where Genesis is and was greeted by a closed office. The ones there already have reservations. Through asking we were ushered to the farthest part of the terminal where we were somehow given a chance IN CASE a 3rd bus comes. We were waiting there for a long while (I try not to look at the time but it was already Friday as I've heard).
Our chance came when it was announced that they have opened limited 12 seats for Joybus (deluxe of Genesis buses). She wasn't even finished announcing when Reagan and I started running towards the now opened office. We're the 5th in line.You can even hear the amazing race theme song.
Counting, we know we have a chance until we've learned that the two women in front are getting 5 seats! As of this moment we're not sure if we could ever make it especially if the ones in front of us are getting more than two seats each. When the two women were done, another gal followed only to be bumped off by an individual who suddenly went straight ahead of our line and started asking for 2 tickets. The cashier was annoyed by this brashness so she instructed him to go back to the end of the line. He stayed, saying that it's his privilege as a blind man. Wow. I didn't know you lose manners once you go blind. So anyway, he even booked 2 tickets, the other one is a senior. The women infront of us luckily just bought 1 ticket each so we've miraculously made the cut.
The Joybus was really comfortable and smells like new items you get from National Bookstore. There is so much leg room and it doesn't smell old. It's so new in fact that the aircon works perfectly! So much so that even with jackets, Reagan's body is shivering like crazy. I didn't get to experience the CR but I bet it would be clean too.
- Arrival -
We haven't had breakfast and it's too early for lunch but the first thing we did upon arrival was find our hotel. Our taxi was able to take us there without asking any questions. We cannot check in yet but they allowed us to leave our bags so we can start our day. We had quick brunch at their restaurant Beans Talk (just for fun, can someone open Bread Talk downstairs?). Taste wise it was good; the price wasn't though. I eyed those pastries I'm allowed to eat (hooray vacation!) and lustfully promised I'd order that Salted Caramel cupcake later.
Reagan said that we shouldn't do the Treetop Adventure yet because we just ate. I would have thought of the Bencab Museum, but noooo. My silly tongue blurted out a dreaded activity: climbing the steps of the Lourdes Grotto. I have visited it once in my life (not counting if I've been there when I was a baby), probably 10 years ago (wow I'm now that old). I think it was more rustic last time but who cares? The steps are better with all these fancy silver railings.
Maybe it's the thin air or I'm just too fat, the 200 something steps was such a feat. It was really hard but seeing someone's abuela (yes, I will throw in a few spanish words just to sound multilingual) getting ahead of me (granted she has someone with her, but then I have Reagan assisting me too) it has now become personal. We finished it alright (huffing and puffing, my lungs wanted to go back to Manila) and hailed a different taxi for Camp John Hay.