in This time it's personal

Three reasons to skip Victory Liner’s Manila-Baguio Deluxe buses

Some Victory Liner deluxe buses have wire-type basket bags on seats while some have none.

Let’s say you plan to visit Baguio, the Philippines’ summer capital.

Except you’re unwilling and/or physically unprepared for the long drive to the city (a pity, especially if you don’t have a car.)

What to do?

Easy: You can buy or rent a car and hire a driver.

But that’s only if you make as much money as a good-for-nothing corporate vice-president, a useless government executive, or a corrupt jueteng lord.

For mere mortals, the only remaining option is to take the bus to Baguio.

But what kind of bus?

Will you take the one that leaves every half-hour, forcing you to scramble madly for seats while burdened with luggage heavier than your teenage daughter’s romantic angst?

Or will you choose a pricier but more convenient alternative?

Depends on your priorities and resources.

If you have cash to spare, you can hop on a Victory Liner Manila-Baguio Deluxe bus, which charges more than half for its regular aircon trips that cost P400.

But is P700 worth the whole trip?

For some passengers, it is.

Why?

Wider seats, faster trip, bragging rights, and yes, toilets. [See: Five reasons to take Victory Liner’s Manila-Baguio Deluxe Buses]

But some may disagree, especially those with limited supplies of cash.

After all, why pay extra for convenience that may last for less than a day? Why indeed?

Here are three reasons why you may want to reconsider the decision to hop on that bus, Gus.*

(Disclaimer: No arrangement, financial or otherwise, has been entered into by Victory Liner, its competitors, and this website.)

1) Prehistoric ticket reservation process.

Has Victory Liner ever heard of the Internet, that nifty gadget invented by former US vice president Al Gore (who also created the myth of climate change)? If it hasn’t yet, then the company should call up the US Embassy and request a free briefing. But seriously, if an airline company which arguably has more complicated operations can allow passengers to book their tickets online, why can’t Victory do the same?

To this day, Victory’s system is laughably prehistoric.

To book a reservation onboard the Manila-Baguio Deluxe Bus, passengers are required to personally pay a visit to its Cubao terminal at least a day before departure date, fall in line at one of the windows, and hope that the clerk gets the time and seat number right.

And passengers better make sure that their dogs don’t eat their tickets. Because if they do, little old Brownie better cough it up.

Since clerks don’t ask for your name during booking, showing proof that you actually paid for a seat is going to be more difficult than taking a crap inside the toilet while the bus is on Kennon. (Fortunately, none of that has ever happened to me yet.)

2) Buses have different standards.

Different buses serve the route.

Therefore, each bus has a different feature.

Others have electricity outlets useful for juicing up your iPod or your netbook. Some do not.

Having said that, only three things stay the same: comfort room, television, and free bottled water and snacks onboard.

Next time you climb onboard, don’t count on charging your phone and/or gadget while en route. After all, you don’t want to miss that incoming spam text message, even while sleeping.

And since cellphones have been brought up: Stewardesses onboard trips – stewardesses, yes, that’s what they call themselves – would do well to ask passengers to put their cellphones on silent mode during the trip. Hearing cellphones go off can ruin perfectly good B-movies shown onboard.

3) Buses lack features and suffer from poor upkeep.

Although seats offer more space, some may not work at all.

As a result, whenever passengers need to recline or push the seats back up, they almost always require staff assistance.

Which actually happened to me on the very first time I got on a deluxe bus to Baguio.

For some reason, the knob that controls my seat’s leg rest was broken off from the whole mechanism.

Whenever I felt the need to put my foot up, I had to call the attendant, who didn’t trust me enough that she kept the knob to herself.

Good thing I’m not a finicky passenger – reader alert: I am talking about myself here – so I let that whole inconvenience issue slide.

That same bus also didn’t have those basket-type wire bags attached to the back of the seat in front of you. (The bus that I took on the way back to Manila did have this though).

As a result, items I wanted to have easy access to during the whole trip was stored improperly.

The book I was reading was squeezed into one of the handles while my bulky, overused smartphone was able to withstand my heft as it snuggled beside me.

I’m happy to report that both items – a Vintage UK trade paperback edition of Martin Amis’ Money and a Treo 650 – survived the trip.

And yes, one other thing: Since the bus provided internet access anyway, is a lap desk for each deluxe passenger who can use them for their laptops too much to ask?

_______

*From the No Need to be Coy, Roy Dept. The phrase was borrowed from the lyrics of Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover as sung by Paul Simon.

70 comments
Nguyenchinh
Nguyenchinh

During the whole process, I’ll be xe ??y hàng dandy    assisted by a professional, who, by the way, has assured me that he will be charging premium rates for this special project.

However, given his rates, it will still be way cheaper than a Moleskine that I’m   

Nguyenchinh
Nguyenchinh

During the whole process, I’ll    Thang g?p d?ng ch? A    be assisted by a professional, who, by the way, has assured me that he will be charging premium rates

Nguyenchinh
Nguyenchinh

tually considering thang nhôm rút g?n  giving out a few “first edition” notebooks to friends (and probably even to some enemies, just to surprise and confuse them.)

Let’s see how that goes. 

Nguyenchinh
Nguyenchinh

It is literally a Máy c?t ?a n?ng   reporter’s notebook.

And this is exactly what has preoccupied my time, for better or for worse.

Nguyenchinh
Nguyenchinh

Once folded, I plan to have them    thang nhôm rút ?ôi     sewn up by a professional — same guy who cut it in half — who will also attach a soft cardboard cover to the whole package. 

Nguyenchinh
Nguyenchinh

hat same bus also didn’t have those basket-type wire  Bánh xe ??y bags attached to the back of the seat in front of you. (The bus that I took on the way back to Manila did have this though). 

maria7648
maria7648

I'm finding this story funny! you're a funny man just the way your expressing yours story you have a lot of patience for something like that, I don't .  so thank you for the tips it's helps a lot.  I might be going in a few months and I'm planning to take the victory liner luxury with my fiancé and mind you he's not from the Philippines we'll see :)

Joshua Justice
Joshua Justice

I'm two years late but I have taken this bus several times in the last year. If you take a normal bus, it may end up taking you 8-10 hours, not the 6-7 that they say. For me it's personally worth the extra money to get there without stopping

Robert JA Basilio Jr.
Robert JA Basilio Jr.

Just went to Baguio in October last year. It was quick indeed. Thanks for stopping by.

Joshua Justice
Joshua Justice

thanks! I'm actually going there tomorrow again. My wife is from Baguio and she's pregnant but can't travel till after the baby is due. I live in China so I am flying in and catching the bus there, then I take it back to the airport. I think this will be my 4th trip on the deluxe bus since October!

Joshua Justice
Joshua Justice

ya maybe also write about getting put on a waiting list as well. That's something good for visitors to know about.

Joshua Justice
Joshua Justice

I mean when you are trying to get on a bus. If it is full, you can get on a waiting list and usually get on the bus

Robert JA Basilio Jr.
Robert JA Basilio Jr.

Thanks again for replying. Will be hopping on a deluxe bus soon as well. I'm thinking of writing an update.

ergoproxy
ergoproxy

I took a Victory bus one time going to Baguio at night , and seated right after the toilet. It smells the whole trip. Lessons learned, take seats near the driver.

Nokman
Nokman

Climate change aint a friggin' myth. Those who support this think it a myth because it seems cool to be counter-culture. -_-"

jack
jack

what are the choices? What bus can I take from Manila to Baguio at a reasonable cost and expect reasonable comfort?

Anns Cabell
Anns Cabell

ok someone help me, I don't know which comments to go by at all. I already know what I want, and that is non stop, a/c, movies, comfortable seating. I tried to google LATEST bus fares for 2 back and forth to Baguio and Manila, all the answers I read are from like years ago. So with that in mind I don't know what to think. Can't somebody (anybody) just give me the latest fares on deluxe bus round trip for 2? How hard is it to pass that information on to a first time traveler? Any tips? Anyone or anything I should avoid? Helppppppppppp

1234john
1234john

you can try calling the bus companies. :)

Kat
Kat

Victory Liner now has online reservation. But, you have to book 8 days in advance. Walk-in passengers are also welcome. No need for reservations.

tm
tm

NOW Mark Luther

Superticlao
Superticlao

yung nasakyan ko caloocan to baguio universal aerospace single digit lang yung bus number maganda sya parang deluxe na regular tapos nung pauwi baguio to cubao ganun ulit

TataPete
TataPete

anyone have tried going to sta. cruz zambales? the whole 9 yards from gapo to sta. cruz, victory liner is the only bus company that operates for more than 30 years now...they have monopolized the transportation business in the province...reason? i have no idea how the are doing it, politics maybe... but let's go to the point, i'm just a regular passenger of victory liner since i was in college and to tell you i have seen and noticed some things about Victory Liner. Their buses... IBA and STA. CRUZ route from any point Caloocan, Pasay, Sampaloc offers the oldest "bulok" buses compared to buses going to other routes ex. Baguio, Cagayan etc. Possible reason: "mamili ka...sasakay ka o hindi...eh walang mapagpilian kaya sakay ka na lang" :) pero mero na rin magagandang buses now and may wi-fi lalo yung galing Earnshaw. Their Employees...(particularly Conductors) pag sasakay ka at madami gamit ang babagal compared sa mga conductors na nakaassign sa lugar na may kakumpetensya sila...tsk tsk bad cheetah... Pero like what i said regular passenger ako ng Victory Liner kaya pansin ko naman ang SAFETY ng passengers, magagaling ang mga drivers compared sa ibang mga bus companies, pero meron din naman na nakakalusot na mga kaskasero sana mahuli ng company at warningan (di naman tanggalin kasi may mga pamilya din yun pano pag wala na sila trabaho) Over-all VICTORY LINER is probably the best Bus Company, but best is NOT ENOUGH...improvements are still needed.

Saskou
Saskou

Hope you will change your decision if you ride again.. every first time is not perfect man..

Robert JA Basilio Jr.
Robert JA Basilio Jr.

I will ride again, don't worry. Thanks for reading, commenting. And while at it, you can also read my other blog in which I PRAISED--all caps for emphasis--VL's Manila-Baguio service. http://bit.ly/reBVso Thanks again.

Toy
Toy

I'm on the bus now. It stinks ( I'm next to the toilet). And even though I had told them not to show movies inappropriate for kids, they still did. I told my kids to just look out the window but the language used in the movie is really bad and the kids can still hear it. The stewardess said she'llchange the movie once this one's done coz the other passengers are watching! Sorry to rant on your space!

Robert JA Basilio Jr.
Robert JA Basilio Jr.

Thanks again for visiting. I've said this once before and I'll say this again. I'll try to get in touch with whoever is in charge of the company's online ticketing system and will try to write about it.

Robert JA Basilio Jr.
Robert JA Basilio Jr.

Thanks for your comments and for informing me that the company has upgraded its buses. Yes, I agree that VL is the only one with an online reservation. My question is: why not do it right? Airlines, which have more complicated operations, have online ticketing systems. How difficult can that be? The Philippine government, an entity which the public would prefer not to deal with if that is at all possible, was able to do it. It was able to implement an online passport reservation system. I'm pretty sure VL can implement online reservations but does it want to?

Google [bot]
Google [bot]

I have search several top bus in Luzon, and I only found one active website, and that is Victory Liner. --> www.victoryliner.com

Robert JA Basilio Jr.
Robert JA Basilio Jr.

Go to Victory Liner station along EDSA near Cubao. May pila ho doon. Salamat po.

nina
nina

im going to baguio thi s weekend gusto ko rin sa de luxe pero wla ako idea papano b kahit d maagpa reserve ng ticket direcho bili ng ticket at pano ko malalaman ang alis ng bus san ko sya mahahanap tulong nmn guys pls,, tnx....

Jimbo
Jimbo

Possibly some enterprising Travel Agent could set up a 3rd party system to make the reservations and add a little service fee. They do that in China for the trains. Submit request online to travel agent and they do the legwork and deliver the ticket to your hotel. I'm in US and wish there was an online way because the next day after my flight arrives on 7/3 I want to go to Bontoc but they might be filled up with only 1 day advance purchase.

Robert JA Basilio Jr.
Robert JA Basilio Jr.

Reservations don't get filled up that quickly since it's not the height of summer any longer. I could do it for you for a fee except that that would be too enterprising of me, wouldn't it? Thanks for reading, commenting.

redster
redster

I love VL's de luxe... har har.

Robert JA Basilio Jr.
Robert JA Basilio Jr.

Ako rin naman ah. :) I just wish VL would do away with the lines by enabling real-time online ticket reservations and payment.

Benny Go
Benny Go

I just read the terms and conditions for the online reservation of Victory Liner, and just the same you have to fall in line in Metrobank to pay the bus fares and cough out another 100 pesos for delivery of the tickets. If VL really wanted a good service for their customers through online booking, accept payment of credit cards online and send e-mail copies of the ticket for printing by the customers like airline ticketing online. Maybe VL will not agree with this suggestion as its management would not want to lessen their income by paying service charge to the cradit cards companies. What can you say?

Robert JA Basilio Jr.
Robert JA Basilio Jr.

Thanks for visiting, commenting, Benny. One of these days I ought to write a separate blog about VL's online ticketing system. I still can't understand why they can't migrate to a real-time, online system.

kazandoryu
kazandoryu

Apparently some people do not have a sense of sarcastic humor. Anyhow, it's (supposedly) nice to know that Victory now has an online ticketing system. Yeah, you can check their website. Unfortunately, when I tried booking for a reservation last December for a February trip, I called up VL and asked for instructions. the other party told me to make a reservation one week before the desired date of the trip ONLY. So, moving on to seven days before the trip, I went again to the site, and voila, it said that one needs to book at least 8 days before because the ticket would have to be paid over-the-counter though banks and delivered by courier. Blah. So then I opted to devote my time to fall in line at the terminal to buy tickets ahead of time. The ticket has seat numbers, yes. But when we got on the bus on our trip date, we had a bit of a squabble as there were already other people sitting on our seats. Talk about reservations! Actually I wouldn't mind having to fall in line, being the patient person that I am. It's just that other than the Jurassic ticketing system, they have a hard time managing their reservation and boarding schemes. Because they are a major player in the passenger transport industry, I think it's their responsibility to provide quality service to the paying public. Or maybe is it because the public have grown accustomed to these dinosaur-era ways that they don't bother anymore? Just my two cents.

Robert JA Basilio Jr.
Robert JA Basilio Jr.

Thank you for that comment and for sharing your experience. Nice to know that someone agrees with my views, however supposedly sarcastic. :)

SUSKU
SUSKU

Quote "ticket has seat numbers, yes. But when we got on the bus on our trip date, we had a bit of a squabble as there were already other people sitting on our seats. Talk about reservations!" It is written in the terms of you ticket, that you must be at the terminal 20 min before the departure. hmm.. and 5 min before they take chance passenger to obtain the blank seat, even it is reserved.