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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.


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.

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  1. Can you name one bus company in the Philippines that has internet reservation?

  2. If you seem to know almost evrything, why don’t you apply at Victory Liner so you can work on automating their reservation system.

    Part of travelling is to be open minded about things as you go along. Be more accepting of realities around you. This is the Philippines you know. Be thankful Victory is coming up with new things as the new Deluxe Buses. I would like to ride in one.

    Enjoy have fun.

  3. Thanks for visiting, Bullitt. I appreciate your candor. What I don’t appreciate is falling in line — it’s so low-tech.

    And yes, I like to think I’m open-minded about things. So open-minded in fact that I’m not about to delete negative comments about what I write. Unlike some people, and perhaps even some companies, I can take criticism.

    You’re not a Victory Liner employee, official, nor shareholder are you?


    N. B. Tell me, what is so bad about implementing an online ticketing system for Victory? I’m not forcing those who want to fall in line and get their tickets at the station to go to the internet to buy reservations. What I’m just asking is to make that option available for those who are not particularly fond of going to a Victory station and falling in line, that’s all.

  4. thank you for this little gem of info. i found it very useful (much more than the victory liner website) as it has confirmed many of my suspicions. still want to get on that bus… so i guess i’ll need to set aside a day to trek to cubao and get in line :-/

  5. Enjoy. Despite the setbacks, it’s still the fastest and most comfortable route to Baguio from Manila. And thanks for visiting.

    Set aside half a day for getting those tickets.

  6. Please visit again. Controversy = more hits for me. You want to fall in line and do things the prehistoric way? Go ahead. But one thing you can be sure of: I won’t be enjoying falling in line, whether that’s at Victory Liner or elsewhere.

  7. If it’s small enough to not become a bother, I don’t think people would mind. Unless of course you’re riding with finicky foreigners. You can also put him/her in a carrier. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  8. 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.

  9. 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?

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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….

  14. Hi! You have good points Sir Robert… I agree with you regarding the Online Reservation… it is low-tech indeed… but we must consider that they’re the only one who offer this kind of system… but yes, they must improve it… kaya naman… and don’t worry, VLI is the best bus company in Northern Luzon so I’m sure, its executives are doing something about it… napaka open-minded ng mga third generation owners…

    But I have to disagree with you regarding the pets… I’m a regular passenger of Victory Liner’s, both Deluxe buses and regular air-conditioned buses, pero I know na bawal sa company policy nila ang pagsakay ng pets inside the bus… maybe, papayag lng sila pag sa Ordinary bus…

    Buses have different standards & Buses lack features and suffer from poor upkeep… as I can see, last November 2010 pa po ito… if I may say, mga 80 series KingLong XMQ6126Y pa lang ang Manila-Baguio line nila… try it now, mas gumanda na yung buses… bus numbers 1 – 10 at mas madami na ang deluxe trips offered sa Baguio by Victory…

    I’m a regular passenger of Victory for 15 years now, and yes, I tried other bus companies, pero iba sa Victory, disciplined na ang mga drivers, magaganda pa ang mga stewardess at higit sa lahat, safe ang byahe… eventhough 5 hours lang ang running time nila

  15. 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?

  16. well, we have the same question to Victory. why not do it right? tama po kayo! I hope that they are looking to your blogs… thank you very much sir! very informative at moving…

    I guess, if they do it right next time, the online reservation system of Victory, you’re one of the reasons why they will be able to get that right… thank you very much sir Robert! :)

    besides, if they really want to prove that they are number 1, then they must not only be contented in providing safe journey to the riding public, but also start thinking innovations that others can’t provide right now… online reservation!

  17. 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.

  18. you can skip VL going to baguio but you can’t skip from falling in line… before you teach anybody to develop a system, teach yourself to fall in line first…. make use of it coz falling in line is everywhere

  19. Thank you for visiting, commenting, and most important of all, teaching me the importance of lines, which as some of my friends would agree, can be done away with in this age.

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

  21. Please read comments of Benny Go a few notches up. But then again, I’m not updated. Have you tried it? If so, is your experience the same as Mr. Go? Thanks for reading, visiting.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. Please read the page again. The instructions are tedious. VL doesn’t even accept credit cards. Of course you can do it via PayPal but why go through PayPal at all?

    Please read comments of Benny Go a few notches up. Have you tried it? If so, is your experience the same as Mr. Go’s? Thanks for reading, visiting.

  25. Just two questions: Have you bought anything online, anything at all? Have you sold or bought any item from eBay, say, or booked a trip on a train, bus, or a plane? (I’ve done all of that so I am familiar with the experience.) Second question: Are you an employee of VL?

  26. 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

  27. 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!

  28. 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

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

  30. 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.