It wasn’t my first time to visit Baguio but it was my first time to go there via Clark. This trip was brought to me by 1. My Parents Anniversary 2. CebuPac Piso Fare.
The reason I wanted to try the via Clark route was because I wanted to cut the travel time on the bus since Clark is closer to north. And I hate the traffic and taxi cab drivers in Manila. They’re just a bunch of rip-offs.
Flights from Cebu to Clark are very limited. Currently, they only have it on MWFs and just one flight per day by CebuPac. My parents anniversary was on June 8, 2012 so I booked that date at 5-6:20pm so we can spend that weekend in celebration.
Since it’s my first time to try this route, I had vigorously searched the net on how to get to Baguio from this city. And below is a summary of findings from other people’s blogs and reviews and on forums:
1. Buses have scheduled routes that pass by the airport at Clark (DMIA) but latest would be at 6pm.
2. From the airport, you can ride an aircon jeepney which passes by the Clark main gate to SM City Clark to DAU Bus Terminal; fare is at Php 50/person.
3. From DAU Bus Terminal you can ride a bus directly to Baguio or
4. From DAU Bus Terminal, ride a bus with the sign Dagupan and get off at Tarlac to ride a bus going to Baguio.
5. Travel time from Clark to Baguio is approx. 4-5 hrs.
DIOSDADO MACAPAGAL INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (DMIA)
And so we took off on our flight and arrived in Clark on time. The sight from above while we were landing was magnificent. There were a lot of green fields and the houses from above were pretty. The Mt. Pinatubo was even visible from the airport which made me a bit ignoramous.
However, DMIA was bit small and a lot less fancy than the other airports in the Philippines that I’ve been to. The Iloilo airport has much more to boot than theirs.
Sine we arrived at past 6 already and waiting for our baggage made it lot longer, we could no longer catch any bus that would pass by the airport. However, I had already anticipated that so what was next on our itinerary was to have dinner at SM Clark and catch the last full show of Snow White and the Huntsman.
I did not want to arrive in Baguio at the crack of dawn so I intentionally wanted to catch that movie so we could ride a bus at around 12mn and arrive around 5-6 am. This itinerary was all based on the research I had. But later on, you will find that there are a lot of disconnects that got us to a lot of inconvenience.
The first thing to do was to look for the aircon jeepneys. I assumed that these were like SUVs or the FX or L3s and was just termed as such for a shuttle. So when I asked around the airport where to ride a “shuttle” they didn’t know what I was talking about. But when I mentioned the aircon jeepneys, they understood me. And I found out that they were actual jeepneys with airconditioning. Another ignoramous moment there.
CABS AT A FIXED RATE
My father had thought of getting a cab instead from DMIA but based on my experience in Pampanga, taxis here run at a fixed rate. I wasn’t 100% sure though but an attendant at SM Clark confirmed my hypothesis.
As we were leaving the mall at around 11:30pm, we were told that taxis would be at 300php from there to Dau. And since max per taxi was only 4, it would force us to get 2 cabs which will be a total of 600php and the distance from there was only about 2km (total rip-off).
So the security guard told us to ride a tricycle instead which would run at 100php (pakyaw) to the terminal. These tricycles could accommodate a maximum of 4-5 persons but with the luggage we had, we decided to take 2 of them. The kind guard even helped us call for these tricycles since it was already late.
DAU BUS TERMINAL - TARLAC
By the time we were at the terminal (around 12mn), there were no available buses for Baguio already. We asked a Victory Liner conductor since they were my choice of bus line and said that there are no longer any buses available there bound for Baguio. There may be one coming in the next hour but he said it was not a guarantee.
He suggested instead that we ride a bus to Dagupan and get off at Tarlac. From there, we should be able to catch a bus to Baguio for these buses make a pit stop there more often.
And so we did and arrived in Tarlac at around 1am. There were a lot of buses that stopped by bound for Baguio BUT they were all full! As we continued to ask around, we had learned that the buses that stopped here all came from the Manila stations which were most likely booked/full and most of the passengers were bound for Baguio so seats were not being freed up. We even met 2 girls who were waiting at Dau since 10pm and had no luck so they decided then to try it there in Tarlac also.
We did find a bus in which 2 seats were to be freed up in the next town but we had to sit by the aisle on plastic stools in the mean time. And since we were 5, the rest of the 3 had to stay on the said stools for the next 4hrs.
The conductor said that it was not an assurance to ride a bus that could accommodate us all with comfy seats until the morning since it was the weekend. He said it is usually like that especially on Fridays/Saturdays.
And so we had no choice but to suck it up so we would get to our destination. At least my parents could eventually be seated comfortably and us kids still have our youth. We arrived at about 5am with no sleep at all. And thankfully, I made reservations to our hotel so we were able to check in early to get some rest before touring the city.
Below is a breakdown of our expenses just to get to Baguio with comparison to the fare we could have paid if we took the Manila route.
With that said, it would have been a lot wiser to book a flight to Manila and ride a bus there to Baguio. Cebu-Manila has more flight schedules to choose from and the bus ride would have been a lot more comfortable and stress free.
Charge that to my experience and hopefully those who would want to go the same route as well may consider the things I wrote here first before embarking on your journey. Clark may be a good destination if you’d want to take part of their Hot Air Balloon Fest but if it’s just a side trip, don’t do it.
YSAI WAS HERE <3