Travelling by bus in the Philippines
For budget travellers, taking the bus for a road trip is certainly the most preferable as it is cheap and convenient. It may not be as convenient as the taxi, but you get to sit comfortably and pay for a bus ticket which is much cheaper than a standard taxi fare. There are lots of buses to choose from, from luxury liners to simple buses with air-conditioning and small TVs. You can also choose to travel by a cheaper bus service, but I do not recommend it if you can’t stand the country’s heat!
The express buses are normally for those who cannot afford to travel by plane although there are some middle-class citizens who would travel by bus to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the country. I would travel by bus to enjoy the view too; I should see trees and clouds, rather than just clouds. As many bus companies in the country offer charting services, travelling by bus is also a great choice for those who go out in groups for special trips. Not only will travellers get to enjoy the country’s natural beauty, they’ll also get to save more on petrol since driving in today’s world is very expensive. If you are going for a long journey, try to avoid yourself from drinking too much; otherwise, you may need to ask the bus driver to stop you here and there just for the sake of going to the bathroom. Do some research on the bus schedule prior to your departure.
Wherever you go, it is important for you to practise safety precautions in case of emergency. Here are some safety tips:
(i) Always inform your friends and family about your whereabouts
(ii) Jot down the phone number of the bus company and share it with those you trust, such as your family members or close friends
(iii) Do not expose your money or talk about it in public (money brings evil to some)
(iv) Avoid wearing expensive jewellery. Dress simple. You’re on a holiday after all
(v) Make sure you have small change with you. Coins will come in handy, especially if you need to make important calls by public phones
(vi) Don’t dress provocatively as it may draw unwanted attention. There are also some regions in the country that take dressing etiquette seriously
Travelling for long hours can be pretty tedious. Some people find sleeping enjoyable whilst some do not. Try some of these tips to keep you company:
(i) Take an MP3 player with you
Listening to music can entertain you while you observe the country’s surroundings, or even better, put you to sleep! Be sure to charge your MP3 player before you get on the bus. Most music gadgets these days can run for 2 hours, or more, depending on their battery life span.
(ii) Read a book
Reading book may sound boring to some, but you’ll enjoy it even more once the story gets more exciting. I am not a bookworm, but there are times when I enjoy reading novels and short stories (simply to find out the ending of the story). Reading one book won’t kill, but it would help you to kill time 🙂
(iii) Talk to the person next to you
You may not be able to talk to the person throughout the journey, but this is the least that you can do to entertain yourself, especially when the journey is about to begin. A simple introduction of yourself can potentially lead you to a continuous and exciting conversation
(iv) Watch something
Most long journey buses would have a small TV in it. Whatever you see on TV, watch it! When I was on my way to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, I actually watched 3 movies in a row. I couldn’t sleep like the others. Hence, watching TV was the only thing that I had to do to keep me entertained throughout my 7 hours road journey.
(v) Play Sudoku
As most roads tend to be bumpy, drawing or writing in the bus can be pretty annoying. However, playing Sudoku only requires you think and jot down numbers on the question’s empty boxes. How hard can it be anyway? If you know how to play Sudoku, consider this idea and try it. If you have never played it, ask a friend who knows how to play it to teach you. It’s fun! If the game makes you sleepy afterwards, go to sleep; a great remedy for sleeping I would say. 🙂