Baler 2013: The Fun Bus Is Always More Expensive

February 25, 2013

It seems like every first paragraph of my posts this month have been about how I've slacked on writing and how I didn't make time to chronicle the beautiful moments that have passed. So let me just cut off the chase and tell you that the first month of 2013 has been awesome.

For starters, we went to the Genesis Transport Services Terminal along Cubao. We were reserved on the 2nd JoyBus going to Baler. As expected, the bus was full and it departed on time. (Read: Bawal ang fashionably late. *cough* Jenn *cough* Yes, I just cough-mocked myself.)
The price of a one-way ticket in a JoyBus is Php700. There are two trips: one that leaves at midnight and one that leaves at 1:30 AM. I overheard our *steward tell another passenger that the next JoyBus won't leave until 5 AM in the morning. 
I bought our 9 tickets. Guess whose name got misspelled?
Mind you, the seats always get sold out, especially during the peak season (summer months). It's best if you can reserve your seats at least one week before your travel date. It is also important to note that you won't be able to reserve/buy seats for the Baler-Manila Joybus trips as it is only exclusive in their Baler ticketing office. I think Genesis should invest in an online ticketing system to make the booking process hassle-free. 
*Yes, steward/stewardess. They have one per trip! The Joybus is basically a bus that seats 28 people, all in lazy boy seats. They boast of a nonstop trip to their destination, and for that they offer a restroom facility, pillows, blankets, snacks and free Wifi. 
What I love about travelling that early is that we could beat the traffic, allowing us to arrive earlier than expected. Twice I have ridden a JoyBus from Manila, and twice we clocked exactly 5 hours since we left the bus terminal. Via a regular bus, it would take 6-7 hours.

At the Baler bus terminal

My only qualm with the trip was the AC. Jam and I already turned off ours but it was still way too cold, making it really hard for us to sleep. What I liked this time, though, was that I actually got to connect to their Wifi. It was fast in most areas but dead at some parts of the trip.

Another improvement is that their ticketing office is now inside terminal premises. See the photo of the bus above? The office is right in front of it, whereas there was a time where the office doubled as the ticket officer's house, far from the terminal.  At least now it's more convenient. We booked out return tickets as soon as we got off the bus.
Contact details for your reference
Unlike my first Baler trip last year, this time we actually stayed for more than 24 hours in Aurora. We were only booked in Bay-ler View Hotel for one night (Yup, same hotel) but we spontaneously decided on staying until the next day. I'd say no one really wanted to leave the Php 1400 round trip JoyBus fare to waste on a one-day trip. (Now that I think about it, that can already be the airfare to Puerto Princesa.)

Will I take the JoyBus again? Absolutely! I have tried the regular bus and it was not fun. My back hurt from the 7-hr ride. The pain and wifi is worth more than your additional 350 pesos, trust me.

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