Laiza’s SMS i recieved 2 hours before our scheduled trip: ‘guys sorry dili ko kakuyog, ingon sila naa daw bagyo and grabe ang lubak sa dalan. sorry kaayo pass lang sa ko.’
anybody who’d receive this kind of message just hours before the trip would go berserk. i had to rely on my quite convincing powers and assure her that there was no storm at all and that the ‘lubak2x na daan’ in Aurora is already history. around 80-90% of the roads leading to Aurora are now concrete. i just had to call her and tell her to pack up fast and we’ll just see each other at the GENESIS Bus Terminal in Cubao, Quezon City. whew! 1 hurdle down.
Off to Baler we go!
all the while i thought this trip is going to be a smooth sailing one. i knew that buses plying the Aurora route doesnt have a 24-hour schedule. they leave Manila the earliest at 12mn, 1am, 2am and the next will be at 430am, 530am and 7am.. since we were on a tight schedule w/ just over the weekend to travel, i planned to take the 12mn bus, early enough for us to have more time to explore Baler in the morning. Much to our dismay, when we arrived at the bus station at around 10pm, the 12MN and the 1AM buses were already full. that left us w/ the 2AM bus as our only choice.
the catch: there are 2 kinds of buses that ply the route, all under Genesis Bus. its their regular bus (aircon deluxe) w/c is priced at P418. w/ a couple of stop overs, the total travel time is 6 hours. the second one, is the Joy Bus, their executive bus w/c is priced at 650P with no stop overs. travel time is 4 and a half hours. obviously besides the price and the total travel time, one of the major (for me) difference is its comfort. deluxe bus is just like the usual aircon buses that i ride for an hour or less. i was quite unsure if i can handle that kind of ride for 6 hours. too bad the 2am bus is the delux bus. well, for the budget conscious in us, we were left with no choice.
we left Manila at around 145am since the bus was already full, we were still traversing EDSA when i got into deep slumber already. i wasnt really sure how many stop overs we had but the last stop over was in Pantabangan Nueva Ecija (remember the great Pantabangan Dam in our HEKASI class?), the last town before we set foot a part of Nueva Vizcaya and finally the province of Aurora. and yeah before i forget, the zigzag part, roughly an hour, was actually the time when we crossed the Sierra Madre mountain range. Carlo and Rovi got sea sick and had a difficult time sleeping while were driving along the zigzag road. me on the other hand didnt have the slightest recall about it because i was totally asleep, the movement inside the bus didnt wake me at all. we finally arrived in Baler at around 830 AM, my back hurt like hell even if i was asleep most of the time.
The Return Trip
if the ‘to’ trip was a bit of a struggle and adventure, the ‘from’ was the exact opposite. it was seamless, no hassle, no backpains and it felt like we were on a business class flight! mind you we had a lady stewardess instead of a male ‘kundoktor’ (add also the lavatory)! we decided that for the return trip, we must gather enough rest and sleep since we came from a strenuous surfing activity. we decided to take the Joy Bus which only has one trip a day that leaves Baler at 3PM and travels none stop to Manila.
i was only able to sleep when we were already in Cabanatuan so i was able to experience the zigzag road they were raving about. and indeed it was quite a crazy nausea-inducing ride with bags dancing left to right and back. we arrived in Manila at around 7PM and finally touched base in Cubao terminal by around 730PM.
Tips and Figures:
Be Early. usually weekends gather many passengers travelling to Baler and Casiguran so chances are you might have little possibility of getting into the 12mn trip. i asked one traveller who got in the said trip and she told me she was already there as early as 8pm.
Direct Manila to Baler Trip Schedule
Genesis Bus Co.
12mn – Joy Bus (650P)
1am – Mla – Casiguran via Baler (418p)
2am – Mla – Casiguran via Baler (418P)
430am – Joy Bus (650P)
530am – Mla – Casiguran via Baler (418p)
730am – Mla – Casiguran via Baler (418p)
For Manila -Cabanatuan – Baler Trip
there are so many buses plying the Manila – Cabanatuan route so there is no problem in choosing what bus to take. e.g. ES Transport, Genesis, Baliaug Transit, 5 star and other local buses.
Cabanatuan to Baler also has a lot of local buses with dynamic schedules. Vans / Vhires are also available.
Baler to Manila
Now here’s the tricky part, when i asked around Cabanatuan if there are frequent trips coming from Baler, i got quite a number of different answers. one said the latest direct trip from Baler to Cabanatuan was at 3pm and another one told me that its 7pm. just to be safe. i strongly suggest you take the 3PM sole direct trip from baler to Manila to avoid any hassle especially if your going to work the next day. what we did was when we arrived, we immediately went to the ‘Genesis garahe’ and looked for the dispatcher and convinced him to reserve us our seats for our return trip. we even offerd him to pay in advance so that we can choose our seats. luckily he agreed. actually when we got into the garahe there were already 3 passengers who reserved their own seats for the 3pm trip.
drink Bonamin. if you get sea sickness when travelling, trust me, the zigzag road was like a theme park ride
Genesis Contact Nos.
Telephone Number: Cubao (02) 4211413 Pasay (02) 8533115