Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hotel Cosmopolitan Baguio review

We stayed at Hotel Cosmopolitan for an overnight stay in Baguio. We booked with Agoda only 3 days before our date of arrival so we haven’t got the chance to get an early booking discount. We chose the Standard – Queen Bed with breakfast included and requested that two single beds be given instead. If possible, call the hotel the next day after getting the confirmation details from Agoda especially when you have special requests so you could make sure that they take note of it.

From Victory Liner terminal in Baguio, we just took a taxi ride going to Hotel Cosmopolitan. I can’t remember the exact fare but I think it was around 50php – 70php. And as what others say, taxi drivers in Baguio are truly the best in giving change. They would give you your change up to the last peso (or maybe centavo if available? J)  Most taxis here are like FX taxis (or whatever you call them) which is bigger than common taxis in Manila, maybe because veggies are cheaper here and these taxis are mostly used to transport those fresh vegetables around the city (not sure)And also, aircon on taxis are not used here, for obvious reasons.

We arrived at the hotel past 9am. We tried asking if we could have an early check-in but we were told that there is still someone occupying the room so we just left our bags at the reception area and went back around before 2pm. We still waited a couple of minutes because they are still cleaning the room. So no chances of early check-in. Alright

 and after - haha!
The room was just enough for two people. They have this space near the door which I hoped they used to put the cabinet at instead of fitting it in beside the beds which made the space look smaller. No mini bar and ref was available thus the reason why they don’t have required deposit upon check-in. 

Windows are available for you to see the walls from the building. Noise from the cars outside can be heard if you will open the windows in the side of the street so better just shut it.
The bathroom is small. The shower is separated from the toilet by a transparent door, and this is not a sliding door, it is a door that opens going inside the shower area. There is no place to hang your towel and shower head can’t be moved. Nonetheless, it served its purpose. And hot and cold adjustment is available. 

Bed is just enough for one person, that is why it’s called a single bed. Hehe. Anyway, it also served its purpose.  It’s not that soft but it’s bearable, at least. Pillows are thin and I don’t know why. Haha! Just fold it in half if you want your head be elevated.

They also have aircon on standby which can be used with additional fee. During our stay in January, the cold breeze can still be felt and there’s no need for an aircon. TV is working with cable channels. They have two electric sockets, one beside the table and one behind the TV, just pull out the plug for the lamp so you could use it.

Good morning Baguio!

Breakfast is served in the lobby. You are given this menu and you choose what you want and they will cook and serve it after a couple of minutes.

Not included in the choices for free breakfast :)

 I chose Longganisa and orange juice
Mama chose Beef Tapa with coffee
They have free wifi but you have to go to their lobby or outside your room, just get the code from the receptionist. Anyway, they have couches and chair in the hallway of each floor so you could seat there if the wifi doesn’t reach your room. 

Because we stayed here on a weekend, we went to Church for the Sunday Mass at St. Vincent Church which is just steps away from Hotel Cosmopolitan.

Overall, Hotel Cosmopolitan is just right for its rate. It is clean though the bathroom is a bit small. If you want a nice view, this is not the hotel for you but if you want strategic location then you may include this in your options. Given their rate, I don’t expect a great view or any grand stuff, a place with a bed, bathroom and tv is all that I expected from them. Maybe we would stay here again or maybe we will try Hotel Caterina next time.

Distance from tourist spots:

*10min. walk going to Burnham Park

-     - Walk straight ahead on the street in front of the hotel. Turn right when you reach the city hall/fire station then turn left when you see Rizal Park, Burnham Park is just in front of Rizal Park. Or you could also ride a jeep in front of the hotel going to that direction.

*20 - 30min. jeep ride going to Bell Church and Strawberry farm

- 11php is the jeep fare going to Strawberry farm. Just cross the street and wait for a jeep with a signboard “La Trinidad” or “Dangwa”. The direction of the jeep is to the right when facing Hotel Cosmopolitan. Strawberry Farm is farther than Bell Church. Bell Church is on the right side of the road and near the arch saying “Welcome to La Trinidad”. Strawberry farm is in the left side of the road. There is a big sign pointing towards the road going to Strawberry farm.

*20min. taxi ride from Mines View Park to Hotel Cosmopolitan

- We took the jeep , which also took 20 mins., at Mabini St. near Harrison Rd. going to Mines View Park and paid 10php. (Detailed direction in the next post)

*15min. walk to Baguio market

-that is only an approx. because we took the jeep going there. (jeeps going to the street in front of the hotel) But if you want, you can walk straight ahead in the street in front of the hotel until you reach Abanao Square then turn right and you will see the front of Baguio market.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Victory Liner: Deluxe and Regular Aircon Bus review

I just recently got back from an overnight Baguio trip with Mama. We went last Saturday and went back the next day. I bought our tickets last Tuesday for our first class deluxe ticket going to Baguio from Pasay at 1:15am. Their twitter account is active so you could ask there for available trips, schedule, fare and others. They don't accept reservations on the phone neither on Twitter. Tickets could be only paid and claimed in the terminal where you will depart meaning you can't just buy two way ticket and meaning you have to just buy your ticket as soon as you arrive in Baguio... Tickets sell fast because there were only a few seats left when i went around 8pm last Tuesday, or maybe because the trip I booked was a weekend trip. Good thing there was still 2 adjacent seats though the sad part is it is already in the back part of the bus.
We arrived at Pasay terminal before 1:00 and 15 chance passengers were already waiting in line. We hopped on the bus and was given complimentary snacks by the stewardess,

 a small mamon, mr. chips and a bottled water. 

The bus left the terminal at 1:10 as soon as all the seats are all taken. I think none of the chance passengers were able to hop in because only two seats lefts when we entered the bus.
The bus do have 26 seats, with only 3 seats in a row except on the back part which had 4. In all fairness to Victory Liner, the bus is really spacious, enough for all the seats to be reclined without compromising the space of the person in front or behind. 

The portalet is situated in the middle section of the bus. 
  the inside :)

Lights are turned off minutes after we left the terminal to let the passengers catch some sleep. The trip was very comfortable. No foul smell lingering and the seats still look presentable so I could say that they do proper maintenance of their bus which should obviously be a protocol in all the buses in the Philippines. (*ehem* Ayala Leveriza buses, etc. *ehem*). One thing that i just noticed is there overhead compartment only have a small cramped space and the last 2 rows doesn't even have it. So if you have a bulging backpack, it can't obviously fit in the overhead. If you don't want to place your bag on the floor like me, you may just opt to place it beside your feet when you recline your chair. 
The trip was very smooth sailing. The bus was even moving slowly, around 60km/hr I think, which was perfect because I honestly, I dread going to Baguio through bus because you have to go through a lot of curvy roads which is very risky for large vehicles.

YouTube on the go! Thanks for the free wifi! :)

We arrived at 6:05 am at the Victory Liner Terminal. So that is only a total of 5 hours from Pasay to Baguio with the bus even traversing in a very safe speed. Hello Baguio! J
Overall, P750 is already a reasonable price for the comfort you gain from this 5-6 hour trip (depends on your scheduled trip). I suppose the 1:15am would be the best schedule to go up to Baguio because you could just sleep the whole trip and wake up to a new morning already in the City of Pines. Book as early as you can because seats for the first class bus sell fast because it only has limited seats. 

And also, don’t forget to buy your ticket back to Manila as you arrived in the Victory Terminal at Baguio. We are only staying overnight in Baguio and we were supposed to buy a deluxe ticket for Sunday back to Pasay, but then… it was already sold out L, in a Sunday morning in January. According to the girl in the ticket counter, all scheduled trip for Sunday is already sold out. Well ok, it was a weekend so maybe it is already given but imagine more so the availability of tickets especially for deluxe buses on the months of Feb. – May and December which are the months where tourists flock in Baguio. Again, Victory Liner doesn’t offer roundtrip tickets so you can only buy your bus ticket from the terminal where you will go on board. So lucky you if you have someone you know who lives in Baguio who can buy you a ticket in advance.

Regular Aircon Bus (Baguio – Pasay)

So we ended up in the Regular Aircon bus going back to Manila. The bus is still clean and presentable so I don’t have really anything against it, though I was just spoiled by the space and comfiness of the deluxe bus. Haha! I was worried on how we will stuff our things once we get in the bus but then I was relieved that the leg room in this bus was enough for your bags full of pasalubongs to fit, though your legs will be cramped a bit in the side. Well, this is better than having your bags in your lap the whole trip. I know there are overhead compartments and the trunk below the bus where you can put your bags, but I just don’t feel it’s safe to leave your bag where you can’t see it. Right?

The bus back to Manila went off around 1:25, which was 5 mins late because they were waiting for some chance passengers. You may want to choose the seats on the side of the driver if you don’t want to be looking on the cliffs going down from Baguio, though the sun is shining in this side.

The bus had 2 stopovers every 2 hrs, one in Sison, Pangasinan and one in Tarlac. Stopovers are enough for you to take a pee or buy some snack, which would be 20 mins at most. Prices of the food are reasonable. The comfort room in Sison bus stop was clean but no flush that time. We bought pancit with puto combo for P35 in Sison bus stop which was really sulit. Mama went down on the next bus stop in Tarlac and went back with a “cheeseburger” and buko shake. Mama said that the burger was a buy 1 take 1 for only 60php that’s why she bought it. Uhh, I think that was a rip off. It was just a small patty in a regular bun like those in local burger stands which would have only cost 35php. So beware of that buy 1 take 1 burger in Tarlac bus stop. It wasn’t even good, plain burger with a small slice of cheese. Mas masarap pa Angel’s burger e! Haha!

We arrived at Pasay terminal around 8pm already. That is almost 7 hrs on the road! Anyway, as long as we head back home safe, all is well. Traffic at night, most especially in Manila, is inevitable so you really have to expect to have a longer trip if you are scheduled beyond 12pm. 

Deluxe Bus


La-Z-Boy type of seat
approx. 5hr trip
with portalet
Complimentary snack
No stopover
with single seats
Adjustable aircon


No overhead compartment for the last 2 rows at the back
More expensive compared to regular aircon
Sells out fast
Limited trips in a day
Book in advance

Regular Aircon Bus

Cheaper (445php)
You can buy snacks during stopovers
Hourly trips
With bigger leg room compared to normal city buses
You can buy tickets on the spot

Approx. 6-7hr trip.
No portalet inside
Less space compared to Deluxe Bus

The choice depends on your preference.
If you want a very comfy and fast trip and you don’t mind the limited number of scheduled trips available. Take the Deluxe bus! If you just want to go to Baguio and on a budget or time restricted, you may opt to choose Regular Aircon.
Have a safe trip!

PS. To Victory Liner, please have an online booking for roundtrip tickets. It is 2014, people! Ok? Thanks in advance! :)

Disclaimer: I’m in no terms related to /or sponsored by Victory Liner. So everything stated here is unbiased and based solely on what I experienced and may differ from others due to varying circumstances.