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Overnight Bus to Banaue

PHILIPPINES | Tuesday, 11 November 2014 | Views [672]

Welcome to Banaue Terraced Rice Paddies

Welcome to Banaue Terraced Rice Paddies

LOYAL FOLLOWERS OF THIS JOURNAL MAY REMEMBER our vow to avoid long-distance bus travel at all costs.  Sadly, a bus — an overnight bus at that — is the only way to get from Manila to Banaue and other places in northern Luzon.  To complicate matters Manila has several areas from which buses depart, spread all over the city.  So after our flight from Mindanao we had to find the Ohayami “terminal,” book tickets and wait around for the ten PM departure.  Shakey’s is the Philippines answer to PizzaHut (and a great place to wait) , and every bit as tasty.  We hung around after dinner using their free wi-fi until it was time for our bus.

An overnight bus eliminates the need for a room but the price you pay in discomfort is high.  Last night’s bus had arctic air-con and everyone was freezing.  The seats were uncomfortable and had no leg room — no sleeper seats here.  To top it off there was a fifth row of seats that folded into the isle after the two-plus-two seats were filled.  We survived the ten-hour trip but are not looking forward to our return journey on Friday night.

On the plus side, the Banaue Hotel had a room ready for us at nine this morning.  It doesn’t look like much from the outside but our room is simple and spacious with nice views of the valley, mountains and terraced rice paddies.  The two-thousand year old rice paddies are another World Heritage site and the reason tourists bother to make the trip to Banaue.  There is ample trekking in the area and, we hope, some decent birding.  But that will have to wait until tomorrow.  We are too bushed to do much today.



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