There are many reasons why you should not go for Isarog’s sleeper bus to Bicol, or any other bus for that matter.
Between a 10-hour butt-numbing ride inside a freezing cold bus and a 45-minute flight that almost always costs just as much, taking road trips isn’t always comfortable (and let’s not even get to the snoring bus seatmate from hell part).
But as it happens—and as this blog post’s title would suggest—here are some reasons why you should, even just for one time, try giving your butts some break.
But before anything else, an important note to the reader: I am NOT connected in any way to the bus line. This post is an honest review of my experience with their sleeper bus in April 2012, which I’m sharing with you in the hope of helping you. I did not receive any remuneration for this post from anybody and I paid for my bus ticket in full.
1. Wide beds.
Taking this ride might have been the closest I got to a first-class plane cabin, although they don’t serve Dom Perignons here [see what does]. The beds–all 20 of them–are wide enough for two of me to fit in, which is just about the widest I needed for a proper snooze. They’re done in camel-colored faux leather and can be reclined–a much better bargain than pillows. Your bunk is all the space you will get, so you can either place your bags at the end of your bed or at a small gap below the headrest.
2. No seatmates!
Although this doesn’t guarantee you won’t be hearing snoring episodes from your neighbors, you’re still well away from everyone else and all the possible noise they produce. Each bunk also has a curtain for more peace and privacy, and you’ll have your individual light should you wish to read during the trip.
I was beyond joy when I found out each bunk had an electric outlet (thank God for people who think of everything!). I was able to charge my already dying phone, which managed to stay alive long enough until our third day in Calaguas [see Calaguas posts here] a far-off island in Bicol that had no outlets and phone signal.
This is pretty obvious, but hey, you don’t get that in all 10-hour bus routes here in the country.
I’ve always despised bus rides for the long hours I spent in them, barely able to sleep and do anything productive in my waking hours. But this one gave me a good seven-hour shuteye, although moving along with it on a horizontal position needed some getting used to at first. It’s a bit on the steep side though compared with other bus trips to Bicol–P1,200 for the lower bunk and P1,000 for the upper bunk from Manila (Cubao) to Naga. But I was more than happy to have slept through the trip–something most probably impossible if we took the regular airconditioned buses, which charge half as much. And besides, we really needed all the rest we could get, because a really long day had been waiting for us.
- The upper bunk could get a bit colder during the trip than the lower bunk for obvious reasons.
- They don’t provide blankets, so bring a sarong or jacket.
- Reserve your tickets in advance as there are only 20 slots in the bus, and they count in the passengers coming from their Pasay terminal too. You may call their Cubao ticketing office (located at the Araneta Bus Terminal) at +6329133551.
- Payments are also required at their ticketing office before 5 PM on your day of departure (which we found very inconvenient, but whatever). The bus departs daily from the Araneta Bus Terminal in Cubao at 9 PM. You need to be there 30 minutes before your ETD.
- And yes, no WiFi.
UPDATE (September 9, 2012): Isarog has set up a Twitter account and is regularly posting schedules & other updates. Follow them: @BICOLISAROG
(January 20, 2014): You may contact their booking office/s in Manila at these numbers: 09178894713, 7278194, 3810840, 4821600. Contact numbers obtained from this Facebook page.
Check out their Facebook page for more info. This is not a sponsored post.