(This is the beginning, AND conclusion, of my series of posts regarding my trip to Sagada and Baguio. As previously stated, i decided to do a little writing experiment, and wrote the posts in reverse order. So, dear reader, you can read these posts of mine either in conventional Part 1-8 order; or for best results, read them in the order i wrote them. Either way, your comments, violent or non-violent, are all welcome!)
"IS THIS ANY WAY TO RUN A BUS COMPANY?"
Due to the news of heavy rains and landslides caused by a major typhoon in the Cordillera Region area, my friend C. and i were unsure whether to push through with our trip or not, until the very last minute.
In fact, most of the few people i had mentioned our trip to were discouraging. In particular, my fresh-faced friend G. exhorted me to stop being pig-headed, and actually believe in the weather forecasts for once. Being indeed pig-headed, i ignored her well-intentioned advice.
C. and i had chosen to take the Cable Tours bus, leaving at 8:30PM bound for Bontoc, as this was the quickest route. From Bontoc, Sagada was just a 45-minute jeepney ride away.
So it was, C. and i found ourselves searching for the Cable Tours bus station somewhere in E. Rodriguez Ave., Quezon City. Which we eventually found, with much difficulty. Why? Because save for the Cable Tours signboard (see above pic), there was nothing to indicate that it was a bus terminal! Instead, their bus was parked inside this ill-lit, grassy parking lot, which looked abandoned.
And it was just one bus. Out of curiousity, we questioned the driver. Turns out Cable Tours has a total of 4 buses in its fleet, and plies only the Bontoc-Manila-Bontoc route. Nothing else.
After waiting for an additional 30 minutes before finally pushing off at 9PM, our air-conditioned bus had a grand total of six passengers, C. and i included. Six!
Doesn't exactly inspire confidence, does it?
C. and i drew up a rough income statement for Cable Tours, based on information from our driver:
Revenues (ticket sales):
Yesterday's trip Bontoc-Manila PHP 6,000 (PHP600 X 10 passengers)
Tonight's trip Manila-Bontoc PHP 3,600 (PHP600 X 6 passengers)
Gasoline PHP10,000 (PHP5,000 per one-way trip X 2)
Net Income (Loss) (PHP )
Hmm. . . . one can only hope they have more passengers taking the bus during other times of the year. Otherwise. . . .
We questioned our driver regarding road conditions, etc. He merely shrugged, and mumbled that the road was still passable "despite the landslides". Not totally reassuring, but we'll settle for it.
Finally, we are off!!!
(The Cable Tours bus station, err parking lot, is located along E. Rodriguez Ave., Quezon City, facing Trinity College and right beside a couple of fast-food restos beside St. Luke's Hospital.
Daily 8:30PM departures bound for Bontoc, except during the low season, during which trips are only on M-W-F evenings. Total travel time is estimated at 12 hours, with 3 rest stops along the way. Fare is PHP600.00 per person.
Contact them at 0918 5216790)