A Review of Coda Lines and PinoyTravel

Related Posts:

Sagada: DIY Itinerary and Expenses

Where to Stay in Sagada: Misty Lodge and Cafe

Where to Eat in Sagada

While I was researching for our Sagada trip, my biggest concern was how we would get there. Almost all the blogs I found about Sagada mentioned going to Banaue or Baguio first, then transferring to another mode of transportation going to Sagada. There had to be a more convenient way to get there without renting a van.

Good thing I found Coda Lines on Facebook. They offer direct trips from Quezon City to Sagada daily and the fare is almost the same as other means of getting to Sagada. So convenient!

My next concern was how to reserve seats in Coda Lines. From their Facebook page, I realized that it was best to reserve a few weeks in advance for our trip because the seats can fill up fast. But I was too lazy to go to their office in Cubao. LOL. My laziness led me to discover PinoyTravel ❀

PinoyTravel

PinoyTravel is an online bus booking reservation system here in the Philippines. They have partnered with several transport companies to enable passengers to book their trips in advance.

Transport company partners of PinoyTravel

Transport company partners of PinoyTravel. Take from PinoyTravel’s website.

They have a pretty good reach as they offer bus routes to Visayas and Mindanao as well. You may click here to view the complete list of routes.

Some featured routes of PinoyTravel. Taken from PinoyTravel's website.

Some featured routes of PinoyTravel. Taken from PinoyTravel’s website.

Booking a trip through PinoyTravel is very easy. Here are the steps I went through:

  1. I chose the origin, destination and date of my trip from the homepage.

    Step 1: Search trip

    Step 1: Search trip

  2. The site returns a list of all trips available, clicked “Book Seats” on my preferred schedule, and indicated the number of seats I will be purchasing.

    Step 2: Book seats

    Step 2: Book seats

  3. Next, I indicated my email address and mobile number so I can receive my reservation confirmation and any updates about my trip.

    Step 3: Fill out details

    Step 3: Fill out details

  4. Payment is the last step and I was happy to discover that I had a variety of options regarding the payment channel. PinoyTravel adds a service charge to the base fares. These service fees vary according to the payment mode. From my experience, online banking as a payment option incurs the lowest service charge while paying through Paypal/credit card has the highest charge.
    Step 4: Pay for the seats

    Step 4: Pay for the seats

    PinoyTravel's payment channels. Taken from PinoyTravel's website.

    PinoyTravel’s payment channels. Taken from PinoyTravel’s website.

  5. After payment, a voucher was sent to my email. I had to print this voucher and present it to Coda Lines office so they can give me the actual ticket. A printed version is required. Bus companies do not honor screenshots of the voucher.
  6. My travel details also appeared under the “My Reservation” tab in PinoyTravel’s website. This was possible because I created an account on the site.

Overall, I am satisfied with PinoyTravel’s service. The convenience of not having to go to the booking office or taking a chance on the day of travel is worth the additional service charge in my opinion. πŸ™‚ One tiny thing I wish on their service is that they add an option for passengers to select their preferred seats on the bus. We only found out our assigned seats when Coda Lines gave us the actual tickets for the trip.

Coda Lines

Coda Lines is (I think) the only bus company that offers direct trips from Quezon City to Sagada. I am so thankful for this fact, especially during our trip to Sagada, because we were able to sleep 90% of the time. The seats are so comfy and featured a head support which meant there were no stiff necks when we wake up. I didn’t have to use my neck pillow because of this πŸ™‚ The buses were either new or well maintained which was a plus.

Our bus to Manila is well maintained but collected some mud along the way. It was a rainy/foggy day.

Our bus to Manila is well maintained but collected some mud along the way. It was a rainy/foggy day.

Coda Lines is located in Monte de Piedad cor. Maryland Street in Cubao. If you are on the southbound side of EDSA, they can be found after Solid North and behind Mang Inasal. They are co-lated with HM Transport.

Their daily trips to Sagada are scheduled to leave at 9:00 PM. We arrived at the terminal 30 minutes before departure so we can exchange the voucher from PinoyTravel for actual tickets. Good thing I booked early on because there was a long line of chance passengers for Sagada. There were two buses leaving for Sagada. The staff brilliantly thought of lumping all passengers headed for Sagada in one bus and other passengers who would alight in other places in another. This meant that our bus can take an alternate route and get to Sagada faster. Yay! πŸ™‚

Interiors of Coda Lines buses. All seats had a head support which made our necks feel very grateful.

Interiors of Coda Lines buses. All seats had a head support which made our necks feel very grateful.

Our bus left at 9:30 PM because of some late passengers. In my opinion, they should have given the seats to chance passengers as penalty for the latecomers. I was awake until our first stopover just before TPLEX for a midnight snack. After that I and the boyfriend were off in dreamland until we arrived in Sagada. We almost missed our stop if the conductor didn’t repeat the name of our lodge. LOL. We arrived in Sagada after 10 hours of travel.

Trips to and from Sagada included a stopover in Pink Pantry. The food is okay here with reasonable prices.

Trips to and from Sagada included a stopover in Pink Pantry. The food is okay here with reasonable prices.

For our trip back to Manila, we also left late. It turns out that Coda Lines picked up passengers from Sagada via jeep to take them to Bontoc. From there, we would transfer to the buses headed to Manila. We were late to leave Sagada because us passengers couldn’t fit in only one jeep. The staff had to call for another one and we had to wait. It was a miss on Coda Lines’ part not to count the passengers and plan our transport to Bontoc accordingly. They seemed surprised that we couldn’t fit and tried to tell us to find enough room. There were 6 of us who couldn’t fit in the first jeep (even with all the baggage in topload) and there were 3 other passengers they had to pick up along the way. Instead of departing at 2 PM, we left just before 3 PM. In Bontoc, we found the buses waiting for us and it was another 30 minutes before we left the terminal.

For those curious, the stopovers are:

  • Mt. Polis – we were able to buy lots for fresh vegetables here
  • Banaue Rice Terraces View Deck – if the weather is clear. However, it was so foggy when we passed by so the driver didn’t stop
  • Nueva Vizcaya – I am not sure which town though.
Vegetable shopping in Mt. Polis

Vegetable shopping in Mt. Polis

I would definitely recommend getting on Coda Lines to take you to Sagada. The seats are so comfy and the driver is very careful. Though it would be best to reserve your seats way ahead, especially for weekend and holiday travels. And just have patience with the delays. πŸ™‚

For a complete list of routes by Coda Lines, you may check their Facebook page.

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How to Apply for a Korean Visa for Filipino Employees

South Korea Series:

8-Day South Korea Budget and Itinerary (Seoul +Β Jeju)

Exploring Seoul

Adventures in Jeju

Where to Stay in Hongdae,Β Seoul

What I Ate in SouthΒ Korea

I am so happy and excited that the Korean Embassy approved my visa application. The process was very simple and painless, though I must admit that I feared that my application would be denied. I submitted all the requirements but my paranoia just kicked in. I didn’t find peace until I saw the visa inserted in my passport. LOL.

Where to apply:

The Embassy of the Republic of Korea is located in Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center in Taguig. I rarely go to that area but it so happened that I had to attend a training in one of our offices in Taguig. The embassy was only walking distance away and I took the opportunity to apply then. From MRT-Ayala Station, I just grabbed an Uber to take me to the embassy. The fare was only around Php 100.

Tourist visa requirements for employees:

The list of requirements for visa application can be found at the embassy’s website. There are different sets of requirements for individuals, but I fell under the “for employees” category so I procured the documents I needed to apply:

  1. Application Form – can be downloaded from this link. I filled it out completely and honestly. I typed in all my details. However, I had to erase and rewrite some of the information once it was printed out. I thought the erasures narrowed down my chances of getting approved.
  2. 1 piece of Passport size colored picture – paste this photo on the space provided in the application form. For reference, I had a white background in the photo. Although the embassy doesn’t have any preference for the background color, I think.
  3. Original Passport – should be valid for more than 6months
  4. Photocopy of Passport Bio-page (page 2)
  5. Original & Photocopy of valid visa/s and arrival stamps to OECD member countries for the past 5 years (If applicable only) – didn’t apply to me. But applicants who do are exempted from submitting an ITR and processing of application takes 3 business days (instead of 5).
  6. Original Certificate of Employment – must include applicant’s position, date hired, compensation, office address, HR landline number (cell-phone number is not allowed), HR e-mail address. I made sure that all the needed information was included in my COE
  7. Original Personal Bank Certificate – must include account type, current balance, account opening date, ADB. I was very specific with the details to include when I requested this from my bank.
  8. Bank Statement – original or certified true copy of bank statements/passbook for the last 3 months
  9. ITR (Income Tax Return) or Form 2316 Copy
  10. Copy of PRC Card or IBP Card (If applicable only) – didn’t apply to me
  11. Invitation Letter – didn’t apply to me. If the applicant was invited by a Korean or by a company in Korea, the invitation letter must be submitted along with the invitor’s passport or ID (if by Korean) or with the business permit (if by Korean company)

The application process

The embassy only accepts applications from 8:30am to 11am on Mondays-Fridays (excluding holidays). The receiving area was full when I came in, however I was pleasantly surprised that it only took me less than 30 minutes to submit my application. When I arrived, the guards pointed me to the receiving area where I lined up to get my number. Reminders were posted all around the embassy that the documents need to be arranged according to how they are listed in the requirements. This made it easier for the officers to check if my documents were complete and they gave me a number right away.

As soon as my number was called, I went up to the applicants’ window and submitted all my documents. The receiving officer again checked if my documents were complete, gave me a claim stub and told me to go back after 5 business days for my passport… And that was it! I spent less than 30 minutes at the embassy.

I went back again after 5 business days to claim my passport. Releasing is from 1:30pm to 4pm on Mondays-Fridays (excluding holidays). I arrived at the embassy a few minutes before 4pm and there were few people left. I presented my claim stub and received my passport in less than 15 minutes. I was so happy to see my visa inserted in my passport. Almost everything is ready for my Korea trip! I just have to prepare my wallet. πŸ˜€

Note: Visa application is FREE if the applicant plans to stay in Korea for less than 60 days πŸ™‚

GetGo Membership Card

Finally! After months and months of waiting, my GetGo Membership Card has arrived! It took 6 months for Cebu Pacific to deliver my card which was very frustrating. I don’t even know what caused the delay.

GetGo sent me 2 cards either by mistake or because they thought sending me 2 will ease my frustration from waiting for 6 months for this

GetGo sent me 2 cards either by mistake or because they thought sending me 2 will ease my frustration from waiting 6 months for this.

What is GetGo?

GetGo is the newest lifestyle rewards program that gives members free flights just by flying with Cebu Pacific and earning points through their everyday spend with GetGo’s merchant partners. These points can be used to buy free flights and add-ons from Cebu Pacific.

When this rewards program was launched, I immediately registered as a member. Since I frequently flew with Cebu Pacific, it seemed logical to sign up, earn points and get free flights πŸ˜€

The registration process was easy and intuitive. I just went to their website and filled out my details. After the registration process, I was given a membership number that I can use to redeem rewards or flights. This is GetGo’s website: www.GetGo.com.ph

GetGo also gives out membership cards for a fee which members can present to GetGo merchant partners to avail discounts and earn points. This is where my frustration with GetGo began.

GetGo Card Gets Delayed for 6 Months!

At first, I didn’t request for a GetGo card. Back then, there was no existing promotions with GetGo merchant partners and the only way to earn points was flying with Cebu Pacific.

When GetGo launched their promotions, I decided to request for my membership card. I passed by a GetGo booth at the airport terminal once and asked if I could get my card there. The staff told me that the booth was for new members only. Since I was already an existing member, I had to request for my card through their website. I did just that and paid Php 100 for the delivery. The standard waiting time for the GetGo cards to be delivered was up t0 20 business days.

20 business days passed by but my card didn’t arrive. It took 3 follow up emails, a phone call to their hotline and a long, slightly irate message to their Facebook page before a courier knocked on my door to deliver my card. I placed my request last February 17 and my card arrived on August 31… 1 day after I sent my long letter to their Facebook page. I wonder if my card would still have arrived if I followed up nicely and politely like I did the previous times.

The arrival of my card meant that I can now present my card to GetGo’s merchant partners to earn points and avail discounts. I am specially interested to get discounts from their partner hotels for some staycation. Members can view the current promotions here: https://www.getgo.com.ph/web/getgo/promos

The GetGo Card

When the courier handed the GetGo packet, I was surprised to find 2 cards there. It seemed that they sent me the card that got delayed and produced a new one for me.

I was wondering why there was a rubber band around the envelope.

I was wondering why there was a rubber band around the envelope.

The cards are housed in a very nice and sturdy envelope which I kept to use for my documents. πŸ™‚

It turned out that there were 2 separate envelopes in the packet.

It turns out that there were 2 separate envelopes in the packet.

The cards they sent me were of different designs but had the same information printed. So I can use either of them.

The cards came with a 1-page pamphlet with all the relevant details

The cards came with a 1-page pamphlet with all the relevant details

The page that came with the cards contains information regarding the benefits of GetGo, how to activate the card, and how to redeem points for free flights. The back side contains the Terms and Conditions for membership in GetGo.

Both the card designs were nice. When I ordered, these were only the 2 available designs, but GetGo has added 3 more designs since. I stored the beach card for safekeeping/as a souvenir and put the bike card in my wallet. I honestly can’t remember which design I requested, but the bike design is nice to have with me as a constant reminder that I need to learn how to ride a bike. LOL. πŸ˜€

Another card added to my wallet.

Another card added to my wallet.

I just hope that my future transactions with GetGo go smoothly without any hitch or delay.