I am amazed at how much faster it is to travel to Baguio now compared to when I was a student there. The last time I visited was in 2017 for our company’s strategic planning, and it only took us 3 hours to reach Baguio from Quezon City. The main factor for the quick travel time was that we were able to maintain a speed of 120 km/hr without any stops.
During our recent visit, we left home at 2:30 AM to avoid heavy traffic, as Baguio has become more popular and accessible. There was a slight confusion about which exit to take, as Waze suggested the Dau exit. We followed the suggestion and ended up on the McArthur Highway. However, it was only a short distance to the Mabalacat Exit, which was the correct route. It took us 45 minutes from the Bocaue Exit to reach the Mabalacat Exit. We decided to have an early breakfast at PTT-SCTEX, where we stopped for around 45 minutes. After that, we resumed our journey and reached TPLEX in less than 20 minutes.
It’s important to note that TPLEX is different from NLEX and doesn’t have as many gas stations for pit stops. Therefore, if you need to take a break, it’s best to plan accordingly. The stretch from TPLEX to the Rosario Exit took about an hour, and the next suitable stop would be the gas stations along Marcos Highway. Due to the closure of Kennon Road at that time, it took us another 45 minutes to travel along Marcos Highway. It was surprising to see that Marcos Highway is no longer as isolated as I remembered, with numerous vendors selling sweets and vegetables along the way. There are also new establishments that have been built, although some obstruct the natural view of the mountains.
On our way back home, we made a stop at the eatery near the Total Gas Station. The eatery is called Max Grillos, and they serve delicious, clean, and affordable food.
To ensure a smoother travel experience, it is advisable to start your journey with a full tank of gas to avoid long queues at the gas stations. Additionally, opting for an early morning departure is recommended. This way, by the time you reach TPLEX, there will be sufficient daylight. It’s challenging to imagine being stuck in TPLEX during a dark night since many areas lack proper lighting. By planning your trip accordingly, you can mitigate potential difficulties and enjoy a safer and more convenient travel experience.