How to Kill Time on a Long Bus Ride

Earlier this year, I went on a great trip around 11 provinces for 8 days aboard a Victory Liner bus.

The tour that passed through Bulacan – Nueva Ecija – Cagayan – Kalinga – Ilocos Norte – La Union – Baguio City – Pangasinan – Tarlac – Subic Bay – Clark – Pampanga was a blast. But in between all the fast-paced activities, hotel-hopping, and numerous food stops, the bus itself had its share of memorable moments. It was the only thing that remained constant those eight days. It’s where we slept on our first night, hung our wet clothes to dry, snacked on all you-can-eat Chumbos and shared lots of laughs while playing road games. The bus brought together a bunch of strangers.

Photo from Ivan of Ivan about Town

Sleeping, reading a book, or listening to music have got to be the most common ways people kill time on long rides. Based on my experience during that trip, here are some other more interesting things you can do:

1) Take candid portraits of your companions

I took a couple of unflattering snapshots of some guys sleeping, but for their sake, I won’t post those here. If you’re bored, use the time to take candid shots of other people. I love this montage of photos in the bus taken by the amazingly talented photographer Hannah.

(Photos by Hannah of The Yellow Adventures)

2) Wifi the time away

Thankfully, some buses like Victory Liner have wifi (available on selected routes), so you can easily check mail, update your Facebook account or play games like Social Scrabble on Facebook, online bingo game Binguez or Virtual NES (where you can play all your favorite retro NES games) provided you have an internet connection.

It also helps to bring a wifi USB, in case the signal isn’t that good. Charge your laptop or tablet beforehand and you can still use the time productively during those long stretches of inactivity. If you can’t get a signal, you could use the time to catch up on watching your favorite TV shows by saving a few episodes or movies for watching on the bus on your laptop. I recommend watching “road trip” type movies like Speed or Paul.

3) Chow down on chips, or get wild on coffee

Like I mentioned in an earlier post on tips for surviving long road trips, snack items are very important for long road trips. You will probably spend a good amount of time on the bus mindlessly snacking the time away. Take note that consuming too much Coffee Twist may lead to hyperactivity.

4) Play road games

The NPVB team did their best to make sure that everyone was entertained even during the 6-8 hour long drives. There was a photo contest during gas station pit stops at Petron. There were trivia games on board. Heck, there was even a kamias eating contest.

One surefire way to stay awake on long trips is to play road games with a willing companion. You can download mobile games on your phone like Taboo or Truth or Dare (Hot and Spicy edition!) to play in a group. Another game you can play without any gadgets or props is listing games.

Pick a category (movies, books, songs, etc.) you want to play with, then a specific word or theme (ex. Colors, Names, Numbers, the word “Day”, etc.) and take turns listing these until you all run out. ex. Movies with numbers: 28 Days Later, Se7en, Born on the 4th of July…OR songs with specific places in them: Hotel California, Viva Las Vegas, Manila…

5) Play Pinoy Henyo

I really wish the group had thought of doing this sooner. We only started playing Pinoy Henyo towards the end of our trip, when we found out that Jerricho had the app loaded on his tablet. The country’s favorite guessing game popularized by noontime show Eat Bulaga! is the perfect game to play during small gatherings and parties – and yes – long bus rides.

(Photo by Christian of Lakad Pilipinas)

You need a minimum of two players to play (though its really more fun in groups). One representative of the team has to guess a random word flashed on the screen that the whole group can see, by asking questions answerable by yes, no or pwede. The great thing about the app, is that it has a built-in timer and you can customize the game by typing in your own words in the program as an alternative to writing it down on paper. The game tests your deductive skills, and even the simplest words like CORNED BEEF or ERASER can be a real challenge to guess. This game carried over to our “awesome Lakbay Norte” party at our hotel room later that night (but that’s another story).

It’s been about four months since that great bus ride. Miss you guys and I hope to see you somewhere on the road again!

(Last day on the bus. Photo courtesy of NPVB)

13 thoughts on “How to Kill Time on a Long Bus Ride

  1. Aaaww! I miss! Sana same group of people ulit sa LN 4. Hahaha! Seriously, that was an amazing 8 days road trip, and you guys are the perfect people to be with 🙂 See you on the road 🙂

  2. hahaha, awesome bus ride. di namamalayan yung oras. sayang, dapat matagal na tayong nagPinoy Henyo. (kasalanan toh ni Jericho kasi bago lang nila napag-isipan na maglaro tayo nito. hahaha, bineblame ba? lol)

    kelan kaya ang reunion? 😀

  3. Oo na! Ako na ang may kasalanan… Hahaha! O_O

    Miss you guys! Haven’t even touched my photos yet sa dami ng trabaho.

    • @Senyorita – Oo nga eh. Buti nasa likod ako, hindi kita. Hehe
      @Angel – I heard LN4 might be focusing on food. Parang hindi ko na kaya yung diet after!
      @Ed – Ayan umamin na si Jerricho!
      @Glaiza – Nagparinig talaga kay Jesa :p Malapit na daw oh!
      @Jerricho – Haha. Basta bring your tablet again sa reunion.
      @Hannah – Thanks for the photos. Sorry for posting the video ;p It just makes me laugh every time I watch it.
      @Christian – It seems like it’s been longer. Looking forward to it! 🙂
      @Mitch – The best talaga Pinoy Henyo. Thanks for visiting!

  4. Hi Aleah. Actually, yung iba samin may dalang extension cords, which we plugged somewhere near the front (probably where the onboard TV/DVD was plugged). It’s where we charged camera batteries, cellphones, etc pag low batt na. 🙂 Hehe

  5. Pingback: Lakbay Norte 3 Itinerary | Travel Up

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