Imagine visiting a new country and exploring it with only a bus pass in hand. This is exactly what I experienced while going around Auckland, New Zealand last year. I got a day pass, hopped into the bus, picked the stops I was interested in, got off, explored, then got on the next arriving bus with my sights on the next destination.

See how easy that went? You are guaranteed convenience, adventure, and safety. This is the idea behind the up-and-coming Go Mindanao Bus, make traveling around beautiful Mindanao easy for all kinds of passengers: the solo backpacker, flashpacker, barkadas, corporate groups, and families.

A joint project of the Department of Tourism and Davao Metro Shuttle, the 45-seater buses are brand new, clean, and comfortable. The purported route will originate in Davao City going to Buda – Bukidnon – Cagayan de Oro – Butuan and back to Davao. Although these will be regular bus routes, tourist spots will be prioritized and additional pit stops will be announced prior to the official launch on March 2018. Pit stops will include must-see tourist destinations, souvenir shops, cafe/restaurants, comfort rooms, and scenic spots.

The buses will be fully equipped with WIFI, comfort room, TV screens, and reclining chairs. If you’ve ever rode on the luxury bus to Baler, it’s pretty much going to be same thing.

We were given the opportunity to join the initial expedition of the first bus during the Budayaw Festival last September 18-21 which took us around SOX: General Santos City, South Cotabato, Sarangani, and Sultan Kudarat. Although the teaser run didn’t have amenities mentioned above just yet, the hour-long drives were made comfy by the cool air-conditioned bus and soft chairs.

In line with DOT’s thrust of promoting Mindanao, the buses are festive and wrapped with features of tourist destinations located down South such as Samal Island, Bislig, Cotabato, and Cagayan de Oro.

Of course, USB ports where we can power up our gadgets for free is the most important feature! During the long rides, we can take a nap while our mobile phones charge up. This was proven to be extremely useful during our SOX trip and enabled us to document and post about the entire ride and its scenic routes.

For someone who actually detests road trips (I can only tolerate the 5-hour Baler trip), I look forward to exploring more of Mindanao once the Go Mindanao Buses are launched. And most importantly, I am excited to meet fellow travelers while exploring. Tara?

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My SOX media trip on the Go Mindanao Bus was sponsored by Tourism Promotions Board of the Phils