Buses are by far the cheapest ways to travel distances around the Philippines, but can be difficult if you are a solo passenger as not everyone will understand your strange English accent. Mostly, people just say yes to you no matter what question you ask. That is just the way it is here.
So you managed to find the point of origin and you turn up with cases or bags and most probably many helpful porters will scratch at your bags and offer to carry them. Sometimes the grabbing can be scary, so be prepared to hold on tight. I am not saying there is a thief around, just that the few yards carried is going to cost you money.
Grabbing a seat is the next fun. Some of the provincial buses have chickens and Durian as passengers. So be prepared for the smell and the noise. Of course, the chickens will be drained out by the distorted TV sound across all shaking speakers. If you are really lucky it will be in screaming Tagalog and full of over deep emotional over acting. Don’t worry it only lasts two hours or so.
Now most buses let you pay for the ticket on the bus. Here you wait until the conductor arrives and asks you your destinations and hands you a ticket with lots of holes in it and walks off. After an amount of time, he will return and ask for the money and will always say he has no change and will have it later. That later could be an hour or more. Be prepared to remind him just in case. I once had the conductor change and the new conductor had no change for me- strange that.
Now settle down and enjoy the trip. In and around Manila the buses are getting much better with air con and comfortable seats. Make sure you stay awake though, as many vendors selling the same thing will ask you again and again and again. No matter if the vendor in front heard you say no, the other five behind him will push you to say yes.