Those who backpack across the Philippines will tell you that there can be magic when you board a bus headed to your next great adventure. To some, buses even become havens – sanctuaries of peace as they get those last few hours of rest before disembarking on a journey across foreign lands. Those who truly love travel are able to appreciate long bus rides and the promise of adventure that they bring.
But nobody – not even those who truly love travel – can appreciate long bus lines. It’s a constant thorn in the side of the traveler, having to get in line for the bus that will take him home or whisk him away to far-flung corners of the country. It’s actually the line that takes away some of the magic of the trip, and by the time you get to the bus, you already feel worn out.
A little over a year ago, some developers sought to counter this problem by releasing the PinoyTravel App for Android phones. It promised to make booking seats on provincial buses “smarter”, integrating with the systems of Victory Liner and Genesis/JoyBus to allow travelers to book trips to Tuguegarao, Baguio, and Baler right from their mobile phones. Unfortunately, the app didn’t see much success as a fledgling app, and development has all but stopped on the app.
Pinoy Travel still offers the same services via their website, even teaming up with Agoda.com to make it possible to book hotels through their site. It’s a remarkably reliable service, and it’s perfect for making those trips to tourist favorites. Of course, there are obvious problems with Pinoy Travel: the lack of available destinations, and the sad state of their mobile app.
Although the website functions perfectly, the teams needs to start working on their app again. Gaming Realms, the company behind Spin Genie, has said that growth in mobile internet is among the strongest trends on the internet landscape, and the truth is that, as a country, we’re all shifting towards a more mobile-oriented lifestyle. In the Philippines, mobile phone usage is reaching all-time highs, with reports saying that smartphone penetration in the country will hit 50% by the end of this year.
Backpackers should also serve to benefit from a mobile app than a web app, as we’re constantly on the road and off the beaten path, where the only thing we’d probably be able to rely on is our phone. A trusty mobile data connection could be used to power the app and book the trip home before we’re even back in town. It’s sad, because Pinoy Travel presents so many wonderful opportunities to the Pinoy backpacker, but right now, it’s limited to a web app that not a lot of people know about.
*This is a sponsored post