Many say that Manila’s transport situation is one of the most complicated in the world. So how do newbies brave the mean streets of Manila? Here are some things to remember:
- Metro Manila consists of 16 cities which includes: Manila City, Caloocan, Las Piñas, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Pasay, Pasig, Parañaque, Quezon, San Juan, Taguig, Valenzuela and Pateros.
- Manila City is the home of Intramuros, Rizal Park, Quiapo and Binondo. This is a busy city with students flocking the university belt and locals going to markets. Major streets to avoid during rush hour are España, Recto and Quiapo.
- Makati is the business district. Many office workers flock to this city so avoid streets like Ayala, Sen Gil Puyat (Buendia) during the rush. Many however go here at night to hangout at malls or dine at restaurants.
- Quezon City is probably the biggest city in Metro Manila. It houses the state university (University of The Philippines), government offices and Araneta Coliseum.
- The international/domestic airports and Mall of Asia are located in Pasay.
- Common public transportation includes jeepney, bus, LRT/MRT, taxicab, FX (share) taxi, tricycle and pedicab.
- LRT yellow line goes through Pasay, Manila and Caloocan cities.
- The MRT blue line goes through the main highway in Metro Manila (EDSA) and traverses Quezon, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Makati and Pasay.
- LRT purple line passes Manila, San Juan, Quezon and Marikina.
- There are atleast 2 trains passing Pasay, Makati, Manila and Quezon.
- Train fares start from P11 then increase by the distance.
- Trains don’t operate 24hrs so it’s best to check the varying timing.
- Inner streets are best taken by jeeps or tricycles (buses don’t take inner streets).
- If you are unsure if the vehicle will pass your destination, it’s best to tell the driver the city of your destination then narrow it down to the street name. You may also describe a landmark you are familiar with.
- Jeep fares start from P8 then increase by the distance. Say “bayad” then pass your fare until it reaches the driver (tip: wait for the best time the driver can take your fare to make it easy for him) then say “para po” when you’re about to go down. Jeep stops are not strictly enforced but it is best not to put yourself and the driver at a risk by hailing to stop in the middle of the road.
- The jeep’s destination can be identified by the homemade board posted on the vehicle’s windshield.
- To signal the jeep to stop, wave your hand as it approaches and let the driver see you.
- During rush hour some riders tend to stand by the jeeps exit as it goes, this is called “sabit” and is a common practice.
- The main highway (EDSA) which crosses major cities in Metro Manila is mostly used by buses and private vehicles.
- For a Makati transport route system check this link. But for the rest there is no standard or regulated route system so it’s best to ask a local on how to take one.
- Metro Manila traffic is usually horrible. Intercity travels often takes about an hour but taking the train really helps minimize the hassle.
- Taking the cab is sometimes convenient and fast but could also be expensive. Flag down rate is from P40 then increase by the distance.
- An alternative to jeep is the FX taxi. These usually take the same route as jeeps but with the comfort of airconditioning. Fares starts from P12 and increase by the distance.
- Always be cautious in public transports. There are tons of thieves lurking as you travel. If you can, do dress casually.
- There are two types of buses gracing the streets. One is airconditioned while the other is not. The latter being the cheaper but most likely takes the same route. Fares start from P12 and increase by the distance.
- If you need to travel from the north to south of the the metro and you can’t take the train, your best bet is the bus. This is however slower especially during the peak hours.
Some useful sites:
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HI! I'm Dreidel, a software engineer from the tropical islands of Philippines. When I was a kid I got this fairytale dream to see the world. And apparently fairytales do come true because I've been discovering new places I could only imagine before. I travel on the weekends and save up on weekdays, and will probably keep on doing this until I get to the ultimate - Mars.