Although they are the fastest means of transport, they are not usually recommended for their continuous breakdowns and delays, and for being packed to the point of not being able to get in (literally) sometimes for hours. There are two kinds:
- LTR (Light Rail Transit). It has two elevated lines, 1 or yellow and 2 or purple. Line 1 leads to Ermita and Intramuros neighborhoods and is close to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (check the post HOW TO GO FROM MANILA AIRPORT TO THE CITY CENTER).
- MTR (Metro Rail Transit). For tourists, Ayala station can be useful, on line 3 or blue, which leads to Ayala Centre in Makati.
Tickets cost between 12 and 15 PHP depending on the distance, but transfer between lines is not allowed; If we want to change, we have to buy two tickets.
UBER AND TAXI
Taking an Uber or a taxi is the least complicated, and it’s cheap compared to Western countries:
- Cab. Contrary to what any of us would think, taking a taxi in Manila is not such a headache, apart from:
- To be able to find a free one at rush hour, which also involves negotiating a supplement with the taxi driver.
- Although there are cases of scams, most taxi drivers will use the meter without us asking for it, and those who do not will do so if we ask. If the taximeter marks almost 100 PHP in the first 5 minutes, it is tricked.
- Indeed, taxi drivers who should be avoided are those waiting for travelers at the bus terminals. It is better to go out and stop one.
- A 15-minute journey will cost around PHP 150.
- Uber. Uber and taxi prices have been equated. When we went in 2016 there was no Uber (and if there was, we did not know), and despite not having a bad experience with taxi drivers, I would recommend Uber, since:
- It is very likely that we will be in a traffic jam more than once.
- We will also get rid of the sucking rush hour supplement.
- We don’t have to worry about having small bills and coins.
Buses are not identified and although they run fixed routes, they stop wherever they want, there are no maps nor schedules. Our best bet is to ask the driver where he is going to before going up and tell him where we want to go down. They cost between 10 and 25 PHP according to distance and whether or not they have air conditioning.
This peculiar and native transport is composed of:
- The front of a Jeep similar to those that American soldiers left in the country during the Second World War.
- A chassis, usually handmade, whose dimensions vary between those of a minivan or a bus.
Its color only limit is the imagination of its owner. Like buses, they do prefixed routes, but they usually have written the destination, but not the itinerary, on the windshield. In the end, we will have to ask and say where we want to get off; Prices start at 8 PHP and increase depending on how far we go.
Minivans Toyota UV Express and Tamaraw FX travel the city following routes similar to jeepneys for 20 PHP; They are more comfortable and have air conditioning.
The Filipino tuk-tuk is ubiquitous in the country, and the capital is no exception, although given the distances, they are not so easy to find. A short journey costs around 50 PHP, although it depends on our ability to haggle. As in China, electric ones start to proliferate, to thank in a city so noisy and polluted.
DRIVE RENTAL VEHICLE
Although there is a growing increase in respect for traffic regulations, traffic in Manila is a nightmare by default, so foreigners are discouraged from driving.
I always recommend walking almost everywhere, but for once, with the exception of the more developed areas in Makati and The Fort, walking around Manila is ill-advised. The city is ugly, chaotic, dirty and polluted, it is likely that sellers and hawkers will come to us frequently, and at night, except for the mentioned areas, it is directly unsafe (see the post DANGERS IN MANILA). Considering the price of public transport and how beautiful the city is, it’s not worth it.