Getting Around

The easiest way in getting around is, of course, by air-conditioned taxicabs, which ply most large roads in the metropolis. The legal fare is P25 on the meter, with P2 added to every succeeding 200 meters. Many taxicabs wait in front of the airport, seaport, hotels, restaurants and shopping malls. It is advisable to ask the taxi driver to turn on the meter before proceeding to the destination. About 10 percent of the metered fare is the usual tip.

There are also Drive-A-Car and car rental agencies in the metropolis. Those who wish to drive the rented vehicles, whose selection ranges from jeeps to limousines, must present a valid foreign or international license. The best time to travel is from late in the morning to mid-afternoon to avoid the rush hours. Heavy traffic along major roads, particularly on intersections, is expected until 9 in the evening.

One precaution: lock the doors of your vehicle when you are driving or being driven.

If you are in Manila on business then you will most certainly want to use the cabs or hire cars. However if you want to feel the pulse of local life then you should learn to use the public transport system.

There are many different modes of public transport to choose from in getting around the metropolis. Public transport is often crowded, especially at peak hours but is relatively cheap.

To avoid traffic congestion along major thoroughfares, particularly EDSA, travelers are advised to take the Metro Rail Transit (MRT), a railroad system that runs from Quezon City in the north to Paranaque City in the south and offers a good view of the commercial business districts of Ortigas Center in Mandaluyong City and Ayala Center in Makati City.

The MRT line, however, does not traverse the city of Manila. The Light Railway Transit (LRT), which is more congested, runs from Caloocan City in the north to Baclaran in the south and cuts through the city of Manila. An LRT terminal at the UN Avenue leads directly to Rizal Park. Other railway projects meant to connect the metropolis to other parts of Luzon are underway.

Air-conditioned and ordinary buses ply EDSA, Ayala Avenue, South Superhighway and other major thoroughfares. Jeepneys serve shorter routes like Taft Avenue in Manila, Kalaw Street at Rizal Park, and other roads around the metropolis. Tricycles and pedicabs bring passengers to inner streets in villages and marketplaces. There are also horse-drawn carriages called “kalesa” offering a more romantic ride in Binondo and Rizal Park in Manila. Be warned however, the drivers often offer you a low price but once aboard have been known to take you off to some unknown place and then demand an a[outrageous fee to bring you back. If you are going to do the tourist thing and take a ride in a horse and buggy, then stick to a short ride over a familiar route.

Although buses and jeepneys ply fixed routes there is no numbering system. Instead the destination and major points on the route are indicated on the front or side of the vehicle. It takes a bit of getting used to it.

Light Rail Transit Authority:
Metro Rail Transit (MRT):