This blog post was updated on January 22, 2020.
Some cities make getting around town a breeze. Others are filled with snarled traffic jams, packed trains at rush hour and plenty of tourist scams to meet you when you need to get from A to B. Manila is quite frankly the latter. With its intense traffic problems, the city tends to be one of the most congested cities in the world. In fact, the headache of getting around Manila can even deter people from visiting altogether. Whether you have to visit due to business or you are willing to give Mania’s transport mess a try, the city’s transportation options don’t have to scare and frighten if you know what you are doing. Here are a few means of transport for getting around Manila along with tips and tricks for surviving each mode.
LRT and MRT Trains: Manila boasts three light rail systems and one train line. Riding the rails in Manila can be easy and stress-free if you dodge these modes of transport during rush hour. Most travelers find themselves on the LRT-1 or the MRT-3. The LRT-1 takes visitors through several stations in central Manila. The MRT-3 also provides transport to many of the main areas of the capital, including the business areas. A ticket on Manila’s metro runs around 20 to 50 U.S. cents, making it one of the most economical ways to get around the city. Tickets can be purchased at the stations of the rail lines you are looking to take. Just like any other major city, travelers should avoid flashing expensive items and jewelry on the LRT and MRT trains. Pickpockets are all too common.
Jeepneys: If you want to travel around Manila in a truly authentic mode, jeepneys are for you. The crazy, overly colorful type buses are easily one of Manila’s cheapest transportation options at around 20 cents a ride. The history of Jeepneys stems from Jeeps left behind from World War II. Representing a multicultural element to the history of Manila and the Philippines, jeepneys do not have designated stops. You merely hop on and off as you please. As a result, the experience can terrify a traveler who doesn’t know where they are going. If you want to ride a piece of history in Manila, you will need to know where you want to be let off.
Taxi: Manila’s taxis are even affordable transportation options with fares around 70 cents to start. At the same time, taxis can open travelers up to more scams and headaches if they don’t know how to deal with them. Many companies aren’t regulated, opening up the window for plenty of meter scams. If your driver won’t turn on the meter, it is best to find another ride. Taxis can be cheap if the cabbie uses the meter. If you want to avoid being ripped off, you can ask someone in advance what the fare should be for your route. Other dangers can be avoided if you lock your door and never leave your bags unattended, especially when getting out to get your luggage from the trunk.