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Getting Around l Getting There
Getting Around

Public Transport

Easy access to a wide selection of public transport allows tourists to travel around the Philippines more conveniently. Tourists can choose how they want to travel, from mundane bus rides to the more exciting tricycle rides. However, don't be surprised if you find that most mode of transportation in the Philippines do not charge a fixed price. It can be taxing as it often puts your negotiation and bargaining skills to the test. These skills can either leave you with a pleasant journey that is worth the price you paid for or an awful trip accompanied by a big hole in your pocket.


Train travel is only recommended for the brave travelers with plenty of time to spare. Train journeys are not really popular in the Philippines because they are either frequently interrupted or only partly completed as typhoons damage bridges almost every year. Besides that, some of the train rides can be excruciatingly long and boring.


If you've decided not to take the train, you can choose to ride on the bus instead as dozens of bus companies operate services to the main tourist centers. However, tourists are warned that they will not always experience a comfortable ride because some of the drivers like to race their rivals along the bumpy and winding roads. Basically, there are large buses with or without air-conditioned (those without air-conditioned are known as 'ordinary' or 'regular') and the famous minibuses, also called 'baby buses'. Buses often leave before the scheduled departure time if they are full, so, do get there early especially when there is only one bus for the day.


Jeepney is another form of transportation that is really popular for short journeys. Jeepneys were originally reconstructed jeeps left behind by the US army following the end of World War II. There are only a few of the old models left in this present day. The latest model of Jeepneys, which may be Ford Fieras are filled with brightly painted traditional designs while the bonnets are adorned with figures of horses and mirrors. Tourists are advised to negotiate or check out the price before making a trip on a Jeepney, otherwise, they are in for a surprise because the cost of rental for a day can be as high as P1,200.


The modern form of public transport found in Manila is the elevated light-rail system, LRT. The LRT offers a convenient, timesaving and inexpensive journey for those with a really tight schedule. With a flat rate of P10, one can travel at any point along Taft and Rizal Avenue and from Baclaran to Monumento in Caloocan City. There are 16 stations altogether, about one per kilometer and it takes about half an hour to cover the entire route.


Taxis are easily accessible as they can be found almost everywhere, especially near shopping centers, hotels and cinemas. However, do be careful as these taxis almost always have meters that run 'fast". Air-conditioned taxis are more costly but worth it. Remember to have small change available before boarding a taxi as it is rather difficult to get change for anything more than P20.


Tricycles - motorcycles or mopeds with sidecars attached for passengers are occasionally available for short rides on the side streets. The fare is usually around a few pesos for a short trip but it is always wise to negotiate the price before getting on one.


Apart from the tricycle, taking a ride on a calesa is a great way to explore the city. Calesa is a two-wheeled horse-cab found in Manila's Chinatown and in Cebu City that is suitable for short trips. In Cebu City, the calesa is called tartanillas. Similar to taking rides on other public transport, always remember to establish a price beforehand.


PU-cabs can be found in Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, Davao, Zamboanga and some other places but not in Manila. PU-cabs are small 'Public Utilities' taxis without meters. Tourists can expect to pay around P10 for a short town journey of about three km. Longer journeys will definitely cost more and it would be wise to agree on a price beforehand.

Private Transport

Getting around the country by using private transportation is an ideal alternative for travelers who would prefer to visit places at their own time and pace. It is also a good alternative for those who are tired of negotiating and bargaining to get the cheapest fare for a journey, be it short or long. In comparison to public transportation, visitors might find the private vehicle disappointing because the variety is limited.


What better ways to shed a few pounds and at the same time, explore a country, if not by riding a bicycle? Bicycle is indeed a great mode of transportation for the more adventurous type. Although it is dangerous on busy roads, taking a bicycle ride can be quite an interesting way to see the country. However, don't expect to go unnoticed when cycling in a country like the Philippines. Visitors can rent mountain bikes from some of the hotels or resorts for a reasonable price of around P150 to P300 a day.


There are many trusted car rental companies in the Philippines like Avis Rent-A-Car, Budget Rent-A-Car, Carlines Transportation and Hertz Rent-A-Car, just to name a few. If you are confident about driving in the Philippines, then renting a car is a great way to get you around the country. With a valid foreign or international driver's license and a map in hand, you are set for an interesting trip. Anyhow, tourists are advised to be careful of local drivers when driving. For those without the time or the budget to spend, the cost of renting a car can be quite hefty. Therefore, it is not a recommended mode of transportation to get around the country.

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