First time travelers to Manila, Filipinos or not, experience can be a maze-like experience negotiating the road, looking for street signs, finding the right direction using the right mode of transport.
Adding to the issue is the lack of comprehensive public transport system, overcrowding and safety issues. But don’t worry, it’s not as bad as you might think.
- Avoid the commute during rush hours
Rush hours are what we call the times of the day where traffic would be inevitable considering these are the times where in most people go from and to work or school. Times between 7am-10 am and 5pm-8pm would be the most hectic time of the day for commuters. You can travel earlier or outside these timeframes but don’t expect to be free from the traffic congestion. Allocate enough time to reach your destination or arrange a favorable time when setting up a meeting.
2. Know your way around
If it’s your first time in Manila, ask for directions to someone who knows the location of your destination before you leave your house or hotel. Asking someone else on the road does not guarantee accurate answers because not everyone in Manila is based there — some are newcomers too but just trying their best to help, owing to that Filipino characteristic.
You can also check out the public transportation guides online to get bus, jeepney and train directions around Metro Manila or you can use Google Maps for guidance on direction. You can also download a Web app that commuters can use to see how they can get around the metro. Sakay.ph which helps people use jeepneys, buses, and trains in Metro Manila, is available in mobile apps.
3. Familiarize public transport system
City buses are normally marked with letters A, B and C. Each bus has designate stations or alternate stops which are color-coded and is also marked with indications of the routes of the buses. Map out the bus stops and terminals so you’ll know where to board and where to get off.
Credit: GMA News/MMDA
LRTs/MRTs are cheaper and faster the any other public transport system since there is no traffic, however, there is also a long line of people who use it during rush hours or occasionally experience technical glitches. If you’re going to use the LRT/MRT use the stored value ticket available to avoid the long lines for the tickets especially if you are going to use it frequently.
Jeepneys have specific routes like city buses except the fare is cheaper but the air-condition is virtually non-existent. Most of the jeepneys’ routes don’t go through the major roads and highways but they can go into the inner parts of the city or various streets in the locality. If it’s your first time to ride one, just ask the driver to drop you to your specific point or location.
Shuttles/FXs are for the people who are usually in a hurry. Shuttles/FXs usually take shortcuts to avoid heavy traffic that is eminent on major roads or thoroughfares and thus could take you to your destination faster. These particular public transport have their own terminals which are mostly found in shopping areas or places where people usually gather.
Taxi cabs are one of the most preferred transport considering it is both fast without the expense of comfort however, it is also the most expensive amongst all the transport vehicles. If cabs are not in your immediate vicinity you can also book a taxi by phone.
900-1447, 900-1448, 643-7777
293-5930, 293-5931, 291-7005
363-6096, 364-8260, 366-6287, 366-6214
Tricycles are usually color-coded in Manila or are specially labelled. Like shuttes and cabs, they have their own route and you can ask the driver if they can take you to a specific address or just drop you to the nearest spot. If you’re going to ask the driver to take you to an exact address on your own, they may ask you for an extra charge.