Expats Guide: Transportation in the Philippines

Looking at the Philippine map for the first time may make you wonder, “How do I get around the country with all those islands?” Good question. The truth is it can be challenging. But the next good question you can ponder on is, “Are you up for an adventure?” because it sure is going to be one unforgettable ride traversing this little country we call the Philippines.

With over 7,000 islands, there are many ways for you to explore the country. Whether you work in the city or plan for a weekend R&Rin the south with your newfound Filipino friends, here is your transport guide in the Philippines. Start exploring and enjoy the journey.


1) Jeepney or “Jeep”

This is a classic Filipino trademark. Jeepneys are every regular Filipino commuter’s best friend. It is cheap (minimum fare is P8.00 or US 15 cents) and accessible. However, traveling by jeep may also take you a while to get to your destination as passengers may board and alight the vehicle anytime. The trip can get pretty hot as well as most Philippine jeepneys are not air-conditioned. If you are up for the true Filipino experience, by all means, try it.

2) Public Utility Bus

Another mode of transportationyou can tryis the bus.Commuters can opt for the air-conditioned units (minimum fare is P12.00 or US 23 cents) or the ordinary non air-conditioned ones (minimum fare is P10.00 or USD 19 cents). Similar to jeepneys, travel time by bus can seem forever with several stops along its route. But unlike jeepneys, it is more organized with designated stops identified by letters A, B, and C, depending on the destination.Recently, the Department of Transportation launched the Premium Point-to-Point(P2P) bus service that plies directly to and from specific routes at exact times.Unfortunately, the rise of bus units in the city adds congestion on the roads making the journey quite tedious, so be sure to keep calm and be patient in case you find yourself riding one. Not to worry, there are also bus units that travel provincially. The ride can be hours long but it takes you to some of the most breathtaking provinces in the country and it is all totally worth it.

3) MRT and LRT

A popular way to get around the metro is through Manila trains. Currently, there are three train lines that service commuters daily, namely LRT1 (Light Rail Transit Line 1), LRT2 (Light Rail Transit Line 2) and MRT3 (Metro Rail Transit Line 3). LRT1 runs in a north-south direction, generally covering a portion of Quezon City and most of the capital, Manila. LRT2 runs in an east-west direction and passes through Manila, Quezon City, Marikina City and Pasig City. MRT3 is a rapid transit system that takes on the north-south route aligned with the famous EDSA Highway. Compared to its other Asian counterparts like the MTR of Hong Kong and MRT of Singapore, trains in Manila are often faced with problems such as technical glitches, offloading incidents, long queues, and service interruptions. Nowadays, it takes a courageous heart and awful lot of patience when you ride the train. But hey, if it can get you to where you want to go in a relatively shorter time, ride with all your might.

4) Uber and Grab

For a more convenient and efficient trip, many Filipinos choose Uber and Grab. It is not hard to to think why. Except during rush hour with high demand, theseride-hailing apps are truly a technological masterpiece. All you need is the app and internet and you can easily book a ride anywhere you want to go in the city. Spell hassle-free.

5) Domestic Planes

If you want to explore the rest of the Philippines, but you do not want to spend most of your time sitting on the bus, domestic flights are the way to go. Local airlines such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Skyjet offer flights to several cities outside Manila. Surf in Siargao, dive in Palawan and swim with the whale sharks in Donsol. Book that flight and plan your own adventure.

Other Public Utility Vehicles

6) Vans or Shuttles

These are public vans with various terminals in different parts of the city. They usually cover the city outskirts and operate until the wee hours.

7) Trycicles

These are similar to Thailand’s tuk-tuk but only travel within a small community. They are not allowed on main roads and highways.

8) Motorcycles

These rides have grown popularity in the past few years because they are cheap and convenient. They can traverse the busiest of highways in very little time.



Expats in the Philipppines

Expats in the Philipppines

Expat.com.ph is a platform that aims to help Expats living and working in the Philippines and expats-to-be. It provides free information and also encourages them to share their experiences. Let's help making life in Philippines that much more fun!

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