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Getting Around in Philippines
 
 
 

By Air

Philippine Airlines and Air Philippines, Cebu Pacific, SEAIR, Asian Spirit and Interisland Airlines are some of the airlines that operate domestic flights. Philippine Airlines, Air Philippines and Cebu Pacific serve most large cities, while smaller operators like SEAIR, Asian Spirit and Interisland Airlines typically fly to popular resort destinations.

By Sea

Inter-island ships with first-class accommodation connect the major island ports. WG&A SuperFerry and a number of other companies operate inter-island ferries. Ferry trips to other islands can take over 24 hours, depending on distance. Other major ferry companies include: Sulpicio Lines, Negros Navigation, Trans Asia Shipping Lines and Cebu Ferries.

Oceanjet is a reliable company offering fast ferries throughout the Visayas at affordable prices. Schedule information is difficult to obtain; newspapers often contain pages with ads on certain days, but, believe it or not, most people rely on word-of-mouth.

By Rail

The railway is on Luzon Island and stretches as far south as Carmona and Cavite to Meycauayan in the north. The route south from Manila to the Bicol region in southeast Luzon is the only railway line in the country. Although it's old and none too speedy, it's a viable option for travel down to Naga and Legaspi and points along the way.

The Philippine National Railways (also called the Metrotren) covers services in Metro Manila and provinces of Laguna, Batangas, Quezon, Camarines Sur and Albay.

By Road

Traffic drives on the right in the Philippines. Roads spread among the islands, with highways on the Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon island groups. From the expressways, national highways and provincial roads connect to the major cities and provinces. Another main highway system built in the northern part of Luzon is SCTEX or Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway which is a 94-km 4-lane freeway. Roads vary greatly in quality from the paved multi-lane highways to narrow dirt roads. Driving off the main highway at night is dangerous and should be avoided.

The minimum driving age is 18. Seat belts are compulsory.

Bus

Apart from flying, buses are usually the way to go when it comes to travelling across the Philippines, at least from within the major islands. It is the cheapest mode of transport when getting around. Provincial bus companies have scheduled trips from Manila to provinces to the north and south. Major provincial bus companies such as ALPS The Bus, Inc, Victory Liner, Philtranco operate in the country.

There are bus services between towns and also widely available jeepneys. These are shared taxis using jeep-derived vehicles equipped to carry up to 14 passengers on bench seats. Fares are similar to buses.

Taxi

Taxis are available in cities and in many towns. Make sure meters are used, as some taxi drivers will set an exorbitant and arbitrary rate.

Car Rental

Available in Manila and in major cities.

Documentation: International Driving Permit required, together with a national driving licence.

Urban Transportation

A number of bus routes are operated by Metro Manila Transport using conventional vehicles, including double-deckers. Most journeys, however, are made by jeepneys, of which there are an estimated 30,000 in Manila alone. Jeepneys are the most known transportation to all Filipinos. They are the most affordable transport in the Philippines. The jeepney is remnants of the Jeep used by the American troops during World War II, the innovative Filipinos modified the jeep – by lengthening the body and adding horizontal seats – to seat as many as 20 people (10 per side). Within Manila, you will find multiple Jeepneys per route, for added convenience.

The Metro Railway Transit (MTR) connects North Avenue in Quezon to Taft Avenue in Pasay City, travelling the length of Epifanio delos Santo Avenue (EDSA). The Light Railway Transit (LRT), a light rail transit link, runs from Baclaran terminal in the south to Caloocan terminal in the north. Tricycles (motorbikes with sidecars) and pedicabs (bicycles with a sidecars) are a cheaper alternative for shorter distances around towns. Calseas (horse-drawn carriages) are popular with tourists and are a common sight in downtown Manila.