If you do not own a private vehicle in the Philippines, you might end up in any of the public transportation applicable to your destination. Our country has probably one in Asia with many public transportation vehicles available. I remember living in Dubai, there’s only bus, taxi and train as their means of public transportation by land, and same in Singapore and South Korea.
Here in the Philippines, If it comes to commuting, locals and tourists have a variety of modes to choose from. In the capital alone, which is Manila, you’ll find different transport vehicles that will bring you around the Metro and outside of town. Just bear the longer hours of trip compare to private cars because of succeeding stops, not to mention the heavy traffic.
There are three types of bus so far in the Philippines, the city bus, provincial bus and the P2P or point to point bus. City buses travel around Metro Manila and nearby towns. There are signs of specific route you can see infront of these buses, so it’s easy for you to find out which bus is going to your preferred destination. You can choose from air conditioned bus and ordinary or regular bus (non-AC) which is opened-window and cheaper. On the other hand, provincial buses travel to nearby and far provinces. Just like city buses, an ordinary and air conditioned bus are available and there’s luxury bus for long journeys. Point-to-point buses or P2P, are also available but in selected areas only. It travels directly from the specific point of origin to specific point of destination. You can see P2P terminal mostly in the airport and malls.
Taxi offers a convenient way to go wherever you want to in the Metro but of course in more expensive rate, but still cheaper compare to those of other countries. Taxi companies have their numbers available to call if you want to book for a service. Flag rate varies depends on the kind of taxi, there are regular which you can see anywhere and there are airport taxi and yellow taxi found in the airport which charge you a more expensive flag rate. There are also Grab taxi which is more convenient to book for a service because they have mobile application available.
This is the most popular form of public transportation in the country. Jeepneys can be found everywhere in the Philippines even in a far provinces. It is a proudly Filipino creation and only found in the country. Jeepney or simply called jeep is considered as the cheapest and most widely use mode of transportation by the locals. With its vivid colorful design, it can load with an average of 16 to 18 passengers and even more, depending on its length. Fare is also depends on the route and distance of the travel. Now, the government is starting to introduce the use of electronic jeepney which is eco-friendly.
Utility vehicles or UV express is a license to operate public transportation vehicle in the country. It maybe in the form of van or adventure type of vehicle which can be loaded from 8 to 16 passengers, depending on the type of vehicle’s seating capacity. They have their own designated terminal around the metro and in some provinces. Fare depends on route and distance. Many commuters opt to ride in UV express because its faster and more convenient.
The Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) are the equivalent of the subway train in other countries. LRT and MRT are just the same mode of transportation by train in the country, the only difference between the two are the routes and the company that runs them. These two are operating in Metro Manila only. They are the fastest way to reach terminal to terminal but incredibly crowded. Commuters preferred to ride in these crowded trains than stuck themselves in a very heavy traffic on road. LRT and MRT fare are both practically affordable. On the other hand, Philippine National Railways (PNR) is a state owned the oldest public trains in the country. It operates from Manila to the very far part of Luzon which is the Bicol Region.
The most common type of public transportation vehicle in the Philippines, tricycles are very popular in small towns and cities in the rural areas. These three-wheeled motorized vehicles are in different sizes and styles varies from town to town or city. Tricycles can accommodate up to 4 passengers or more depending on the size. Mostly travel in short distances only but it can travel also a little farther. Fare is more expensive than jeepneys but still depends on the route and distance. In some cities and towns, they already started to use e-tricycle which is fully electric-operated.
Probably the smallest type of public transport, pedicab is also a three-wheeled vehicle like tricycle but the difference is, it is not motorized. It is a bicycle attached to a sidecar that can seat only up to two passenger and can travel only in short distances. Pedicab is commonly found in some provinces and in crowded city in Metro Manila.
Kalesa (Horse-drawn carriage)
A two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage, kalesa used to be one of the main modes of transportation in the Philippines during the Spanish era. It is considered also as the oldest because there are still few of them operating in the country in the modern days. In Manila, you can ride in kalesa to tour around in some historical places like in Intramuros and Luneta Park. In some old provinces, kalesa is still use as their form of transportation.