You're in the Philippines!
Great, now what do you do?
So you made it to the Philippines. Whether you're here for a vacation, or for business, or to meet that special someone - you will need transportation. Most people that visit the Philippines fly into Manila and upon clearing immigration are met by two things that are surprising, especially for first timers. First is the heat and humidity, even at night it is noticeable and takes a little getting used to. The second thing you notice is the constant swarm of people offering to help you.
You will be hounded by countless "fixers" who make their living by "helping" you, and they aren't interested in helping you find the best deals. They'll offer to get you a cab, or to set you up with a hotel, or to provide any number of other services. Don't do it. These are the kind of guys that will charge you 600 PHP for a cab ride to the other terminal of the airport for your connecting flight out of Manila. Just so we're clear on this, there's a free airport shuttle that runs roughly every half hour that will take care of getting you from terminal to terminal if you're connecting out of Manila and heading elsewhere.
Taxis are fairly widespread around Manila and finding an honest one can be somewhat of a challenge. The best way to ensure you get a fair price is to insist the driver start the meter. Sometimes they'll claim it is broken. Other times they'll offer to negotiate a fare. Don't fall for it. If the driver refuses to turn on the meter, find another cab - there are plenty around.
But wait, you're in the Philippines remember? What's all this talk about taxis? You can find one of those just about anywhere in the world. If you want to do things the Filipino way, you have two main options: jeepneys and tricycles.
Tricycles are basically a motorcycle with a covered sidecar that you can hire to take you around. They are a rather inexpensive way to get around and if you don't mind a bumpy ride, they're one of the most efficient means of transportation as well.
Jeepneys are unique to the Philippines. They started out as WWII jeeps and were converted later for use as buses. They are by far the cheapest way to ride around the Philippines and so long as you don't have any serious personal space issues, you'll be fine with those.
Another option, especially if you're going to be staying in town, is walking! Not only is it great exercise, most anything you need is within walking distance of wherever you are. There are sari-sari stores on almost every street. Restaurants are everywhere. It's not hard to find a place to grab a drink, either if you're in need of one.
For more information on jeepneys, see this article:
For more information on tricycles, see this article: