How to Ride In Metro Manila

No matter how adventurous or intrepid you are, there is no easy way to get around Metro Manila. It is extremely problematic, and above all, confusing. Yes, any strange new city is difficult but Metro Manila is a little more than difficult.

There are various options depending on what kind of distance you are traveling. Much of the moving around within a locality is done via pedicab or tricycle (small motorbike or cycle with sidecar for passengers).
Commonly used is the jeepney which has become a symbol of Filipino culture and a cheap way to move around the city. They are noisy, dirty in the sense that you’re exposed to pollution, and not exactly comfortable.
Beyond these methods, you have a service known as the FX or a shuttle, which is a minivan which is used as a shared taxi using regular routes.

There are, of course, taxis which are numerous but somewhat problematic on occasion. Taxi drivers are mostly fine, but you do get some which will test your patience and nerve due to their erratic driving as well as occasional dishonesty and awkwardness.

Longer distances are usually covered by the buses or the rapid train service known as the LRT or MRT.

ManilaConciergeOnline - MRT

In other words, there are many ways to travel around the capital, but I would not say that doing so is easy nor quick, and certainly, not stress-free.

Metro Manila is a hugely over populated city with the inevitable traffic chaos that comes with it, most of which is worsened by the attitude of the drivers. Private car drivers have to comply with a coding system meaning that between Monday and Friday, there will be at least one day that you cannot use your car between 7AM to 7PM although some areas have windows when you can use your car between 10AM and 3PM. (This is being reviewed as I write this, shall update if new rules are implemented.)

Even as a pedestrian, Metro Manila can be a very difficult place to negotiate. For motorcyclists, it has its small advantages which are possibly countered by the danger factor as goes for cyclists.

Traffic lights are sometimes not easily noticed when working and many junctions are confusing. The road infrastructure is not good. Some one-way streets are not even marked as such, road name signs are often missing, and it’s just general mayhem and confusion no matter how you go about traveling in the city. Apart from all of those things mentioned, it’s fine.

I personally have driven around the capital previously in a car, but decided to stop as I found it too stressful and problematic and I was in danger of losing my cool too often with some of the antics of the other drivers.

I will add articles that will take you through these methods of travel within Metro Manila, its pluses and many minuses too. So fasten your seat belts, put on your crash helmet, take your tranquilizers and come with me on the various ways of getting around the capital. I would love to be telling you how easy it is and how the air is clean and you will experience disciplined drivers with easy to read signposting and well maintained roads, but it isn’t any of those things at all. As everything is in this city, traveling is crazy, problematic and stressful. Enjoy the ride.


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Filed under Culture, Impressions, Manila, Philippines, Travel

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