For getting around a locality, a service frequently used by locals is the pedicab. Often your location is just a little off a jeepney route and that’s mostly where the pedicabs and tricycles come into play.
Now, these are not expensive by western standards but to a local, they are deemed as a little costly considering that they cover shorter distances. But I have to admit that a pedicab is one of my favourite ways of getting around. The driver knows most places locally. Sticking to the locality means they know virtually everywhere. It works out roughly at around 20 pesos for around half a kilometer.
They won’t cover the same distances as the motorized tricycle, but for those just a bit too far to walk journeys, the pedicab is a great and a nice way of taking in small parts of Metro Manila.
For the most part, I’ve found them to be fair but I’ve come across a good few that had dollar signs spinning around their heads when seeing a foreigner. Simple tip is ask how much before you set off, if he seems mentally unbalanced with the figure he gives you, then simply walk to another one and see if he quotes the same.
Inevitably, it will happen from time to time, so a good tip is, if possible, ask someone you know roughly how much the charge should be. Pedicabs cannot go that far of course and they have to work within boundaries, so the pedicab really is for the most localized travel only.
A rough guide would be Php 20 pesos for half a kilometer and for every extra passenger, add another Php 10.
Some might want to charge the same price for each passenger. If so, try asking a few others and simply go for the lowest price.
Most important is to know how much he is going to charge from the offset as it can result in a street argument when they tell you how much they want after you have got there. It’s easily avoided by
agreeing the price first.
I’ve seen about 10 use one pedicab on occasion, hanging off the front and back and on the roof. It’s a sight to behold believe me, and I feel for those spindly legs carrying all that weight. I do appreciate that for many of them; it’s not easy to make a living. Some are rented inexpensively whilst others own their own, but the simple fact that there are plenty of tricycle and pedicab drivers around Metro Manila, can mean a long wait between passengers.
What I love most about the pedicab is simply that I see everything, smell everything at eye level, and at a pace that actually allows you to observe. You will often get questioned by the driver with the usual questions asking where you’re from and what is your purpose in life, and you will observe overtime, just how difficult it must be for these guys.
There are more comfortable ways of getting around but I can’t think of a better way of witnessing everyday life here, apart from getting out there and mingling yourself. As a fresh tourist, I know it takes a lot of confidence to mingle where you don’t know, so a pedicab ride is the next best thing.