The advantage of tricycle travel is that you can get a little further. The fare is perhaps a little more but is comparable with pedicabs. Some localities will only have the pedicabs or tricycles to serve them to get to the nearest jeepney so as you can imagine, they are vital to the throngs of people getting about their business in the capital.
Around the Philippines, you see a variety of tricycle types. Those that carry multiple passengers for instance, but in Metro Manila, it’s always the 2-seater sidecar types, and the option to have a third person on the back of the bike behind the driver. Few drivers object to having an extra person or 6 as it’s extra income for them.
Tricycle drivers operate within a boundary but you can usually negotiate to get dropped beyond it. I’m not sure if they are supposed to, but what you’re allowed to do and what people do are two different matters in Metro Manila.
As with pedicab drivers, they are usually mostly fair and quote you the right fare, but others are inclined to take advantage. Same rules apply as with pedicab drivers, try and ask people you know how much to expect to pay and ask the driver how much before you get in.
Going beyond 2 to 3 kilometers in a tricycle is probably when it starts to become expensive and it makes more sense to use a taxi for a journey that far. They may be a little smaller than a taxi, and therefore be able to slip through heavy traffic more effectively, but in most cases, any journey over a couple of kilometers would probably be better in a taxi.
The amount of tricycle drivers around seems to be at saturation point. It’s not hard to imagine that they spend much of the day without passengers as there are tricycle drivers everywhere. This is possibly why they can be a little over zealous in attracting you to their trike. They can wait around a long time at terminals before they get their spot at the front of the queue and it could be just a 20-peso ride then back to the end of the queue.
All the same rules as with pedicab drivers apply. I am inclined to reward the honest ones with just a little extra. Liberty takers get no tip. On most occasions, I have little problems with tricycle drivers. I always ask how much before we set off, and there is always the option of asking another how much when the fare sounds a little extreme.
Another useful tip is to opt to flag one down on the road as opposed to one waiting at a terminal. I believe they pay a small charge in some cases at some terminals, to whom I’m not sure and this reflects in the fare they charge. That was a tip I learned from a tricycle driver I knew once, but in all, most tricycle drivers are OK. Even the ones with mullets. Yes, the mullet hairstyle is still popular with some here, none more so than with tricycle and pedicab drivers. I have no idea why that is.