How to get around in the Philippines
There are several mode of transportation in the major cities for getting around. In Metro Manila there are jeepneys, buses, taxis, trains and MRT which conveniently takes people around.
If you go around town it might cost you about $7 to $14 at most especially if you take a taxi. But if you take a bus or jeepney, the cost is much lesser. If you travel long distance then you can always travel by boat or airplane.
Getting around by Air
Philippines has international airport to most major cities like Manila, Cebu, Clark, Davao, Subic, Laoag, Zamboanga, General Santos and soon to operate the International airport in Cagayan de Oro City. The premier gateway is in Manila which is the Ninoy Aquino International Airport or NAIA. It is served by more than 30 airlines whose route is different cities around the world. It also has different destinations from all over the Philippines.
Domestic Airlines in the Philippines
- Air Asia
ATW’s value airline of the year 2012. Air Asia is a Malaysian-based low-cost airline. AirAsia is Asia’s largest low-fare, no-frills airline and a pioneer of low-cost travel in Asia. AirAsia operates scheduled domestic and international flights to over 400 destinations spanning 25 countries. They offer flights to/from:
Clark (Manila), Davao, Kalibo (Boracay) and Puerto Princesa.
Pay attention to their special offers. To get further information visit their website : http://www.airasia.com/my/en/home.page
- AirPhil Express
Airphil Express is the fastest growing budget airline in the Philippines. The new Airphil Express is Philippine Airlines’ answer to Cebu Pacific Air’s dominance on the low cost travel market in the Philippines. They offer flights to/from nearly any destination in the Philippines. Here you can take a look at their flight schedule: http://www.airphilexpress.com/flights/DFS2010-029.pdf
For further information visit their website: http://www.airphilexpress.com
- Cebu Pacific Air
Cebu Pacific Air is a decent budget airline, the leading domestic airline. They advertise they offer the cheapest fare the whole year round. Sure they offer great bargains, if you are able to book well in advance when they offer their promos, sometimes tickets for 1 peso, tax not included, In my opinion the regular fares are nearly equal to Philippine Airlines if take account on all the extra fees Cebu Pacific charges for baggage and so on. Recently I’ve booked a fare from Davao to Manila 3 days before departure and the diiference in fare was only 200 or 300 pesos. Cebu Pacific links Manila to twenty-one domestics destinations and links Philippines to twelve international destinations in Asia. But don’t expect much service so don’t make too many demands or create complications. They offer flights to/from the following destinations:
Bacolod, Boracay (Caticlan), Busan, Busuanga (Coron), Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Calbayog, Catarman, Cauayan, Cebu, Clark, Cotabato, Davao, Dipolog, Dumaguete, General Santos, Iloilo, Kalibo, Laoag, Legazpi, Manila, Naga, Ozamiz, Pagadian, Puerto Princesa, Roxas, San Jose, Siargao, Surigao, Tagbilaran, Tacloban, Tuguegarao, Virac, Zamboanga.
To buy your tickets online or to get further information visit their website : http://www.cebupacificair.com/
- Philippine Airlines
Philippine Airlines is known as Asia’s First Airline is still the country’s largest airline company. It carries the largest number of international flights as well as domestic flights. Philippine airlines links Manila to fourteen cities in eight countries and also caters regularly to forty-one domestic destination outside Manila. You can check their flight schedules or you can purchase your tickets online: www.philippinesairlines.com.
South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR) is the Philippines’ premier leisure airline. It is the second-oldest airline in the Philippines with a firm foundation in leisure travel. they serve the route Clark to Boracay and return. They offer flights to/from :
Check out their website for further information: http://flyseair.com/
Other airlines that serves the Philippines includes Air Philippines, Zest Air, Pacific Airways and Laoag International Airlines. Chartered flights are also available through Aerolift Philippines, A. Soriano Aviation and Airspan Corporation.
Remember to arrive at the airport at least two hours in advance of your flight. 45 minutes is the bare minimum. If you miss your flight, you’re shit out of luck. Airfare is nonrefundable and nontransferable to another flight. I know this first hand as I missed my flight on two occasions. Finally, you are also required to show a return or onward ticket before being allowed to board. The Philippines government doesn’t want you to stay indefinitely in case you’re having too good of a time.
Getting around by Sea
Since Philippines is composed of 7,107 islands it is obvious that places in the Philippines are separated mostly by body of water thus travelling by sea is inevitable. That is why a great number of seafarers are available from cargo ships to small ferry boats. Trips that take a day or two is usually with regular ship lines while shorter trips can be taken with ferries.
Major cruise company that serves the country are:
- WG&A Lines (www.SiperFerry.com.ph)
- Negros Navigation (www.negrosnavigation.ph)
- Sulpicio Lines (www.sulpiciolines.com)
- Trans Asia (www.transasiashipping.com)
There are many more ferry lines, mostly serving special island connections.
Getting around on Land
Philippines offers a variety of options for inexpensive transportation on land:
It is the most common type of mode of transportation when you travel from one place to another. Jeepney is quite colorful and attractive. Owners get to decorate their jeepney with chrome lights, paintings and many more. It is open so that be prepared to inhale some fumes from the traffic. As long as you know where you are going and know the route then you will be just fine riding a jeepney. This jeepney is quite popular to the tourists. In fact more tourist is buying small model jeepneys for souvenir to bring back home.
It is a motorcycle with a side car which is covered. It usually takes about six passengers. This is usually use with short distance and is just within the city. Before you ride one make sure you have ask already the regular fare. Sometimes drivers would double the charge especially if they see their passenger is a foreigner. Of course the ride might be a little bit uncomfortable especially if you are a big one. It is small ride so that it might get a little tight inside.
If you are in any city in the Philippines, it won’t be hard to get a taxi at all. For Filipinos they are quite expensive but for the tourist they are cheap and they are comfortable to ride. Most hotels have their own taxi so it won’t be a problem getting one when you want to go out. This is recommended since it is much safer although it can be a little bit expensive than the regular taxis you can get in the streets.
- Motorcycle/Car for Rent
If you are an expert and confident driver then you can rent a car or motorcycle so you can get around the city on your own or even explore further by going out of the city and explore other neighboring province. Also this is good especially if you plan to go to areas where taxis and jeepneys are less common.
If you are travelling long distance then riding a bus is less expensive although it can be uncomfortable too. There are bus that is air conditioned and there are regular buses too that are not air conditioned. On the other hand if you want comfort when you travel then you can opt for a Van. It has less passenger and air-conditioned ride.
Manila is the only place that has a city train system which runs the length of the city. This is a good alternative for jeepneys and taxis to avoid the traffic. This is the one most people prefer whenever I go around in the city since it is fast and you get to your destination quick.