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Getting Around

Tricycle

  • Motorised tricycles are useful for short hops around town. Short journeys should cost from P40 to P50, depending on how well you bargain.
  • Electronic 'E-trikes' are starting to appear in Intramuros and Chinatown. They are a quieter, greener option if you can find one.
  • Push tricycles, or pedicabs, are a cheaper alternative in a few areas, such as Malate.

Kalesa

Horse-drawn carriages known as kalesa are still a form of public transport in some rural areas, but in Manila they're confined to Chinatown, Intramuros and Malate, where they're mainly used to take tourists for a ride (sometimes in the figurative sense). The Intramuros drivers are the most honest and charge a flat fee of P300 for trips around the walled city.

In Chinatown locals still use kalesa so they are cheaper – P150 to P200 to do an hour or so of touring. Carriages usually fit two to four persons and the fee should be good for the entire carriage (not per person).

Ferry

The Pasig River Ferry is an interesting if slow way of travelling between Intramuros and Makati. You'll pass the classic Post Office building, Malacañang Palace and a few other interesting spots on the way. From Plaza Mexico in Intramuros to the Hulo or Guadalupe stations near Makati takes almost 1½ hours and costs P50.

FX & UV Express

Manila has numerous white air-con Toyota UV Express vans and Tamaraw FX vans that follow similar routes to the jeepneys, picking up and setting down passengers en route. The fare is P30 for long rides and P20 for shorter hops.

LRT & MRT

The LRT and MRT trains are an excellent way to soar over and past traffic. Unfortunately, coverage of the city is far from comprehensive, and they are basically unusable at rush hour, when hour-long lines are common. If you do manage to get on a train, it can be a tight squeeze to say the least, and pickpocketing is common.

The LRT (Light Rail Transit) has two elevated lines. The LRT-1 runs from Monumento in the north to Baclaran in the south, interchanging with the MRT at the corner of EDSA and Taft Ave near Pasay Rotunda. The LRT-2 runs from Recto in the west to Santolan in the east, interchanging with the MRT in Cubao.

The MRT (Metro Rail Transit) travels a south–north route along EDSA. It is handy for getting to and from the Ayala Centre in Makati and to Quezon City.

Fares are P12 to P15, depending on distance. Transferring between train lines means leaving the station and lining up anew for another ticket. ‘Stored-value' cards are a good idea if you're going to be using the trains a lot, but these can be hard to find.

Jeepney

For the uninitiated, Manila jeepneys can be a challenging experience. The long-wheel-base jeeps offer a bewildering array of destinations and, though these destinations are written on signboards stuck in the window, few people arrive exactly where they intend to on their first jeepney ride. However, if you stick to the more common routes, you shouldn’t go too far astray.

Heading south from Quiapo Church, jeepneys to ‘Baclaran’ pass City Hall, then traverse Ermita/Malate along MH del Pilar St, continue close to the CCP, cross EDSA and end up at the Baclaran LRT stop. From Quiapo Church you can also take ‘Kalaw’ jeepneys to Ermita.

Heading north from Baclaran, jeepneys pass along Mabini St or Taft Ave, heading off in various directions from Manila City Hall:

  • ‘Divisoria’ jeepneys take Jones Bridge, passing close to the office of the Bureau of Immigration, and end up at Divisoria Market.
  • ‘Monumento’ jeepneys pass the Manila Central Post Office and roll over the MacArthur Bridge before passing the Chinese Cemetery and the Caloocan bus terminals.
  • ‘Quiapo’ and ‘Cubao’ jeepneys take Quezon Bridge, passing Quiapo Church. ‘Cubao via España’ jeepneys continue to the Cubao bus stations via UST and the Sampaloc bus stations.