Top Ten Modes of Transportation in the Philippines

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It is very easy to get around the Philippines with its various means of transportation. Even if a body of water separates the 7,107 islands that make up the Philippines, there will always be some form of transport that is available to take or bring someone to a particular destination. Below is a list of popular modes of transport. Some are fast, some are slow, but they are always interesting.



The jeep was a remnant from the World War II. Enterprising Filipinos saw the possibility of it being a mode of transportation and turned them into the new longer and colorful jeepneys that have become a Philippine icon. The most common mode of transport, jeepneys ply several routes around the country, especially those areas where bigger buses cannot serve. Jeepneys can be 10-seater or 14-seater. There are new versions that are bigger and have air conditioning, geared as a tourist transport option particularly for city tours in Metro Manila.



Regular and air-conditioned buses that service several cities and provinces in the Philippines are privately-owned. These buses serve to connect provinces with the Metropolis; others operate city-wide in Metro Manila. They provide more comfort for long distance land travel. Those that operate in the city ply daily. Those going to the provinces have regular, scheduled daily trips. A bus ride can be as short as 30 minutes for in-city transfer and as long as 14 hours for long distance provincial trips.



Tricycles in the Philippines resemble the auto rickshaws of India and the tuk-tuks of Thailand and other Asian countries, except that the cab is attached to the right side of the motorcycle instead of being in front or at the back. Tricycles can be seen on the side streets and some subdivisions and normally used for short-distance travel. With the stronger horsepower of a motorcycle, the tricycles sometimes are hired to ferry people and merchandise from the market. Depending on the construction and discretion of the driver, the tricycle can ferry from 2 to about 7 people.


The Philippines being an archipelago composed of 7,107 islands, it is inevitable that some form of transport will be needed to go from one island to a neighboring one. For short inter-island travel, the motorized bancas are the first choice. Primarily used by individual fishermen, the motorized bancas are now used as a faster means of transportation. Some resorts make use of bigger ones to ferry guests from port to resort and back.


This can be considered the silent version of tricycles, since bicycles are used, with a passenger cab attached to the side or in front. The driver uses pedal power to transport passengers. Normally you will see pedicabs on side streets and some subdivisions which do not allowed tricycles to enter. Pedicabs can seat a maximum of three passengers.


These are smaller versions of buses that can ferry passengers for terminal to terminal. Depending on where the minibuses are operating, they are either used for short distance or for longer land travel, particularly in some far-flung areas where any other means of transportation are few and/or limited. They can carry people, livestock and other merchandise. Minibuses do not have air conditioning and seats are small and spaced close together.


During the latter years of the Marcos era, the Metro Manila Light Rail Transit System (LRT) was established to provide cheaper and faster direct routes from Baclaran in Parañaque to Monumento in Quezon City, primarily to decongest the Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA), a major thoroughfare. There are 29 LRT stations. In 1999, the Manila Metro Rail Transit System (MRT) started operations, traversing EDSA from Taft Avenue in Pasay City to North Avenue in Quezon City, a total of 13 stations.


Air conditioned taxicabs and closed vans more commonly known as FX taxis are available in the city. Metered taxis can take a passenger anywhere in the city, but will charge a different rate (usually double the fare) when you have to go beyond city limits. There are also airport taxis that only serve passengers coming to and from the airport. These charge higher fees and available on call. The FX taxis join the rest of the buses and jeepneys on their routes during regular hours and normally will be found waiting for passengers in designated terminals to wait for passengers to specific destinations.


For travel between major islands, there are inter-island ships and ferries. Ships and ferries transport people, cargo and other merchandise from a major port to another. They are more in demand during summer and other Philippine holidays where family members working in another island come home for vacations and family reunions. The rates are cheaper than taking a plane and allow passengers to carry more luggage and cargo on board. Ferries are swift hovercraft and catamarans used for faster, short distance inter-island travel.


Three major airlines – Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air and Air Philippines service the domestic routes while several smaller airlines offer charter flights to and from selected destinations. Taking a plane is the fastest mode of transport for inter-island travel, and available almost every day of the week, except on some areas. Rates are higher than sea travel but most airlines offer discounts to those traveling with a single hand-carry or no luggage.




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