Getting around the Philippines

It’s long, it’s tough, it’s a pain in the arse. But at least you’ve got options;


The classic, the cheapest, the rickety-est, the most likely to fail an MOT. But 25 pesos for cross country fares, and I’m game. Deeply religious people, naturally there are going to be references to this absolutely everywhere. The last Jeepney I took had 3 crosses, 4 rosary beads, 5 Virgin Mary’s and 6 Jesus’ just on the dash. Not to mention the hanging scarves containing everyone’s favourite slogan ‘God Bless Us’ and ‘Jesus is Coming’ which drapes across the windscreen just enough to completely obscure the drivers vision; these seem to be compulsory on Jeepneys.

The exterior decoration is quite something, truly outstanding commitment to eclecticism. I wish all transport methods could exude as much personality. I’ve seen Hello Kitty, The Avengers, silver and red explosions with flashing lights and pumping tunes. All with the Pope plastered on the back. Think Mad Max but with more colour, less impending doom and a Jesus angle.

Considering the seemingly shambolic nature of Jeepneys I never had to wait more than 10 minutes for one; so get involved.


Also super for cheap for short journeys (10-20 pesos) and not outrageous for a long-ish one (200-250 pesos). Almost every single one quoting scripture on the back, front, side, anywhere. You certainly can’t fault the Filipino’s commitment to Catholicism.

Amazing colours add to these mega trikes that swarm around seemingly in their thousands. You get some pretty heavy duty fumes firing back at you, but hey what ‘ya gonna do.


Seem to be everywhere in cities and non-existent on the islands. Uber or Grab apps are the best for booking and gives you the least possible chance of getting ripped off.

Taxi stands vary from a string of orange lights organised to military precision to a mass of drivers stood around yelling inflated prices at you. Questionable air con, difficult traffic conditions- like the worst traffic you’ve ever seen in your life (two hours to get out of Manila airport, TWO HOURS!) The nicest way to get around, obvs, although you occasionally get a driver who answers yes to, ‘do you know where you’re going?’ And yes most definitely means no here.
Ceres Buses

Air conditioned and movies; random, the most random movies and all terrible. They run every 30 minutes or so going very long distances, like 7+ hours and cheapish too- 300-350 pesos.

My personal fave, not only because they are the cheapest. They’re also the most fun, the least crowded (although I have seen 3 people and two kids on one bike) and it can take you with a big ass backpack; although getting off is a little tricky. And forget a helmet, it’s just not the done thing.

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