Navigating Metro Manila can be very tricky and intimidating at first, even to locals especially when going on their first jeepney ride. For one, there are a few different options to choose from, and sometimes when not taking the cab, one form of transportation may not get you directly to where you wish to go.
We have created this list to enlighten you a bit on what transport options you can choose from when traveling within the bustling megacity of Metro Manila. And oh, a great app that can help us out in our commute is Sakay.ph – just enter your point of origin and destination, and you’ll be given a number of commuting options to help get you to your destination based on where you are in the map.
Metro Manila Transport Options
Ride-hailing smartphone apps (Grab or Uber)
Uber and its Southeast Asian counterpart Grab cars are the most convenient way to get around Metro Manila. Both are not only reasonably priced, the ride experience will also be more comfortable than taking the taxi since the cars are brand new and the drivers are more courteous since they are rated in the app.
Jeepney (a.k.a. Jeep)
We may have a love-hate relationship with this colorful Philippine icon, but the jeepney is definitely an exciting way to go around the metro. Although there are jeepneys that does have air conditioning, most do not have it so prepare to enjoy the heat while you’re at it.
Riding this Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) will be very confusing at first, but you can definitely ask the driver or your ‘seatmates’ at the back for directions or if the jeepney’s going to your destination. Here a few pointers to help you find out where the jeepney is going:
- The signboard in front (windshield) of the jeepney says the major landmarks the service will run through, e.g. SM Mall of Asia, Cubao – Araneta Center, or Baclaran, etc.
- The landmarks in the sides of the jeepney says the landmarks on both ends of the route, e.g. Alabang – Pasay
- If your destination is one of the landmarks listed on the jeepney’s signboard, then you’re in luck – that jeepney is going your way. Just ask the driver or your seatmate to let you know once you reach your destination.
- If your destination is not listed on the signboard, all you have to do is ask the jeepney driver or one of the passengers if it’s going your way or not.
The minimum fare is very affordable at ₱8 and can go up to ₱16, depending on the distance. Once you get in the jeepney, paying for your fare works differently: if you’re seated near the rear, you can ask the passenger next to you to pass your payment to the next passenger until it reaches the driver. Getting your change works the same way in reverse. Cool, eh?
If you see something cool and want to get off or if you arrive at your destination and you want the jeepney to stop, just say “para” to let the driver know.
Riding the bus works almost the same as the jeepneys, the only difference would be the routes and the fact that most of the buses in the city are air conditioned.
There is a tendency for the city buses to be packed during rush hours, and when it’s not the rush hour, your ride would be very spacious, cool and comfortable.
- The signboard in front (windshield) of the bus says the major landmarks the service will run through, e.g. SM Megamall, Cubao – Araneta Center, or LRT Ayala, etc.
- If your destination is one of the landmarks listed on the bus’ signboard, then you’re in luck – the bus is going your way. Just ask the driver, conductor, or your seatmate to let you know once you reach your destination.
- If your destination is not listed on the signboard, all you have to do is ask the bus driver, conductor, or one of the passengers if it’s going your way or not.
The minimum fare is also very affordable at ₱12 and can go up to ₱25, depending on the distance you’re going. Just come in the bus, take a seat, and wait for the conductor to get your payment in exchange for a paper ticket – this is also a good opportunity to tell the conductor to inform you once the bus arrives at your destination.
Taxis are everywhere in Metro Manila so you wouldn’t have a hard time hailing for one, except during rush hours or during the crazy Christmas season where everyone in the metro is out and about – this is a time when it’s more practical to book an Uber or Grab instead.
Standard rate for the regular taxi is ₱40 for the initial flag down rate (first 500 meters), with an additional of ₱3.50 for every 300 meters, and ₱3.50 for every 2 minutes of waiting or being idle when in traffic.
This is the mode of public transportation commuters rely on when trying to go where the jeepneys or buses can’t – inside subdivisions or residential areas where there are no major roads – this is especially true in the suburbs, and you wouldn’t mostly see tricycles in the major business districts where every road is a major road.
Tricycle rides can go from ₱20 to ₱100, depending on the distance.
Metro Manila Train Systems
Metro Manila currently has 4 train systems, with many more additions and extensions planned in the future. We have created below map of Metro Manila railways to serve as your quick and easy guide – we’ve also include airport locations just so you know where the train systems are from the NAIA terminals. You may click on each ticker below to see more information about each station (we’ve also listed down each train system’s fare and route information after the map).
MRT (Metro Rail Transit)
- Runs along EDSA avenue (north to south) from North Avenue to Taft Avenue stations
- Fares range from PHP 15 to PHP 25
- Service runs from 4:30 AM to 10:30 PM
LRT1 (Light Rail Transit Line 1)
- Spans from Roosevelt to Baclaran stations, from North to South of Metro Manila
- Fares range from PHP 12 to PHP 25
- Service runs from 5:00 AM to 10:30 PM
LRT2 (Light Rail Transit Line 2)
- Spans from Recto to Santolan stations, from East to West of Metro Manila
- Fares range from PHP 12 to PHP 25
- Service runs from 5:00 AM to 11:00 PM (Weekdays) and 5:00 AM to 9:30 PM (Weekends)
Philippine National Railways (PNR)
- Fares range from PHP 10 to PHP 45 (see fare matrix).
- Metro Manila service generally runs every hour during the day. For the updated timetable, see here
- After PNR Muntinlupa Station, service continues out of Metro Manila, going south up to its last station, PNR Calamba station in Laguna province.
Kalesa / Calesa (horse-drawn carriage)
The Kalesa is not that common in the whole of Metro Manila, because most of these old forms of transportation are mostly only found in Old Manila (Intramuros, Binondo, Malate), which are also touristy areas. If you’re feeling touristy and not much in a rush, a Kalesa ride would be a great way to explore Old Manila just like they did in the old times. As an example, a 30-minute Kalesa ride in Intramuros will cost around ₱350.
Of course in case you get lost or if all else fails, you can always hail a cab or a Grab or Uber, all of which are available all over Metro Manila.