Regardless of where we go on a vacation, figuring out how to get around and about can be difficult. In some place the only option may be a taxi, but in Manila, there are a lot of options available for both locals and tourists. Which one is used depends on where you are going, how much you want to pay, and what level of security you are looking for.
The cheapest way to get about Manila by a wide margin is by using a Jeepney. A lot of these are based on upgrades to military vehicles left in the Philippines after the Second World War. Most of them these days though are purpose built for the job, they do however still keep the style of the original. These can carry a lot of people, and many are seen with people hanging off the side and back, including school children. This option is available all over Manila, and only costs a few pesos. Security is not good though, as many thefts take place on Jeepneys. Still, it is worth trying once just for the experience. If you can, get in the front. If someone is already there, just offer the driver a bonus on the fare to get them to move.
There are a lot of buses available, and these are handy when traveling long distances in the capital. The fare is cheap, but figuring where they actually stop can be a problem for a tourist. In most cases, if you know the number of the bus you want, just put your hand out if you see it, the driver will stop wherever he is.
Taxi’s are the best option to get directly from A to B, but they are also the most expensive. Always make sure that the driver puts the meter on, if he doesn’t, just get out. Tell them if they put the meter on, and charge fairly you will give them a good tip. Never argue with a driver, just walk away.
Using a hire car is by far the most expensive, but also gives you the most freedom. You can though go where you are. There are plenty of car hire companies, and using the local ones is cheaper, rather than using an international company. Do not expect a top spec or new car though if doing this.
There are also trains available, but unless you are going from one station to another, then they are really best left to the locals.
Getting around anywhere in Manila, not matter what method is used, can be a nightmare. Traffic can be horrendous, especially on EDSA. Sometimes, you will realize that it is much quicker to walk.