Philippines Transport Guide

By all accounts, anyone who travels to the Philippines is bound to spend some time on the high waters – boat travel options ranges from high-class ferries and luxury catamarans to small outriggers ferrying people between beaches. Public transport includes the part-jeep/part-bus jeepney, taxis, slightly more expensive vans or tricycle.

How to get around the Philippines

Travel by sea: ferries of all shapes, sizes and seaworthiness cover the waters between Philippine islands. Alternatively, the vast number of bus services covering the Philippines are cheap and, in most cases, reliable. Hiring a car isn’t recommended unless you’ve got the patience of a saint and the protection of the Pope, although if you know where you are going it is a much faster option than public transport. Don’t attempt to drive in Manila or around Luzon's central mountains, which can be pretty dangerous, however driving should be fine and relatively stress-free in Cebu. There is also an old railway line from Manila to southeast Luzon stopping off at Naga and Legaspi along the way. In the cities (and for moderate distances) catch a jeepney. This mode of public transport can be flagged down anywhere, but usually stop where there is a crowd of potential customers. Privately operated vans (minibuses) rival jeepneys and regular buses will also take you to set destinations in air-conditioned comfort, although a trip to the coast can be two or three times more than in a regular jeepney. The tricycle is basically the Philippines rickshaw: typically run on a motorbike engine and occasionally as a bicycle – a fun option for a quick trip. You can cycle yourself around the Philippines – but it’s mostly only recommended for smaller trips – like exploring around a small island such as Batanes or Guimaras. Enjoy peaceful rides along coastal roads and coming across villages off the beaten track.