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Manila - Getting Around

Manila’s streets are plagued by congestion, especially when rush hour and rain stop play. Luckily, local transport is cheap and even long taxi journeys seldom cost more than P200.

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An image of a grassy mountain in Manila

Light Rail Transit

The LRT yellow line (LRT-1) runs north-south on congestion-busting elevated lines across the city, while the more modern LRT purple line (LRT-2) runs east-west. The service can be accessed via 31 stations along its 31km of track. Fast and inexpensive, it sadly doesn’t cover the entire city, but buses frequently operate from LRT stations to onward destinations, and it intersects with the MRT blue line. The MRT, based at Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), has 13 stations and runs through Makati to Quezon City and San Juan. Expect crowds during the rush hour.

An image of a colourful old bus in Manila


Manila’s buses are banned from most city-centre streets, so they’re only worth using if you’re content to go somewhere on a main road, such as the Epifanio de los Santos Ave (EDSA), Quezon Boulevard, Taft Avenue, Espana Boulevard or Ayala Center in Makati. Destinations are displayed on signboards by the front windshield. Tickets for air-conditioned buses cost slightly more.

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An image of a waterfront in Manila

Water Buses

Water buses run along the Pasig River, which is far cleaner nowadays than it was in the not so distant past, and makes for a pleasant photo-opportunity. Be vigilant at water bus stations.


Taxis are cheap when the meter is running; to avoid complications, ask your driver to switch it on when you get in, unless rush hour and rain are causing jams – in such cases it may be worth agreeing a fare in advance. As a guideline, expect to pay around 30 pesos plus 2.5 pesos for every 500 metres or two minutes of waiting time. A 10 per cent tip is usual but not obligatory. Passengers are recommended to lock doors when in transit, especially in traffic jams.


Jeepneys – American jeeps left behind after World War Two – are generally the cheapest and fastest way to get around the city, but are not recommended at night, when they risk being targeted by criminals.