Pros and Cons of transportation systems in the Philippines
With all the beautiful places, delicious food, and exciting activities to do in the Philippines, you need to travel a lot. Philippines, as an archipelago, has 7,641 islands. With such beautiful and diverse geographical character, modes of transportation is also very unique everywhere. Philippines is famous for the jeepney but we’re more than that!
Tourism plays a big role in the country’s gross domestic product. Tourists go to the Philippines to have a good time, enjoy the sceneries, food, and its culture. Yet, just as much as the destination, they enjoy the journey!
In the urban places of Philippines like Metropolitan Manila, transportation does not differ much of those in other countries. Foreigners will be familiar with trains, buses, and taxis. Carpool services like Grab are also available if they want to save time from waiting. The Metro Rail Transit and Light Rail Transit (commonly referred to as MRT and LRT) generally arrives on schedule but is also almost always very packed. Buses are also very crowded. One must be vigilant with his belongings. Taxis are more expensive but are far more comfortable and safe especially for tourists who do not know directions. Trains, buses, and taxis are ideal for foreigners who are in the Philippines for work and business, not for a vacation.
Even in the cities, tourists can opt for the very “Filipino” modes of transportation. For longer travels and ones that will pass through major highways and roads, tourists can ride a jeepney. Tourists can engage in the Filipino spirit of “Bayanihan” even in the simple act of passing the fare from person to person. Jeepneys are also very colorful and decorated. There is not a single jeepney like any other. Jeepneys, however, are also notorious for snatchers. It is best to dress humbly and keep an eye on your belongings.
For shorter distances that will not travel along major highways and roads, tourists can get the special treatment of riding a tricycle. It is a motorcycle with a sidecar attached to its side. A manual version is also available, the pedicab, which is a bicycle with a sidecar. You can rent tricycles to get you straight where you need to be. Just like jeepneys, tricycles and pedicabs are very colorful and decorated. Tricycle drivers sometimes tend to overprice their fare for foreigners so ask locals about the regular price and for special trips.
Exploring the modern cities in antique fashion is also possible with kalesas. A kalesa is a horse-drawn carriage. They are famous in Vigan but can also be found in Intramuros and Manila. A kalesa can accommodate only 2-4 people depending on its design. It is not advisable to tour whole cities in a kalesa but a ride in it at sunset would make a romantic date even more extra!
Traveling by air comes natural because Philippines is an archipelago. You can reach some islands by plane. However, some smaller islands do not have airports so you need to travel by sea further to reach them. These modes of transportation are generally safe as long as the weather is good. It is never a good idea to travel across seas in bad weather. Most islands can be reached by ferries. Special trips are also available by Bangka which are smaller and can seat a limited number of people. It is fun traveling by sea in beautiful weather because wherever you look, the view is always beautiful.
Philippines is an exciting country with many places you can go to. It has many beaches, mountains, and different terrains. Wherever it may be in Philippines, it becomes more memorable because of the journey. Choosing the right vehicle is important.
- Penn, M. (2019, November 12). Philippine tourist arrivals up 14.4% in 2019. Retrieved from https://agbrief.com/headline/philippine-tourist-arrivals-up-14-4-in-2019/
- Esguerra, V., Cabacungan, G. C., & Salaverria, L. B. (2014, December 23). Senators slam MRT-LRT fare hike. Retrieved from https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/658710/senators-slam-mrt-lrt-fare-hike
- Westerman, A. (2018, March 7). A Push To Modernize Philippine Transport Threatens The Beloved Jeepney. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2018/03/07/591140541/a-push-to-modernize-philippine-transport-threatens-the-beloved-jeepney
- Pete. (2017, September 5). Along for the ride: The Philippine Tricycle. Retrieved from http://nomadicalsabbatical.com/the-philippine-tricycle/
- Blissfulguro. (1970, January 1). Kalesa Tours – Vigan City. Retrieved from https://www.blissfulguro.com/2015/01/kalesa-tours-vigan-city.html
- 15 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in the Philippines: PlanetWare. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.planetware.com/philippines/top-rated-tourist-attractions-things-to-do-in-the-philippines-phi-1-26.htm