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How to Get Around Manila as a Tourist

The breathtaking Metro Manila at night. Metro Manila is a place you must visit. With all the tourist spots and rich culture it has, you'll surely want to visit again and again. | Photo by David Milmont on Unsplash

You haven’t been to Manila, which adds to the energy of tonight’s trip.

You’ve got everything ready. Your credit card is with you, plus a few bills here and there. Mobile gadgets intact, and a trusty pair of shoes for you to get around.

You’ve even installed that new app on your phone, so you should be ready to go, right?


The Philippines is one of the world’s most populous countries, ranked 13th on the list.

It is home to friendly Filipinos, diverse languages, and well-preserved customs. If you’re unsure what to put next on your bucket list, a trip to Manila should be the solution.

If you’re ready to book your next flight to Manila, learn how to navigate the city as a tourist by reading the following:

Getting to Know Manila

Did you know that the word “Manila” refers to two different places?

The first is the city of Manila, which serves as the Philippines’ capital city. The city is divided into sixteen municipal districts, which you would surely enjoy visiting. Then there’s the greater Metro Manila area, which is commonly referred to as Manila. The latter is made up of major metropolitan cities and is also known as the National Capital Region (NCR).

But, regardless of which part of Manila you’re trying to visit, it’s important to improve your sense of direction to help you get around, rather than only going to places that seem right.

Modes of Transportation

The minute you step out of the terminal, you’re almost in two of the must-see places in Manila. Terminal 1 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport is located in Parañaque, while Terminals 2, 3, and 4 are located in the city of Pasay.

If you’re used to taking the subway from the airport to the city, you may want to rethink.

You can take a taxi, private transportation if you have it, or the bus from the airport to the city.

  • Car Rental/Private Booked Carpool

Many people seem to dislike hailing a cab in the burning heat of the sun. For those of you who do, you have the option to book private transportation or a car rental. In the Philippines, mobile applications that allow you to book a ride online are common.

Below are some of the applications you can use and choose from:

  • GrabShare

Ideal for visitors who don’t mind carpooling with other tourists.

  • GrabTaxi

Provides a standard metered taxi with a flag-down fee.

  • GrabCar

This is a private trip for you and your companions if you have any.

Take the time to download these applications on your gadgets before visiting Manila.

  • Philippine Jeepney
The iconic Philippine Jeepney. The Philippine Jeepney is a famous mode of public transportation in the country. Experience it when you get to Manila! | Photo by Hitoshi Namura on Unsplash

Jeepney is a well-known Philippine icon that represents both the nation and its people. It’s the most iconic drive, and Filipinos adore it. A jeepney will always be present no matter where you are in the country.

Before you hop on one, figure out how to get to your destination. Places and other big stops are clearly marked on the front of the jeepney, so you won’t be losing them.

The fare is low, the vehicle is open-air, and the view is spectacular, especially for those trying it for the first time.

Follow the designated loading and unloading areas of the jeepney to avoid being apprehended for such a violation.

  • Taxis and Cabs

Taxis and cabs are widely available in Manila, so this is your best alternative. When you’re at the airport, you’ll see taxi stands everywhere. You won’t have any trouble finding one for yourself.

However, keep an eye on how much the drivers charge you. Make sure you’re riding one with a meter, which will calculate the amount you’ll have to pay before you arrive at your destination. If you wish, they can provide a receipt that you can request.

However, due to Manila’s congested traffic, you’ll almost certainly have to pay extra for a trip. Instead of paying what the meter shows, try negotiating with a cab driver for a better deal. This way, you’ll be able to save a couple of extra bucks.

  • Buses

Take the bus if you want to see what the city is like. It allows you to see the streets of Metro Manila cities as well as some of the tourist attractions that you can visit later.

Since you’ll be commuting with Filipino citizens on the way to their destinations, feel free to ask them questions you might have as you go. They’re friendly and will do their best to help you with what they know.

Be polite and smile. This way, you won’t come off as arrogant, and Filipinos will be happier to assist you.

  • MRT and LRT (rail transit)

Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Manila Metro Transit (MRT) are some of the common types of public transportation in Manila. It is extensively used by locals on a regular basis and is very convenient because it passes through main roads and highways in the province and reaches destinations both north and south.

Commuters on the rail transit. Experience leisure travel when you get on the rail transit during off-peak hours and see the beautiful cities around! | Photo by Eldon Vince Isidro on Unsplash

On weekdays, a huge number of commuters use rail transit around:

  • 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM

  • 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM

However, if you travel at off-peak hours, you won’t have to deal with squeezing your way into a mob of passengers. Aside from motorcycle rides, it is the fastest mode of transportation available.

A Hundred Reasons to Love Manila

Most of us work like robots for our hectic daily schedule. We don’t stop to take a break, making us feel exhausted more than ever. It’s our life, so let’s do it our own way. Time may not always be money, but it will always be precious.

A man sitting at the bench while looking out the airport window. If you're visiting Manila, you'll know how hospitable Filipinos can be. On top of that, they always have a smile on their faces! | Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

It isn’t easy to make up for the time we lose when we choose work and career over vacationing.

Traveling to Manila is a reward for yourself, and you deserve it. Experience what you can only see in photographs, taste what you can only see on television, and go to places you can only see in your dreams.

Below are some of the must-visit spots in Manila:

  1. Taguig: Bonifacio Global City

  2. Laguna: Enchanted Kingdom

  3. Metro Manila: SM Mall of Asia

  4. Pasay: Resorts World Manila

  5. Bataan: Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

  6. Parañaque: Manila Bay Entertainment City

  7. Okada Manila (former: Manila Bay Resorts)

  8. Pasay: Newport City

  9. Pangasinan: Hundred Islands

  10. National Museum of Natural History

For your next vacation, book a ticket to Manila.

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