Transportation in the Philippines is relatively underdeveloped, partly due to the country’s mountainous areas and scattered islands, and also lack of government investment on infrastructure.
There are 15 international airports in the Philippines, with Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila, and Cebu International Airport the most popular ones. All domestic flights originate at NAIA, while Cebu is also a major hub for domestic flights. There are 2 major domestic airlines, namely Cebu Pacific and PAL Express / Philippine Airlines.
Upon arriving at any airport in the Philippines, onward transportation is quite simple to arrange. Taxis and car rentals are readily available at the airport. In addition Jeepneys (the local and cheap mode of transportation), are available outside the airport terminals. NAIA airport has free shuttles to other terminals as long as there are flights available, typically from 5am to 11pm.
Between islands, transportation choices include connecting flights on modern jets or turbo prop planes, plus large ferries and motorised outrigger boats (Bangka), for those with more time. Motorised Bangka
Fast Island Passenger Ferry
Land transportation includes buses, people carriers and taxis plus the ubiquitous Philippine created “Jeepneys”, “Tricycles”, “Trisikads” and the rarer and scary choice “Skylab” (below).
Need a little comfort and maybe even air conditioning (aircon)? Best choose a modern bus or taxi. In many places aircon and non aircon buses ply the same routes, with one fare costing half the other. A few years ago most taxis were non aircon, now the reverse is true.
Provincial travel choices are likely limited to jeepneys and tri-cycles and the occasional bus on main routes, with “trisikads” and “skylabs” in less developed areas.
Jeepneys: A Philippine icon, and considered as the “king of the road”, this is the cheapest way to travel. Often appearing in flashy and colourful fashion with music to enjoy or tolerate. Jeepneys are everywhere, even provincial areas with no buses. The destination can be found on the front or sides of the jeepney. Typical minimum far is P9 for 4 kms and additional P1 for each km. A real bargain!
New bus with closed windows = AIRCON! Open windows, older bus (above left) = warm breezes, cheap and crowded seating.