Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What It's Like- Getting Around

For the first 6 months of living in the Philippines, we did not have our own car to get us used to using public transportation. Living in Manila, anytime you are on the road, in a vehicle or walking is an adventure to say the least! I had no idea that traffic, people, and vehicles could function in the way they do in Manila!!! Everytime we are in a vehicle, I audibly scream at least twice, usually many more times at our near chances with death! But I am proud to say,  I am one of the few missionary ladies who drives in Manila! (bragging I know) We must have talked quite a bit how dangerous it was, because I overheard our 2 year old (at the time) telling our 4 year old- "Bubba, you must hold onto Daddy & Mommy's hands tight when we are walking on the street or you will be squished by a jeepney and you will DIE!"

There have been many videos taken & documentaries done on Manila driving, but here are a few of my favorites!

This is a friend of ours driving to work on his motorcycle.

This is me driving through a flooded street in Manila.

Here's an English bus driver driving in Manila on "Toughest Places To Be A Bus Driver."

Island driving is much slower paced, but still pretty crazy. We have our own car & motorcycle & I am practicing to get my motorcycle license!

The two most common vehicles of transportation are jeepney & tricycle (trike). They are very colorfully decorated & there seems to be an unofficial contest to see who can trick theirs out the most.

It is amazing to me how many people they can pack on these things. They aren't just people movers either. They carry a crazy amount of cargo too!


How much it costs depends on how far you are going & sometimes on the driver. A basic fare on a jeepney in Manila is P8/$.18 to go 2.5 miles/4 km. Here, in Palawan, I can hire a tricycle for P50/$1.15 to take me to the grocery store or I can share a trike with other passengers & it only costs P12/$.28. You hail a jeep or trike pretty much the same as you hail a taxi. The jeeps have designated routes, so you just find the one that has the route you wish to travel written on the side & wave it down. You jump on, squeeze your backside or sometimes half your backside onto the vinyl seat & hang on. You pass your fare up to the driver and say, "Bayad po." (Fare, sir.) When you come close to your destination, you shout, "Para, po" (Stop, sir) or knock on the ceiling of the jeep. For a tricycle, you flag one down & tell the driver where you want to go. He can accept or refuse and if there is a lot of traffic, may ask for a higher price. If her refuses or you don't like the price, it can take quite a while to find a trike to take you where you want to go.

Public transport is pretty cheap & convenient. My kids love riding on jeeps & trikes!
Buses are also common for long distances, taxis are popular in the city, with personally owned motorcycles & cars being the least common.

Driving & getting around has definitely been one of our biggest adjustments to living here & I don't realize until someone visits just how used to it we have gotten! My mom flipped out when she visited us because of how everyone drove. It is definitely a shock if it is not something you are used to.

I will end with this video that we made while living in Manila on the many ways of transportation.
We love the Philippines!

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