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Transportation in the Philippines

About 14 percent of the 158,810 km (98,110 mi) of roads in the Philippines are paved, this is in spite of the difficult mountainous terrain.  In Metro Manila, there are many modes of transportation available.  Buses, jeepneys, LRT,  and taxis are readily available for use in getting around the city.

Buses are available with air-conditioning or without.  The price for riding in air-conditioning is about double what you would pay for riding without and use certain main routes.  There are also charter bus lines available for those wanting to travel outside Manila.

The most popular mode of transportation in Manila is the jeepney.  As the name implies, it is basically a colorful jeep that looks like those used by the Americans during World War II.   They have regular stops, as do buses, but will also stop if they are flagged down.


Taxis are air-conditioned and can be found practically anywhere in Manila.  On occasion a driver will say his meter is broken, if so, traveler beware!  It is time to get out and find another taxi, as you will probably get overcharged by this scam.   If a person traveling to the Philippines wishes to travel by car, but not in a taxi, they can rent a car, but need to have a valid international drivers license.  For travelers staying in deluxe hotels, many offer limousine services. 

The LRT (Light Rail Transit) is the best way to get downtown and get around in Manila.  It's relatively inexpensive and is very fast.

254 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 25
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 85
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 29
914 to 1,523 m: 34
under 914 m: 10 (2010)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 169
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 66
under 914 m: 99 (2010)
2 (2010)
oil 107 km; refined products 112 km (2009)
total: 897 km
country comparison to the world: 95
narrow gauge: 897 km 1.067-m gauge (492 km are in operation) (2008)
total: 201,910 km
country comparison to the world: 24
paved: 21,677 km
unpaved: 180,233 km (2008)
3,219 km; (limited to vessels with draft less than 1.5 m) (2011)
country comparison to the world: 31
Merchant marine:
total: 428
country comparison to the world: 24
by type: bulk carrier 75, cargo 135, carrier 16, chemical tanker 26, container 13, liquefied gas 5, passenger 7, passenger/cargo 68, petroleum tanker 45, refrigerated cargo 17, roll on/roll off 12, vehicle carrier 9
foreign-owned: 156 (Bermuda 43, China 4, Greece 4, Japan 82, Malaysia 1, Netherlands 18, Singapore 1, South Korea 1, Taiwan 1, UAE 1)
registered in other countries: 7 (Cyprus 1, Panama 6) (2010)
Ports and terminals:
Batangas, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao, Liman, Manila
Transportation - note:
the International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial and offshore waters in the South China Sea as high risk for piracy and armed robbery against ships; numerous commercial vessels have been attacked and hijacked both at anchor and while underway; hijacked vessels are often disguised and cargo diverted to ports in East Asia; crews have been murdered or cast adrift

In addition, the PRN (Philippine National Railways), which run by the state, is also an option for those traveling out of Manila.   Railroad tracks cover about 1,060 km (660 mi) of the Philippines, and is limited due to its  being mainly on Luzon.  An option for traveling between the islands is to use ferries.  

For travelers not wishing to be on water, airline travel is another option since there are over 40 major provincial airports.  The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is just a kilometer from the Manila Domestic Airport and is about 7 miles from the center of Manila.  NAIA also has many amenities from a medical clinic to banks and postal service in addition to duty-free shops, souvenir shops, tourist information centers and more.  The airport in Cebu, Mactan International Airport (MIA), is about 45 minutes from the city's center and has duty-free shops, tourist information centers like the major airports in Manila.

Roughly a fourth of the airports in the Philippines have paved runways - out of 262 airports, 75 runways are paved.  PAL, the Philippines Airlines, is the national air carrier and serves Manila with links to 12 cities in 7 countries.  It also has daily routes to 17 local cities.  Major airlines from other countries also serve Manila.  In addition, Cebu has chartered flights from Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

For chartered travel to smaller locations, there are several carriers available - Cebu Pacific, Asian Spirits, Mindanao Express Airlines, and SEAir, Incorporated. 

Cruise ships are served by Manila, with inter-island ships connecting Manila to other major island ports.  The busiest seaports are Manila, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao, Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga which are a part of the 3,219 km of waterways and seaports.


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