Moving around Metro Manila

I was asked by my wife to pick-up some orders for this start-up business that we have. We sell environment-friendly toiletries and cleaning products online.

The suppliers are all within Metro Manila, an administrative region that has the capital city of the Philippines, Manila. The easiest way to explain the difference between Metro Manila and Manila is this: Manila is the beginning and Metro Manila is the result.

So how do I get around in Metro Manila?


There are a lot of ways. There’s public transportation for folks like me who don’t have a car. For starters, I can use a tricycle.

A tricycle is a combination of a motorcycle and a sidecar. It has a comfortable capacity of six people (two passengers behind the driver) and three people on the sidecar. Well, there are some occasions that this can accommodate a maximum of eight or more persons 🙂 In places outside Metro Manila, tricycles are used to transfer livestock and other goods.

This is a mode of transportation especially for narrow roads. You’ll see a number of them lined up in front of some villages.

I can also ride the bus. It’s a choice between riding the “ordinary” one:

It’s ordinary because it is not air-conditioned. I live in a country near the equator. The heat is unbearable but because a lot of Filipinos have to stretch their budget, they have the option to ride an “ordinary” bus.

For those who have a few pesos (yes, that’s our currency), you can ride the air-conditioned type:

We also have trains in Metro Manila. We have the Light Rail Transit 1 (LRT 1) and the Light Rail Transit 2 (LRT 2) and the Manila Metro Rail Transit (MRT).

The LRT 2 started its operations almost seven years ago. It’s the newest addition to ease traffic in Metro Manila. I took this picture while waiting for the train with the supplies that I picked up in Quezon City. Quezon City is the largest city in Metro Manila. It’s named after President Manuel L. Quezon, when the Philippines was a commonwealth government under the Americans.

If you’re the type who wants to explore Intramuros (that’s Old Manila), you might want to try riding a horse-drawn carriage called the kalesa.

But the iconic symbol of mass transportation is the Jeepney, the king of the road.

Who’s Anna & Paolo? My guess is that these are the names of the children of the jeepney driver. I’ll go in detail about riding the jeepney on a separate post 🙂

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Oh and by the way, did you know that we used to drive on the left side of the road? After the Second World War, this was changed upon General Douglas MacArthur’s order.

From Manuel L. Quezon III’s (yes, he’s the grandson of Manuel L. Quezon) Tumblr (bold text mine):

I… was on General MacArthur’s staff… I was sort of mayor of Manila… You have no idea of the problems you face. One night we get an order. From now on, everybody will drive on the right side. The Philippines is one of those places where it’s on the left. Try that sometime, brother, to figure out in three days how you’re gonna move people from the left side to the right. Tell that Filipino guy with his carabao to go on the other side of the road.

–Joseph H. Rauh, Jr., interviewed by Studs Terkel for his book, The Good War: An Oral History of World War 2(Laughs)

I also got this picture from the same site.

Amazing.