2015.08.23 00:00 | Kurt Tomlinson
Public transportation in the Philippines was very different from what I'm used to in America. I never felt unsafe or threatened while I was there with one exception I'll talk about in the walking section below.
I took the bus between Angeles City and Manila several times. I was working on Clark Air Base, and I'd go to MNL in Manila to travel to other countries. The buses didn't have any set schedule as far as I could tell. They would idle at the bus station until they were mostly full, and then they'd leave.
While the buses were idling, vendors would get on the buses and sell food or bottles of water. If the bus left while they were still conducting a transaction, then the bus driver would just let them off at the side of the road whenever they were done.
I don't remember the exact price, but it cost about 150PHP to take the bus from Angeles City to Manila. The ride was between 1.5 and 3 hours depending on traffic.
You don't pay your bus fair until the bus has left the station. Once the bus is on the highway, an attendant comes around and asks where you're going. He then gives you a receipt with the price punched out with a hole punch. The attendant makes a second trip around the bus and collects everyone's fair and gives change.
The bus from Angeles City to Manila doesn't make any stops until it reaches Manila. In manila, it makes a stop every five minutes or so. I'd watch our progress on my phone and get off when we got near the airport. I'd then hail a cab to take me the rest of the way to my terminal. Cab fair to the airport from a bus stop, in an unmetered cab, was typically around 300 pesos. In a metered cab, I think the cost would have been closer to 80 pesos.
There are no bus routes within cities as far as I could tell. Instead, jeepneys ran predetermined routes within the cities. Jeepneys are converted jeeps that have two long benches in the back and very low ceilings. You get in the back, take a seat, and pass your fair forward to the driver. Jeepneys typically cost about 5-20 pesos.
If you're lost and you can find an idle Jeepney, you can hire it for a private route for about 200-400 pesos depending on your negotiation skills and how much business the jeepney driver would have to give up to take you. From what I was told, jeepney drivers "rent" their jeepneys daily and give a cut of their earnings to the jeepney owners each day.
Photo by Leonidas_Smith1866