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15 Different Public Transportation Modes

Updated on September 2, 2009

The Philippines has more than 7,000 islands, and each and everyone of those islands has some beauty to offer to a traveler or a long-time resident. It is therefore natural that different public transportations are available to go around these many islands.>

There are a lot of different public transportation modes in the Philippines, and here are fifteen of them. According to Wikipedia, public transportation means “passenger transportation that is available for the general public”. These will therefore exclude private jets, hired vans that require a negotiation and a contract on the rates, and similar other rides, though those are available in the Philippines, too. With these in mind, here are more than a dozen public transportation modes in the Philippines. Some are usual, some are quite interesting.
Thank you, Cam Anju!
Thank you, Cam Anju!

1. Bus

Buses are one of the most popular modes of transportation in the Philippines. Plying the major roads of the metropolis, these buses can sit about 50-60 people. In full capacity, though, as much as 100 people can fit in one bus ride. Provincial buses on the other hand, take people from the metro to the different provinces. A provincial bus ride can last from as short as 2 or 3 hours to 3 days, depending on the destination. Longer bus rides usually include a ferry ride. The Philippines is composed of 7,107 islands and farther provinces are separated by a body of water from the main city. Nowadays, most buses have a television in it to entertain the passengers. Traffic in Metro Manila is quite heavy, and movies and shows played in buses are a welcome respite for the city travelers.

2. Jeepneys

Uniquely Filipino, jeepneys are non-airconditioned, inexpensive way to go around anywhere in the Philippines. Minimum transportation fare is benchmarked on 4 kilometers’ worth of travel by a jeepney. It can usually carry around 14 to 24 people, seated on two benches facing each other. Some people are adventurous and would ride the steps of the jeepney, and others (mostly seen in the provinces) would ride on top of the roof. Recently, electric-powered jeepneys can be seen in the country’s leading business districts, obviously an effort on becoming greener.

3. Cabs

Strictly speaking, cabs are vehicles for hire, but since they are available for the general public, they, too, can be classified as public transport. Taxicabs are a favorite among the working class, particularly those who are in the upper rungs of the corporate echelon, but who would rather not drive.Used to be in classic bright yellows, cabs are now in harder-to-spot whites.

4. Trike/ Tricycle

Fondly called a “poor man’s cab”, this three-wheeled vehicle takes a person almost anywhere he wants to go to. Prohibited in major roads, trikes are always sporting a certain color, to show which group they belong to, and to indicate the route they are allowed to take.  This ride can take about 4 people.

5. Pedicab

A simpler version of the tricycle, this is made from bicycle with an attached seat made from some GI pipes and a little upholstery. It is very much similar to the tricycle except it moves by sheer human force. This is a favorite for short rides, say, from the house to the local store 200meters away.This is also a popular ride during rainy season, as it can take someone across a puddle or a really serious portion of flood. the MRT is on the leftmost side of the picture the MRT is on the leftmost side of the picture


Metro Manila was pretty much developed when it saw the first rise of the metro rail transit (MRT) and light rail transit (LRT) systems, sometime in the 1990s. Because of this, all train systems are not underground and today there are around 5 train lines around the metropolis, and still increasing. A person can go from east to north to west without touching ground, mainly just by hopping from one train line to another.

7. Ferry

These are big boats that can take vehicles on board, moving from one major island to another. The Philippines has three major islands: Luzon (where Metro Manila is), Visayas, and Mindanao. As an example, a provincial bus will need to ride these ferries to get to their destination.

photos by lensdaddy
photos by lensdaddy

8. Boats

Boats are essential when going to the major beaches in the Philippines. These are the ones that will take you from the mainland to the sandy white beaches to get a tan.

photos by lensdaddy
photos by lensdaddy

9. Bancas

Much smaller and less powerful than boats, bancas serve as “water taxis” and will take you to a specific location you’d want to go to. In the beaches, bancas are for rent by the hour and serve as your private service for the day. No island hopping nor snorkeling is possible without a banca.

10. Airplanes

Having gained much popularity in recent years, airplanes gave ferries a run for their money when they introduced seat sales, zero fares, econofares, econolights and other promotions that made airplane rides more affordable and more attractive to the public. Before, plane rides were perceived to be the ride of the rich and the can afford, nowadays everybody flies. For example, a round-trip fare to Thailand used to cost Ph 25,000 ($520) some five years ago. Nowadays, Manila to Bangkok and back again only costs as low as Ph 6,500 ($135). Without a doubt, the improvement in the airplane fares was a big enabler for many Filipinos and foreign visitors alike.

11. FX

A cross between a cab and a jeepney, these FXs can best be viewed as a carpool ride among strangers. Tamaraw FX, an all-purpose utility vehicle by Isuzu, was the first to be used to go to a certain destination, with fixed tariff rates, hence the term “FX”. Nowadays, there are almost no Tamaraw FXs on the road, and most of the vehicles used as FX are Toyota Revo, Isuzu Crosswind, Mitsubishi Adventure, and the like.

photos by lensdaddy
photos by lensdaddy

12. Calesa

Horse-drawn carriages are still existent in old cities of the Philippines, particularly Intramuros, Binondo and Vigan. They function much like the tricycle and the pedicab, only they are horse-powered.

13. Habal habal

This is your ordinary motorcycle, but it can do extraordinary things! Most popular in the mountainous regions in the country, this is a ride for the really adventurous.Imagine a simple motorcycle taking in six or more people and you sort of get the picture. Before venturing on this unique ride, better ask a friend on the dos and donts!

14. Carabaos

If Thailand has their elephants and the Middle East has their camels, then Philippines has its carabao. You can ride directly on a carabao’s back or on the carriage it pulls. Either way, it is an experience you won’t likely forget, as you witness the sheer strength of the country’s national animal.

photos by lensdaddy
photos by lensdaddy

15. Somebody’s shoulders

Yes, somebody’s shoulder is also a means to go to one point from another, and it is available for the general public. This is usually done when going to ride the boat from the pier, or vice versa, and the water is high. To avoid being wet prematurely, tourists will have to graciously “ride” someone’s shoulders. “Fare” is fixed whether you are small, heavy or anything in between, but this fare is dictated by the locals, and it varies from one place to another.

HubNugget Wannabe!

So happy! Woot!
So happy! Woot!

There you go – a simple compilation of the country’s different modes of transportation. This is just a simple proof that it is very easy to go around in this country, whether to visit the mountains and commune with nature, or to get a nice golden tan.

Day 5 HubChallenge


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      i wanna know your full name please

    • AvineshP profile image

      Avinesh Prahladi 

      6 years ago from Chandigarh

      These transportation modes have certainly made our communication easier and convenient. Nice and informative hub.

      Really appreciate !!

    • profile image


      6 years ago


    • FullOfLoveSites profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      This is great. I have ridden on jeepneys a lot of time, and I even rode once on an airconditioned jeepney which is in fact like a mini-bus. Interesting hub. :)

    • Jhera profile image


      9 years ago

      Hi nice hub!

      Its god your promoting our country! Anyways, just to add to that, we also have the PNR train aside from MRT/LRT.

      Also, we have the "Kuliglig" of Nueva Ecija.

    • PaperNotes profile image


      9 years ago

      I smiled when I read about that part about riding on someone else's shoulders. Yet I would not disagree as there really are places where such services are offered.

    • profile image

      Transportation Collection Agency 

      10 years ago

      Excellent Hub! I cracked up on #15. Very funny stuff. I have always wanted to go to the Philippines.

    • onlinecashdigest profile image


      10 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Nice list...including the shoulders. Well in China human shoulder and legs is a regular means of transportation because they use it to pull wheeled carts with people on it. :)

    • mommyfreelancer profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you, Ripplemaker and Alorn. Being in the Top 5 HubNuggets is truly a pleasant surprise. I didn't even know what a HubNugget was until I saw Zsuzsy Bee's comment! This makes writing much more enjoyable. :)

      On this note, let me tell you that I have another HubNugget Wannabe hub - Ethics in Writing. You can view it here:

      Thank you!

    • alorn profile image


      11 years ago from UAE

      hi mommyfreelancer! being a filipino myself i'm so proud of you for being in the top 5 hubnuggets. you're hub was very informative and you truly showcase a talent in writing. I experienced riding all of the transpo means you mentioned except for the carabao as I'm quite scared of falling. Congratulations and keep it up!

      i'm a fan now!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      11 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Congratulations mommyfreelancer for making it to the TOP 5 Hubnuggets Winners! Yipppeee!

    • mommyfreelancer profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you, Karen! "Travel with a twist"...that's a nice way of putting it. :)

    • Karen Banes profile image

      Karen Banes 

      11 years ago from Canada

      Cool hub. I love 'travel with a twist' type hubs. And congrats on being a hubnugget finalist. You deserved it with this one:)

    • mommyfreelancer profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you, RedElf! I enjoyed doing this as well. :)

    • RedElf profile image


      11 years ago from Canada

      Congratulations on your nomination! Most enjoyable and informative hub!

    • mommyfreelancer profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Philippines

      :) I am a bus person, too. Not a few times did I oversleep in them and saw that I was waaaay past my station :)

      I had fun doing this hub, thank you!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      This is a really educational Hub! I learned a lot! I grew up taking the bus, so I know that mode of transportation well.

    • mommyfreelancer profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you Emievil and Sandra. I love doing hubs about the Philippines, in fact, it may be the one topic I can write about forever :)

    • profile image

      sandra rinck 

      11 years ago

      Awesome. I saw this in the forum thought I would check it out. I love hubs on the Philippines. That country is full of really wonderful people. (I am sorta biased though because I mestiza)

      Really great hub. I want to ride a carabaos and a calesa now. :D

    • emievil profile image


      11 years ago from Philippines

      Congrats mommyfreelancer! I'm proud of you and I have just voted =). Hope you win.

    • mommyfreelancer profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you, all! I had fun making this hub and being nominated as a HubNugget Wannabe was a truly great surprise (you can see from my first comments that I did not know what a HubNugget was, lol!). I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      11 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi Mommyfreelancer, got here a bit late due to my out of town trip. Glad to know you already know that your hub is a Hubnuuget Wannabe. So I do hope you are promoting your hub and encouraging everyone you know to vote for you hub. Yes, even non hubbers can vote. If you like this hub, support it by voting for this hub here:

      As I am also from the Philippines, I enjoyed reading your hub and was smiling at all the transportation methods we have. Except for the carabao, I've tried them all, including the one on the back of a man's shoulders. LOL

    • Shirley Anderson profile image

      Shirley Anderson 

      11 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Congrats on your HubNugget nomination! Best of luck in the contest. Don't forget to promote this hub to increase your chances of winning!

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 

      11 years ago from Delaware

      This was very interesting and the pics were great as well. I think the Habal habal is the scariest. lol Congrats on your nomination.


    • mommyfreelancer profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Philippines

      Hi! Read all about being a HubNugget Finalist! A very pleasant surprise, indeed!


    • mommyfreelancer profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you...but what's a hubnugget finalist? :)

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      11 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Congrats on being a hubnugget finalist.

      Great hub

      regards Zsuzsy


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