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7/9/15

Transportation in Philippines

Traveling Around The City Of Cebu via Sugar Land Texas

Honda XRM 125
Living in Cebu or elsewhere in the world, a vehicle can be convenient. But do you really need it? Some will say yes, others are fine without. Just like home.
Some don’t have it because they cannot afford, while others don’t feel they need it. It all depends on what you’re used to, what family situation you’re in and where you live. Others say they're fine without a car until they get one, then they cannot live without it!
If you’re living in Cebu City, the need of a car is usually less. I stayed here for more than a year just relying on taxis and jeepneys. Taxis are very cheap compared to back home, and they are usually quite easy to find. Exceptions are major holidays like Cristmas Eve, closing time at the malls, during rush hours or when it’s raining heavily. Using a taxi means you don’t have to worry about parking spaces, and if there is a minor accident you’re not responsible. Going out for a few beers, you won’t be tempted of driving drunk. You don’t have to worry about traffic fines, registration and insurance.

A 10 minute taxi trip usually cost around 50 peso.  One hour cost about 200-250 peso. Shopping groceries you usually will need a taxi back home. All the major malls have free “delivery” when you shop a few bags. The boys will bring them to the taxi stand, and help you load the bags in the trunk. I usually tip 10-20 peso for this service even if it’s not required. If you’re living in the province, taxis are limited or non-existent, so you’re relying on the tricycles for this service. It is not as convenient for you as a taxi, but it can work out.

Without a large number of bags, you might also be fine riding a jeepney instead, as long as you don’t have to change too often. A lot of foreigners including myself are not afraid of using them, and they are bang cheap, starting from 7 peso a ride. Some foreigners however, never ride a jeepney.
Are you single, or do you have a large family, needing to drive them to school, sport practice etc? Are you usually just going to the gym, malls, bars and restaurants or do you have a more complex transportation pattern? Do you go away for weekend trips quite often? Do you feel safe driving yourself? If you don't and can afford it, you could hire a private driver for 7000-8000 peso a month.
A jeepney waiting to leave at Carbon Market in...Most expats that don’t have a car have a motorbike instead. Some have both. If you want a motorbike, I recommend minimum of 125cc if you plan to drive a litt longer than just around the province. If it's more for local use, you could also do with less. I bought a Honda XRM for 59.000 peso a few months ago and certainly don’t regret it. I use it every day and would hate losing it. Going to the mall to stock up, I bring a big backpack to stuff the groceries. If you’re comfortable riding a motorbike in the traffic, it’s a great way of getting around whether you live in the city or the province. It’s especially fun when there’s a traffic jam. You can smile and wave goodbye to all the cars you pass.
If you live in the province, I say you need a vehicle unless you are very stationary. Taxis are hard to find, and in many small towns there aren’t any at all. There are usually tricycles or jeepneys around, but if you’re going elsewhere than along the main road it’s not really convenient. Tricycles are not comfortable, and especially not if you’re a big guy. They can be overloaded and slow. Staying in the province, you should at least have a motorbike, but you can do well without a car – I know many foreigners without.
There are some, but not that many guys without a vehicle. Tony Jarman being one of them, and he doesn’t have any problem roaming around town.
Freedom is an important reason for the guys preferring a car. Being able at any time to take off wherever you like, I can understand that argument. Just remember you’re on an island. Bringing your car to another island on the boat can be quite expensive.
Changing weather conditions is a very good reason to have your own car. It does change very quickly here, and riding my motorbike in rain is not too funny – and those are the times I’ve really wanted a car. Then it’s the car drivers turn to laugh as they pass me.