If you put your mind to it, it’s really easy to get around in the Philippines. You don’t need a car (but sometimes it would be nice to have one). There are plenty of ways to get around (mainly four to five here in Zambales, but it is similar all over Luzon).
The smallest vehicle, the tricycle, is mainly used for shorter distances within the villages and the towns. Not particularly fast but virtually no stops. The tricycle is a motorcycle (or now scooters) with an attached, modified side car. Depending on which part of Luzon you to go, the shapes of these vary and it’s actually quite interesting. The ones in Manila are larger and more boxy and I wish that the ones here in Zambales would catch on.
I think the jeepney is the most iconic of all of the vehicles. The jeepneys in Olongapo are painted a certain color depending on which route they drive. Jeepneys travel in two directions and the fare differs depending on how far you go; the names of their starting and ending points are posted on the windshield. In order to pay, you say where you’re going and hand your money to the driver (saying “Bayad po” which roughly translates to “here’s my fare”), if you’re sitting far from the driver, you pass it down and the other passengers will give it to the driver.
The minibus is just that, a minibus. But they’re not really….mini*. There is a conductor who walks around and asks you where you’re going and collects your fare but they don’t issue tickets. Minibuses are slow and will stop anywhere. We only ride these if we’re not in a hurry.
And finally, the Victory Liner. These buses are for longer distances but you can ride it from one town to the next. It’s a matter of preference. They have regular buses and ‘aircon’ (air conditioned) buses. Their destination is also displayed on the windshield. However, if you want to go to Manila, you will be riding an aircon Victory. The conductor will issue you a ticket after you’ve told him your destination. You can also buy your tickets at the terminals, which you then hand to the conductor on the bus.
A new way to get around that wasn’t here the last time I visited is the UV. It’s a van that they’ve modified to fit more people. I haven’t ridden one yet but they are pretty fast.
*I think the minibuses in Cavite are more mini than what we have in Zambales.
I’ve spent a good amount of my time here commuting and while it’s cheap and fairly safe, it could be more efficient. Though, I still don’t miss driving. Not yet.
ps My pictures are a little blurry and I’m sorry! Most of these were taken on my phone and I have shaky hands and half the time I’m in a moving vehicle while taking the picture…I will do better!