When you are traveling to the Philippines and arrive in Manila Airport, it would be best if you have family or friends who pick you up at the airport. That is the cheapest and safest way to start your visit to this country.
Getting transport to your hotel
But not everybody has friends or family who are able to pick them up from the airport. The reason might be that you have to travel to the province next day or you just visit the Philippines on your own. In such case you probably have booked a hotel.
Many hotels, but not all, have an airport pick-up service. You should always ask for it. If they do: Use it, even if you have to pay for it. Most of the times this service is cheap or even free. You just have to tip the driver. Depending on the quantity of luggage you have, a tip of 50 or 100 pesos would be fine.
In the arrival area of the airport you will find ATM machines where you can get pesos. Take care that you have smaller bills like 50 and 100. In case you decide to get a regular taxi you will need to pay in smaller bills, because a taxi driver often doesn’t have change or he pretends not to have change!!
Get a taxi
If you need to arrange your own transport, there are two possibilities. The first is to get a yellow airport taxi. They are more expensive than the ordinary taxi’s but safer and they are using the taxi meter. So you only pay what the meter indicates, plus a tip to the driver.
Look for a sign that says: “Yellow Taxi” or “Airport taxi” or just ask an airport official where to find them. All cars are painted completely Yellow with a big painted number on the side.
Often there is a man who writes down the taxi number and your destination, and shows it to the driver. After that, ask for the paper so you have the taxi number and the telephone number in case you need to complain.
Second possibility is getting a so called ‘Coupon-taxi’. This way of taxi transport is better if you need to travel with more people and have a lot of luggage. The car is bigger and you need to pay a fixed price to your destination. Ask and eventually book this taxi at this web page or at Nissan coupon taxi.
And every terminal has a service, they call ‘coupon taxi’, they are government backed and they use big roomy cars . . . Each airport terminal has a ‘coupon taxi kiosk’, you can ask at the ‘tourism info’ desk BEFORE you go through customs where it is located.
Go to the kiosk – tell them exactly where you are going – the fixed fares are posted on a billboard – and will be written on a voucher – so no meter – and no worries about whether the driver is taking the scenic route or decides to go in the heavy traffic.
After the ride, you pay the driver the fare mentioned before. A tip is always welcome. 10% of the total fee will do.
These two are airport services only. These cabs do not roam – you can only get them at the airport.
IF you know your way around Manila, you can also take an ordinary taxi. Just go to the departure drop off area at the terminals and get into a WHITE (or colored) metered taxi and demand the driver to use the meter. If he will not, just get out and take another one. So do NOT put your bag in the trunk or your are trapped. Also always ask if the printer works as you need a receipt for your expense account. It will prevent the driver from playing with the meter set for a higher rate as the receipt will show the taxi information AND the distance traveled and time. So it cannot be 40 KM from airport to Makati.
If you are going from one Terminal to another Terminal, consider taking the ‘airport shuttle’. Costs only 20 or 30 PHP + tip the driver/helper 10 PHP for help with your luggage. No need for a cab. The shuttle bus is available every 15 minutes or so, just near the taxi stand with the posted sign.
One advice however: Always demand the driver to use the meter, never accept a fixed price, unless you are willing to pay too much. Advice number 2: Never load your luggage before you have asked the driver if he is using the taxi meter. Advice number 3: Always write down the license plate number of the taxi and the taxi number. Just in case you need to complain of anything during your trip. Advice number 4: The moment you get the feeling that the driver is driving you into unwanted places, dark streets and the like, demand to return to the main road at once. Do not accept the story of bypass road or other stories. They might have different plans with you.
Another possibility is to take a picture of the taxi number, and name of operator and send it to a family member by text. Just in case something goes wrong.
While on your way, the taxi driver might start a discussion about the extra costs and his poor family and tries to make a fixed price with you. Do not listen to that bull shit, just ignore it, but keep your eye on the meter.
A trip to Makati does not cost more than around 200 to 300 pesos, even less if there’s no traffic. Ortigas area 300 to 400. Alabang area around 500 pesos.