Getting in and out of Manila
There are two basic road routes which lead from the capital and the metro which can afford a pleasant drive or trip: the South Expressway takes you out to the south from Batangas to Legazpi in the outlying southern borders of Luzon, and the North Expressway is the main route towards Pampanga, Zambales, or Baguio. Traffic is usually light on the outskirts of the capital, and a trip to Batangas can take two hours; Baguio, four hours; Laguna, two hours, and Legazpi, twelve hours. Toll fees are generally cost-effective considering that the roads are excellently paved and the navigation on the expressways is hassle-free.
If you want to take a bus to the said destinations, there plenty of bus terminals which are scattered all over the metro by various companies who basically operate on their own means. Philtranco operates on the southern routes and Victory Liner dominates the north; both have main terminals in Pasay City. It connects Manila to Bicol in Southern Luzon, to Samar and Leyte in the Visayas, and Davao in Mindanao.
There is only one railway system which extends for as far as San Fernando, La Union in the north and Legazpi in the south, with a Manila base station located at the Tutuban terminal in Claro M. Recto Avenue. It offers no-frills services, but the coaches are amply furnished and air conditioned, and the seats are comfortable. You can while away the time before you board on an adjacent mall complex. Unfortunately, there is no Metrorail line which junctions at the area, but taxis and buses do have terminals at the station.
There are two main ports which serve as the entry/exit points to the island provinces in the Visayas and in Mindanao; ferries as well as larger ships dock at South Harbor along Bonifacio Drive south of the metro, and most large shipping lines dock at the North Harbor along Marcos Street in Tondo. There are also smaller inter-island ports throughout the country which accommodate small and large ‘roll-on, roll-off’ ferries, particularly on the islands of Mindoro and Palawan. Negros Navigation and Sulpicio Lines dominate the shipping industry and cover roughly the same routes, and booking services are available in malls and other similar establishments. Find out more on Philippines Ferry services [+].
The Ninoy Aquino International Airport system is located in Paranaque is the premier gateway, twelve kilometers southeast of the city. Scheduled flights to Bacolod, Zamboanga, Cebu, Davao, and other provincial cities are usually on-time, with ten-minute arrival grace periods. There are two basic terminals, but both the MIA and the Centennial Terminal II accommodate local flights. The NAIA, though aged, is still a competent airport with duty-free and souvenir shops, a business center and restaurant, ForEx booths, and rental services from Avis and Hertz. Ensure that you have your bags checked in at least an hour before departure, as the security checks are stringent, and the queues can be pretty long. Philippine Airlines is the main carrier; the complex also serves as the junction for over thirty major airlines and chartered planes which are internationally or regionally routed. Scheduled charter flights from Subic near Zambales are also popular for passengers en route to Boracay, a popular beach destination.
Grace is loving every minute she spend traveling around Philippines, meeting people and making new friends. Her travel mantra - “Live, breathe. It is never too late to feel alive.”