My colleague Ash invited me to experience his commute as an example of something the average Manila employee endures on a daily basis. I guess you can also consider this post as an introduction to Manilas public transport system, since we used almost every mode!
We left the office just after 3pm and caught a Washington jeepney to the MRT train station at Buendia. The jeepney was already pretty pull and cost PHP8 to take us about ten minutes up the road. You could reasonably walk this distance, but in the heat people rarely do. A jeepney, for those who don’t know, are kind of like Manilas bus system, although they have coaches as well. They are large jeeps, generally with no windows, and you hop on at the back and squeeze in on one of two long benches running down the inside. Jeepneys run a range of short routes all over the city and are a really affordable way to get around. They are generally really colorful and are a transport mode that really intrigues tourists due to their peculiar decoration They can be a little challenging for the first time user especially as it can be difficult to know which one to catch. In a nutshell you jump on when stationary, squeeze into a seat, pass you money up the chain to the drive and call ‘para’ when you want to get off. Easy?
Next up was the commuter rail – the MRT. Trains are another fairly cheap way to get around. It costs PHP12 from Buendia to Cubao, which is about six stops on the line and took us about twenty minutes. If you happen to be female there is the advantage of female only carriages at the front of the train. These will generally have more space. As I was travelling with a guy, we sardinesed into a middle carriage. Even before four the train was packed and only kept picking up more and more people until the max exodus at Cubao, where we also got off. Remember to keep hold of your ticket, you will need it to get off the station.
Below Cubao station we joined a queue of people in line for the UV shuttle. These are white vans or jeeps that are airdondidtioned and take you point to point. Such as Marakina Heights to Ayala and Cubao to SSS Marikina. The Cubao to Marikina shuttle cost PHP35 per person and takes dourt minutes. Once in Marikina city people began asking to be let off, we hopped off the the end of the line. I also took a shuttle back to Makati direct from Marikina and it cost PHP55. A lot more cost effective than a taxi, but they do squash you all in together. You must give up your notion of personal space to use this method! However, it is really efficient.
After the shuttle was our last method. A ten minute tricycle ride to the front door of Ash’s place – his girlfriend’s family home. This cos PHP20. So all together the commute to the suburbs of Manila cost us PHP75 each. Really good savings, but the time investment from work to home was two hours! Thank goodness we came back to an amazing dinner put on by Ash’s partner and her family! It is almost dinner time the following day and I am not even hungry yet! I wish I had photographed the lovely arrangement.
In related news, I got my kitten fix from the three they have living with them! Soft and fluffy!