As soon as you land in Manila you see a warning about the risk of being robbed! You will be hassled at the airport, so you need your wits about you when you land.
There are two cab options – licensed yellow cabs and unlicensed cars, which are usually white.
If you’re approached by someone it will be an unregulated operator. They flash ID and wear official looking airport security shirts. These taxis require you to negotiate the fare up front BUT the authorities advise you to use the metered yellow cabs.
I was first offered a £40 fare for the 45-minute ride to my hotel in central Manila. I walked away. It then got cheaper, down to £20. I had no intention of using these ‘coupon’ cars – you go to a counter and pre-pay and then you are issued with a ticket to use with your driver.
My metered taxi ride in an authorised yellow cab cost £4. The downside – I had to wait in a queue in 36°C humidity for 90 minutes!
One yellow cab appeared to arrive at the stand every two minutes. You can see how long the queue was.
Manila’s authorities need to do more work if it wants to be a serious proposition for visitors. I’d just come off a short flight from Korea. You wouldn’t want to face this after a longer journey.
A good solution is to call your hotel and see if they offer a transfer service – a pre-arranged taxi or driver. Drivers greeting you are advised NOT to hold name placards for passenger identity security reasons but most have logo-emblazoned clothing, so you’ll know who to look for.
I stayed at the stylish, boutique hotel The Bayleaf Intramuros. Their pre-booked car service costs around £12 for the 45-minute ride. It is worth it for safety, peace of mind and to avoid waiting in the overbearing heat. The company they use is called Alamo. You will be driven – it is not the same as the American car hire company.
Here’s why you won’t want to hire a car in Manila: