Manila and the Jeepney Riding Experience

I have a chance to visit Manila, the capital city of Philippines even I don’t really feel to visit that city before. My sister ever been there and she didn’t have good experience, so I didn’t have any interest to go to Manila – another part of Philippines I would love to. But one time ago, I received a postcard from a friend who visited Banaue Rice Terraces, a city which 10 hours drive from Manila. A beautiful city which listed as Unesco Heritage Site. When Air Asia had a promotion flight from Kuala Lumpur to Manila return for only USD 60, me and Valentina, my friend, planned to go there after our trip in Penang.

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Me and Valentina, took a selfie picture while waiting for our flight to Manila.

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The impression of Manila city from above.


We heard many people said it’s not wise to travel in the dark while in Manila, so when our flight arrived around 1 am, we prefer to just sleep in the airport and wait until the sun is coming. I know we can take taxi from the airport to the hostel, but it seemed not a good idea for us too, since we are female travelers and only the two of us with know nothing about the city. We even haven’t have a city map, and can’t find it in the airport. Bad thing probably can happen to us if we were insist to still go at that moment. Hihh..


I was expecting a good place to sleep in the airport, at least one simple quiet corner or good place to sit. Not in a way where people can pass us easily. Instead the airport is so small and only one long area which there are also some people do the same as us, waiting inside of the airport until the morning comes. So I can’t sleep the whole night, even Valentina tried her best to sleep in that very uncomfortable iron chairs which has indention pattern. Ugh, not so good for our body and make us more tired, I think. The good thing is, the airport has free wifi, so I can make myself busy by connect to internet and talk with some of my friends.

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Us, trying to share the chair and sleep.


When the morning comes, there is a weird experience when we finally finished our registration in Immigration, there is a guard who asked us about our purpose to visit the country and how many person we go with. I asked we want to have a vacation here and only the two of us. Listened to our answer, his face changing and he said to us, “Oh, Manila is not a good place for you to travel alone. It’s a dangerous city.” What?! My nervous was arose into the maximum. How come a guard even said that to us, the “tourist” which want to have a good time in the city. He said, after we finished change the money in money changer, we can go back to him and he will tell us the tips to have safe travel in Manila and how to go to our hostel. Anyway, he didn’t help us so much with the tips, only he helped us to find out the place where we can take the Jeepney to our hostel.

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The city from Avenue Taft.


Hurraaayy, finally I am able to see Jeepney by myself.

It’s funny, but I always wonder how Jeepney looks like in a real world.

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And here is Jeepney in real world!  I really like their colorful painted body car 😉


And yes, it’s so cool! Jeepney is a public transportation around Philippines and I think it’s only available in Philippines. It’s a cool car which actually originally made from US Military jeeps left over after World War II. They make it as creative and colorful as it is possible. Mostly you can see “Christianity” words painted so colorful in the body of the car.


We walked out from the airport and try to find the Jeepney which will bring us to Makati. To go to Makati from the airport, we need to take the Jeepney to Baclaran then take a MRT to Avenue Taft and take another Jeepney to Makati or exactly the road Valdes Street, since Valentina’s hostel located in that street. I will choose to go to Banaue directly this evening, since there is an evening bus to Banaue and will arrive there in the morning. Everyone said it’s impossible to visit Banaue in such hurry time, because I only have like total a day in Banaue, before go back to Manila again to fly to Kuala Lumpur. But I am kind of stubborn and want to try to reach that place. I’m gonna try to take a shower and rest a bit if it’s possible in Valentina’s hostel before the two of us going to see Manila city.

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Me and Valentina, feel so exhausted!

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Hey! Philippines beats Indonesia by this. They have a MRT *hiks

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Inside of the MRT.


It’s such a great challenge to take the Jeepney. First we are not local, so we don’t understand their language and the habit to take the Jeepney. To take the jeepney, you should read the destination name written on small board which they put in the car’s window. The problem of being in unknown places, you have no idea at all about the direction and road. We were so confusing and almost panic because we feel like we get lost. Because we experienced it together, so we still able to laugh and make a joke about the time we wasted while we walk from one place to another with our heavy backpack, trying to find the right direction.

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Aloha, took a picture inside of the Jeepney? Why not?? We were tourist 😉 And it was our first time inside of the Jeepney. LOL.


We stop by in the Seven Eleven to buy water and snacks. The price is not so much different with Indonesia. But the thing that I wonder, why in every stores (or mostly places) there are (at least) one guy to guard the place. Standing in front of the door while a gun (or long gun) ready in his pants pocket for survival. Whoooaaa! It made me feel so nervous. Especially when I saw around, there are so many guys with suspicious act, tattooed (even I don’t mean tattoo means a bad person) and look like they are not so kind or nicest person. I really felt so nervous!

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Manila and the Jeepney Riding Experience12

Anyway, it was still in day time, the guard in the airport warned us to not walking around the town while in the dark. So we feel it’s still ok to try reaching the hostel with Jeepney. After asked so many people, we finally hop on to one Jeepney. Don’t worry, mostly people in Philippines able to speak English so fluently. I heard from someone, they even not have any subtitle for movie played in cinema. Cool!


When I sat inside of the Jeepney, I choose to stay behind the driver. That’s because I wanna talk to him and ask the direction, plus I feel safer to stay close to him. Then I didn’t understand why people started to give me money, do I look that poor? Hehe. Later on, I understood, that’s the way how they pay the charge. It cost around 9 peso for short way. Then during the ride, usually people will give me the money, I gave it to the driver, the driver will give me the change, then I should pass it again to the passenger. It’s funny because everyone always talk to me with Tagalog and think I am one of them and just give me the money. From that experience, I can understand two statement ; Bayad po! Which mean, here is my money. And Po is a called for older man. While the other statement is Salamat po! Means “Thank you, sir.”

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Manila and the Jeepney Riding Experience13


After such exhausting and changing Jeepney experience,  we finally stopped in the hostel and able to take a rest. Manila is really hot city that day (May), almost 35 degrees. I think it’s hotter than Jakarta. And you should be ready for the messy driving style by the Jeepney drivers – no matter how old or young is the driver, they always love to stepped on the gas and brake along the ride like every minute! Fiuh. But it was such a great experience for us 😉

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The Jeepney, only in Philippines!


Tips :

  • Just a tips for new traveler in Manila, better to take the Jeepney with old man as the driver. The young guys sometimes laugh at you and just ask you to go inside but not really make you feel you are in right Jeepney.
  • Bring the coin/small money to make you easy to pay.
  • Use your guts, if you feel you take a wrong Jeepney, just stop and ask another person until you are clear enough which right way will bring you to your destination.
  • Use the mask, Manila such have so much dust especially in Jeepney terminal.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask. Sometimes by showing them you are tourist and need help, many people will try to give you right information and show you the way. I am experienced it many times in Philippines. Just smile and ask the information politely – there are still good person everywhere!
  • There is a reason why the guard warned us, better to not solo travel in Manila (I don’t really know about another part of cities in the country), some website said it’s not safe for traveler alone in some part of the country because the risk of being kidnapped.
  • If you travel solo here, be confidence, use your guts, always be careful, alert with every situation and keep your belongings safe with you.





  1. Just read your post. Totally funny. It’s a refreshing read, and to know that there is someone left in this world who appreciates Jeepneys and MRT, when most of us here in the Phils almost despise them. You don’t have trains in Indonesia?? hmmmm. So sad you have to sleep at the airport…



    • Hello Patriarca, hahaha, you don’t know how famous your Jeepney outside of Philippines lol. We do have train here (normal train) but we don’t have MRT. The government is still trying to make it – dunno when it will be finished 🙂 Thanks for reading


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