The roads in Manila are notorious for heavy smog and traffic congestion, especially at peak hours. Public transport is inexpensive and plentiful, including the elevated light rail system (LRT) and the Metrostar that has helped to alleviate some of the congestion, but public transport can also be dangerous in the Philippines and travellers should be wary. The elevated light rail system, travelling above the chaos, is a good option as it is fast, clean and efficient, although very crowded during the evening rush hour. There are numerous bus companies that comprehensively service the city, as well as local jeepneys (brightly coloured minibuses) that can be hailed anywhere. Buses and jeepneys are the cheapest form of transport for areas not covered by the LRT. Taxis are also inexpensive and convenient, but always agree on a fare before setting off. There are also calesas (horse-drawn carriages) used by tourists for short trips, and tricycle pedicabs available for hire.
Electrical current is 220 volts, 60Hz. Two-pin flat blade attachments and two-pin round plugs are used.
The currency of the Philippines is the Peso (PHP), which is divided into 100 centavos. Major credit cards are widely accepted in the cities and tourist destinations. ATMs are available in the major cities. US dollars are widely accepted in Manila and other tourist areas and are the easiest currency to exchange; otherwise euros and pounds sterling can also be exchanged in banks and hotels. Banks open from 9am to 3pm, Monday to Friday, but their ATMs are open 24 hours. It is best to carry pesos when travelling outside of major centres.
The international access code for the Philippines is +63. Major towns, cities and popular tourist spots are covered by GSM 900 and 1800 mobile phone networks. Internet cafes are available in major cities and tourist resorts.
Emergencies: 117 (Police) or 112/911 from a cell phone.
|New Years Day||1 Jan||1 Jan|
|Day of Valour||9 Apr||9 Apr|
|Good Friday||18 Apr||3 Apr|
|Easter Sunday||20 Apr||5 Apr|
|Labour Day||1 May||1 May|
|Independence Day||12 Jun||12 Jun|
|Heros Day||25 Aug||25 Aug|
|All Saints Day||1 Nov||1 Nov|
|Bonifacio Day||30 Nov||30 Nov|
|Christmas Day||25 Dec||25 Dec|
|Rizal Day||30 Dec||30 Dec|
|New Years Eve||31 Dec||31 Dec|
Manila has hot, humid weather all year round and the city's proximity to the equator ensures that the temperature range is small, rarely dropping below 68°F (20°C) and seldom rising above 100°F (38°C). It is a little cooler between November and February and the hottest month is May, when the temperature averages 83ºF (28ºC). The rainy season is between June and October, although some precipitation is possible all through the year. The driest period is between December and May. During the rainy season rain tends to come in heavy, short downpours and in between there is still plenty of sunshine. Between June and September typhoons can hit the city and these storms sometimes cause flooding. The hot weather and humidity is pleasantly tempered by sea breezes for much of the year. Manila suffers from high levels of air pollution and smog is very common. The most popular time to visit Manila is between January and May, when it's at its driest, but it is essentially a year-round travel destination.
The Metro-Rail Transit station at Baclaran is three miles (5km) from the airport, and trains run regularly between 5am and 10pm; there is an airport shuttle that operates between Terminal 3 and the station costing PHP 20. There is an airport bus service that travels to the city centre every 15 minutes or so, costing about PHP 50. There's also a city bus service that leaves from outside the arrivals areas of Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.
Car rental is available from Europcar, Avis, Hertz and National desks at the airport.
Yellow taxi cabs leave from the stands outside each terminal. They charge a flagdown rate of PHP 70 in addition to a fee of PHP 4 per 250m. Coupon taxis, with desks in the terminals, charge a flat rate to certain destinations and are often cheaper.
There is a free airport shuttle bus between terminals for passengers catching connecting flights; otherwise, travellers need to pay a fee to use the HMG transport shuttle.
Passenger services at Manila airport include shops, restaurants and bars, ATMs, banks with currency exchange, left-luggage and postal services. The airport can be hot and uncomfortable, but the Manila Lounge offers showers, clean toilets, drinks, magazines and newspapers for only US$11.
Parking at Ninoy Aquino International Airport is PHP 35 during the day and PHP 50 for overnight.
Wifi is available in the Terminal 1 and 2 VIP lounges.