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Manila's roads are notorious for heavy smog and traffic congestion, especially at peak hours. Public transport is inexpensive and plentiful, though, and includes the elevated light rail system (LRT) and the Metro Rail Transit (MRT). Both have helped to alleviate some of the congestion. However, public transport can also be dangerous in the Philippines and travellers should exercise vigilance. The elevated light rail system is a good option as it is fast, clean and efficient. It's very crowded during the evening rush hour, though. Many bus companies comprehensively service the city too, and local jeepneys (brightly coloured minibuses) can be hailed anywhere. Buses and jeepneys are the cheapest form of transport for areas not covered by the LRT. Taxis are inexpensive and convenient, provided that passengers always agree on a fare before setting off. Travellers can also rely on calesas (horse-drawn carriages) for short trips. Tricycle pedicabs are available for hire, and the ride-hailing service, Grab, is another option.
Electrical current is 220 volts, 60Hz. Two-pin flat blade attachments and two-pin round plugs are used, with round two-pins being the most common.
The currency of the Philippines is the Peso (PHP), which is divided into 100 centavos. Major credit cards are widely accepted in cities and tourist destinations. ATMs are available in the major cities and in main centres on some islands. 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. Most banks in the Philippines are open from 9am to 5pm, 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. Pre-paid sim cards can be bought at the airport and at convenience stores. However, different networks have better coverage on certain islands so visitors are advised to choose a network best suited to their destinations. Internet cafés are available in major cities and tourist resorts. Wifi access is increasingly common, even on the islands, but travellers should be warned that it is mostly painfully slow.
911 is the new national emergency number, along with 8888 for public complaints.
The Metro-Rail Transit station is near the airport, and trains run regularly. Travellers should disembark at EDSA-Taft station, where they will find an airport shuttle that operates between the airport and the station. Also, a city bus service leaves from outside the arrivals areas of Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. A jeepney can take passengers to Terminal 3, or they can make use of the airport shuttle service.
Car rental is available from Europcar, Avis and National desks, among others.
Yellow metered taxi cabs leave from the stands outside each terminal. Regular, white cabs are now available in addition to newly introduced ride-hailing services like Grab.
A free airport shuttle bus runs between terminals for passengers catching connecting flights. However, reports suggest that this service can be unreliable. As a result, travellers may have to pay for a cab between terminals.
Passenger services at Manila airport include bars, shops and restaurants, ATMs, banks with currency exchange, left-luggage and postal services.
Parking is available near all terminals for approximately PHP 300 per night.
Wifi is available at the airport.