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and taxi drivers

Taxis and their drivers

Taxis may only be found in cities. This means any town with the suffix "-City" like Cebu-City, Iloilo-City and so on. The reason is that tricycles are not allowed on main roads within cities. They are confined in the outskirts and adjacent barangays. With this rule city-mayors try to reduce the traffic congestions caused by the slow and fuming tricycles and motorelas.

Taxis can be found waiting at airports, sea ports and bus terminals. They can also be called in any spot in town by simply waving your hand.

More often you will be recognized as a tourist and each empty taxi approaches you, the driver honking like a madman.

Taxis are from "dealer new" Toyotas with a few 100 km of life to old, rusty Chryslers hold together with a lot of rusty wire and tape. On most taxis you can read "aircon".

This doesn't mean that the taxi is air-condtionned. It is a law in the Philippines to paint "AIRCON" on taxis. If not doing so, the owner is fined with PHP 750.

When the air condition works, you will freeze within the next mile, but most of the time it doesn't work and the driver holds his elbow out of the window. You can sit in the rear seats or in the front seat.

Lots of drivers are fine guys and give you free information about their city and much more. Unfortunately there are also less honest drivers and black sheeps. There are also places of real organized fraud, where we do not recommend to ride a taxi. Please sea below.

The Fares

There are 3 different official types of fares:

  • Fixed fares (coupon taxis)
  • Metered (yellow) airport taxis
  • Metered (white) common taxis

If you have never used a taxi in the Philippines, the "coupon taxis" might be best choice. Their fixed tariffs might be higher than the ones of the metered taxis, but only if their drivers are honest.

The tariffs for the yellow "airport" taxis are:

  • PHP 70 at flag fall, including the first 500 meters
  • PHP 4.00 every 300 meters afterwards.
  • PHP 4.00 every 2 minutes waiting or standing in traffic.

The tariffs for the white* "common" taxis are:

  • PHP 40 at flag fall, including the first 500 meters
  • PHP 3.50 every 300 meters afterwards.
  • PHP 3.50 every 2 minutes waiting or standing in traffic.

* They are not all white but most of them.


Sample of a correct taxi bill:


Old and new taxi meter:

The Drivers

Taxi drivers usually are neither owner of the taxi nor employees. The drivers rent the taxi per day from an owner of a car pool.

The driver has to pay between 1200 and 2400 pesos for a 24 hours use of the taxi. He has also to pay the fuel. One often sees taxi drivers getting gasoline or diesel for 100 pesos only, just enough for the next short trip of maybe 10 kilometers.

A honest driver can make up to 3600 pesos within 24 hours. But these means 2 naps of 4 hours and driving the remaining 16 hours, having the car always hired and doing short trips only. In real life a taxi driver earns maybe 1500 pesos a day.

This is why we always give a tip when driver is correct and helpful.

Read also the 'theoretical' passenger rights.


A common taxi in Manila:


Passenger rights (click to enlarge):

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