Will I need to drive my own vehicle to conduct my everyday life (work/school/shopping) at my destination?
Many expats see public transport in Manila as unreliable and inconvenient. Therefore, most expats have their own transportation. You can drive yourself or employ a chauffeur. You can also take a taxi or, for very limited destinations, the MRT train.
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How can I legally drive a vehicle in this city?
You can drive on your international driver’s license for the first three months in the Philippines. During this time, your existing license can be converted to a Philippine license at the Land Transport Office. You will have to pass a medical test. Insurance is also necessary. More details are available in your welcome pack from your Crown consultant.
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What side of the road do people drive on?
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Describe typical public transportation an expat might use to get around the city.
Expatriates seldom use public transportation other than taxis. Some use the MRT (Manila Mass Rail Transit) occasionally. Aside from the regular taxis, Manila now also have Uber and Grab taxis which is more convenient and easier to get, just ensure that the required application is downloaded on their gadgets.

For regular taxis, you may find the following tips useful:

  • Make sure the meter is turned on.  If not, you can get out.
  • If you are feeling nervous in a taxi, call a friend (or fake call), providing them with the taxi and driver number (these are posted inside all taxis) and your destination.
  • You will need small change as change from taxi drivers is often not available.
  • Tipping - you can round up the payment (by P20) if you like, but it is not expected.

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Could an expat also use public transportation to get out of the city—to surrounding towns, recreation areas or suburbs? If so, list options.
Using public transportation to get out of the city is, unfortunately, not really an option for expats but car hire is readily available. These can prove invaluable until you get your own car and maybe driver. Please see below for a good list of car hire options:

Taxis in Metro Manila 

  • Avis provides car hire and chauffeur-driven vehicles to safety specifications, which are very tight. The easiest way to book is through their website.
  • Hertz provides car hire and chauffeur-driven vehicles to safety specifications. Their website has many locations.
  • Carlines Manila is recommended for high safety standards.
  • Nissan Car Lease Philippines, Inc. (aka Nissan Rent-A-Car)
  • Peninsula Car Rental for just a day or more; very reasonable rates.
  • Rent-a-car Manila is a less-expensive option.
  • Europcar - You can book directly on their website.
  • RA3C Transport - Affordable rental fees within the Metro or to any point of Luzon with reliable chauffeur service for comfort and safety.
  • For basic telephone taxi: 9001447

Taxis in Alabang:

  • Multi Trans Pacific Alliance Corp. - Good range of vehicles available at varying rates. Please reserve unit at least 3 days before the date required.

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In regards to transportation, are there any safety issues I should be aware of?
Driving conditions are very different from most developed countries. If you do use public transportation, beware of pickpockets. Buses and Jeepneys (brightly-decorated Jeep-like vehicles) are also sometimes hijacked by petty thieves. Keep your mobile phone and wallet inside a zippered bag and held closely.

When buying a vehicle, it is better to do this through recommendations or have an experienced mechanic with you as the guarantees you may be used to are not usually available here. You will be buying at your own risk. It is a good idea to enlist the services of a knowledgeable mechanic - perhaps your new driver - to assist you. They can look over your car before you pay any money or commit yourself in any way. Two recommended garages are:

  • 387 Auto Center, 31 Jupiter Street, Makati
  • Virgie R Austral – Located on the corner of Harrison street and EDSA. Go nearly as far as the Mall of Asia on EDSA; Harrison street is on the right-hand side just before the turn off to the World Trade Center. There are several suppliers there, but Virgie R Austral is highly recommended. Tel: 8322163

For a new battery (seem to need them frequently here), ring 8431111 and they will deliver to you, usually within 30 minutes. They can change the battery and dispose of the old one for you.
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Where do I buy tickets/tokens/etc. for the major public transportation?
The MRT stations have ticket counters. Fares for buses and jeepneys should be paid on board the vehicle itself.
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Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.