How to get cheap taxi fare from Manila Airport
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If you are planning to visit the Philippines and considering to book a hotel in Manila for the first time, this advice can be quite handy and you can save over 60% on your trip from Ninoy Aquino International Airport to your hotel. Let's assume you booked, or you will book a hotel in Makati which is part of Manila where the most of the foreigners go. It is a part of National Capital Region which is absolutely not behind from any other modern city in the world. Many shopping malls, skyscrappers, shops of all brands which you may know or you may not be familiar with. In Makatis' Green Belt I have seen brand shops I haven't seen anywhere else. The famous red light district in Burgos street with many bars and restaurants or small cafes around the Green belt. All of that is in Makati.
But let's go back to the topic. When you arrive to the airport in Manila, no matter which terminal, T1 and T2 are for international flights while T3 and T4 are for domestic flights, the situation is just the same. There is only one taxi company which is allowed for their cars to stop near the gates on Arrivals floor. So, with such an advantage, that can be called monopoly, they can ask from visitors for the first time visiting Manila as high price as they want because generally, there is no other way from the airport, at least it does look like that to someone who wasn't there before. Drivers have pre-set prices according to destinations which are more than 4 times higher than other taxis and basically it does not matter where exactly you go let's say in Makati, the important is destination part of Manila. I am not totally sure, but last time i asked about the price, trip to Makati cost 1000 pesos (approx. $20). That's quite much if you consider that I paid 150 pesos for trip from Makati to airport before. Despite their overpriced rides they still have many customers, mostly foreign tourists, not knowing there is much cheaper option.
To get a taxi for the regular price you need to go upstairs to the departures area. You can get there by turning right after entering waiting area on Arrivals, pass the Burger King then turn right again and walk up the stairs. At the end of the stairs turn backwards and continue to the end. You will see the exit gate there, on the right hand side. Once you will leave Departures area on the first floor, cross the first road and look for a queue. There are usually people already waiting for cabs. Even the queue can be sometimes long, it is going pretty fast as there are always tens of cabs which just bring people for departure and they are happy to pick customers for a ride back to the city.
The usual price for the ride from airport to Makati should not go over 300 pesos (usually around 250) but depends on the traffic. Manila is famous with its traffic in peak hours so be ready to spend even 2 hours ride, while distance is only 10km(6 miles). By the way, the taxi driver may ask you if you want to go via Sky way, which is a paid motorway. If you decide to go via Sky way you will have to pay a toll, which is 20 pesos. It is not much faster tho but still can save few minutes and still worth of 20 pesos.
So, if ever you will visit Manila do not overpay your way from the airport, as there are cheaper options than overpriced cabs at arrivals. Furthermore, be aware that it is quite usual that driver will nicely ask you about 50-100 pesos extra if it is high traffic hour. More about taxi drivers and possible scams will be in our next post.