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Manila Taxis

So Calif
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80 posts
60 reviews
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Manila Taxis

A lot has been said regarding taxis in Manila. Many will refuse to use their meters if they recognize you as a tourist. Even if you are local they may refuse as well. My experience during my recent visit was this. I met with some friends who came to my hotel by train and we were leaving for dinner. My Filipino friends knew I was not accustomed to riding a bus or train so we flagged down a taxi. My friends told them in Tagalog where we wished to go and the driver quoted a price that seem very high for the distance so we refused. That happened 2 more times before we were able to get a taxi who would use the meter. Another time I was in Ortigas and it was early morning and there were many taxis everywhere. I wanted to go to Makati and none would use the meter, their excuse is because it is late. I just accepted the fare from after negotiating it down by 150 pesos, he wanted 500. So its easy to say just wait for a metered taxi but you might wait a long time.

The official airport express taxis are well run and they will use their meters but you cannot flag them down in the street. The one I use when I arrived was very nice. After I got to my hotel safely and direct, he gave me his number and explained that he can pick me up if I call his number but he cannot be flagged down. I used him several times knowing I would have to pre-arrange the times and also knowing that he may not be available at a specific time which is fine if you can do that. He would always use his meter. I used him for pick up and drop off at the Mall of Asia, restaurants, etc. The times when my schedule was unpredictable, I had to use a flagged down taxi. On my last day in Manila, I had a 7pm flight. I called him at 12:30pm to see if he could take me to the airport but before that if he could give me a tour of Manila that I didn't see. We agreed that he would pick me up at 2pm after I had lunch and checked out. We drove around for 3 hours before dropping me off at the airport. He showed me different sights, stopped at different places where he took my picture and explained things that I never would have seen otherwise. When we got to the airport the meter said 780, I gave him 1000 and thanked him. He invited me to his home the next time I come to Manila. I kept his number and actually referred him to a colleague that visited Manila 3 weeks later. When my friend returned, he couldn't stop talking about Resty, the taxi driver. I have his number for future reference and referrals.

Luzon, Philippines
Destination Expert
for Philippines, Bandar Seri Begawan
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251 reviews
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1. Re: Manila Taxis

There are still good apples in a basket full of bad ones. It's great to know that you found a very good one.

Destination Expert
for Manila
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3,513 posts
133 reviews
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2. Re: Manila Taxis

Personally, I have found that taxi drivers are improving.

Although I do not regularly you taxis, it is a while since I used one who did not turn on the meter without being asked.

In fact most turned on the meter automatically without being asked.

Manila, Philippines
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281 posts
26 reviews
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3. Re: Manila Taxis

sometimes airport taxis let you ride them even if you're not going to the airport. The meter's higher but worth the price.

Oslo, Norway
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15,411 posts
157 reviews
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4. Re: Manila Taxis

taxis are a pain..but I stopped arguing with them as I know the fare costs...so I just let them take me, and when I get to my known destination, especially the hotel, I pay them after I get my things out of the taxi....what it should cost, not what they want...most will argue but will not push it as its against them if the police show up...for a new tourist, granted this will not work.....there are still good cabbies out there...but keep your cool and stay in charge....if you feel threatened do not argue..get to your hotel, get out and pay them what you think you should..and walk away as the security guard at the hotel will be there...

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3,074 posts
8 reviews
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5. Re: Manila Taxis

you probably left a very good impression on resty. its seldom that the locals would invite you to his house.

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Philippines
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10,966 posts
2,060 reviews
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6. Re: Manila Taxis

I have not had any major problems in the past three years.

I just say 'meter po' when I get in the taxi, trying to roll my 'rrrr's to sound like someone from the United States.

The vast majority of Manila taxi drivers turn on their meters (unlike 15 years ago). If an occasional one refuses, I get out: if the driver is really badly behaved, I open the rear off-side passenger door, which forces him to get out of the cab and close it. This tactic was explained to me by another Australian a number of years ago but I do not employ it too often as it is also, in a sense, boorish behaviour.

In Cebu I have found that if one is at a resort, taxis are relucatant to use their meters but usually after five minutes of standing by the roadside, I manage to find one that will.

My city, Melbourne, may be supposedly industrialised and in the 'first world' but taxi drivers are no better than in Manila regarding route knowledge: the fares in many Western countries are however much higher so there is not quite the same pressure to tip, although drivers claim that their earnings are low.

Edited: 16 July 2010, 12:52
Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Philippines, Kuala Lumpur
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1,674 reviews
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7. Re: Manila Taxis

On my last trip I had only 1 bad apple all others used their meter.The bad apple picked me up at the Sofitel after we had their magnificent buffet. The security guard was onto him and as we were about to take off made him put his meter on. We drove about 500 metres down the road and he told me that makati was too far and he wanted a flat rate of 200P. We told him to return us back to the Sofitell. He then put his meter on. When we arrived at the New World my wife lectured him not to rip off tourists as they generally tip anyway. Needless to say he got no tip from us.

KL taxis are worse. I havent found many that will put their meter on at all.


London, United...
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149 posts
15 reviews
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8. Re: Manila Taxis

I recently returned from three weeks in Philly with about 6 days in Manila. I guess we were were lucky that we never encountered any problems with any taxi drivers. There were a few occasions that the driver did not turn on their meters when we got in, but when we asked or pointed at the meter, it was turned on.

There were also a few occasions when we were going out of the taxi's direction or area, in which case he would ask for an additional fee on top of the meter fare i.e. PHP30-50, which we would agree before getting in.

Davao City
1 post
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9. Re: Manila Taxis

Manila Taxis by highloyo!!

reading your letter was great!!

i have a bad experienced before of taxis in manila....

Hope you could refer me if possible the good taxis no...

i would appreciate....

just email me....

thanks much......

2 posts
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10. Re: Manila Taxis

hye... i am interested in ur post out about this forum and i am going to manila in few days... 3 days to be exact..27 july 2010... do you mind sharing me the taxi driver phone number? i randomly online but if i do, i only checking my email once in a while... pls pls share me the phone to my email address... jud_dian@yahoo.com God Bless You... Thank you very much...