Though we encourage you to commute using public transportation, we care more about your safety. Tourists in Metro Manila are advised to use public transportation between 6am (when the sun is up) and 8pm only (though this advice is also not a guarantee that incidents are unlikely to occur between the said hours).
Apart from not commuting during the wee hours of the night, here are a few tips to stay safe while riding Metro Manila’s public transportation:
- Ignore beggars or religious groups that ask for money inside jeepneys or the public metro bus. You don’t have to explain yourself to them. Just politely give the “no” gesture.
- If you intend to go to tourist destinations within the Metro, you don’t have to bring your entire wallet or passport with you. Unless you’re planning to splurge, 1000 Pesos is enough. It will cover your public transportation ride to the tourist destination and coming back to your hostel, possible entrance fees, a decent meal (rice, chicken or vegetables, soda), and maybe a bottle of beer or two. But of course, this will depend on the tourist destination you’re heading to, so it still pays to do your research.
- When in tourist destinations and locals invite you to a party, a gathering, or a simple drink, think twice before saying yes, or better yet, politely refuse.
- Keep an eye on your belongings at all times.
- If you intend to store your money or valuables inside a small backpack while commuting, make sure to wear your backpack in front. Local pickpockets tend to open small / easy-to-open backpacks without your knowing, so keep an eye on them by wearing them in front.
- Don’t put cellphones / gadgets inside your pockets. Put them inside belt bags or inside your backpack (again, make sure that you wear this one in front of you).
- Skimpy clothes attract attention and malicious confrontations. I suggest wearing jeans, cargo shorts, and loose shirts while riding the local public transportation.
- Don’t wear expensive jewelry.
- There are a few locals who tend to be friendly when they see foreigners riding public transportation vehicles. It’s okay to respond to them if they ask a question, but if they offer you something, you can politely refuse. Just remember not to be rude. And if they offer tour guide services, please think twice before saying yes.
In case of emergency, you can call the hotline of the Philippine National Police. Dial 117 on your phone (free when using landline; if you’re using local SIM, there’s a charge of 5 Pesos per minute).