Expat Friendly Manila

Ins, Outs and Goings About

Internet Access in Manila

One of us was chatting with someone on Yahoo Messenger. The person on the other side of the world was asking if we, in Manila lived in tree houses — right…with hi-speed internet access!

Internet access is popular in Manila. If you don’t have access where you live, as a tourist, you can go and sit in a Free WiFi spot with your laptop or if you’re staying a long time, you can apply for a connection.

If you don’t have a laptop, you can go to an internet cafe, make sure to go to a secure one — some ight have keyloggers which will steal your log in information.

Safe Internet Cafes:

  1. NETOPIA – mostly found in malls. It’s usually crowded with gamers.
  2. STATION 168 – a net cafe geared towards the Korean market. Nicer looking than the first one and caters to a more adult crowd.

Free WiFI hot spots

  1. ROBINSONS MALLS – just sit in the malls, turn on your laptop and go!
  2. Gloria Jean’s Coffee
  3. The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

A number of telco companies offer internet services, cable or WiFi but there’s normally a lockin period of 6 mos to 2 years depending on the plan you get.

Internet providers:

  1. PLDT – this site is the DSL site. There are links to other services like WiFi and roaming internet access.
  2. SMART – another internet provider with more affordable rates.

April 24, 2008 Posted by | Internet, Services | 3 Comments

The Prince of the Roads

Manila is known for this unique mode of transport, the TRICYCLE. Next to the jeepney, it is one of the most popular modes of transport in barangays (villages), towns and provincial areas. And next to the taxi, it is the 2nd most expensive mode of transport as well. It normally takes 4 passengers: three inside and one behind the driver. They’re generally not allowed on main roads and highways, but sometimes just before the stroke of midnight, you’ll see tricycles even on Manila’s busiest thoroughfares. They not only carry people but other things like food items, raw materials and even furniture like cabinets and dressers! In the provinces, it is typical to see tricycles like the one in the photo above. That tricycle has 10 passengers: 3 inside, 2 behind the driver, 3 on top and 1 hanging onto the door.

A tricycle would charge depending on it’s location and where you’re going. They also stick to routes and are part of organizations that help regulate the prices they charge. Tricycles are nice when you go around areas with narrow streets, they fit snugly into alleys and are actually quick enough. These guys are not slow pokes! They can fly like the wind if they want to.

And to show just how versatile and sturdy there are, let me translate the caption above: (no matter how heavy the load) “As long as it still runs, go!!”

April 22, 2008 Posted by | Transportation | 2 Comments

Hot, Hotter, and Wet!

There are three seasons in Manila, hot, hotter and wet. This is the tropics!

Generally, when it’s not raining, it’s super hot. Unlike other countries like Thailand, Manila has a humid heat. It was a bad idea to wear black the day we went out to shoot these photos — we had to do some serious hydrating.

Sunny day essentials:

  1. Light clothing. Wear as less as you can.
  2. Bring water or go to a place where you can get cold drinks.
  3. Sunblock!
  4. A cap or a hat.
  5. A nice pair of shades
  6. When going on a day trip, an extra change of clothes.

When it drizzles, you will notice that people would immediately run in out of even a light drizzle. You have the choice to continue walking in the rain a bit or seek shelter like the rest of the population. When it’s a rain storm though, it is advisable to stay indoors. Real rain happens when a typhoon strikes. In some areas, it actually floods pretty badly and even on some highways while driving, you might pass an ankle-high water area.

Not all places in Manila are warm though. If you go up to Baguio (in the mountains), the weather is a lot cooler. It’s not as cold as it was a long time ago but it’s still nice.

April 21, 2008 Posted by | Weather | 1 Comment

Taxi-ing around the metro

One of the most convenient ways to go around Manila is to use taxi cabs. We have roughly 3 kinds of taxis. Let me just run you down these types:

1. Private owned: Most private owned taxis are known to haggle before they convey you to your destination. Some of them would ask for an extra 20-50 pesos depending on where you’re going. Don’t give in! These guys are con artists and would haggle like hell to get more money. Most of the time, if you don’t agree on a price, they just leave.

How can you tell if taxis are privately owned? They are usually white without stripes and most of them have really strange taxi names painted on the side!

photo from: SUPERPASYAL

2. Cab Company Owned A – Boundary Type : Expect some heavy haggling from these guys because they have a sales quota in a day. It’s a boundary. They pay as much as 1,500 pesos per day to “rent” a taxi from the cab company they work for. They need to come up with the boundary payment, gas money and actual earnings. They are notorious for ridiculous price increases from 20-100 pesos. They look a lot like the private-owned cabs.

3. Cab Company Owned B – Employed Driver Type: Not much haggling going on here in this cab. As far as I know, they are the safest taxis around. They will hardly refuse conveyance and will most of the time use the meter to determine the fare. These types generally will not rip you off. You will recognize them easily, most of them are like the cab in the first photo, yellow with green stripes. Some are red and some are white with green stripes.

For reference, here are my personal favorites:

Basic Taxi – they charge a pick-up fee of P50
643-7777, 900-1447, 900-1448

EMP Taxi
293-5930, 293-5931

Dollar Taxi

Other cab companies like R&E, E&E, Nine Stars. MGE and Munich are also quite reliable when flagged down.

Here are also some tips so that you won’t get ripped-off:

1. Always insist on paying the metered fare.
2.Have change in your pocket so that when it’s time to pay, they can’t say that they don’t have change. Some taxi drivers do this to earn extra.
3. Take down the plate number of the cab and call it in to a friend while inside the cab. This deters weirdos from trying anything funny and prevents taxi theft.

April 17, 2008 Posted by | Transportation | Leave a comment

Manila Manila!

Living in Metro Manila could be a whopping disaster or an exciting adventure for people who come from different countries.

Contrary to what most people think, Manila isn’t all about traffic jams and the ever-intriguing delicacy balut, there’s a lot more to Manila than that.

It has been my pleasure in the past years to encounter, acquaint myself and befriend a number of expats who have lived and worked in Manila. In this blog, I will slowly document their living experience here in a nutshell.

Some of them have agreed to pose for photos. The photos you will see on this site are taken with real people, some are staged — but many of them like the ones where the guys are eating isaw, are real.

Enjoy reading our blog as it takes you to experience living in Manila!

April 15, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment