Evolution of Philippine Transportation; Then and Now

philippine transpo

The Philippines is widely known for its rich history and culture. Since then, we, Filipinos have embraced what has been passed down to us by our ancestors as we keep them alive in every way possible. One of those things is the Philippines’ rich transportation heritage that has become a part of the country’s trademark here and abroad. When it comes to the mode of transportation in the Philippines, presently, it has been a mix of both old and new. Philippine transportation today of course has made several improvements which have now become more and more adaptable to modern infrastructures and technical innovations, thus, this allows daily travelers or commuters to weigh in modes of transportation that will suit either their needs for convenience, comfort, or affordability.

Philippine transportation then:

But before we dive into the present, let us first take a quick look back on the past modes of transportation in the Philippines. Here are some of the most notable modes of transportation in the Philippines then:

1. Horse Carriage or Kalesa

Even before the 21st or the 20th century, the concept of transportation in the Philippines has already started with our ancestors’ usage of animals as the means to move goods, people, and their services from one place to another. A perfect and well-known example of such is the Kalesa. This mode of transportation has been used in the country for several centuries already. Kalesas today are still built similarly as it was before with the two-wheel carriage wrapped into the horse usually enough to carry around 3-5 persons. Additionally, Kalesas today are no longer primarily used for transportation in the Philippines, nonetheless, Kalesas are still serving some cultural heritage sites or historical streets in some parts of the country.

2. Carabao Carriage or Balsa

We all know that the Carabao is considered to be the country’s national animal, but did you know that it has also been used to move people before? Similar to the Kalesa, carabao carriages also have a two-wheel carriage that is used to transport people and goods in the country in the early 20th century – a mode of transportation which is also present in Manila at the time. However, carabao carriages today are no longer present in the cities as they are only being used primarily in areas where paved roads are still in the works.

3. Jeepneys

Following the end of the Second World War, when the Americans left their military vehicles in the country, entrepreneurial Filipinos initiated the idea to convert them into public utility vehicles for mass transit. The modification of these military vehicles into mass vehicles for the country showed the resourcefulness and creativity of the Filipino people at the time. These jeepneys soon rose to dominance on the Philippine roads with some still offering the same route as they did when they first started running. Although it has been almost a century since it became the trademark of transportation in the Philippines, innovations, and improvements are still being done to serve commuters who heavily rely on jeepneys. Since then, this mode of transportation has been the cheapest option for commuters in the country.

Philippine transportation now:

Now that we have had our quick visit to the past, it is time that we now indulge in the present. As we have mentioned before, the mode of transportation today is a mix of both old and new. Ever since the introduction of motorized vehicles, there has now been a wide range of choices that people both in the city and provinces can choose from when it comes to transportation.

Here are the following examples of the most notable and major modes of transportation in the Philippines today:

1. Jeepneys and modernized jeepneys

If there’s one thing that has stayed in the Philippine transportation system, it’s the jeepneys. However, gone are the days when jeepneys have only one identical design that serves the busy streets of the country. As the country continues to progress and adapt to more technical innovations to make transportation more efficient and convenient, modernized jeepneys were introduced. These jeepneys are known to cater to more passengers in an air-conditioned vehicle that also travels the same route that other jeepneys do. However, modernized jeepneys have a small price difference – with it having a slightly higher base fare as compared to regular jeepneys. Nevertheless, out of all the public modes of transportation in the country, jeepneys – may they be modernized or not – remains to be the cheapest option there is.

2. Motorcycles with Cabins or Tricycles

Motorcycles with cabins or tricycles are our modern-day kalesa. This motorized vehicle with cabins is enough to carry at least 4-5 persons each ride. This mode of transportation is usually used by people whose point of destination is not on the regular route of jeepneys. However, routes that tricycles are allowed to give service are only limited.

3. Bicycles with Cabins or Pedicabs

While we’re still in the mode of transportation that involves a cabin, another example is the pedicab. Although it is not run by a motor, pedicabs are still serving some streets in the country if one wishes to go to a near destination – usually those that are just within walking distance. Pedicabs can be spotted near tricycle terminals.

4. Buses

Public buses are usually used for a city to city routes and city to provincial area routes and vice versa. Today, buses are well-known to be present on the country’s national highways, for example, EDSA – where a lane is designated for bus use only and most of the major bus operators and terminals can be found.

5. Taxis and Transport Network Vehicle Service (TVNS)

Before the rise of app-based TVNS like Grab, Otto, or Uber (when they still existed in the country), taxis were the go-to transport vehicle for people who wish to have a more comfortable ride to their destination. Taxis and TVNS operate within and outside the city – usually with an additional rate.

6. Manila Metro Rail Transit (MRT)

MRTs have been in the country since 2000. At present, the MRT line passes through 13 stations in the metro namely: North Avenue, Quezon Avenue, GMA Kamuning, Araneta Center Cubao, Santolan Annapolis, Ortigas, Shaw Boulevard, Boni, Guadalupe, Buendia, Ayala, Magallanes, and Taft Avenue. The average fare ticket for an MRT ride ranges from P13.00 to P28.00.

Did you know? The new MRT line 7 is currently in the works and is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2022.

7. Light Rail Transit (LRT)

The LRT present in the country is known to be the first in Southeast Asia. Currently, two LRT Line Systems are servicing around the Metro. The first LRT line covers South-North (Baclaran to Roosevelt) in the Metro. The following are the LRT Line 1’s stations in order:

Baclaran, EDSA, Libertad, Gil Puyat, Vito Cruz, Quirino Avenue, Pedro Gil, United Nations, Central Terminal, Carriedo, Doroteo Jose, Bambang, Tayuman, Blumentritt, Abad Santos, R. Papa, 5th Avenue, Monumento, Balintawak, and Roosevelt.

The second LRT Line, on the other hand, services from West to East (Resto to Santolan). The LRT Line 2 stations in order are the following:

Recto, Legarda, Pureza, V. Mapa, J. Ruiz, Gilmore, Betty Go-Belmonte, Araneta Center-Cubao, Anonas, Katipunan, and Santolan.

For LRT Line 2, there have been two newly added stations in Antipolo that were opened in mid-2021 and Marikina-Pasig. For LRT Line 1, the Cavite extension is still in progress. Should you want to know more about the Cavite extension, visit this article.

8. Airplane

If you’re thinking about the quickest way of going from major cities to popular tourist destinations all over the country, then definitely going via Airplanes or taking a domestic flight would be your way to go. In the Philippines, there are more than 40 local airports with airline connections, as well as 40 local small airports for charter and general aviation.

9. Ferry Boats (Ro-Ro)

After covering some of the major modes of land transportation and transportation via airplane, of course, let’s not count ferry rides out of the picture. The Philippines is known to be an archipelagic country, it has a complex network of approximately 7000 islands linked by a well-developed network of ferry lines. From here, travelers in the country have another option as travel via Ro-Ros is known to be cheaper than travel via airplanes. Although, of course, if you wish to go with this option, it is important to properly plan out your travel schedule as Ro-Ros would entail longer travel hours.

Now that we have laid down the evolution of the mode of transportation in the Philippines, it would make you wonder how far the innovations and improvements for transportation in the country can go. As we witness the gradual improvements in our transportation system, traveling to your new house and lot or taking a tour for that new real estate investment will always be made easy with your preferred mode of transportation.