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5 Convenient Ways to Travel in the Philippines

Efficient traffic systems are essential in any country. People travel every day to go to school, render hours in the office, catch important appointments, and more. It can be incredibly frustrating to be stuck in a bad traffic jam if you need to be somewhere, more so if you experience it every day. Especially since the time can be spent with family or for work.

Enter: Metro Manila, that ranks third worst in traffic in Southeast Asia according to a study by the Boston Consulting Group.

Rapidly developing urban cities like Manila and Clark are continually plagued with worsening land traffic conditions. Whether you’re commuting by car or public transport, chances are, you’ve been stuck in traffic for longer than you would like.

According to a 2017 Driver Satisfaction Index survey done by Waze, a global navigation app, drivers in the Philippines are the least satisfied in the world. They ranked last in a list of 39 countries, reflecting the resentment Filipino drivers and commuters experience on a daily basis.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) also reports that the Philippines is losing P3.5 billion every day in missed opportunities, just because of the horrendous traffic situation. The losses are projected to grow to P5.4 billion a day by 2035 if no concrete actions are done.

On the other hand, Filipinos in Metro Manila spend 16 days a year stuck in traffic, while the increase in vehicular volume slowed down the traffic on EDSA to 16.14kph in November 2018 from 19.37kph. You can learn more about the traffic situation in Metro Manila and other popular Asian cities in this infographic: Traffic Status and Behavior of Popular Cities During Peak Hours.

It’s heartbreaking to hear, but thankfully, changes are appearing one by one. Various technological advancements and innovations are beginning to make the future of passenger commuting bright.

Here are modern transportation solutions you should try to avoid the stress of bumper-to-bumper madness or at least to make the madness more bearable.

1. Water Ferry

Pasig River Ferry - 5 Convenient Ways to Travel in Manila
Pasig River Ferry (Image Source: BusinessWorld)

In the Philippines, water ferries aren’t that popular for commuting—but it’s about to be. The Pasig River Ferry system is set for expansion.

By 2022, the government is going to connect Pasig River, Manila Bay, and Laguna de Bay as an effort to provide alternative transport for commuters. The goal is to have at least 24 fully-functional ferries that can carry a maximum of 50 passengers each. This is a promising development that can definitely alleviate the ground traffic from Manila and Clark’s streets.

Water ferries are prominent in other parts of the world, like the U.S. and Europe. They can carry anywhere from tens to hundreds of passengers accompanied by a view and usually zero water traffic.

2. Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS)

Since the introduction of companies like Grab and Uber a couple of years ago, ride-sharing has become one of the most in-demand modes of transportations for commuters in the Philippines. The convenience of booking a ride via an app is unrivalled, as well as the safety features added by operators.

Ride-sharing, as the name suggests, advocates for less cars on the road by reintroducing the concept of carpooling. Fewer cars means lighter traffic, especially during rush hour. Plus, it’s cheaper than getting a solo ride.

Aside from cars, commuters can also choose motorcycles as TNVS through Angkas. The motorcycle ride-hailing app is finally back in business after having a range of issues with some government offices earlier this year.

Moreover, new competitors are on the rise. Wunder Carpool, U-Hop, and Hype are just some of the services that aim to add competition to the ride-hailing industry with lower prices and an added fleet.

3. P2P Buses

Premium Point-to-Point Bus - 5 Ways to Travel in Manila
Premium Point-to-Point Bus (Image Source: Carmudi)

Premium point-to-point buses were introduced around the end of 2015 in the Philippines with limited routes. Just a couple years later, there are now several private operators and areas serviced. P2P bus terminals are usually situated in malls, making them easy to locate.

P2P buses are all about comfort. It boasts an air-conditioned bus, guaranteed seating, and buses that leave on time. These were unheard of before the system was introduced in Metro Manila, which encouraged a lot of riders to favour it over regular buses, jeepneys, and trains.

This is a great commuting option if you want to get to places at certain times and have assurance that you won’t be late.

4. Seaplanes

Seaplanes are a unique mode of private transportation outside the Metro. Since they have the ability to take off and land on water, they’re widely used for things such as resort transfers, island hopping, water activities, and scenic flights. While you’re flying, you could take advantage of the views and snap some great aerial shots or simply have a private time with your loved one.

On a different note, seaplanes are also great for getting to hard-to-reach destinations for medical evacuations or humanitarian relief missions. It’s slowly becoming a popular transportation method for island travel because it’s fast, convenient, and more accessible—there’s no need for a runway if it can land on water!

5. Helicopters

Ascent helicopter fleet - 5 Ways to Travel in Manila
Part of Ascent's dedicated helicopter fleet in the Philippines

Traveling by land is undeniably inconvenient for those who have important places to go to, business deals to close, or critical meetings to catch. It’s a good thing that now, commuting around the Metro isn’t only possible through land or water, but through the air, too. While there aren’t any flying cars commercially available for use, choppers are the next best thing to avoid all the ground traffic and get to your destination within minutes.

Riding a helicopter is so advantageous. It saves you time as you skirt through road congestion, and it’s a relatively inexpensive way to travel compared to luxury travel options like limousines.

For the longest time, choppers as a mode of transport have been under-utilised. However, in recent times, ride-sharing chopper services have sprung up globally. Ascent Flights is one such service and is the first helicopter ride-sharing service in Manila and Clark to introduce this mode of transportation. It offers a seamless full-service experience for its riders and completes the equation: commuters now have access to land, water, and air transportation on a daily basis. Ascent Flights can fetch you from the pickup point and drop you off at the helipad so you’ll be sure that you’ll get to where you’re going without a hassle.

Bookings can be made, paid and confirmed online via As of now, you can fly from NAIA, Mandaluyong, Makati City, Bonifacio Global City, Quezon City, and Clark.

The Future of Transportation is Here

With more innovations popping up globally, the future of urban transport is exciting—and it’s only going to get brighter.


About Ascent

Ascent is a Singapore based startup powering Air Mobility in Asia. Technology and experience driven, Ascent is a Global Air Mobility Platform that integrates ecosystems and runs operations such as air taxi, touristic, cargo and medical services, within urban areas and across regions. Ascent ambitions to democratize Air Mobility, as a convenient, reliable and sustainable mode of mobility that addresses congestion, connectivity, environmental sustainability and health issues generated by rapid urbanization and the pandemic. Ascent is operational in the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Chile and the United Arab Emirates. Awaiting all-electric aircraft such as eVTOLs, Ascent makes use of helicopters and planes today.

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