There are a few tips we picked up the hard way from our travels using the Philippines buses & jeepneys.
Which Colour Bus?
Always take the yellow aircon buses. The price difference between these and the standard red buses is minimal, but they are faster and more roomy, they don’t stop as much and don’t get so overcrowded (oh, and they’re air conditioned 😉 ).
Avoid Large Denomination Notes
Keep a pocketful of small denomination notes and coins to pay the conductor (especially so in Jeepneys).
All Seats Are Not Created Equal…
Whenever possible, don’t sit at the back of the bus (over the rear wheel arch). With the general state of the roads, you’ll be bumped and shaken about like a rag doll.
Philippines Buses & Jeepneys – Potty Breaks
Dont drink too much before taking bus journeys. Some 3 or 4-hour bus trips that we took didn’t stop for potty breaks. If you really have to go, then there is a chance you won’t be the only one and a quick word with the driver should be enough to get him to pull in by the roadside.
You’ll have to forget your dignity at this point, and just take a pee as inconspicuously as you can. If it’s a number 2 you’re needing, it might be better to just let the bus carry on without you. You can then sort yourself out at leisure before hopping on the next bus
At the start of some bus trips, you may be asked to stow your rucksack/luggage in the hold. Make sure you already have your valuables in a separate smaller bag that you can keep with you.
This might save you having to unpack your rucksack in the street while testing the patience of the driver and other passengers.
“Let me off!”
If you’re hidden behind bodies at the back of the bus and want to stop it to get off, the standard way of alerting the driver is to tap on the metal handrails with a coin.
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