Only in the Philippines: Unique Modes of Transportation
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Only in the Philippines: Unique Modes of Transportation

A short list of unique modes of transportation in the Philippines...

The Philippines has a diverse culture. It has successfully infused history and modernism, as well as rural and urbanized living. In terms of transportation, the country has several options to offer. Many of these vehicles are for public transport and can offer services for several passengers. Amazingly, these modes of transportation are only found in the Philippines. Here are some unique transport vehicles in the Philippines:


Jeepneys are the kings of the road. They are the most common mode of transportation in the whole country, dominating every highways and corners. They are very flashy and colorful, with attractive decorations and signage. The most famous decors would be the two horses in front of it. Some jeepneys also have funny and hilarious quotes painted on its body, like “Basta driver, sweet lover” (A driver is a sweet lover), “No guts, no glory”, “God knows Hudas not pay”, “Basta sexy libre, basta buntis doble” (If you are sexy, you are free; but if you are pregnant, you pay double), and many others.

Jeepneys are also inexpensive way to go around the different places in the Philippines, with fares as low as eight pesos ($0.18). Usually, the jeepneys must be filled before travelling, carrying 16-20 passengers excluding the driver. Some even have “extensions” – a plank of wood placed on its open door – that can support 2-3 people.


Tricycles are another common method of transportation here in the Philippines, though some cities prohibit them from travelling on main public roads and highways. It is a cab attached with a motorcycle at its right side. In other places, the motorcycle is placed in front or middle of the cab. Tricycles can be seen on the side streets and some subdivisions and normally used for short-distance travel. These transport vehicles can take on as much as 7 people, not counting the driver.

Like jeepneys, tricycles are also very colorful. In some places, the color signifies the route the tricycle is taking.



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By its look, motorela can be a hybrid between a jeepney and tricycle. It has the same fascinating colors and design as the jeepney, but it is small and three-wheeled like the tricycle. It can only be found in Northern Mindanao, particularly in Cagayan de Oro. The motorela can accommodate 8 passengers.


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These are the silent versions of tricycles, with them using bicycles instead of motorcycles. The driver uses pedal power to transport passengers. Normally you will see pedicabs on side streets and some subdivisions which do not allow tricycles to enter. It can take 2-3 persons per ride. Pedicabs are also known as padyak or traysikad in other places. A slight variation of the pedicab has also been done. The back is modified to likewise accommodate passengers instead of baggage and errands (like sacks of rice and other packages).



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A habal-habal is a motorcycle used for public transportation. It can be any type or model of motorcycle modified to seat more than two persons. This is used is provinces where jeepneys and tricycles cannot stand the rough, steep terrain and narrow roads, such as the riversides and mountains in Mindanao. Over time, habal-habal has occupied cities and urban areas. In some places, it is also called as skylab. Accordingly, this name is either taken from the space station, or a contraction of the phrase “Sakay na, lab” (Get on, love!).

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The simpler form of the habal-habal is a motorcycle with an extended seat protruding over the back wheel, supporting four persons. The more complicated design has extensions consisting of wooden planks placed across the back seat of the motorcycle. It can accommodate thirteen persons, as well as their baggage ranging from vegetable and groceries to livestock like chicken and goats.

Rail Carts

These are carts with wheels placed on the railways of trains. They require extreme manual labor from the driver. Taking 6-8 people, they provide faster transportation for all people who live near the railways.

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Comments (15)

Excellent, interesting and really enjoyable read. Great to know about the different modes of different culture....Well done

Very well presented, kabayan. Our political system is unique as well. We have elections administered electronically by world class computers and yet you have to be amazed if a candidate could rule out computer results on the grounds of fraud and still win political seat. The fate of GMA seem to have not taught a lesson and the citizens who voted were helpless.

i had a similar post like this few years back..the habal-habal is amazing..

Brilliant discussion of your culture. I'd heard of the jeepney, but didn't know much about the others.

Excellent presentation with the photos and descriptors. Well done!

the buses are colorful. Interesting how people use motorcycle. voted up.

Ranked #7 in Philippines

Very interesting article. I love it when Philippine based articles are posted online. That's what Filipino writers are for; to expose our culture tot he world. Great job.

Ranked #15 in Philippines

I like the way the various modes of transport are personalized, and also so colorful.

Amazing educational article for me and well detailed by you.Thank you.

Vow, some of them are really acrobatic and inimitable.Thanks.

I love the Jeepneys they are so bright and colourful. I have seen whole families on scooters in Italy, but they didn't have the built in seats!

The Jeepneys are hilarious, but I would hate for a habal-habal to hit a pothole.

Habal-habal is something new to me kabayan. Looks frightening though. I like old fashion Jeepneys, the new ones are so dark and long. So hard to say 'Para' when you are way behind lol.. Good article, FB liked.

Thank you for the read, around these parts I see Jeepneys, pedicabs and tricycles but not the other vehicles you mentioned.

A fantastic post. I like the illustrations too. Very informative. Thank you my friend!