Arriving in Manila and Transportation

Weather

The Philippines enjoys a tropical climate that is often hot and humid. The month of February falls under the high season, and is usually one of the coolest months of the year.  However, weather in the Philippines is usually unpredictable. Hence, it is advisable to bring an umbrella when traveling around Manila. Bringing a pair of sturdy, water-resistant shoes is also a must. Loose, comfortable, light clothing is recommended, but bring a light jacket, cardigan, or shawl, especially when visiting indoor establishments with air-conditioning.

Airports

Manila's major airport is the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA; airport code MNL), which has four (4) terminals. Please ensure that you know where your flight is landing/departing, as the terminals are located far from each other:

Terminal 1 (Old International Terminal / NAIA-1) serves most international flights except Philippine Airlines and the carriers listed in NAIA-3.

Terminal 2 (Centennial Terminal / NAIA-2) exclusively serves both domestic and international flights of Philippine Airlines.

Terminal 3 (NAIA-3) serves select international flights such as AirAsia, All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air, Emirates, KLM, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines and United Airlines. NAIA-3 also serves both domestic and international flights of Cebu Pacific.

Terminal 4 (Old Domestic Terminal / NAIA-4) serves domestic flights for SkyJet, Tigerair, and AirAsia.

Please note: For those traveling around the country before or after the conference, it is essential to identify which airport to go to. There is heavy traffic in Manila, and it is usually recommended to arrive at the check-in desks 3 hours before the scheduled flight. This means giving 4 or 5 hours lead time to get to the airport, especially if heading there during rush hours (7:00-9:00 AM and 5:00-8:00 PM).

Taxis and Ride-sharing

When going around Manila, it is recommended to either use a taxi or a ride-sharing mobile application. Unfortunately, Uber is no longer available in the Philippines, but Grab and Wunder are good alternatives. Taxis are rather expensive; however when going to the conference venue or hotel from the airport, it is recommended to take the white coupon airport taxi. Look for the airport taxi queue outside the airport door.

Should you prefer to use a metered taxi, ensure that the meter is running once you get in. Taxis in the Philippines usually do not have designated queues except in malls; simply hail them when you see one. 

Grab and Wunder accepts payments both via credit card or cash (in Philippine peso). 

Other modes of transport

While jeepneys and buses are available around Manila and at the conference venue, it is not recommended to take these to get around the city. Rapid mass rail transports are available - the LRT (Light Rail Transit) and the MRT (Metro Rail Transit) but they do not run on a specific schedule and often break down. For the adventurous who want to try these modes of transport, it is recommended to ask someone - preferably a local - to come along.

Safety reminders

  • Keep an eye on your belongings at all times. Do not bring out your mobile phone when going around the city.
  • When taking the taxi, make sure that the meter is running. Lock the doors immediately after getting in.
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