Manila Airport Taxi Scams, Ripoffs, Free Uber Ride
Flying to the Philippines
Before you board a plane to fly to the Philippines you need an onward ticket as they usually enforce that requirement strictly. I wrote more about that in this post.
This post is about what happens after you land at Manila airport. I always land at Terminal 3 using Cebu Pacific but these tips should also be useful for other terminals.
Manila Airport Taxi Scams
Taxi unloading area Terminal 3
The cheapest option is to go to the unloading area where vehicles drop off passengers. Some white taxis wait there for a fare back into the city, at all hours of day or night. At terminal 3 that’s upstairs.
As you come out of the arrivals gate at T3 don’t go outside, turn right and walk 100m past Burger King until you see an escalator up to departures on your right.
Route to find a white metered taxi
Then turn around, walk past Starbucks and out the exit in the right corner where people come in to fly. Walk left a bit and cross the road.
The first white metered taxis in the queue will probably call out to you, the drivers will be standing around by their cabs hoping to scam you for a flat rate of ~650 pesos.
Ignore those and pick one from the middle of the line that agrees to use the meter. In general Asia taxi drivers that come up to you are bad news, find one yourself.
650 pesos guy didn’t like me taking a pic of his car
Taxi Cost Manila Airport Into Town
It’s 150 – 170 pesos ($3) to Makati depending on traffic, plus 20 for the Skyway. On one trip the guy said ok meter then after driving a few secs said 300. I said no, went to get out. He said ok meter plus 50, I said no.
It was 150 on the meter to Gramercy condo at 5am, no traffic. Handed him 200, he says he’s keeping the ’50 pesos additional fee’, I say no give me my change, he says he only has 40… so many scams.
Manila Airport Private Transfer
This way for scams
The private transfer or ‘rent-a-car’ is a ripoff, these touts will come up to you if you walk outside.
I had some time to kill before getting on a flight to Cebu so I thought I’d go out and waste their time and get some pics for this blog post.
Private transfer scam
The prices they charge are a complete joke, 1750 pesos to Makati. Ten times the meter rate.
For a private taxi to Angeles City they charge 4190, another ripoff.
Ripoff taxi hire to outside Manila
Usually you can negotiate with a white taxi to take you to Angeles for 2500, if not from the airport then go to City of Dreams casino or Burgos and negotiate with one there.
Or a Victory Liner bus is 150. At first this woman behind the taxi rank didn’t want to tell me how much it would cost. Just said ‘wait, Sir’ then tried to get me in the cab.
A guy next to her weirdly kept saying ‘don’t worry you’re safe now Sir’.
They said the white cabs upstairs are not safe, and that there wouldn’t be any up there at this time. Lies.
Police on bike carrying M16 rifle
When I walked off another tout offered 850. I haven’t tried the yellow taxis or coupon taxis but they cost about 400, a bit over twice the white taxis, so also a ripoff.
Inter Terminal Taxi Scam
One time I went to the wrong terminal for my flight out of the Philippines and got in what looked exactly like a normal white taxi. When I noticed he didn’t turn the meter I asked what’s up he said he’s an airport taxi.
Late to check in
He hesitated to tell me how much it would be – ‘it’s a fixed rate Sir’ – until I kept asking and he said 850. To go 1km. Luckily I could get out.
How to Avoid Manila Airport Taxi Scams
Manila has Grab and Uber which dont refuse passengers and aren’t much more expensive than white taxis.
There’s a Grab stand outside the arrivals floor if you walk to the left a bit. You’ll see the sign and benches.
Outside NAIA, and Century City mall
You give the guy your destination and he hails a cab on the app for you, and tells you the price. Should be about ~250 pesos.
There are Grab stands around Manila outside malls. You can use those or download the Grab app.
Or use the free wifi in the airport to book an Uber. Click here for a free 200 pesos if you’re new to the app.
You can link the app to your bank card so you don’t need pesos, the drivers are safer, and it’s a cleaner vehicle. I prefer it to Grab.
Manila Airport Taxi Safety
Some say the white taxis are unsafe. I haven’t had a problem yet apart from refusing the meter, driving like they’re on crack, or getting lost, they don’t use GPS like Uber.
So I’d stick with Uber especially if you’re carrying valuables. I use Uber 90% of the time now.
Yet another killer hack on avoiding the Touts on Arrival. These 2 are some serious takeaways:
– It’s 150 – 170 pesos ($3) to Makati depending on traffic, plus 20 for the Skyway.
– With onward ticket rental, since the ticket is ONLY good temporarily do u purchase it in the brief hours leading up to going to the airport? Then print the itinerary & ticket? Or have u just used a digital image on your phone as “proof” of follow-on flight to gain entry?
Just looking for YOUR proven expertise before I indulge! My next SEA travel with def be one-way this time….😁
A few hours before is ok with bestonwardticket.com, I’ve just showed the email confirmation on my phone before and it was fine, no need to print the ticket out but you can if you want
Hopefully it doesn’t become a scam like flyonward.com did, wrote more about that here
Great article. Thanks for sharing. Taxi drivers are same in my country. They assume we are stupid. This is why I only use Uber. Fuck taxi drivers.
Yeah my stress levels have gone down a ton since switching to Uber. No more hassles. Thanks for the comment.
What are the uber rates like in Manila? I normally use white taxis. But some of the cabs are in pretty bad condition
Only about 10-20% more than white taxis, max, and no need to tip or round up the cash amount
Sometimes offpeak it’s the same as a white taxi
In BKK sometimes it glitched on me and only charged me 20 baht for a 60 baht journey, stuff like that
Good info on Terminal 3. I always had to walk outside the airport to a major road just to flag a cab. The wifi was garbage for me but thank god I have 4G/uber now.
Im willing to pay the little extra with uber just to not deal with the scammy/no change sir bs. Uberhop really is good value. Buses for long distance.
Cab drivers in Manila are some of the worst Ive ever seen in SEA. Surprisingly, I never had issues with cab drivers in Davao.
some of the white cab drivers in Manila will offer to take u to “places with ladies” even if u dont ask for it.
I had a Manila cab driver threaten to beat me up if I didn’t pay the 2,000 Peso fare he was demanding for a trip of less than 3 kilometers. Very unpleasant experience.
that happened to me in Bali. Bali is taxi mafia central.
Right now I am in VN and had only honest driver so far.
No sexy taxi driver pics? I read this blog for the travel tits not tips :p
I stick with Uber in all developing countries due to aggressive scam artists… err taxi drivers.
How’s the poker in Cebu these days? Updated info is appreciated 🙂
I’ll be there next month let me check, pretty sure it’s weak sauce though, like one table of low stakes if anything