Area Information: Transportation
There are two main forms of transportation: jeepney or taxi, both of which you can hail on the street outside IAFT. Usually jeepneys are good for shorter trips (around Mactan Island), but for longer trips you might want to opt for the air-conditioned taxis. Jeepneys stop anywhere that a passenger wants to get on or off, so they tend to take much longer to reach a destination than taxis.
Jeepney: Jeepneys are small, bus-like vehicles that serve as the main source of public transportation. For locals, jeepneys are actually the larger vehicles, and the smaller ones, such as those that run in front of IAFT are called multi-cabs, but in general you can call them all jeepneys. Jeepneys cost Php8/ride for a minimum distance and then an extra peso per kilometer after that minimum distance. If you’re not sure how much you should pay, ask the driver. Almost everyone here speaks English and they are extremely helpful to foreigners. Jeepneys are a great way to get to see the local area at a modest price. They can be a bit intimidating at first, but they are fun when you get used to them. The locals will carry anything on a jeepney, including, at times, animals, furniture, freshly caught fish and much more!
Taxi: There are as many taxis in the greater Cebu area as there are private vehicles.
How taxis work: When you get in, the very first thing to do is make sure that the meter is on. When drivers know someone is from out of town, many will offer you a special “fixed rate” to go to a destination. However this rate will usually be 3 to 5 times higher than the normal charge. So always check to see the meters is on, or politely remind the taxi driver to turn on the meter. If the meter is off the whole time, and you don’t realize it until you arrive at your destination, you may get stuck paying the special “fixed rate” that the taxi driver will impose. By law they MUST use the meter and they are NOT allowed to refuse any customers, though in reality, you occasionally get taxi drivers who will not take you to certain destinations, and in essence refuse to provide service.
Coming from the city to IAFT: Often when you take a taxi from Cebu City to IAFT/Bigfoot, the driver will ask for a fixed rate or put a special surcharge on the metered fare. Try to talk them into simply adding 20 to 30 pesos on top of the metered fare. On occasion, especially at night when there are few taxis around, you may have to go as high as 40-50 pesos surcharge. You should NEVER have to go more than meter + 50pesos.
As a side note, many locals when they are alone in a taxi will sit in the front passenger seat. Feel free to sit in the front or the back of the taxi.
Walking near the IAFT campus and in the cities is generally safe even in the evening, but always be aware of your surroundings. In recent years there has been an increase in crime within a kilometer of the IAFT campus, especially “snatchers” or people who grab your belongings and run. Sometimes they carry knives or guns. If this happens to you, give them your belongings and do not struggle. No possession is worth risking your life.
One of the biggest impediments to walking is that some of the roads are in poor repair, and also there are very few sidewalks, so some people prefer not to walk at all. Another big factor about walking is that pedestrians DO NOT have the right of way compared to automobiles and motorcycles. This is a big psychological adjustment to make because in most first-world countries, cars yield to people on foot. Even if you see crosswalk lines or have the green walking light at an intersection, be aware that a car or motorcycle still has the right of way.