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Transportation in the Philippines

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Title: Transportation in the Philippines  
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Subject: Economy of the Philippines, History of the Philippines, Metro Rail Transit Corporation, Health in the Philippines, Education in the Philippines
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Transportation in the Philippines

Transportation in the Philippines is relatively underdeveloped, partly due to the country's mountainous areas and scattered islands, and partly as a result of the government's persistent underinvestment in the nation's infrastructure. In recent years, however, the Philippine government has been pushing to improve the transportation system in the country through various projects.[1]

Jeepneys are the most popular mode of public transportation in the Philippines, they have also become a ubiquitous symbol of the Philippine culture.[2] Another popular mode of public transportation in the country is the motorized tricycle; they are especially common in rural areas.[3] Trains are also becoming a popular mode of public transportation in the country especially in the bustling metropolis of Manila. The Philippines has three main railway networks: the Manila Light Rail Transit System composed of the LRT-1 and MRT-2 and Manila Metro Rail Transit System composed of the MRT-3 which only serves Metro Manila and the Philippine National Railways which also serves the metropolis and some parts of Luzon. Taxis and buses are also important modes of public transport in urban areas.

The Philippines has 12 international airports, and has more than 20 major and minor domestic airports serving the country.[4] The Ninoy Aquino International Airport is the main international gateway to the Philippines.

Land transportation


The Philippines has 199,950 kilometers (124,240 mi) of roads, of which 39,590 kilometers (24,600 mi) are paved. As of 2004, the total length of the non-toll road network was reported to be 202,860 km, with the following breakdown according to type:

  • National roads - 15%
  • Provincial roads - 13%
  • City and municipal roads - 12%
  • Barangay roads - 60%

In 1940, there were 22,970 kilometres (14,270 mi) of road in the entire country, half of which was in central and southern Luzon.[5] The roads served 50,000 vehicles.[5]

Road classification is based primarily on administrative responsibilities (with the exception of barangays), i.e., which level of government built and funded the roads. Most of the barangay roads are unpaved village-access roads built in the past by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), but responsibility for maintaining these roads have now been devolved to the Local Government Units (LGUs). Farm-to-market roads fall under this category, and a few are financed by the Department of Agrarian Reform and the Department of Agriculture. However, despite having a large road network built over the country, large parts of the road network continue to be in poor condition and only 20 percent of the total road network is paved.[6]



Highways in the Philippines include roads that can be classified into six divisions: the Maharlika Highway, Controlled-access highways, the Regional Highways, the Provincial Highways, the Manila Arterial Road System, Pan-Philippine Highway and the secondary city and municipal avenues and roads.

The Pan-Philippine Highway is a 3,517 km (2,185 mi) network of roads, bridges, and ferry services that connect the islands of Luzon, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao, serving as the Philippines' principal transport backbone. The northern terminus of the highway is at Laoag City, and the southern terminus is at Zamboanga City.

The Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) is one of the most known highways of the Philippines, the highway serves the National Capital Region of the Philippines, it also serves as an important highway in the metropolis. The avenue passes through 6 of the 17 settlements in the region, namely, the cities of Caloocan, Quezon City, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Makati and Pasay. EDSA is the longest highway in the metropolis and handles an average of 2.34 million vehicles.[7] Commonwealth Avenue is also an important highway in the metropolis, it serves the Quezon City area and has a length of 12.4 km (7.7 mi).


The Philippines has numerous expressways and most of them are located in the main island of the country, Luzon. The first expressway systems in the country are the North Luzon Expressway formerly known as North Diversion Road and the South Luzon Expressway, formerly known as South Super Highway. Both were built in the 1970s, during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos.

The North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) is a 4 to 8-lane limited-access toll expressway that connects Metro Manila to the provinces of the Central Luzon region. The expressway begins in Quezon City at a cloverleaf interchange with EDSA. It then passes through various cities and municipalities in the provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga. The expressway currently ends at Mabalacat and merges with the MacArthur Highway, which continues northward into the rest of Central and Northern Luzon.

The South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) is another important expressway in the country, it serves the southern part of Luzon. The expressway is a network of two expressways that connects Metro Manila to the provinces of the CALABARZON region in the southern part of Luzon. It starts at the Paco District of Manila then passes through Manila, Makati, Pasay, Parañaque, Taguig and Muntinlupa in Metro Manila; San Pedro, Biñan City, Carmona in Cavite, the transverses again to Biñan City, Santa Rosa City, Cabuyao City and Calamba City in the province of Laguna and ends in Santo Tomas, Batangas.

The Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway is another expressway that serves the region of Central Luzon, the expressway is linked to the North Luzon Expressway through the Mabalacat Interchange. Its southern terminus is at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Zambales, it passes through the Clark Freeport Zone and its northern terminus is at Brgy. Amucao in Tarlac City, Tarlac. Construction on the expressway began in April 2005, and opened to the public three years later.[8]

The Strong Republic Nautical Highway links many of the islands' road networks through a series of roll-on/roll-off ferries, some rather small covering short distances and some larger vessels that might travel several hours or more.

The Philippine government and other private sectors are building more plans and proposals to build new expressways through public–private partnership.[9]


Rail transportation in the Philippines includes services provided by the three railway networks: the Manila Light Rail Transit System (LRT-1 and MRT-2), the Manila Metro Rail Transit System (MRT-3), and the Philippine National Railways (PNR), all of these train services only serve the Metro Manila area and some parts of Luzon. Panay Railways is an existing company that used to run rail lines on Panay (until 1989) and Cebu (until World War II).

The Philippine National Railways is a state-owned railway system of the Philippines, it was established during the Spanish Colonial period. PNR aims to link key cities within the Philippines efficiently and to serve as an instrument in national socio-economic development.[10] It also aims to improve the rail transportation of the country. The PNR currently operates in the Manila metropolitan area and the provinces of Laguna, Quezon, Camarines Sur and Albay. Before PNR used to serve the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan and La Union in the north and Batangas on the South. The PNR used to run the only inter-city train between Metro Manila and Bicol but that is currently suspended.

The Manila Light Rail Transit System or the LRTA system, is a rapid transit system serving the Metro Manila area, it is the first metro system in Southeast Asia.[11] The system served a total 928,000 passengers each day in 2012.[12][13] Its 31 stations along over 31 kilometers (19 mi) of mostly elevated track form two lines: the original LRT Line 1 (LRT-1), and the more modern MRT Line 2 (MRT-2) which passes through the cities of Caloocan, Manila, Marikina, Pasay, San Juan and Quezon City.

Apart from the LRTA system, the Manila Metro Rail Transit System or the MRTC system also serves Metro Manila. The system is located along the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), one of Metro Manila's main thoroughfares. It has 13 stations along its 16.95 km track form a single line which is the MRT Line 3 (MRT-3) which passes through the cities of Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasay and Quezon City. Some of the stations of the system have been retrofitted with escalators and elevators for easier access, and ridership has increased. By 2004 MRT-3 had the highest ridership of the three lines, with 400,000 passengers daily.[14]

The University of the Philippines Diliman Automated Guideway Transit System is an automated guideway transit (AGT) system within the campus of the University of the Philippines Diliman in Quezon City. It is the first of its kind to be built in the Philippines.

Water transportation

A pump boat at sunset off of Guimaras.


3,219 km; limited to shallow-draft (less than 1.5 m) vessels.

River ferries

The Pasig River Ferry Service is a river ferry service that serves Metro Manila, it is also the only water-based transportation that cruised the Pasig River. The entire ferry network had 17 stations operational and 2 lines. The first line was the Pasig River Line which stretched from Plaza Mexico in Intramuros, Manila to Nagpayong station in Pasig City. The second line was the Marikina River Line which served the Guadalupe station in Makati City up to Santa Elena station in Marikina City.

Ferry services

Because it is an island nation, ferry services are an important means of transportation. A range of ships are used, from large cargo ships to small pump boats. Some trips last for a day or two on large overnight ferris such as those operated by 2GO Travel while other trips can last for less than 15 minutes on small, open-air pump boats such as those that cross the Iloilo Strait.

There are numerous shipping companies in the Philippines. Notable companies include 2GO Travel (the successor to Superferry and Negros Navigation) and Trans-Asia Shipping Lines.[15]

Ports and harbors

The busiest port is the Port of Manila, especially the Manila International Cargo Terminal and the Eva Macapagal Port Terminal, both in the pier area of Manila. Other cities with bustling ports and piers include Bacolod City, Batangas City, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu City, Davao City, Butuan, Iligan, Iloilo City, Jolo, Legazpi City, Lucena City, Puerto Princesa, San Fernando, Subic, Zamboanga City, Cotabato City, General Santos City, Allen, Ormoc, Ozamiz, Surigao and Tagbilaran. Most of these terminals comprise the Strong Republic Nautical Highway, a nautical system conceptualized under the term of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo where land vehicles can use the roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) ferries to cross between the different islands.

Air transportation


Manila, Iloilo, Cebu, Davao, Clark, Subic, and Laoag are the international gateways to the country, with the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila as the main and premier gateway of the country.[16]

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport serves as the premier gateway of the Philippines, it serves the Metro Manila area and its surrounding regions. It is located in the boundary of Parañaque and Pasay in the National Capital Region. In 2012, NAIA became the 34th busiest airport in the world, passenger volume increased to about eight percent to a total of 32.1 million passengers, making it one of the busiest airports in Asia.[17] The Clark International Airport is also a major gateway to the country, it will be the future international gateway for the metropolitan area and it is planned to replace the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.[18] The airport mostly serves low-cost carriers that avail themselves of the lower landing fees than those charged at NAIA. Other important airports in the Philippines is the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Cebu; the Iloilo International Airport in Iloilo; the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao; and the Zamboanga International Airport in Zamboanga City.


Cebu Pacific, the leading low-cost airline in the country

The Philippine Airlines (PAL) is the national flag carrier of the Philippines, it is the first commercial airline in Asia.[19] The Philippine Airlines remains as the country’s biggest airline company, it has the largest number of international flights to the Philippines as well as domestic flights. The Philippine Airlines links Manila to 14 cities in 8 countries, and flies regularly to 41 domestic destinations outside Manila. The Philippine Airlines also serves twenty destinations in the Philippines and 32 destinations which are all located in Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia, Oceania and North America.[20]

The Cebu Pacific Air is the low fare leader in the country, it is the country's leading domestic airline. It links Manila to 21 different domestic destinations in Philippines and to 12 international destinations with its direct flights. After offering low fares to domestic destinations, Cebu Pacific launched its international operations on November 2001 and now flies to Bangkok, Busan, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Osaka, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore and Taipei.[21] The airline currently operates hubs in Manila, Cebu and Davao.[22]

Other low-cost airlines in the country includes AirAsia Zest, PAL Express, and Tigerair Philippines, these airlines have routes to several tourist destinations in the country at low prices.

Cars of the Philippines

The Philippines' automobile industry started during the American Colonial Period from 1898 to 1946, with the introduction of American-made cars, which have been sold in the Philippines ever since. When then-President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law some vehicle manufacturers withdrew from the Philippines, some of which returned in the 1990s after the People Power Revolution ousted Marcos in 1986. During the 1973 oil crisis, Marcos advised Filipinos to buy smaller, more efficient vehicles with 4-cylinder engines. During the early 1990s, a number of car makes entered or re-entered the Philippines, but during the 1997 Asian financial crisis some makers withdrew and sales declined. Since the end of the crisis, automobile sales have increased since with new models.

The country's love affair with the automobile started during the 1960s when many Filipinos bought their first automobiles, but interest dwindled during the period of martial law. After the return of civil governance, interest in cars rose and during the 1990s, magazines like Automotion started, as did several television shows about automobiles. In 2002, C!, another automotive magazine, was introduced, since Automotion closed down. Around 2004, Top Gear Philippines entered the car magazine market. Automobile exhibits displaying mainstream to custom-built vehicles are common.

Successful cars in the Philippines

Some cars have been especially successful in the Philippines, based on their reliability, price and their impact on the customers.

Honda City

First Generation Honda City, one of Honda's most successful vehicles during the 90's.
Honda's entry-level sedan serves as an affordable alternative to the larger Civic. Its direct competition consists of the Toyota Vios, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio and Suzuki SX4. The City is also a popular college car in the Philippines due to its low maintenance and good fuel efficiency.

Honda Civic

Eighth generation Honda Civic, one of Honda's most successful vehicles during the 00's.

The Civic has been available in the market since 1992. It serves as an alternative to the Toyota Corolla, Mitsubishi Lancer and Nissan Sentra. During the years, the car grew bigger and features more creature comforts. In 2006, it captured the market with its redesign being Honda's best selling vehicle in the company's and in the Family Sedan Market. With 10,000 units sold since 2006. It offers a 1.8-liter engine with its 2.0-liter engine as the option. The trim lines offered includes the SiR (offered in 1999-2001), Lxi (offered in 1996-2000), Vti (offered in 1996- 2005), and Esi (offered in 1992-1995). More recently, trim lines offered are as follows: 1.8 V & S (S trim with different wheels and with available foglamps) and the 2.0 S-L (note that the "S-L" badge isn't present on the car, but only the S). The Civic also started the tuner car craze in the market due to its "tuneability" and high performance.

Honda CR-V

Part of the Second Generation Honda CR-V's sales attributes include its lower price and the available 10 seater configuration.
One of the pioneers of the compact SUV segment, though Honda had to reclassify its second generation into an AUV to compete with the popular Toyota Revo. The CR-V offers versatility of a large wagon with the reflexes of a small sedan. It won the hearts of numerous Filipinos due to its affordable pricing and very good image. The First and Second Generation CR-Vs were bestsellers during their time. Although third generation CR-Vs boast better fuel consumption and comfort, it still trails with the likes of the Hyundai Tucson which offers a CRDI diesel powerplant. The second-generation CR-V offers a third row seat option and has a stiffer rear springs which is unique for the Philippine market, but failed to dethrone the Revo as the premier AUV in the Philippines because of it being a gas guzzler.

Hyundai Elantra

The Hyundai Elantra was not widely known in the Philippines until the fifth generation model hit showrooms in mid-2011. Its sleek design, numerous amenities and competitively low price made it an instant bestseller, rapidly outselling its rivals the Toyota Corolla Altis, Mitsubishi Lancer, Mazda3 and Nissan Sentra 200. The Elantra is offered in two trims: the base 1.6 liter with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic, and the 1.8 liter with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Hyundai Eon

A 2012 Hyundai Eon.

The India-built Hyundai Eon became the fastest-selling car of 2012, thanks to its vast array of features in a small package and a low price. The Eon is equipped with a fuel efficient 814cc 3-cylinder engine mated with a 5-speed manual transmission.

Hyundai Getz

Since its debut in the Philippines, the Getz has been one of the most popular hatchbacks on the road, outselling its rivals the Chevrolet Aveo, Honda Jazz and Toyota Yaris. The demand for it has been very high due to the ongoing fuel crisis. The Getz is commonly used as a company car for firms such as Coca-Cola and PLDT. It was offered in three grades: the base 1.1L GL with a 5-speed manual transmission, the middle-base 1.4L with either 4-speed automatic transmission or 5-speed manual and the top-end spec, the 1.5L CRDi VGT, powered by a 1.5L diesel engine mated to a 5-speed manual. The Getz was discontinued in mid-2011, leaving the i10 as its replacement.

Hyundai i10

Since its debut in late-2008, Hyundai's smaller hatchback has been the company's hottest-selling model to date - even outselling its less-expensive rivals the Chery QQ and Suzuki Alto, as well as the comparably priced Kia Picanto, Suzuki Celerio and Chevrolet Spark. It is offered with two engines: a 1.1-liter or 1.2 liter - mated to either a 5-speed manual transmission or 4-speed automatic transmission. The i10 was Hyundai's entry-level vehicle until the introduction of the Eon in March 2012; the i10 now fills the void left by the discontinued Getz.

Hyundai Starex/Grand Starex

Third generation Hyundai Starex, locally known as the Hyundai Grand Starex.
The Starex from Hyundai Motors Company, also called the Hyundai H-1 in the Korean and European markets, was introduced in the Philippines in 1996 as a new entry in the full-size passenger van market, initially mostly through grey-market channels.It replaced the Mitsubishi L300 as the ultimate Filipino family van since it offers more safety equipment and has plenty of features for the money. The first to offer a turbo-charged intercooled diesel engine in a van in the Philippines, the Starex soon found a solid following among Filipinos not only due to its cheaper price compared to the locally available Toyota Hiace, Ford Econoline E150, Nissan Urvan and its cousin, the Mitsubishi Space Gear, but also because it offered two variants: a 9-seater short-wheelbase version and the 12-seater long-wheelbase version. Fans also appreciated its smooth ride especially in the 9-seater which used coil-springs all throughout, as well as the fact that its engine is mounted in front of the driver, compared to under the seat such as in the Hiace. Initial doubts about Korean build quality eventually faded as Filipinos realized the Starex engine had many parts that are compatible with ubiquitous Mitsubishi 4D56 diesel engine found in the Mitsubishi Pajero, L200 pickup and L300 van. Even as a lot of first-generation Starex vans still ply the road today, the Starex has already undergone 3 major updates, and the latest variant, the Grand Starex, was released in 2007.

Hyundai Tucson

The Tucson became one of Hyundai's best selling vehicles in the Philippines.

The first car-based compact SUV to introduce CRDI power diesels in the market, the Tucson offers good level of standard equipment, roomy interior, and diesel-power option which make it popular in the segment. The recently introduced second generation Tucson further sealed its victory due to strong character line and extensive equipment without losing the value-for-money it is known for.

Isuzu Hi-Lander

Introduced in 1997, it was Isuzu's response to the Toyota Revo, and was its best seller during that time. The Hi-Lander was criticized for being unrefined and cramped when compared to the class leader, the Revo. Engine durability and affordability were among its good lines. It was replaced by the Crosswind, a full SUV, in 2001 has a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission.

Mitsubishi Adventure

The Mitsubishi Adventure is Mitsubishi's best selling vehicle in the Philippines until the Montero Sport took the title in 2009.

This was Mitsubishi's response to the popularity of the Toyota's Tamaraw FX and Revo. It has taken the design of the Mitsubishi Freeca from Taiwan and manufactured it locally as the Adventure. Introduced in 1997 as a 1998 model, it had 3 updates but was criticized for having a cramped interior and being somewhat underpowered. Strong points include affordable pricing, seating capacity, and low cost of maintenance. It is one of Mitsubishi's best sellers in the country, especially as a choice vehicle for public transportation firm UV Express. Despite the presence of its replacement, the Fuzion, the Adventure continues to be sold nationwide.

Mitsubishi Lancer

A Mitsubishi Lancer "Pizza" (2000-2002).
The Lancer was the first truly futuristic car available in the Philippines, but sadly the most restricted in the 1980s, during the regime of President Marcos. When he was deposed, Mitsubishi released its updated models on a regular basis, and is a favorite alongside the Toyota Corolla.

The Lancer has had eight generations sold here, and currently two generations being sold, the Cedia and the Fortis. The Lancer is also distinguishable by its taillamps: the L-Type in the early 70's (coca-cola bottle-like body), bar type in the late 70's, the box type which is the most popular from 1980 to 1987, singkit released from 1987 to 1992, itlog (lancer egg) 1993-1997, pizza pie in 1997-2002, cedia (2003-current), and Fortis (2008-current). Alternatively, the Lancer's high-performance version, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is sold alongside the Lancer but is limited in sales among mainstream Filipino buyers, but is popular among racing enthusiasts in the country for its "go-kart, sharp handling".

Mitsubishi L300

The former van of the Philippines, the Mitsubishi L300 became popular in the late 80's to late 90's due to its roomy and spacious cabin especially when compared to smaller vans available that time such as the Kia Besta, Toyota Liteace and Nissan Vanette. Since Filipinos were clannish and social, the L300 became an ideal troop transport to various destinations whether it's a trip to the mall or going long distances such as visiting relatives in the provinces. The L300 van is also an icon in Philippine action movies, and is commonly used as a chase vehicle since the sliding doors were big and easy to open. Vans in the 80's and 90's were the upmarket family transport due to its air conditioning and more comfortable cabin compared to their competition which is limited to unrefined jeeps and assembled AUV's. L300's were initially available in low roof short-wheelbase configuration which is a rarity until it grew into the more popular larger high roof and medium wheelbase. The engines available were the rare gasoline with carburetor and the famous evergreen 2.5 liter rotary type 4D56 diesel engine. The L300 is so successful that the only revisions made in the last 2 decades were updated front facade, wheel designs and CD/USB radio. The L300 FB is the latest iteration of the L300, and caters mostly to school bus fleets, loop services, and other businesses. Almazora builds the L300 FB's body, while Mitsubishi provides the chassis, engine, and front cab.

Mitsubishi Mirage

Thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign in late 2012, the Mitsubishi Mirage became the brand's fastest-selling car of 2012 and 2013, outselling its rivals Hyundai i10, Kia Picanto, Chevrolet Spark and Suzuki Celerio. The Mirage is offered with a choice of two straight-three engines: a 1.0 liter and a 1.2 liter.

Suzuki Celerio

Since its debut in late 2011, the Suzuki Celerio has become the brand's perennial bestseller due to its stylish design and fuel-efficient 1.0 liter straight-three engine.

Toyota Corolla/Altis

A Tenth generation Toyota Corolla Altis.
Beginning with the E90 model introduced in 1989, Toyota's flagship compact sedan has been a permanent staple in the country's automotive industry. The E101 series of 1993 to 1997 is the second most widely used Corolla model on the road, being a regular in the local taxicab industry, but was beaten by the new Corolla Altis series 2001-2008 by a small margin. A special Altis with a cursive badge was only used in the high-end 1.8 SE G sold in 1999-2001 while the bold Altis badge was added in the whole corolla line in 2001 to uplift its image. The Toyota Corolla is the country's best-selling sedan and nameplate to date because it is the benchmark in quality, sheer durability, reliability and high utility despite the recent Corolla Altis being upmarket. Filipinos have found this car to meet their conflicting demands like providing ample power while consuming little fuel, compact outside but roomy within and durable yet easy to maintain.

Toyota Fortuner

A 2009 Toyota Fortuner.

Since its debut in 2005, the Toyota Fortuner has become the country's best-selling sport-utility vehicle, outselling its direct rival Mitsubishi Montero Sport annually. The Fortuner is the choice vehicle for most businessmen and government officials in the country.

Toyota Innova

Replacing the Revo in mid-2005, the Innova is Toyota's second best selling vehicle in the country after the Vios. It proved successful not just with its image and value, but with its versatility and quality. Currently, it has five trim lines that serves the consumers' needs. The Innova is used as a police car and even offered by rental car companies. The Innova's direct competition consists of the Nissan Grand Livina, Mitsubishi Fuzion, Chevrolet Orlando and Chery V5.

Toyota Tamaraw

Also known as the Toyota Kijang, it was introduced in 1976 and invented the AUV (Asian Utility Vehicle) segment of the automotive industry. It was introduced with van and truck body configurations. The Tamaraw was favored as a utility vehicle by both private individuals and the Government, namely the Ministry (now the Department) of Public Works and Highways. Many examples survive today as rebuilds and/or replicas by backyard assemblers, owing to its ease of maintenance and upgradeability. Due to its popularity, it spawned a host of competitors from major automobile companies, namely Ford.

Toyota Tamaraw FX and Toyota Tamaraw FX Revo

The Toyota Tamaraw FX was a much improved version of the Toyota Tamaraw. It came in van and wagon versions. It proved successful, not just having a lower price, but durability and versatility. It was during its production years the choice of business fleets and taxi companies.

In 1998, Toyota introduced the Revo variant of the Tamaraw FX, which proved successful. Despite stiff competition (which the Revo created), its sales captured the AUV market, with 8000 units sold on its first year. The original Tamaraw FX was sold alongside the Revo variant before the it was dropped from Toyota's lineup in 2000. The Revo got new trim levels and a freshening in 2002, with its Sport Runner variant being a best seller. It remained in its Toyota's lineup until February 2005, when it was discontinued with the introduction of the Innova and the Fortuner. The Toyota Revo has 3 engine options: the updated 1.8 liter EFI 7K-E gas engine from the original Tamaraw FX, a 2.0 liter EFI 1RZ-E gas engine, and the 2.4 Liter diesel engine.

The Revo was offered in DLX, GL, GLX, GSX, SR (Sport Runner), and VX trims, plus three special versions—the LXV (special edition with gold-trimmed badges), SR 2.0 (Sport Runner with different livery and rims and a 2.0 liter engine), and the J-Spec Revos (VX-J and SR-J, members of the J-spec line of Toyota vehicles). The Revo is the first in its class to offer luxury amenities such as leather seats, upmarket in-car entertainment systems, reverse sensors and even a front-facing third-row option. The Toyota Revo was so popular even some compact SUVs such as the 2nd-generation Honda CR-V marketed themselves as an alternative to the Revo by offering 3 rows of seats, which is unique to the Philippine market.

Toyota Vios

The Toyota Vios was introduced in 2003 but it became the best selling vehicle years later.
As the answer to the popularity of the Honda City, Toyota introduced its Vios in 2003. It proved successful, not just because of its image and quality, but it was affordable to maintain and had a low price. It received a freshening in 2005 and it appealed to taxi, rental, and police fleets. Its 2007 redesign was significantly improved, it captured the passenger car sales crown with 8,000 units sold. Early Vios were CBUs but 2007-onwards were built in Toyota's plant in Laguna. The Vios is currently Toyota's best selling vehicle in the country.

List of manufacturers


Chery Automobile is the first Chinese manufacturer to enter the country. It entered in 2007 and currently has an expanding dealer network. The QQ is the company's best-selling car in the country, with companies such as The Coca-Cola Company purchasing fleets of the city car. Sales, however, have dropped dramatically and in mid-2010, Chery closed a majority of its dealerships in the country. In 2011, Chery underwent a change in distributorship from Chery Iseway to Chery Motors Philippines, with the latter intending to open a manufacturing plant.[23]


Chevrolet entered the market in 1996 with their Suburban and Tahoe SUVs. In October 2009, it changed ownership from a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors Corporation to a 100% Filipino-owned car distributorship. Today, the company's main vehicles are the Korean-built Spark, Sonic, Orlando and Cruze, as well as the Thailand-built Captiva. Chevrolet also offers the Camaro in limited quantities. All Chevrolet vehicles are imported from the U.S., Canada, South Korea, Indonesia or Thailand.


Chrysler Motors entered in 2005 under a new ownership; before that, Norkis Group was the one responsible for distributing Chrysler vehicles during 1997-2004. Now it is the CATS Motors Inc. responsible in distributing Chrysler vehicles together with Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The company's Dodge and Jeep vehicles are also sold in the country. Unlike the U.S. model, the company's flagship 300C is offered with a choice of four engines ranging from a 2.7 liter V6 to a 6.1 liter HEMI V8.[24]

Unknown to many, Chrysler has a historic significance to the country, as the 1937 Airflow was used by then-president Manuel L. Quezon. Today, that same Airflow is on display in Quezon City.


During the Marcos Regime, Ford was well known in the Philippines for the Laser, Granada, Cortina, Telstar and the Fiera Asian utility vehicle, until they pulled out of the country in the early 1980s. In 1998, Ford returned to the Philippine market. Currently, it is the leading American maker in the country. It was also well received by the market, although it is not as popular as the European and Asian makes. It formerly built its vehicles in its plant in Santa Rosa, Laguna, until Ford shut it down in 2012. The Fiesta is the company's current best-seller. All current Ford models are imported from the U.S. or Thailand.


Foton recently introduced their Chinese-made trucks to the local market.

Francisco Motors Company

Francisco Motors Company was an automobile manufacturer of SUVs, AUVs, and jeepneys. It is best known for the Popemobile used by Pope John Paul II during the 1995 World Youth Day.[25]


Geely entered in 2008, with a dealership in Subic, Zambales.

Great Wall

Great Wall Motor entered in 2010, with a dealership in Alabang, EDSA Project 7 in Quezon City.


Haima Automobile entered the Philippines with a dealership in San Femando City, Pampanga, province. On January 27, 2010, Haima's local distributor, Traders Autocenter, held a grand opening celebration and market-launching ceremony.


2008 Honda City.

Honda entered the Philippine market in 1992, inaugurating its factory in Santa Rosa, Laguna. It was well received by the people and having brisk sales. It has generated media attention, with the Ayala Corporation purchasing some of its dealers in Metro Manila. Honda is currently expanding its dealer network - especially in the provinces. The Civic and City are the company's two top-selling models, while the Accord is considered a status symbol. The City is locally assembled at the Santa Rosa plant, while the rest of the lineup is imported from Thailand, Japan or the U.S.


As an answer to the popularity of its Starex and Grace vans, which entered the country as grey imports, Hyundai decided to enter the country in 1998. Today, it is the leading Korean make in the country. The Eon, i10, Elantra, Tucson, Santa Fe and Grand Starex are the company's best-selling vehicles, while the Accent is popular among taxi companies due to its economical fuel consumption, and the Sonata is a status symbol that rivals the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Hyundai has two distributors namely: Hyundai Asia Resources for Cars, SUV, & Vans and Maxima Machineries for Trucks & Buses. All Hyundai cars and SUVs are imported from South Korea or India.


1997 Isuzu Hilander, which was later replaced by the Crosswind in 2001
2013 Isuzu Crosswind Sportivo X [1].

Isuzu entered in 1997 with the inauguration of its plant in Santa Rosa, Laguna. Its Crosswind is extremely popular and well received in the market, having received several awards in its class. The old Gemini was an early favorite of the taxi business while the Trooper garnered as its status symbol especially with its Skyroof 2003 model, only discontinued due to some engine malfunctioning and was replaced with the Alterra.

A bulk of surplus diesel engines imported into the Philippines from Japan are from Isuzu. The 4BA1 and 4BC1 series of engines, as well as the legendary C240 engine were popular with minibus makers and jeepney assemblers.


Kia entered in 1989, inaugurating its plant in Parañaque. Sales and distribution of Kia cars are handled by Columbian Autocar Corporation.[26] During the 1990s, the company's best-selling models were the Pride and the Pregio van. The Sportage, Picanto and Rio are currently the company's three top-selling models; the latter being a workhorse in the taxi industry. Currently, all Kia vehicles are imported from South Korea.

Lifan Motors

Lifan is a newcomer in the market, having been in the market since February 2009; although they have entered the market earlier as a motorcycle manufacturer, where they built up their reputation as a manufacturer of quality yet affordable means of transportation.


Mazda had two distributors, Columbian Motors Philippines (for passenger cars) and Francisco Motors Corporation (for trucks), but withdrew in 2000. It returned in 2004 under the ownership of Ford and Berjaya Auto Philippines.[27] The 2 and 3 are the company's bestsellers, the 6 considered a status symbol and the MX-5 a sporty icon. The CX-9 is now a popular car in the country, as a luxurious alternative to the rugged Mitsubishi Pajero, and a luxurious alternative to the cheaper, mainstream Toyota Fortuner. All current Mazdas are imported from Thailand or Japan.


One of the oldest car companies in the market, Mitsubishi Motors entered in February 1963 as Chrysler Philippines, and one of its first products was the utility vehicle Cimmaron, their answer to the Toyota Tamaraw. Throughout the years, the company was known as CARCO and then PAMCOR before permanently changing to Mitsubishi Motors Philippines, Corp. in August 1996, it received good market sales and media attention that prompted MMPC to be the second best selling brand in the Philippines for 2008. It builds its vehicles in its plant in Cainta, Rizal, and imports selected models from Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and the U.S. (the Lancer Evolution X being among them). The Adventure, L300, Strada, Montero Sport, Lancer and Mirage are its current best-sellers, while the Pajero was the first SUV in the Philippines to be tagged as a status symbol. Historically, the Galant was the country's bestselling flagship sedan in the 1980s and early 1990s, but has since relinquished that position to the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

2005 Mitsubishi Adventure


Nissan has two distributors: Nissan Motors Philippines Incorporated for the Passenger Vehicles and Universal Motors Corporation for the Commercial Vehicles. It was also well received by the market and media. Its factory is located in Santa Rosa, Laguna. The Sentra and Frontier are its perennial best sellers. The Patrol, notably the Safari trim, is currently the epitome of a status symbol SUV in the Philippines, it being a preferred choice for politicians and VIPs.


Peugeot has returned to the country in July 2012 under Eurobrands Distributor Inc. (EDI),[28] with dealerships in Las Piñas[29] and Paco, Manila. Six more dealerships in Luzon and Visayas will open within 2013.[30]


Subaru entered in 1996 under the Columbian Motors Philippines ownership but withdrew in 2000. It returned in 2006 under a new ownership by Motor Image Pilipinas Inc. The Impreza has become a popular hatchback as an alternative to the Mazda 3. The Subaru Forester gained quick popularity in the country due to its relatively low price, even providing a harder competition to the extremely popular Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-7. The Subaru Legacy and Outback are also doing very well, as a much cheaper alternative to German luxury cars. Subaru has four dealerships in the country: Greenhills, Fort Bonifacio, Cebu and Pampanga.


Entered in the late 1980s, Suzuki has a motorcycle manufacturing plant in Pasig City. Its current main vehicles are the APV, Alto, Celerio, Jimny and Swift. All current Suzuki vehicles are imported from India, Thailand, Indonesia or Japan.


1995 Toyota Corolla, one of the country's most successful cars.

Established in 1989, Toyota Motor Philippines is the leading manufacturer in the country. It is well received and constantly grabs media attention. Its Santa Rosa, Laguna, plant manufactures the bestsellers Innova, Vios, Hiace and Avanza; the Fortuner, another bestseller, is imported from Indonesia. The Camry and Land Cruiser - which are imported from Thailand and Japan, respectively, are considered to be status symbols.

Before Toyota Motors Philippines was established, it was Delta Motors Corporation who was responsible for assembling Toyota vehicles in the Philippines during the Marcos Administration. During this era, the Crown was a status symbol on the road; and the Tamaraw ushered in the arrival of the AUV (Asian Utility Vehicle) segment in the country.

A bulk of surplus gasoline engines from Japan are made by Toyota. The 3K and 4K engines, as well as the 3AU were popular with owner-type jeep assemblers. Toyota engines are the gasoline engine of choice by these assemblers not just because it was ubiquitous, but also its proven reliability and the ready availability of spare parts.

On June 2012, the Toyota 86 was launched, making it Toyota Motor Philippines' first sports coupe in their lineup.[31]


Known by locals as "Pagong" (turtle), the Volkswagen Beetle was popular before the Marcos Administration; and it was used by the Ministry (now the Department) of Health as a service vehicle. Volkswagen returned to the country in the mid-1990s with the Polo, but struggled in sales before pulling out in the mid-2000s. In 2013, Volkswagen announced its return to the Philippine market with Automobile Central Enterprise (a subsidiary of Ayala Corporation) as the local distributor.[32] Volkswagen Philippines inaugurated its first branch in Bonifacio Global City in February 2014; other branches in Quezon City, Alabang and Cebu are expected to open by the end of the year.[33] All cars will be imported from Germany, Mexico and India.[34]


Luxury cars in the Philippines sell in places such as Metro Manila, Cebu City, Iloilo City, Davao City and Angeles City.

Audi is one of several German manufacturers available in the country. The company has dealerships in Greenhills and Bonifacio Global City.

BMW is one of the well known luxury brands in the country together with its rival Mercedes-Benz in the Philippines.

Jaguar cars have a presence in the upper-class neighborhoods of Manila. Formerly based in Makati until 2011, the Jaguar/Land Rover dealership is located in Bonifacio Global City.

Land Rover shares dealerships with Jaguar and Maserati in Manila.

Introduced in January 2009, Lexus has a dealership in Bonifacio Global City.

Mercedes-Benz is also one of the well-known luxury brands in the country. Over the years, Filipinos have given the nickname "Chedeng" to all Benzes. The S600 is the official vehicle for the President of the Philippines with the plate # "1".

BMW's remake of the classic Mini made its official Philippine debut on November 2009. The cars are distributed by British United Automobiles, Inc. Mini has a dealership located at the Fort Bonifacio Global City along 5th Avenue cor. 26th street.[35] Unlike the many other European small car companies (Which often leave after about a year) to enter the Philippines, Mini is doing surprisingly extremely well, due to the image it has.


Porsche eceives good attention. Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao owns a Porsche Cayenne Turbo.

The only Swedish brand in the country, Volvo has good sales, winning several awards since its introduction in the mid-1990s

Ultra luxury

Ultra luxury cars sold in the Philippines include Maserati

Rolls-Royce entered the Philippine market in 2013 with British Bespoke Automobiles as the exclusive importer.[37]

Discontinued makes

Daewoo sold moderately in the country until it was forced to pull out due to the Asian Economic Crisis, which led to its bankruptcy and acquisition by GM. Today, many of their cars are sold under the Chevrolet brand.

The Daihatsu Feroza was considered a status symbol during its release in the late 1980s, while the Hijet was a popular taxicab.

Despite being a bestseller worldwide, the Fiat Uno sold poorly in the country. Some sources say that Fiat is coming back to bring the Fiat 500 and Fiat Punto, although no news of such nature has been confirmed.

As of November 2008, Hummers in the Philippines are extremely rare, but are available. The brand was discontinued by GM in early 2010, following its 2009 bankruptcy.

Opel, along with Ford, were the two most popular non-Japanese car companies in the 1960s and 1970s. However, the company pulled out of the country after Martial Law was imposed by the Marcos Administration. Opel returned to the Philippines in the mid-1990s with the Astra, Vectra and Omega, with good sales as a cheap alternative to Japanese cars, but was taken out of the country by its distributor GM Auto Traders to make way for Chevrolet's then-brand new line up (which basically replaced all the cars Opel was selling). Opel Vectras and Astras are still a common sight to see on the roads of Manila, and Tigras popular with enthusiasts.

The Malaysian firm Proton sold only one car in the country before the Asian Economic Crisis forced them out, the Wira

The lightweight Smart ForTwo city car was supposed to be ideal for Manila's congested roads, but failed due to its relatively high price. It did remain slightly popular with companies who used them for advertising.

In the 1990s, SsangYong became popular for their Musso SUV and the Istana van - both of which were marketed as Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The brand pulled out of the Philippine market in 2012.

Imported vehicles (Gray market)

Specialty dealerships across the country import various new vehicles from several countries such as the U.S. and Dubai. In addition, many pre-owned vehicles are imported from Japan or Hong Kong - countries that use right-hand-drive vehicles on the left side of the road. Because right-hand-drive vehicles are banned in the country, they are converted to left-hand-drive in conversion bays and freeport zones in Subic, Santa Ana, and Toledo. These vehicles are seen with plate numbers R for Subic, B for Cagayan, K for Cagayan De Oro and Y for Cebu.

The country made headlines in 2007, when president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered the immediate destruction of 18 luxury vehicles that were illegally smuggled in the country. The cars, which included four BMWs and a Lincoln Navigator, were crushed by backhoes and other heavy construction vehicles at a depot in the Freeport Zone.[38]


Limousines are used by the President & Vice-President of the Philippines, as well as wedding services for wealthy families. Otherwise, they are seldom seen on Philippine roads due to considerations like cost and road traffic conditions but if used, they are utilized for Bridal events or limo services. Limousines include the Chrysler 300C, Lincoln Town Car, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and S-Class, as well as SUV-based limousines such as the Cadillac Escalade and Hummer H2.


Jeepney in Manila
See article Jeepney

Jeepneys are the most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines.[2] They were originally made from US military jeeps left over from World War II[39] and are known for their flamboyant decoration and crowded seating. They have become a ubiquitous symbol of Philippine culture.

Original jeepneys were simply refurbished military jeeps by Willys & Ford, modern jeepneys are now produced by independently owned workshops and factories in the Philippines with surplus engines and parts coming from Japan. In the central island of Cebu, the bulk of jeepneys are built from second-hand Japanese trucks, originally intended for cargo. These are euphemistically known as "surplus" trucks.

There are two classes of jeepney builders in the Philippines.[2] The backyard builders produce 1-5 vehicles a month, source their die-stamped pieces from one of the larger manufacturers, and work with used engines and chassis from salvage yards (usually the Isuzu 4BA1, 4BC2, 4BE1 series diesel engines or the Mitsubishi Fuso 4D30 diesel engines). The second type is the large volume manufacturer. They have two subgroups: the PUJ, or "public utility jeep," and the large volume metal-stamping companies that supply parts as well as complete vehicles.

The jeepney builders in the past were mostly based in Cebu City and Las Piñas City. The largest manufacturer of vintage-style army jeepneys is MD Juan. Other makers include Armak Motors (San Pablo, Laguna), Celestial Motors (San Pablo, Laguna), Hebron Motors, LGS Motors, Malagueña (Imus City), Mega (Lipa City), Morales Motors (San Mateo, Rizal), and Sarao Motors (Las Piñas City). Another manufacturer, PBJ Motors, manufactured jeepneys in Pampanga using techniques derived from Sarao Motors. Armak now sells remanufactured trucks and vehicles as an adjunct, alongside its jeepneys.

See also


  1. ^ "Government keen on improving public transport system". Philstar. Retrieved 2013-01-30. 
  2. ^ a b c Lema, Karen (2007-11-20). "Manila's jeepney pioneer fears the end of the road".  
  3. ^ Boracay Budget Travel website, ; William C. Pollard, Jr., email to Lonely Planet, 2010-11-01, p. 2.
  4. ^ Airports in the Philippines
  5. ^ a b Morton, Loius (1953). The War in the Pacific: Fall of the Philippines. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  6. ^ Roadways in Philippines - Road Infrastructure in the Philippines, 2004
  7. ^
  8. ^ Subic-Clark-Tarlac highway opens from
  9. ^ "Building Of New Expressways Pushed". Yahoo! Philippines. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  10. ^ Mission Statement, Philippine National Railways, retrieved 2007-04-19
  11. ^ "The LRT Line 1 System - The Green Line".  
  12. ^ "Key Performance Indicator - Line 1 - Green Line".  
  13. ^ "Key Performance Indicator - Line 2 - Blue Line".  
  14. ^ Manila Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3), UrbanRail.Net. Retrieved 2006-07-07.
  15. ^ Austria, Myrna S. (2003). "Philippine Domestic Shipping Transport Industry: State of Competition and Market Structure". PHILIPPINE INSTITUTE FOR DEVELOPMENT STUDIES. p. 38. Retrieved 2008-06-06. 
  16. ^ Transportation in the Philippines
  17. ^ NAIA world’s 34th busiest airport
  18. ^ Arroyo wants DMIA become top airport amid plan to close NAIA, GMA News and Public Affairs, 2008-01-29.
  19. ^ "About PAL". Philippine Airlines. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  20. ^ [2], Philippine Airlines. Retrieved January 2013.
  21. ^ Abouth CEB
  22. ^
  23. ^ Tadeo, Patrick Everett (2011-06-06). "Chery Philippines to Start Local Assembly of Vehicles in September".  
  24. ^ Chrysler Philippines - 300C
  25. ^ Tuazon, JM (2011-04-27). "Revered Popemobile to make the rounds of PHL churches". GMA News Online. Retrieved 2014-03-27. 
  26. ^ Columbian Autocar Corporation
  27. ^ "Mazda PH Makes Available More Affordable Variant of the 3 Sedan".  
  28. ^ "Peugeot Philippines launches their official website". 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2013-04-10. 
  29. ^ "It's official: Peugeot is coming back to the Philippines". 2012-02-27. Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  30. ^ "Peugeot Dealers by County".  
  31. ^ Tadeo, Patrick Everett (2012-06-17). "Launched: Toyota 86". Top Gear Philippines. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  32. ^ "Volkswagen Formally Appoints Ayala Subsidiary as PH Distributor".  
  33. ^ "Volkswagen Cebu Breaks Ground to Open Showroom End of 2014".  
  34. ^ Sarne, Vernon (2013-08-08). "Volkswagen to Open in September with All-Diesel Product Lineup".  
  35. ^ Top Gear Philippines - Mini's Big Arrival.
  36. ^ Tadeo, Patrick Everett (2013-07-22). "Finally, Here's the Complete List of Prices for Morgan Cars in PH".  
  37. ^ Carpena, Tracy (2013-06-19). "Rolls-Royce Officially Enters PH Market with First Dealer Appointment".  
  38. ^ Philippine Government Destroys P30 Million Worth of Smuggled Vehicles
  39. ^ Otsuka, Keijiro; Kikuchi, Masao; Hayami, Yujiro (January 1986). "Community and Market in Contract Choice: The Jeepney in the Philippines". Economic Development and Cultural Change 34 (2): 279–298.  
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