Truly, one of the many memorable moments throughout our Philippines trip was the taxi ride. One time, we had had to wait for in excess of an hour before getting into a taxi, with a taxi driver refusing to take us back to our hotel… twice! (a whole other story). Another time, we had had to endure a two-hour ride back to our hotel, travelling in slower-than-a-snail’s speed, taking the scenic route of narrow alleyways.

The one that topped the cake though, was the day we travelled from our hotel to Century City Mall. From the moment we stepped into the taxi, we had encountered nothing but trouble. Our conversation with the taxi driver went as follows:

My husband and I (H&I): Century City Mall.
Taxi Driver (TD): Where?
H&I: Century City Mall, Makati.
TD (to the Hotel Concierge, in Tagalog): Do you know where Century City Mall is?

Manila Taxi

Enter at your own risk…

In hindsight, we perhaps should have walked right out of this taxi at this point and searched for a taxi driver who knew exactly where the ‘newest mall in Makati’ was. I was very thankful I’ve made a list of malls and notable places to visit (just so that we didn’t overlook any), complete with the addresses. I showed the address of Century City Mall to the taxi driver, and off we went.

Fifty metres into the journey, he spoke again.

TD: Sorry Sir, Ma’am, because there’s currently lots of traffic, do you want to take the back street?
H&I: Yeah… sure.
TD: Ok, how about we settle at 500PHP?
H&I: Uh… sorry?

It took us a moment to realise that he was trying to do a ‘backstreet deal’ – settling on a price rather than putting on his taximeter. At this, my husband did threaten to walk out, until the taxi driver put on his meter.

We thought that the rest of the journey would go uneventfully. We heard the taxi driver talk on his cell phone, then to his superior through the radio receiver. We were just enjoying being left alone when the driver addressed us once more.

TD: Sorry Sir, Ma’am, my meter has stopped working.

We looked at his meter, and the phrase ‘stopped working’ isn’t entirely correct. It has, however, stopped working properly. Instead of counting forward, it has reset itself; instead of resetting to 40PHP, the standard starting rate for a taximeter, it has started at 26PHP.

The taxi driver blamed the use of his receiver as the cause of his meter playing up. In our heads, the following thought were running through our minds:

  1. We did NOT request you to use the receiver;
  2. Nor did we anticipate that you using said receiver would cause your meter to play up.

In short, really… whilst we sympathise with your situation, this problem was NOT our concern.

Still, we did feel sympathetic to this problem. We were going to discuss a possible solution to this problem when the taxi driver suggested again, that we broker a ‘backstreet deal’ and pay him 400PHP.

Look, we get it… taxi drivers in Philippines wasn’t a high-paying job. We gave him props for trying his darndest to make extra money. But, enough was enough. Usually a soft-spoken, easygoing man, my husband put on his stern voice and told the taxi driver to stop trying to rip him off. He further told the taxi driver that he would pay the usual amount for the 30-minute journey from our hotel to the mall (which turned out to be 170PHP).

What is the worst taxi, or other transport ride you’ve ever had? Comment below – would love to hear about your experiences.