Once upon a time I commuted to work.

I was fresh out of college and rode my moped to work, 30 minutes each way.

It only lasted 8 months.  I quit the job and have worked at home running my own businesses ever since.

I don’t really know the pain of commuting.

Others do.

Before my OFS, Julia worked for me she worked in an office in Manila for years where she had to commute every day. Sometimes she had to travel for work which also took her all over the country. That required her to commute in those places as well.

Turns out, when you commute in the Philippines, you have options.


We have buses and trains like most countries in the world. We’re world-renowned for our jeepneys. But we also have other options that make commuting an adventure.

If you live inside a subdivision (our version of a suburb), the best way to get around is to ride a “tricycle” or a “trisikad”. These are motorcycles (tricycle) or bikes (trisikad) with sidecars that either follow a regulated route or take you anywhere you need to go within the community.

Because of their small size, most “tricycles” and “trisikads” are not allowed on major roads. But in places where public transportation is limited, you’ll find these vehicles sharing the road with cars, trucks, and buses.

Another commuting option is the “kalesa” or a horse-drawn carriage. In Manila, the kalesa is mainly a tourist attraction. But in places like Tuguegarao and Vigan, a kalesa can get you where other vehicles can’t go.

If you go deep into the rural areas, you’ll see carriages drawn by carabaos (Philippine water buffalo). The more “modern” version is called “kuliglig” where they use a motorized hand tractor instead of a carabao.

Last but not least is the “habal-habal”. It’s a motorcycle modified to fit up to nine people instead of two. It’s also called “skylab” because it kind of looks like a space satellite (if you’re squinting). These motorcycles are used in mountainous areas.

Yes, I’ve tried all of them. No, there are no seatbelts.

I’ve ridden in the tricycles.  Not something I’d want to do on a major road…or commuting long distances (which people do).

When outsourcing to the Philippines, it’s helpful to understand their culture. You can read about Philippine work culture in my book, the Outsourcing Lever. $7.


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