5 must-have apps for navigating Metro Manila

Traversing Metro Manila hasn’t been quite the same ever since lockdowns were implemented a year ago due to the global pandemic. In addition to the usual hassle in finding a ride and sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, commuters and motorists alike have to keep themselves safe from COVID-19. Some roads and U-turn slots were also changed or closed to improve traffic in certain areas.

All of this might be confusing for those who aren’t used to the ‘new normal’ of transport. But luckily, updates and all the latest information on navigating the metro are readily available in the palm of our hands. These apps, for instance, can help the everyday Joe’s drive or commute safer and simpler:


A must-have app for drivers, Waze gives you up-to-date information on road conditions. It’ll let you know if certain road is not passable based on updates contributed by other drivers. The app also shows quarantine-related road closures and map pins for testing centers and more.

In addition, you can add your RFID stickers in the app navigation settings to plan your routes accordingly.


A useful app for first-time commuters, Sakay.ph offers detailed directions for public transit modes in Metro Manila. Get routes, trip time, and fare costs for jeepneys, buses, trains, UV Express, eJeeps, and Pasig River Ferries. You can rely on the app even amid the pandemic as it provides currently operating routes.

Sakay.ph plans to add ticket purchasing through the app through PayMaya soon. So stay tuned for that.

ikotMNL Mobile App

Find yourself in Manila? ikotMNL is your ultimate trip companion. This mobile app doesn’t just help you discover cool places in Intramuros, Binondo, Quiapo, and more, it also helps you plan your LRT-1 and LRT-2 trips. It shows you real-time train schedules and crowd sizes in each station so you can plan to arrive at the stations at a time with less people.

Currently, the app also features a contact tracing function as well as commuting directions.


Those who are still weary of exposure in public vehicles can opt for Grab. The ride-hailing platform still works the same way pre-pandemic, but fair warning: fares are more costly now and safety measures must still be followed inside the car. Currently, the app only accepts cashless payment methods and other features like multiple drop-off points are still suspended.

Inside cars, there are plastic barriers between the driver and passenger, which sometimes results in poor ventilation in the vehicle. Pro tip: carry a fan with you if you’re booking a ride to keep yourself cool.

MRT-3 Trace

This one’s not really an app but an online form for contact tracing. This form will rid the need for manually writing your details before entering an MRT-3 station, lessening physical contact. All you’ll have to do is use your smartphone to log in.

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