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My taxi experience screw ups don't number in the millions. What I suggest works perhaps better for people who know their way around the city pretty well, or who carry a Citi Atlas with them when they travel in Manila.I first traveled to the Phils 12 years ago for a stint of about five months.

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On my first trip to the Philippines a talkative cabbie asked me if I understood Tagalog. He suggested that some cab drivers don't understand much English, and a few words of instruction could get me by: derecho for straight ahead, kanan for right, kaliwa for left, para for stop, and dito for here. I might try it on the way out this week to the airport and see if it works, but if you've tried it already I'd love to hear your take.

Some of our expats will have much more extensive Filipino lexicon, but these instructions have served me well on many occasions. I know you say "you screwed up" by not recognizing the reference to "Taft" BUT how many possible details and hand holding can you possibly take care of for filipinos? I suppose we should all draw out / print out map directions.

He eventually turned right onto Remedios Street but then drove on past the circle where he should have turned to the north on Bocobo.

I eventually took over with instructions again, and once we got to the corner of Orosa and Pedro Gil I just told him to stop, paid, and walked the block and a half to Birch Towers with my luggage. First, Filipinos sometimes pretend to understand when in fact they do not want to look dumb by admitting they don't.

Return trip between the same two points in a metered regular taxi was 112 pesos (plus tip). Most complaints about taxis have involved scamming attempts.

I probably have experienced these in fewer than 10% of my taxi encounters in Manila.

Except that it was midnight and there was no traffic.

This was a giveaway that the old man had no idea where he was going.

What should have been about a 200 peso ride ran to more than 300 because of all his blind maneuvers. I screwed up by not recognizing that his reference to "Taft" when we got in his cab at the airport was a very vague reference, and I should have pinned him down more precisely.

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