If you’re traveling between a point in Luzon and Metro Manila, your quickest bet to get to the capital are the high capacity roads a.k.a. the expressways. Although these roads provide the most convenient way of driving across provinces and towns, they come at a price.
Remember these numbers when you plan your trip, so you won’t be surprised if you exceed your accounting, budget-wise.
The Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) Toll is a 42-km expressway that stretches from the intersection of Pan-Philippine Highway (Maharlika Highway) to Santo Tomas SLEX toll gate in Batangas. The STAR Toll connects to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and shortens the travel time from Manila to Batangas, and vice versa, to at least two hours.
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SLEX, MCX, and Skyway
Aside from the STAR Toll, travelers driving to the south can pass through the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and/or Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway (MCX). The SLEX links Metro Manila to Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon). It is reached through the Expressway Route 2 (E2) of the Philippine expressway network, two-part high way roads composed of the Skyway and the South Luzon Tollway.
Opened in July 2015, the MCX aims to provide easy access to SLEX. Driving through this expressway cuts the travel time from Daang Hari and Daang Reyna to Las Piñas. It is designated as a spur component of E2.
Another expressway in the south is the Manila-Cavite Expressway (Cavitex). Also known as Coastal Road, this 14-km thoroughfare connecting Cavite and Parañaque was designated as the Expressway Route 3 (E3) of the Philippine Expressway network.
The Cavitex has two toll barriers: one in Las Piñas and one extension barrier in Kawit. Of note, cars are charged a flat rate based on class. Cavitex has began implementing an electronic toll collection via Easydrive, a feature that can also be used when traveling through NLEX and SCTEX.
Opened in September 2016, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway (NAIAX) or NAIA Skyway serves as the main link of Metro Manila, NAIA, and the PAGCOR's Entertainment City. The elevated expressway designated as Expressway Route 6 (E6) spans 11.6 km.
NLEX and SCTEX
(updated for 2019)
The quickest way possible from Manila to the north is to traverse the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).
The NLEX begins from Balintawak interchange in Quezon City, extending to Angeles City in Pampanga. It is a component of the Philippine expressway network's E1 and measures 84 km long.
Meanwhile, the SCTEX is the longest expressway in the Philippines. It measures 93.8 km from Olongapo to Tarlac. Estimated travel time of the entire stretch is 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Going to Baguio? Your best choice if you want to get there fast is the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX). This 88.85-km road can cut your usual travel time to Baguio by as much as 40 minutes. Pozorrubio is the most recently opened toll gate (December 2017), and another exit in Sison is anticipated to open this year.
Other future projects for the TPLEX include extensions to La Union, particularly in Laoag and San Fernando. This is expected to ease the trip of people going to Ilocos Norte, as well as those who want to surf in San Juan, La Union.