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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The very best advice that can be given to a foreign visitor about driving in the Philippines is don’t! Don’t even think about it. Even if you are a professional driver of 80,000 pound semi trucks with two million miles under your belt; don’t drive in the Philippines.

The right hand driving pattern is used here as it is in America and Canada etc. The road markings and highway signs are pretty much the same. And even the traffic laws are much the same as most western countries.
But that is where the similarities end.

For reasons too numerous to go into in this short post I will just say that no matter what happens; no matter who is at fault in a traffic accident here. You, as the foreigner will almost always be found in the wrong. Even if you can show proof that you were not at fault, chances are you will still be held at fault and responsible by police for repairs and medical expenses of the other party.
Sounds crazy, but their philosophy is that as a foreigner, if you were not in the country the accident would not have happened in the first place!

Having said that; it is important to also note that I have been living in the Philippines for the past seven years and breaking my own rule the entire time.
So far, I have been very lucky and have had only one minor accident in that time.

As with most other aspects of living here, vehicle repair is very low cost and good mechanics are quite easy to find.
The main problem in repair service is that there is no AAA auto club or towing services easily available if a breakdown occurs on the road.

For that reason as well as fuel economy most people drive a motor cycle or motor cycle with a sidecar attached.
On more than one occasion I have had vehicle problems when out and around and found it much easier to push my motor to a mechanic or tire repair place than to push a car or van.

As mentioned earlier, repair costs here are very affordable. This morning I took our 155cc motor cycle to our favorite repair shop for it’s normal tune up.
A tune up here includes a clutch adjustment, removal and complete breakdown and cleaning of the carburetor, removal of the engine head and adjustment and cleaning of the valves and lifters, as well as adjusting the engine timing.
The entire process took less than 30 minutes and the total cost was only $2.00us dollars with two qualified mechanics working on the bike.
Pretty good value for the money I’d say.

So for anyone visiting the Philippines or moving here as I did that is determined to drive, at least the cost of repairs will be low and usually of good quality. And with all the money you will be saving on repairs you might even have enough saved to pay damages and medical expenses as a result any accident you may have.
And be sure to always wear a helmet when driving. The police are always on the lookout for the unsuspecting foreigner that is in violation of any law they can think of.
If you are caught and fined in cash for a violation of any kind; it will give new meaning to the expression of “support your local police” as you will leave the scene knowing you have just bought the officers lunch or helped put food on the table in the home of one of his many wives he is “working” so hard to support…
 
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The very best advice that can be given to a foreign visitor about driving in the Philippines is don’t! Don’t even think about it. Even if you are a professional driver of 80,000 pound semi trucks with two million miles under your belt; don’t drive in the Philippines.

The right hand driving pattern is used here as it is in America and Canada etc. The road markings and highway signs are pretty much the same. And even the traffic laws are much the same as most western countries.
But that is where the similarities end.

For reasons too numerous to go into in this short post I will just say that no matter what happens; no matter who is at fault in a traffic accident here. You, as the foreigner will almost always be found in the wrong. Even if you can show proof that you were not at fault, chances are you will still be held at fault and responsible by police for repairs and medical expenses of the other party.
Sounds crazy, but their philosophy is that as a foreigner, if you were not in the country the accident would not have happened in the first place!

Having said that; it is important to also note that I have been living in the Philippines for the past seven years and breaking my own rule the entire time.
So far, I have been very lucky and have had only one minor accident in that time.

As with most other aspects of living here, vehicle repair is very low cost and good mechanics are quite easy to find.
The main problem in repair service is that there is no AAA auto club or towing services easily available if a breakdown occurs on the road.

For that reason as well as fuel economy most people drive a motor cycle or motor cycle with a sidecar attached.
On more than one occasion I have had vehicle problems when out and around and found it much easier to push my motor to a mechanic or tire repair place than to push a car or van.

As mentioned earlier, repair costs here are very affordable. This morning I took our 155cc motor cycle to our favorite repair shop for it’s normal tune up.
A tune up here includes a clutch adjustment, removal and complete breakdown and cleaning of the carburetor, removal of the engine head and adjustment and cleaning of the valves and lifters, as well as adjusting the engine timing.
The entire process took less than 30 minutes and the total cost was only $2.00us dollars with two qualified mechanics working on the bike.
Pretty good value for the money I’d say.

So for anyone visiting the Philippines or moving here as I did that is determined to drive, at least the cost of repairs will be low and usually of good quality. And with all the money you will be saving on repairs you might even have enough saved to pay damages and medical expenses as a result any accident you may have.
And be sure to always wear a helmet when driving. The police are always on the lookout for the unsuspecting foreigner that is in violation of any law they can think of.
If you are caught and fined in cash for a violation of any kind; it will give new meaning to the expression of “support your local police” as you will leave the scene knowing you have just bought the officers lunch or helped put food on the table in the home of one of his many wives he is “working” so hard to support…
thanks for the advice ive been looking to get a licence here but am unsure as to wether i wish to drive it looks kaotic to me
 

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The very best advice that can be given to a foreign visitor about driving in the Philippines is don’t! Don’t even think about it. Even if you are a professional driver of 80,000 pound semi trucks with two million miles under your belt; don’t drive in the Philippines.

The right hand driving pattern is used here as it is in America and Canada etc. The road markings and highway signs are pretty much the same. And even the traffic laws are much the same as most western countries.
But that is where the similarities end.

For reasons too numerous to go into in this short post I will just say that no matter what happens; no matter who is at fault in a traffic accident here. You, as the foreigner will almost always be found in the wrong. Even if you can show proof that you were not at fault, chances are you will still be held at fault and responsible by police for repairs and medical expenses of the other party.
Sounds crazy, but their philosophy is that as a foreigner, if you were not in the country the accident would not have happened in the first place!

Having said that; it is important to also note that I have been living in the Philippines for the past seven years and breaking my own rule the entire time.
So far, I have been very lucky and have had only one minor accident in that time.

As with most other aspects of living here, vehicle repair is very low cost and good mechanics are quite easy to find.
The main problem in repair service is that there is no AAA auto club or towing services easily available if a breakdown occurs on the road.

For that reason as well as fuel economy most people drive a motor cycle or motor cycle with a sidecar attached.
On more than one occasion I have had vehicle problems when out and around and found it much easier to push my motor to a mechanic or tire repair place than to push a car or van.

As mentioned earlier, repair costs here are very affordable. This morning I took our 155cc motor cycle to our favorite repair shop for it’s normal tune up.
A tune up here includes a clutch adjustment, removal and complete breakdown and cleaning of the carburetor, removal of the engine head and adjustment and cleaning of the valves and lifters, as well as adjusting the engine timing.
The entire process took less than 30 minutes and the total cost was only $2.00us dollars with two qualified mechanics working on the bike.
Pretty good value for the money I’d say.

So for anyone visiting the Philippines or moving here as I did that is determined to drive, at least the cost of repairs will be low and usually of good quality. And with all the money you will be saving on repairs you might even have enough saved to pay damages and medical expenses as a result any accident you may have.
And be sure to always wear a helmet when driving. The police are always on the lookout for the unsuspecting foreigner that is in violation of any law they can think of.
If you are caught and fined in cash for a violation of any kind; it will give new meaning to the expression of “support your local police” as you will leave the scene knowing you have just bought the officers lunch or helped put food on the table in the home of one of his many wives he is “working” so hard to support…
thanks for the advice ive been looking to get a licence here but am unsure as to wether i wish to drive it looks kaotic to me
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Driving

thanks for the advice ive been looking to get a licence here but am unsure as to wether i wish to drive it looks kaotic to me
Hi and welcome to the site,

Driving here is nothing less than insanity on wheels! However, I should also state that there are many of us expats that manage to get by with little or no problems.
If you live in a gated subdivision owning a car or van is not bad as you have a protected area to park at night. Other areas would be a bit risky for car theft and kids scratching or marking it up.

Since you are from Australia, perhaps you know Rod Hegerty, owner of the Swagman Hotel in Manila and Broadwater Marine.
He's been living in and driving all over the Philippines for more years than you could imagine. He has had very few problems and still going strong.
So it may just depend on the person and also a little bit of luck too.


Gene...
 

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I've Been Driving in the Philippines Since 1985

I've Been Driving in the Philippines Since 1985 when we bought our first vehicle a Toyota Crewcab PickUP. I have driven in Metro-Manila extensively, all around Luzon maybe 20 times between Manila and Boracay Island via Mindoro Island and around Panay island and all around southern Negros Island as well as Northern Luzon more than a few times Ilocus Norte's Pagudpud White Beach and Banaue Rice Terraces and Sagada. It's all about adjusting to various situtations and like WATER flowing anywhere where's there's least resistance.

In 2006 I rented car in Prague and drove around 9 new countries in Eastern Europe. I rented a car in Turkey, Greece and Munich and drove extensively. Way back when I first left the States in 77 I bought a VW Camper and drove 6 months around Europe including Scandanavia. TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE and GO FOR IT- - - - - SLOWLY.

The very best advice that can be given to a foreign visitor about driving in the Philippines is don’t! Don’t even think about it. Even if you are a professional driver of 80,000 pound semi trucks with two million miles under your belt; don’t drive in the Philippines.

The right hand driving pattern is used here as it is in America and Canada etc. The road markings and highway signs are pretty much the same. And even the traffic laws are much the same as most western countries.
But that is where the similarities end.

For reasons too numerous to go into in this short post I will just say that no matter what happens; no matter who is at fault in a traffic accident here. You, as the foreigner will almost always be found in the wrong. Even if you can show proof that you were not at fault, chances are you will still be held at fault and responsible by police for repairs and medical expenses of the other party.
Sounds crazy, but their philosophy is that as a foreigner, if you were not in the country the accident would not have happened in the first place!

Having said that; it is important to also note that I have been living in the Philippines for the past seven years and breaking my own rule the entire time.
So far, I have been very lucky and have had only one minor accident in that time.

As with most other aspects of living here, vehicle repair is very low cost and good mechanics are quite easy to find.
The main problem in repair service is that there is no AAA auto club or towing services easily available if a breakdown occurs on the road.

For that reason as well as fuel economy most people drive a motor cycle or motor cycle with a sidecar attached.
On more than one occasion I have had vehicle problems when out and around and found it much easier to push my motor to a mechanic or tire repair place than to push a car or van.

As mentioned earlier, repair costs here are very affordable. This morning I took our 155cc motor cycle to our favorite repair shop for it’s normal tune up.
A tune up here includes a clutch adjustment, removal and complete breakdown and cleaning of the carburetor, removal of the engine head and adjustment and cleaning of the valves and lifters, as well as adjusting the engine timing.
The entire process took less than 30 minutes and the total cost was only $2.00us dollars with two qualified mechanics working on the bike.
Pretty good value for the money I’d say.

So for anyone visiting the Philippines or moving here as I did that is determined to drive, at least the cost of repairs will be low and usually of good quality. And with all the money you will be saving on repairs you might even have enough saved to pay damages and medical expenses as a result any accident you may have.
And be sure to always wear a helmet when driving. The police are always on the lookout for the unsuspecting foreigner that is in violation of any law they can think of.
If you are caught and fined in cash for a violation of any kind; it will give new meaning to the expression of “support your local police” as you will leave the scene knowing you have just bought the officers lunch or helped put food on the table in the home of one of his many wives he is “working” so hard to support…
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Driving

Sorry Bill, I have to disagree. If someone wants to live dangerously and enjoys walking on that "wild side" its ok to drive here-provided they know what they are getting into.
But for someone to come here and try driving and assume that Filipinos (especially the national police) play by the rules would be extremely foolish, dangerous, and could end up being extremely costly in the end.
For the average traveler and most residents its better, easier, and safer to stick to public transportation.


Gene...
 

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"Helping" Philippine Traffic Police "help" me by warning me instead of issuing me a citation or any type of ticket is 10 times cheaper than the huge fees charged in the States like U$85 for a minute late on a parking meter in NYC or a U$25 parking ticket in front of our daughter's high school sponsored flea market in Fairfield CT or a speeding ticket in my hometown Des Moines Iowa or a DUI anywhere in the USA. Driving in the Philippines is nearly citation FREE not like the "police state" we call "home" or where we Americans grew up. There are much LESS serious car accidents here in the Philippines compared to the States; spend 15 minutes searching for the stats on how many Americans die or are seriously injured per capita compared to the same Stats here in the RP!!! Should a fatality occur the cost of life benefit liability for a driver here in RP is only a small fraction of the financial liability and life interruption situation a driver faces in the States. The FACTS say it all.

Sorry Bill, I have to disagree. If someone wants to live dangerously and enjoys walking on that "wild side" its ok to drive here-provided they know what they are getting into.
But for someone to come here and try driving and assume that Filipinos (especially the national police) play by the rules would be extremely foolish, dangerous, and could end up being extremely costly in the end.
For the average traveler and most residents its better, easier, and safer to stick to public transportation.


Gene...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Cops with empty pockets

"Helping" Philippine Traffic Police "help" me by warning me instead of issuing me a citation or any type of ticket is 10 times cheaper than the huge fees charged in the States like U$85 for a minute late on a parking meter in NYC or a U$25 parking ticket in front of our daughter's high school sponsored flea market in Fairfield CT or a speeding ticket in my hometown Des Moines Iowa or a DUI anywhere in the USA. Driving in the Philippines is nearly citation FREE not like the "police state" we call "home" or where we Americans grew up. There are much LESS serious car accidents here in the Philippines compared to the States; spend 15 minutes searching for the stats on how many Americans die or are seriously injured per capita compared to the same Stats here in the RP!!! Should a fatality occur the cost of life benefit liability for a driver here in RP is only a small fraction of the financial liability and life interruption situation a driver faces in the States. The FACTS say it all.
What you say and the information you are giving is true without a doubt. The biggest problem lies in the fact that we are foreigners in a country where law means almost nothing and is changeable just because we ARE foreigners. In most any accident or encounter with police we will be found at fault and charged (on the spot) accordingly.
Both my wife and I work with the Brgy police in our town and also with the PNP (anti drug unit) in the same area. So I know these things to be true. Especially in and around Angeles City and Manila.
I/we do drive but only because membership in the police agencies provides me with protection that would not be available otherwise.


Gene...
 

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it depends in what barangay you are in and who you know i have had no problemsne as when i am with my wife and daughter i borrow one of her cusins motor bikes and i find it easy riding a motor bike than driving

one of my friends got into a similar experiance he is from america got into an acident had a choice hit an on comming truck or a guy on a motor bike his brakes failed him as it was a second hand car he had brought lucky for my friend his father in law is the local councilor and it only ended up costing him $10,000 pesos

i never were a helmet have not been pulled over as i know the local police officers and one of my mother in laws cusins has just retired from the police force

i would not drive in manila though as what i see they dont stick to the rules

what bugs me the drivers hav to stop on crossings and give way to the pedestrians in the philippines this does not happen which blew me away i hav not seen any road rage as i am use to when driving in sydney or canberra
i have seen the od punch ups


but the advice given is spot on you dont need to drive you can hire a driver at a good price or catch the public trans port

i dont mind catching the jepnee to bacolod as my brother in law is a driver and so are some of his friends


sound advice if your going to buy a second hand car go over it first


happy christmas and a happy new year i am not going to get the chance to respond as i wil be spending christmas and new years eve with my wife and daughter i take off on the 13 of dec

was lucky to get a seat on PAL philippine air lines for short
 

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rod

Hi and welcome to the site,

Driving here is nothing less than insanity on wheels! However, I should also state that there are many of us expats that manage to get by with little or no problems.
If you live in a gated subdivision owning a car or van is not bad as you have a protected area to park at night. Other areas would be a bit risky for car theft and kids scratching or marking it up.

Since you are from Australia, perhaps you know Rod Hegerty, owner of the Swagman Hotel in Manila and Broadwater Marine.
He's been living in and driving all over the Philippines for more years than you could imagine. He has had very few problems and still going strong.
So it may just depend on the person and also a little bit of luck too.


Gene...
thank you i have not had the pleasure of meeting rod i have heard of the swagman it had been mentioned to me by several people it is i beleive in central manila and in a very good location close to the bus depots i was pointed to go the by the now philippine consulate representative in victoria australia gigig to get my visa extentions
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Manila

thank you i have not had the pleasure of meeting rod i have heard of the swagman it had been mentioned to me by several people it is i beleive in central manila and in a very good location close to the bus depots i was pointed to go the by the now philippine consulate representative in victoria australia gigig to get my visa extentions
I only mentioned the Swag because even as an American, it was the only hotel Iwould consider staying in. This is not an advertisment for the hotel in any way as I know there are many fine Hotels in the city. I just have a close emotional attachment to the place as I met my wife in the elevator there when she was employed by Rod.
Yea, its located almost across the street from the American embassy in Ermita. Another good hotel is the Bayview Park Hotel. It sits next to the Swagman and faces the embassy. Its much larger with nicer rooms. Cost is higher and the food is not very good at Bayview.

I've helped Rod run the Swag a few times as he has become a good family friend. But unless he askes me to do that again I'm afraid my days of staying in Manila or hotels anywhere are over-hahaha.


Gene...
 

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Gene, did you receive a warning for your post mentioning the Swagman Hotel? I just asking because I received a warning about my recent post and noticed it was removed as it was also considered an advertisement. The trouble with some travel and expat forums is that they restrict us expats with the MOST experience and able to post the MOST content by not allowing us to share our personal lifestyle with the members because mentioning our livelihood is NOT allowed. "CONTENT" answering questions FREE is the name of the game to popularize any website on the internet so looks like I'll not be frequenting this one much. Such is life, Time will tell! Bill aka AsiaBill

I only mentioned the Swag because even as an American, it was the only hotel Iwould consider staying in. This is not an advertisment for the hotel in any way as I know there are many fine Hotels in the city. I just have a close emotional attachment to the place as I met my wife in the elevator there when she was employed by Rod.
Yea, its located almost across the street from the American embassy in Ermita. Another good hotel is the Bayview Park Hotel. It sits next to the Swagman and faces the embassy. Its much larger with nicer rooms. Cost is higher and the food is not very good at Bayview.

I've helped Rod run the Swag a few times as he has become a good family friend. But unless he askes me to do that again I'm afraid my days of staying in Manila or hotels anywhere are over-hahaha.


Gene...
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Advretising

Gene, did you receive a warning for your post mentioning the Swagman Hotel? I just asking because I received a warning about my recent post and noticed it was removed as it was also considered an advertisement. The trouble with some travel and expat forums is that they restrict us expats with the MOST experience and able to post the MOST content by not allowing us to share our personal lifestyle with the members because mentioning our livelihood is NOT allowed. "CONTENT" answering questions FREE is the name of the game to popularize any website on the internet so looks like I'll not be frequenting this one much. Such is life, Time will tell! Bill aka AsiaBill
Hi Bill,

No, I didnt get a warning as its just a general exchange of info. Also no offer of further info or contact details etc.

Yea this site is pretty tight on moderation and I keep my finger on the warning button most of the time-hahaha. But it keeps it as a pretty good site and does not have the ads and political junk that the others have.

Have a good one,

Gene

PS. Where are you from in the states? I grew up in North Hollywood Cal.
 

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Born in San Diego kidnapped back to Des Moines Iowa when I was 4 months old until I took off the summer after high school graduation. After living in Tucson AZ and Marathon Florida Keys took off to Europe in 77 and haven't looked back since.

Hi Bill,

No, I didnt get a warning as its just a general exchange of info. Also no offer of further info or contact details etc.

Yea this site is pretty tight on moderation and I keep my finger on the warning button most of the time-hahaha. But it keeps it as a pretty good site and does not have the ads and political junk that the others have.

Have a good one,

Gene

PS. Where are you from in the states? I grew up in North Hollywood Cal.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Van Nuys Blvd

Born in San Diego kidnapped back to Des Moines Iowa when I was 4 months old until I took off the summer after high school graduation. After living in Tucson AZ and Marathon Florida Keys took off to Europe in 77 and haven't looked back since.
Cool! Sounds like you really got around. I stayed in Calif till about 25yrs old and headed out looking for greener pastures. Lived in Utah, Idaho, and the last three years that I was in the states lived in Nebraska. Life is or seems much better here in the Philippines so got married and stayed. Naturally its a lot less expensive living here but a lot more interesting as well. So now I'm a full time husband and daddy and enjoying every minute of it.
Seems like with the world financial situation the way it is that there are many more westerners moving here and to other parts of Asia. So many even in our small town that the Barangay Police use me more for foreign relations tasks the the regular law enforcement these days.


Gene...


 
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