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Driving and patience

Is it safe to drive in Butuan?
Driving here can be a joy but it's a learned trait, basically if you hit anyone or anything no matter what the reason it's your fault. People stand or walk in the middle of the road, they do move over but just enough to give you inches of room, sometimes you get stuck on highways (provincial area's) behind a person on a pedi cycle or pushing carts (hwy) or jeepney's stopped and talking to one another or jeepeny's half way pulled over picking up customers but there's no room to get around, slow moving tricycles, smoke belchers.

Another issue is that rules of the road are not followed even in front of law enforcement but as an expat follow the rules it can get expensive when they pull us over. Your not safe in a crosswalk, a double yellow line means absolutely nothing to buses, jeepenys and passenger vehicles, motorcycles passing you on both sides.

So in the states we don't really slow down, that's not the case here, your car at times never get's out of 2nd gear. You have 90 days from your arrival date to get your Philippine License (don't get an International license).
 

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We bought a Nissan Urvan ( Subic import ) firstly to take my son and daughter and grandson around when they visited us in April 2012. First the fiasco at the LTO office
in getting my Philippines driving licence ! Big signs outside say " Do not use Fixers !! "
so ignored them ( bad Mistake ) went up to the counter told paperwork wrong !
This happened 4 times more !! ( silly me did not pay the man at the counter his coffee money !! ) family friend new a fixer ! amazingly just gave him the Paperwork, and he actually went inside the office chatted with a couple of the guys inside and I had my licence in 2 hours !! not sure now what I paid.
Then the driving experience ! being a Subic import our van stood out like a beacon to the LTO guys and the police !! got stopped several times had to pay to carry on our journey.
then there is the road law or lack of it ! everybody doing their own thing, cutting in, pulling out in front of you ( I was told give way to those on the right ! )
wish somebody told those on the left !! who also just pulled out in front of us !!
And theres the stop start stop jeepneys no signals they just stop ! and out jump the passengers ! Tricycles and pedicabs ( I wont go there as those poor guys have it hard enough making a living !! )

Lesson learned was we now pay my brother-in-law to be our driver !!
I can sit back and relax and watch the fun !!
And the looks on the faces of the LTO and police when we get stopped now !!
and our dashcam is very good as well !!

by the way :welcome:
 

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YMMV depending where you are. I am in the provinces. Here, San Jose de Buenavista the trip to the LTO to get my PH drivers licence took me 1 hour without any fixers.

Initially my thoughts of driving here were not very positive seeing how they all did it. Figured an accident could be happening at any time. Got a motorcycle last year, learnt a lot about how the drivers act here, you have to drive like a local, within reason or you will never get anywhere.

6 months ago I bought a car, well that was a whole new experience!! Trikes and motorcycles give way to you. You still have to deal with the trikes on the "National Highways" which is joke, traffic slowing to 30 kph until you get past them. A motorcycle coming towards to you and one on the right you take the center of the road and both of them pull to the sides of the road.

I really hope this doesn't get too ingrained in my mind when I go back to Canada, will rack up tickets pretty quickly.

LTO stops here are not a problem, no shake down, just check to see if you have a licence. In Iloilo it's a bit different, if you don't drive aggresively you will not get far very quickly, you have to butt in front of others just the locals do. Most local drivers are aggresive but will still give way. IN my couple years here I have seen very few accidents, very surprising!!

I have friends in MNL who tell a totally different story of driving there with LTO shake downs etc. Pay them and you get to carry on, don't and they take your licence. Last time he gave them his licence and drove away, still had his Canadian licence to use.

Totally different thought process than back in North America where we are taught to be a defensive driver. Each to their own as to buy a vehicle here or not, probably depends a lot on where you live. I am not missing taking vans, buses and trike to get around everywhere.

And the wife now will not ride on the bike with me anymore since it gets her skin darker and there is no aircon..........lol

Riding the bike is much more fun solo anyways. :)
 

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I live and work in a rural part of China, driving here makes Phils seem like a dream world, China has certainly been a great place to learn, so when I drive in Cebu, it's more like a relaxing stroll in the park lol
Best advice I was given is "Drive like the locals"
 

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I live and work in a rural part of China, driving here makes Phils seem like a dream world, China has certainly been a great place to learn, so when I drive in Cebu, it's more like a relaxing stroll in the park lol
Best advice I was given is "Drive like the locals"
Try manila proper
 

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Best advice I was given is "Drive like the locals"
Agreed with this advise. Follow the same practices that the Jeepney & Taxi drivers do. If you try to be courteous, you may as well stay parked as you will get no help from other drivers. I have fully adopted this method of driving in order to move through traffic.

Fred
 

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I'm no longer in a hurry and have slowed my driving down, I allow those that are destroying (Drivers) their employers brand new vehicles, my thoughts only, not sure if I'm correct but? I allow these speedsters to travel around me, rather than have them stuck in my back side but when I'm stuck behind a very slow moving vehicle I'll definitely pass.

Stationed on Guam for 10 years (similar macho driving issues or lack of patience) it's not worth the extra effort to rush anywhere the gains made aren't worth the extra dangers, added stress to life and liberty and my wife doesn't like it if I do this, she won't travel with me, so another reason I'm taking it easy. I also want to be more of an example of a respectful Immigrant and a gentlemen, that there's more to us then what's shown on the news channels or for sure we can be better than what we see daily while driving around (not preaching but another angle). I noticed some of the faces I stop for, they're smiling and seem to confirm my thoughts, look the American/Westerner is driving and he stopped for us ... woman stuck trying to get across a road in the middle of the road holding their baby or kids in tow, an older citizen moving slowly (lack of cross walks, provincial area's if any), someone trying to pull out and nobody will let him in, ends up slowing traffic worse for both sides of the road, traffic at a standstill and nobody wants to give in.

Agree there are times you don't want to stop because it could cause and accident, if the traffic is traveling dangerously fast it's best to continue on for your safety and pedestrians.
 

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I'm no longer in a hurry and have slowed my driving down, I allow those that are destroying (Drivers) their employers brand new vehicles, my thoughts only, not sure if I'm correct but? I allow these speedsters to travel around me, rather than have them stuck in my back side but when I'm stuck behind a very slow moving vehicle I'll definitely pass.

Stationed on Guam for 10 years (similar macho driving issues or lack of patience) it's not worth the extra effort to rush anywhere the gains made aren't worth the extra dangers, added stress to life and liberty and my wife doesn't like it if I do this, she won't travel with me, so another reason I'm taking it easy. I also want to be more of an example of a respectful Immigrant and a gentlemen, that there's more to us then what's shown on the news channels or for sure we can be better than what we see daily while driving around (not preaching but another angle). I noticed some of the faces I stop for, they're smiling and seem to confirm my thoughts, look the American/Westerner is driving and he stopped for us ... woman stuck trying to get across a road in the middle of the road holding their baby or kids in tow, an older citizen moving slowly (lack of cross walks, provincial area's if any), someone trying to pull out and nobody will let him in, ends up slowing traffic worse for both sides of the road, traffic at a standstill and nobody wants to give in.

Agree there are times you don't want to stop because it could cause and accident, if the traffic is traveling dangerously fast it's best to continue on for your safety and pedestrians.
I agree with the courtesy, but with some provisos, often when at a T junction, a car turning left will cut right across my path, expecting me to either stop or move into the left lane so he can pass on my right, I refuse to allow this, so stop right up against his front bumper and turn off the engine, fold arms and just wait, slowly they seem to be learning that pushing with a car is not the same as pushing when a pedestrian.
 

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Unwritten rules of the road

I agree with the courtesy, but with some provisos, often when at a T junction, a car turning left will cut right across my path, expecting me to either stop or move into the left lane so he can pass on my right, I refuse to allow this, so stop right up against his front bumper and turn off the engine, fold arms and just wait, slowly they seem to be learning that pushing with a car is not the same as pushing when a pedestrian.
I consider that normal actually, I'll have guys on both sides of me trying to turn in the same direction, cut me off with a turn, actually what happened there, is you need to move into the next lane and make your turn ... Lol and I have noticed they do this to everyone, my wife has reminded me to relax because many of these drivers do carry guns and they have very short tempers and what seems like a rude happening is a normal rude happening and driving condition called, frustration with a degraded, narrowed infrastructure and it requires an expat like myself to go to another higher patience level.

If it wasn't for my wife reminding me to relax (listen to the wife, they do warn us) I feel I could have set myself up for a very bad happening, they go from smiling to killing in a split second, it's just that fast. :eek:

I remind myself on every single drive to let it go and relax, slow down, let them pass and I'll keep my sanity but my sanity still gets challenged on every single outing. :(
 

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I agree with the courtesy, but with some provisos, often when at a T junction, a car turning left will cut right across my path, expecting me to either stop or move into the left lane so he can pass on my right, I refuse to allow this, so stop right up against his front bumper and turn off the engine, fold arms and just wait, slowly they seem to be learning that pushing with a car is not the same as pushing when a pedestrian.
As much as I sympathize with your frustration on this matter, I recommend to you, as my wife did to me, that you do not participate in aggressive-protests, such as what you described.
You may forfeit your car, health and/or life if the other guy responds in a way which totally is beyond your expectations.
 

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As much as I sympathize with your frustration on this matter, I recommend to you, as my wife did to me, that you do not participate in aggressive-protests, such as what you described.
You may forfeit your car, health and/or life if the other guy responds in a way which totally is beyond your expectations.
Agree 100%. That type behavior would be dangerous these days in Des Moines Iowa let alone here where you are the foreigner. You just might run into some Filipino who did not read the Department of Tourism brochure. :)
 

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As much as I sympathize with your frustration on this matter, I recommend to you, as my wife did to me, that you do not participate in aggressive-protests, such as what you described.
You may forfeit your car, health and/or life if the other guy responds in a way which totally is beyond your expectations.
Yes sorry, I was referring to driving in China, where guns are a rarity, and physical confrontation almost as rare. In China they tend to shout and wave arms about, and where I live foreigners are as rare as hens teeth, in my city with a population of 1.5 million, there are less than 10 foreigners, only 3 have cars:)
 

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Hi thank you for that post I enjoyed it and hearing that you gain some right-of-way at least a tiny bit anyway can make all the difference. Here (in my last days b4 moving to Cebu) in Dumaguete aka "The Pollution Capital of the Philippines" filled with many 2 stroke engines, pocket rockets, far too many inexperienced & reckless students and locals on bikes & scooters, no taxis, and 2,500 trikes without brake pads or even hydraulic brakes on the passenger sidecars created an environment where buying a car might be generally useless to enjoy and maintain it's appearance without completely being scratched and dented. I'm not the only one feeling this way I'm actually relaying the feelings of some other forums that have admittedly influenced my buying decision (not to! lol).
This is my current situation after suffering 2 pneumonias in 6 months albeit mostly from the subdivision residents burning their household garbage and yard cuttings: our European visitor who had rented a scooter for over a month was struck as a pedestrian at night 2 weeks ago by a wild scooter operator with no headlight and suffered a head injury that he had to endure on his return flight, the resort owner where we stayed this week greeted us with his arm in a cast reportedly from driving a scooter himself, his van driver totaled their van the next day after picking us up (but wasn't hospitalized)after getting "t-boned" by a multicab pulling out of a dirt road driveway onto the "national highway" (misnomer), and my wife has had several near misses in the last couple weeks riding as a passenger in a trike including one by an overtaking Ceres bus.
Answer ? Unsafe at any speed here. The only thing that prevents the entire driving public from kiling themselves in short order is the lower speeds that they operate their underpowered and poorly maintained vehilces. Taking taxis is best, along with renting a van with a driver if you are fortunate enough to live in a large city which might even have ambulances that may even be equipped with medical supplies and at least one medically trained person on duty. In the provinces those barangay ambulances are constantly being used by the various captains and mayors to do their errands and are not available anyway, with no rescue equipment of any kind or emergency response vehicles around for extrication or rescue pretty much everywhere and virtually no trauma centers unless maybe Manila or Davao has one but I'm fairly certain none would have a level one trauma center rating similar to any in the US(or even level two). I see Duterte working on outfitting some rescue equipment towards those ends although all the publicity photos I've seen so far are just portraying static displays and items still in their original packings.
Please note that I'm a retired FDNY*EMS advanced EMT, a U.S. Army advanced paramedic (ret.) and have nearly 10 years of NYPD 9-1-1 radio dispatch under my belt so I'm completely biased lol.
 
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