• This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Explore the Philippines

Mabuhay! From pristine beaches, and breathtaking sceneries, to memorable activities and welcoming nature of the locals, The Philippines is a paradise-like destination you will want to discover for yourself.

  • On the Road: Driving a Car and Motorcycle in the Philippines
  • On the Road: Driving a Car and Motorcycle in the Philippines

On the Road: Driving a Car and Motorcycle in the Philippines

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

In the Philippines, even remote places are frequented by public transport, but it is sometimes impossible to find out from where, when, which jeepney is going where. It is much easier there, if you have your motorized vehicle, whether rented or bought.

Car rentals are available in every major city and of course near the airport. A car costs - depending on size and season - between 800 and 3000 Pesos per day. While it is quite easy to get a car, the advantages of two-wheeled vehicles are numerous. Not only do you save a lot of time and fuel in the dense city traffic, but mopeds and motorcycles are also often even allowed on the small Fastcraft ferries and you are not dependent on the big RoRos (roll on - roll off)

Whoever wants to stay longer in the Philippines could therefore consider buying a motorized two-wheeler. Used, well-preserved companions are starting at 500 dollars and with a little luck, you can sell them again without a major loss of value at just that price. No matter if car or motorcycle - if you decide to buy a vehicle, you should make sure that the vehicle is already registered and the insurance is valid for the desired period.

The license plate requirement is now widely enforced in the Philippines and if the vehicle is already registered and insured, one can simply take the papers from the previous owner without having to go to the LTO (Land Transportation Office). Once you have found a suitable vehicle, you must go with the seller to a lawyer who will confirm the change of ownership. The contract of sale is part of the vehicle's papers and must always be carried along.

tablet showing online driver license form

The Driver's License

To be allowed to drive a motor vehicle in the country of the 7,107 islands, one should have a valid driver's license. Foreign driving licenses are valid for 90 days only. Those who want to be mobile beyond that must get a Philippine driving license. The easiest way is to bring along an international driving license. Although this is only valid for 90 days, it should theoretically be possible to convert it directly into a Philippine driver's license.

If you do not have an international driver's license you can obtain a Philippine driver's license from the LTO by transitioning your home driver's license from the appropriate consulate. If you want to obtain a Philippine drivers' license, you can go through an exam, present a visa (at least six months validity), and then take a theoretical and a practical exam, although it is often not taken too strictly during the exam.

The Traffic Rules

Yes, even if it doesn't look like that at first glance, even the Philippines has a set of traffic regulations. Right before left, compulsory seat belts, ban on alcohol, etc. In theory, the regulations are similar to European standards, but the implementation is quite different.

It is important to observe the unwritten front axle right of way rule. This means that whoever manages to position his front axle further forward has right of way. This applies to both large and small. So you must always expect that the person next to you, just because he is ahead of you by a nose length, will move over to the adjacent lane without warning or that the person coming from a side street will quite naturally cause you to brake hard. Quite legitimate!

After all, both had the front axle in front. The whole thing works anyway - the traffic flow reminds a bit of a shoal of fish, you just have to learn to swim. 

The speed limit for cars and motorcycles in the city is 30-40 km/h and 80 km/h outside the city. If you see a sign telling you to reduce speed ("SLOW DOWN!", "REDUCE SPEED"), you must do so, because you have to expect that a few meters after the sign, the worst road damage will follow.

Traffic Controls

Checks at so-called checkpoints are quite frequent. Motorcycles are particularly checked with preference (helmet obligation for the driver and sturdy shoes!). If the police officer finds something to complain about, your driver's license will be revoked and can be collected from the LTO after paying the fine.

Besides the checkpoint policemen, the blue-clad traffic policemen are also entitled to impose fines. They often stand at traffic light crossings and regulate the traffic there in close cooperation with the new-fangled light signals. Double stops better.

Have a good trip!