4 surviving tips while driving in the Metro Manila, Philippines

Updated Jan 18, 2019 | Same topic: Survive driving in the Philippines

Only toughest drivers can survive driving in Metro Manila. Read these strategies to place on how to really drive in the metro!

I. Metro Manila: The Roman Colosseum of driving

If anyone drives in the Philippines; then it means that he or she is the best of the best! That’s because how to survive when driving in the metro is the ultimate test for any motorist.

For beginner drivers, driving is something of a Herculean task that even veteran drivers would rather chill than taking the worst driving conditions head-on. Each day many motorists face off in something akin to death sports or reruns of Mad Max! Everyone from private motorists to public utility drivers, and even tricycle and pedicabs are competing for space on roads!

Here is an expose on the lowdown on how to drive in Metro Manila, where only the toughest survive. It’s no laughing matter when all the strategies come to place on how to really drive in the metro!

II. 4 surviving tips while driving in the Metro Manila 

What are the tools needed to be a step ahead and be a better driver, when in the concrete jungle? Strategic is the key and here are the weapons of choice to be the top dog and survive any Carmageddon. Just remember that some of these following driving tips will need help from more experienced drivers.

1. Waze and other electronic maps are not always reliable, know some short-cuts

Okay, usually Waze and other apps are the best options but sometimes the major routes suggested will be used by everyone. Know the route traveled going to work and find out alternative routes in Manila that most motorists won’t pass by. Usually, there will side streets and other roads that are passable to cars. Reliance on a few routes will be very disadvantageous and having alternative routes can make a difference in travel time.

Driving in the metro tips_alternative route

Find out the alternative route that most motorists won't pass by

>>> Further reading: Common choke points in Metro Manila and alternative routes to take

2. Avoid earning a ticket 

Now, when the holiday season comes there will be active enforcers willing to snog a little something from a hapless motorist. Don’t be a victim and avoid getting tickets for violations such as using mobiles while driving, no seat-belts on and busted front headlamps, swerving road traps, and hidden signs that will have an officer cropping up like a mushroom.  Earning a ticket not only wastes your money but also waste your time

Other things to avoid are bus lanes, and only make a turn when the road is near. Look out for malfunctioning traffic lights; which can trap motorists in intersections.

Driving in the metro tips_avoid earning a ticket

Earning a ticket not only wastes your money but also waste your time

3. Leave early when going on road trips

Going on road trips on major holidays? To avoid such hassles that come with it; just try to get there earlier and leave before everyone does or face the horror. Rush hour in Manila normally starts from 7 am, so try to leave your house as soon as possible. Holidays are good for relaxing, but after that, it does not really pan out.

Driving in the metro tips_road trip

Rush hour in Manila normally starts from 7 am, so try to leave your house as soon as possible

>>> You might want to read:  7 Tips on How to Enjoy a Provincial Road Trip in the Philippines

4. Be wary of PUVs drivers

There are many types of drivers that we’re pitted against and motorists who drive their own car; aren’t the majority. Most of them are public utility drivers, delivery service, and truck drivers who like most of them won’t care less about road courtesy at all! Most first-time drivers will benefit by knowing how these rascals drive their vehicles. For experienced drivers; they are a matter of fact wherever there is a road, and some of them aren’t even allowed be on national roads too. These fellows would even ignorantly jeopardize other drivers without a second thought, especially truck drivers who generally will be more confident because of their big trucks.

  • Jeepney, FX, Taxi, and Bus drivers: In the effort to get more passengers they just stop anywhere, and they are the culprits in collisions! Many of them; don’t have insurance for the inconvenience they incur! They operate in groups and are fearless when taking on single private motorists.
  • Tricycle drivers, Pedicabs: They are prohibited from plying highways, avenues, and any street with big cars; but they readily cross and invade it thus jeopardizing any careless motorist at speed. They and their passengers are in danger with a possible collision.

Best Horrible Drivers in the world - Manila Daily Observation 

  • Truck and Van drivers: These particular drivers are not as notorious, but they should be regarded with caution especially when a truck ban is soon coming into effect. Areas like Mindanao Avenue and other truck routes are areas that other drivers should be more careful when driving.
  • Private motorists driving aggressively: One of the lesser nuisances when on the road; they counter-flow, cross red lights and cut lanes with other similar fouls done by PUVs. Normally just let them pass and ignore them or just find the right moment to switch to another lane. But, the others can reap the rewards of their awful driving, while chill drivers get to the destination in peace!

There’s a need to balance defensive and offensive driving by using timing and skill. This pretty much completes what it takes on the surviving tips while driving in Metro Manila! An unforgiving and brutish driving environment that can only be survived with these pointers in the primer. When a driver’s out there in the jungle, only the smartest and fittest will survive.

Norjan Ismail Abbas

Norjan Ismail Abbas


Norjan enjoys writing about various topics, and car is among them. Don't ever ask him which his most favorite car is since he has none. He believes each car is beautiful in its own way.

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