Philippines Driving Guide 2021

Philippines is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit.

Updated Apr 9, 2021·9min read
Driving Guide

Overview

Mabuhay. Welcome to the Philippines!

From its white-sand beaches to its heritage sites, the Philippines offers its visitors a wide variety of tourist attractions and activities. It is an archipelago in Southeast Asia with a rich history and culture. Filipinos have adopted various practices from countries like Spain, China, America, and even India. All of which is due to their ancestors' interactions with its people. This has made the Philippines into the melting pot of cultures it is known for today.

The country is one of the top places to visit in Southeast Asia and is very budget-friendly. Over 170 languages are spoken in its different regions; however, its national language remains to be Filipino. Nevertheless, tourists shouldn’t worry as locals can also speak in English, making the Philippines a travel-friendly destination. So whether you’re all alone or with a group, your experience in the Philippines would definitely be unforgettable.

How Can This Guide Help You?

Traveling to the Philippines has its ups and downs, especially if you plan on driving there. Before you start fantasizing about your weekend getaway, it’s best to know all the things you need to bring and all the rules you have to follow for an ideal experience. Also, get to know more about the country and its people, so you don’t drop by without knowing about your travel destination.

Introduction

The Philippines is an archipelago in Southeast Asia. The Philippine Sea borders it to its East, the West Philippine Sea to its west and north, the Celebes Sea to its south, and the Sulu Sea to its Southwest. Visit the Philippines and immerse yourself in its diverse culture, rich history, and breathtaking views for a brand new experience,

Current Border Status and Updates of the Philippines

Philippines’ borders are currently closed to foreign tourists. However, some commercial flights to and from the country have resumed, catering to particular travelers only. The ban on land transportations has slowly been eased. Thus, commuters can ride on busses or trains, given that they sit one seat apart. Meanwhile, the jeepneys, the country’s most popular mode of public transport, are still banned.

Who is Allowed to Travel to the Philippines?

Although foreign tourists are banned from traveling to the country, exemptions from entering are granted to specific people. These include:

  • Foreign or Filipino spouses and children of Filipino nationals
  • Foreign airline crew
  • Foreign government and International Organization officials along with their family
  • Uniformed personnel traveling via land, air, or sea who are engaging in official business

The individuals mentioned are exempted from the visa suspension. Other travelers who can enter the country are required to have a pre-booked accredited quarantine facility and testing provider and must cover the costs.

Entry Requirements of the Philippines

Philippine Airlines (PAL), the country’s flagship airline, has partnered with the Philippine government in creating a guide on what to do when you enter the country. Some of these are:

  • Submission of a case investigation form prior to your flight
  • Wearing of face masks and face shields is mandatory
  • Mandatory use of the Traze Mobile Application
  • Submission of a health declaration form and arrival card
  • Mandatory temperature checks, use of footbaths, and disinfection/sanitation facilities
  • Mandatory physical and social distancing at all times

Foreigners would also need an International Driver's Permit for driver’s licenses that aren't issued in English. Suppose you’re already in the country yet still don’t own an IDP. In that case, you can read more about it on the International Driver’s Association website to learn about how to get an International Driving Permit in the Philippines.

Is It Safe to Travel to the Philippines?

Although domestic tourism is slowly starting to open, foreign tourists are still prohibited from traveling to the Philippines. The active cases of COVID-19 are still high, so non-essential traveling is discouraged.

For those currently in the country and wish to travel, regions under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) and Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) accept tourists. Requirements such as quarantine passes are also imposed in certain areas to regulate the number of travelers entering or exiting.

Health Protocols Imposed in the Philippines

Travelers entering the Philippines must be isolated in accredited quarantine hotels for 14 days upon arrival. COVID-19 tests are mandatory, and results will take 2-5 days to arrive via email. If you are tested positive, you will be endorsed for hospital admission to the Bureau of Quarantine. If your results come in negative, you will be cleared from your hotel and sent home.

The Philippine government has also mandated all passengers flying to and from the Philippines to download and register through the Traze Contact Tracing app. This is applicable to Filipinos and foreigners who plan to travel internationally and domestically, as the app aims to protect the people from spreading the virus.

Are There Special Visas Needed?

Most foreign tourists, particularly those from ASEAN countries, would not need a visa to enter the Philippines. However, some documents they would need to bring are:

  • Passport with a validity of at least six months beyond the expected stay
  • Roundtrip flight itinerary
  • Hotel bookings
  • School or company ID
  • Proof of financial means (debit/credit card)

Visitors are allowed to stay in the Philippines for 14-59 days. Assuming you wish to stay longer or enter the country for reasons beyond the visa-free agreement. Then you are required to obtain a Temporary Visitor’s visa before entering the Philippines. You will also need this visa if you are from any country excluded from the visa-free agreement.

Do I Need Travel and Health Insurance?

Purchasing travel medical insurance is important when going abroad, especially with the current pandemic. Sometimes, your domestic health insurance might not cover emergency costs while you’re out of the country, so this is where your travel medical insurance comes in.

The Philippines has affordable healthcare, and foreigners won’t have to worry about spending a lot. But with travel medical insurance, you’re guaranteed to cut back on the costs and save extra money.

Where is the Philippines Located?

The Philippines is a Southeast Asian country in the western Pacific Ocean. It is an archipelago that is composed of three major islands, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The capital, Manila, is in Luzon, the largest island in the country. Luzon also holds the most populous region, the National Capital Region, which makes up 13% of the country’s population.

What are the Facts About Their Tourism?

Tourism in the Philippines is one of the major contributors to the economy. And the boom in Philippine tourism has been prominent for the past ten years. In 2008, there were only around 2.9 million foreign tourists compared to the 6.5 million that arrived in 2017.

The Philippines has a wide variety of travel destinations to offer, ranging from white sand beaches to man-made wonders. Simultaneously, recreational activities include island hopping, surfing, and even joining street parties at local festivals. Indeed, the Philippines has a lot to offer to its foreign visitors.

What Is Their History?

Early Filipinos were descendants of different ethnic groups from all over Southeast Asia. They lived in divisions known as “barangays” led by a chieftain called a “datu.” In 1521, Ferdinand Magellan and his crew first set foot on Cebu, marking the start of the Spanish expeditions to the Philippines.

By 1565, the Philippines had finally become a Spanish colony under King Philip II, the country’s namesake. The colonization would then continue for 333 years until the Philippines was handed over to the USA after Spain lost in the Spanish-American war.

Under American rule, the country experienced modernization and established a system of education. After trying to gain freedom from the Americans, Philippine independence was finally granted on July 4, 1946, a year after the Japanese occupation. This would eventually be moved to June 12 in 1962 and has since been adopted as the Philippines’ official day of independence.

What Languages Do They Speak?

The Philippines is home to over 170 languages, but its National language is Filipino. Various ethnic groups and regions also have their dialects, but the country’s major dialects are Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon, Bicolano, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinense. Yet even if Filipinos speak many languages, foreigners wouldn’t have to worry as most locals can speak in English, making travel in the Philippines easy.

International Driver's Permit in the Philippines

Applying for an International Driver's Permit not only allows you to rent a car in the country, but it also gives you a sense of security when navigating Philippine roads. Particularly if you’d have a run-in with Filipino authorities, read on to know all about an international driving license in the Philippines, its importance, and how to get one.

Is a Local Driver’s License Valid in the Philippines?

It is allowed to use a foreign driving license in the Philippines. Without your driver’s license, you will be considered an unlicensed driver. Just remember that the validity of your license would only last for three months. So if you plan on staying in the country for a longer period, you will have to either convert your license into a Philippine license or apply for a new one.

Can I Use My International Driving License in the Philippines?

You can use your international driving license in the Philippines. To drive in the country, you would first need an IDP, especially if your license is not issued in English. Your IDP is an English translation of your driver’s license, and it’s important to carry it along with your license while driving in case authorities ask for it.

So, if you ask yourself, “can I use my international driving license in the Philippines?” then yes, that is quite acceptable. In fact, if you are from any of the ASEAN countries, you don’t need to apply for an IDP. However, you can always bring your International Driver's Permit with you if you want to feel more secure when driving.

Does an IDP Replace a Native Driver’s License?

Your IDP does not replace your local driver’s license. Remember that your international driving license is merely an English translation, so you can’t rent a car and drive if you do not have your native driver’s license with you. If your license’s validity expires, you would need a Philippine license to continue driving.

If you’re from the US/UK, you can convert your foreign license. But if you want to apply for a new license, you will have to apply for a student’s permit and pass some tests after taking driving courses from driving schools in the Philippines.

Who Can Apply for an IDP?

Travelers who can drive in the country they plan on visiting may apply for an IDP. The Philippines’ legal driving age is 17 years old, but car rental companies have a minimum rental age of 18 years. So if you want to apply for an international driving license for the Philippines, it’s best to be at least 18 years old.

When Can I Apply for an IDP?

You can apply for an IDP anytime. You can order your International Driving Permit before or even after you’ve arrived in the Philippines. Applying for an IDP can be done online, and you can get yours now at the International Driver’s Association. If you want to learn more about how to get an International Driving Permit in the Philippines, you can check IDA’s website.

What Are the Requirements of an International Driver's Permit in the Philippines?

Since applying for an IDP can be done online, the requirements for an International Driver's Permit are minimal. IDA would provide you with the application. Simply fill it up with your driver details, and give a copy of your local driver’s license and passport-sized images of yourself.

Who Needs an IDP?

Suppose your local license is not in English, and you plan on driving in Philippines’ roads. In that case, you need an IDP as car rental companies would require foreign drivers to provide an international driver’s license before renting a car. The International Driver’s Association translates International Driving Permits into 12 languages and is accepted in over 150 countries. If you want an IDP, you can read more about this by visiting IDA’s website.

If you are from any of the ASEAN countries, you may opt not to apply for an International Driver's Permit; driving in the Philippines with a foreign license is acceptable. However, you can still get one if you want, as having an IDP in a foreign country offers you the security and reassurance of not getting fined while you’re on the road.

When Will I Use My IDP?

You will get to use your IDP once you rent a car in the Philippines. Car rental companies would require you to present your IDP, especially if your local driver’s license is not in English. In unfortunate circumstances that you do commit traffic violations or get into accidents, authorities may also ask for your IDP. So make sure to always have it with you, along with your native driver’s license, when driving in the Philippines.

If you’ve arrived in the country without an IDP, The International Driver’s Association website provides all the necessary information on how to get an International Driving Permit in the Philippines. Visit the IDA website at internationaldriversassociation.com/.

How Long is an IDP Valid?

You can choose your IDP’s period of validity between one to three years. Just remember that a foreign driving license in the Philippines will only last for three months. If you plan on staying longer in the country, you will have to convert your driver’s license into a Philippine license.

If you don’t want to convert your license and plan on applying for a new one, you would need to apply to a driving school in the Philippines to take a written and practical test. You would also need to provide additional requirements such as a medical test and a copy of your passport and visa.

What Happens if I Lose My IDP?

If you applied for an IDP from the International Driver’s Association, then IDA would simply replace it if you lost your original copy. Just contact customer service and provide your name and IDP number. There are no extra charges for your IDP replacement except for the shipping fees. IDA will send you a link to settle your payment, then all you have to do is wait.

Also, don’t forget to provide your current address in the country, so your IDP will be shipped to you quickly. If you want to know more about how to get an International Driving Permit in the Philippines, you can check out the International Driver’s Association website.

Renting a Car in the Philippines

Driving in the Philippines with a foreign license has its perks. You get to appreciate the beautiful scenery and drive around the country at the same time. But before you get to that, you need to secure your ride first. Come to the Philippines prepared and learn all you need to know about vehicle rentals. May it be driving an SUV, a convertible, or a motorbike in the Philippines, these are all the best deals and tips for drivers who plan to rent a vehicle.

Where Can I Rent a Car?

There are many car rental companies in the Philippines, especially in urban areas, and foreign tourists can rent a vehicle after they arrive or book one online. Some reputable companies include Hertz, Avis, Europcar, and Budget [Rent a Car]. However, since the Philippines is an archipelago, you can’t rent the same car if you plan to travel around the country.

Additionally, some rental companies such as Hertz have branches in Luzon (Clark Pampanga and Metro Manila), Visayas (Cebu, Bohol, and Palawan), and Mindanao (Davao). But others may not. One example is Budget, which does not have a branch in Mindanao. So if you plan on traveling to all the three major Philippine islands, you can’t book one car alone for your entire trip to the country.

What Documents are Needed?

Before you rent a car, make sure to bring all the necessary documents that car rental companies require, such as your local driver’s license, International Driver's Permit, debit/credit card, and passport. Rental companies may also ask you for other documents like your proof of billing abroad, proof of accommodation, and a copy of your plane ticket due to scams that happen often.

One popular scheme called the rent-mortgage (rent-tangay) scam involves suspects negotiating with car rental companies to get their cars into a rental business in exchange for profit. Eventually, these suspects would not return the rented vehicles, typically having sold them already. These scams resulted in rental companies asking for more requirements from foreign drivers, so be sure to have all the documents listed above.

What Vehicle Types Can I Rent?

Choosing the type of vehicle to rent would depend on the number of passengers and the destinations you plan on visiting. Most rental car companies in the Philippines have a wide variety of cars to choose from, so this won’t be a problem.

If you have a few passengers and little luggage, you may opt for a hatchback. You can also upgrade it into a Sedan if you are carrying more luggage. For groups of five to eight people, you can rent an SUV or settle for an AUV if you have no plans for off-roading activities. Larger groups can also choose to rent a van or minibus.

Is island hopping part of your itinerary? Most tourists rent a motorbike since it’s easier to bring and to drive. Driving a convertible in the Philippines also has its perks if you’re road tripping in the scenic countryside.

What Are the Age Requirements?

The legal age of driving in the Philippines is 17 years old, but the minimum age to rent a car depends on the company. This can range from 21 to 25 years, or even 18 years in others. Some may even require a minimum driving experience of three years. Car rental companies can also charge an underage driver’s fee to renters below the minimum age requirement.

Where Can I Pick Up My Rental Car?

You can choose whether to pick up your car from the rental company’s location or have it sent to you for your convenience. However, extra fees may apply. Cars can also be picked up at the airport, wherein renters can approach a company representative to have their vehicle delivered to them.

How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Car?

Car rental prices would differ among rental companies, but the average cost to rent a car in the Philippines is around $54. Prices would also depend on the car type. These are the estimated average prices of rental cars in the Philippines:

  • Economy - $30/day
  • Compact - $33/day
  • Intermediate - $33/day
  • Full-size - $49/day
  • Minivan - $38/day
  • Full-size SUV - $71/day
  • Passenger van - $40/day
  • Premium SUV -$86/day
  • Compact SUV - $37/day
  • Standard SUV - $51/day
  • Intermediate SUV - $52/day

Additional fees may be included if you rent a car one-way. Car rental companies would also charge you extra if you avail of certain services like a chauffeur, return your car late, or extend your rental period.

Would My Insurance Apply If I Rent a Car?

Having car troubles or getting into accidents is the last thing you’d want to experience when driving abroad, but sometimes the inevitable could still happen. And purchasing car insurance from your rental company could help in cutting back the costs.

The insurance that car rental companies cover includes liability insurance, loss damage waiver, personal accident insurance, personal effects coverage, and roadside assistance. Just make sure that you aren’t buying insurance that you already have to avoid duplicates and prevent excess spending.

How Can I Save Rental Costs?

Renting a car in the Philippines can become quite pricey, particularly during peak season. So for first-time renters and travelers who don’t know how to spend less on car rentals, here are some tips to save rental costs:

  • Book early, around four to six months before your trip, to save money.
  • Avoid booking in airports since they have additional fees.
  • Use a credit card that covers primary insurance to cut back on insurance costs.
  • Avoid canceling your pre-pays to prevent cancellation fees.
  • You can save money on your car rental insurance by prepaying it during booking.

The Road Rules in the Philippines

Every country has its own set of road rules and regulations, and the Philippines is no different. Before you set off and start road tripping, condition yourself with Philippine driving laws what-to-dos to avoid potential accidents and violations that could spoil your trip.

What Are the Laws About Drink-Driving in Philippines’ Roads?

There is a relatively high rate of drunk driving accidents in the Philippines. This is why Republic Act No. 10586 or the “Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013” was established. It states that motor drivers driving under the influence will be subjected to punishment, depending on the severity of their violation. With this act carried out, officials are hoping that drunk driving accidents’ statistics in the Philippines would drop.

Drivers suspected to be driving under the influence shall conduct sobriety tests. At the same time, drivers involved in vehicular accidents resulting in casualties are subjected to mandatory chemical tests. If a driver refuses to undergo a field sobriety or drug test, this will result in the confiscation of his or her license.

What Are the General Standards of Driving in Philippines’ Roads?

Driving in the Philippines can be quite challenging if things don’t go your way. Here are a few things that the Land Transportation Office advised drivers for a safe trip when navigating the country’s roads.

What Should I Do Before Driving in Philippines’ Roads?

Before getting behind the wheel, LTO advises drivers to check the car’s BLOWBAGA. BLOWBAGA stands for:

  • Battery - Clean and free of corrosion; battery clamps should be tightly fastened and covered
  • Lights - Free of dirt; should be functional
  • Oil - Leak-free and should be changed regularly
  • Water - Must also be leak-free, and levels should be maintained
  • Brake - Leak-free and must be checked regularly
  • Air - Must be regularly checked for anomalies on the tires; inflated or deflated if tires are cold
  • Gas - Fuel should be sufficient
  • Accessories - Regularly check the:
  • * Body (if there are scratches)
  • * Spare tire and jack
  • * Doors and windows
  • * Wiper
  • * Side and rearview mirrors
  • * Cluster instrument
  • * Seatbelt
  • * First aid kit
  • * Reflective triangles
  • * Fire extinguisher
  • * AC, electrical, and engine components
  • * Basic tools

This is to ensure the driver’s safety and prevent any accidents from happening. Besides checking your vehicle, don’t forget to bring all your relevant documents. You don’t want to have a penalty for driving without a license in the Philippines. If your license is not in English, make sure to have an IDP.

What Should I Do While Driving in Philippines’ Roads?

When reversing your car, keep an eye out for other vehicles and pedestrians. You wouldn’t want any accidents before hitting the freeway. Once you’ve settled into Philippine traffic, it’s important to pay attention to the traffic lights and signals, especially if the streets are busy. Also, avoid tailgating and maintain a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. This gives you enough room to stop your car if needed.

In case of heavy rains or fog, find a rest area to park your car. You can leave once it’s already safe for you to drive. If you’re feeling sleepy, you can pull up your vehicle at a designated parking bay to get some rest. Remember that you must always be alert when driving.

What Should I Do After Driving in Philippines’ Roads?

Park your vehicle in designated parking areas, and never park in no-parking zones to avoid getting fined. Although parking fines in the Philippines are affordable, it isn’t worth the hassle. Also, when parking, don’t forget to turn off the engine and engage the hand brake. If you’re parked at the side of the road at night, use your emergency flashers to signal other motorists. Lastly, before leaving your car, never leave your belongings inside just to be sure.

What Is the Speed Limit When Driving in Philippines’ Roads?

Overspeeding is one of the most common causes of road accidents in the Philippines. This is why different speed limits are implemented in the country. There are speed limits designated to various areas, including mountainous roads, city highways, and even crowded streets. Some of the important maximum speed limits set by the Department of Transportation are:

  • Open country roads with no “blind corners,” not closely bordered by habitation: 80 kph for cars and smaller vehicles; 50 kph for trucks, busses, and bigger vehicles
  • Through streets or boulevards, clear of traffic: 40 kph for cars and smaller vehicles; 30 kph for trucks, busses, and bigger vehicles
  • City and municipal roads with light traffic: 30 kph for cars and smaller vehicles; 30 kph for trucks, busses, and bigger vehicles
  • Crowded streets approaching intersections at blind corners, school zones, passing stationary cars, or other dangerous circumstances: 20 kph for cars and smaller vehicles; 20 kph for trucks, busses, and bigger vehicles

Always wear your seatbelt

Due to the high rates of road accidents in the Philippines, Republic Act 8750 or the “Seat Belts Use Act of 1999” was created to lessen casualties and severe injuries from road crashes. It mandates both drivers and passengers to wear their seatbelts no matter what. Children six years old and below are also banned from staying in any running vehicle’s front seat. Penalties include fines and license suspension determined by the severity of the violation.

What are Other Driving Laws in the Philippines?

The Philippines has implemented other driving laws for the safety of the people and even the environment. However, there are still some violators causing traffic enforcers to be stricter and more vigilant when observing motorists. Here are some road policies in the country:

Republic Act No. 10054 or the “Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009"

According to this act, all motorcycle riders, except for tricycle drivers, must wear helmets for protection. These helmets must be for protective purposes and should be approved by the Department of Trade and Industry. Penalties for violators include fines and even the suspension of driver’s licenses.

Republic Act No. 10913 or the “Anti-Distracted Driving Act"

Drivers are banned from using mobile phones, game consoles, calculators, and other electronic devices to reduce road accidents caused by distracted driving. Those exempted are motorists calling for emergency purposes. Violators must pay fines or surrender their license, depending on the violation’s degree.

Republic Act No. 4136 or the “Land Transportation and Traffic Code” states that:

This act is intended for motorcycle users who bring along small children. Kids are only allowed to ride motorcycles if their feet can reach the footpeg and if they can wrap their arms around the driver’s waist. Wearing helmets are also mandatory. Once again, penalties include fines and the revocation of the violators’ licenses.

Republic Act No. 4136 or the “Land Transportation and Traffic Code” states that:

A lot of drivers don’t usually think about the environment when they’re on the road. However, this act bans all possible causes of air pollution, including exhaust smoke released by vehicles. Forcing motorists to be sensitive toward the environment and aware of the vehicles they drive. Penalties include fines, pollution management seminars, and confiscation of Motor Vehicle Registrations (MVR), depending on the weight of the violation.

What Are the Traffic Road Signs?

The Philippines has five different road traffic signs to guide the drivers. These are:

  • Regulatory signs - inform motorists if traffic laws and regulations
  • Warning signs - warn motorists of dangerous conditions
  • Guide/Informative signs
  • Signs on expressways - inform drivers in advance to ensure the use of correct lanes
  • Traffic instruction signs - instruct motorists to follow a direction or an action
  • Hazard markers - emphasize a change in the direction of travel
  • Roadwork signs
  • Regulatory signs
  • Priority signs - Ex. Stop sign, Give Way sign, Left Turner Must Give Way
  • Directional signs - Ex. Vehicles May Pass Either Side, Keep Right, One way
  • Prohibitive/Restriction signs - Ex. No Entry, No Pedestrian Crossing, No U-Turn
  • Speed signs - Ex. minimum and maximum speed restriction, end of speed restriction
  • Parking and Stopping signs - Ex. No stopping anytime, No waiting, Bus Stop Zone
  • Miscellaneous signs - Ex. Use Seat belt, No blowing of horns, bike lane ahead
  • Warning signs
  • Horizontal signs - Ex. Sharp Turn, Reverse Curve, Hairpin Bend
  • Intersection signs - Ex. Intersection ahead, T-junction ahead, Roundabout ahead
  • Advance Warning/Traffic Control Device Signs - Ex. Traffic Lights Ahead
  • Road Width signs - Ex. Road narrows ahead, Narrow bridge ahead, 2-way road ahead
  • Road Obstacle signs - Ex. Hump ahead, Spillway sign, Downhill sign
  • Pedestrian signs - Ex. Be aware and slow down on bike lane ahead
  • Railway Level Crossing signs
  • Supplementary signs - Ex. For PUJ buses, Additional sign on road works ahead
  • Other Warning signs - Ex. Vertical clearance
  • Guide/Informative signs
  • Advance Direction signs - indicates the direction to follow
  • Intersection Direction signs - can be seen less than a kilometer before an intersection
  • Reassurance Direction signs - estimated distance of an exit
  • Fingerboard Direction signs - provides direction to towns, tourist destinations
  • Street Name signs - indicates the names of roads or streets
  • Town Names and Geographical Feature signs - convert geographical locations
  • Service signs - Ex. Parking area, Rest rooms, Hospital
  • Tourist Information and Tourist Destination Signs
  • Route Markers - identify route numbers and route directions
  • Asian Highway Route Marker - identify general direction of routes of Asian Highways; the country - assigned number is AH26
  • Signs on expressways
  • Expressway Approach signs
  • Expressway Information signs
  • Advance Exit signs
  • Expressway Exit Direction signs
  • Expressway Service signs
  • Start And End of Expressway signs
  • Expressway Traffic Instruction and Regulatory signs - Ex. Check Brakes, Reduce Speed Now
  • Traffic instruction signs
  • Supplementary signs - Ex. Use Overpass, and Trucks Use Low Gear
  • Movement Instruction Signs - Ex. Driver must slow down, Approaching dead end
  • Hazard markers
  • One-way hazard markers - indicate the direction to follow at the end of a road
  • Two-way hazard markers - warn about the change in the direction of a road
  • Roadwork signs

What Is the Right of Way in the Philippines?

The right of way in the Philippines is defined by Republic Act 4136. It states that:

  • When two vehicles are simultaneously approaching an intersection, the vehicle on the left must yield the right of way.
  • A vehicle approaching but has not entered an intersection must yield the right of way to a vehicle on the intersection.
  • A vehicle in a business or residential area must yield the right of way to pedestrians on a crosswalk.
  • Upon a highway, a vehicle must fully stop before crossing any “through highway” or railroad crossing.

What Is the Legal Driving Age?

The Philippines’ legal driving age is 17 years old, but most car rental companies have an age requirement of 21 to 25 years and sometimes even 18 years. So if you want to drive around when you visit, make sure you’re at least 18 to 21 years old. Also, don’t forget that there would be a penalty for driving without a license in the Philippines.

If your license isn’t in English, make sure to apply for an IDP. But what if you’re already in the country, and you still don’t have an International Driver's Permit? Then you can visit the International Driver’s Association website to learn more about how to get an international driving license in the Philippines.

Is there a Law About Overtaking?

Republic Act No. 4136 or the “Land Transportation and Traffic Code” states that:

  • When on the highway, the driver shall not drive to the left of a centerline in overtaking the vehicle ahead.
  • The driver must not overtake another vehicle if approaching the crest of a grade or the curve in the highway.
  • The driver must not overtake another vehicle at a railway grade crossing or a highway intersection without traffic signals or officers.
  • The driver must not overtake any vehicle if signs indicate constructions or men working on the highway.
  • There must be no overtaking or passing in any no-passing or overtaking zone.

What Side of the Road Will You Drive on in the Philippines?

On March 10, 1945, President Sergio Osmeña signed Executive Order No. 34. This order declared that Filipino motorists should drive on the right side of the road, making the Philippines a left-hand drive country.

For drivers who come from right-hand drive countries, this would take some getting used to, especially if you’re still not accustomed to the Philippines’ traffic rules and regulations. But once you’ve eased your way in, navigating Philippine highways would be much easier for you.

Driving Etiquette in the Philippines

Sometimes, unfortunate circumstances like getting lost or car problems might occur during your time abroad. So it’s best if you equip yourself with knowledge and preparedness before traveling to a foreign country. Here are some tips when handling car troubles, accidents, accidents, or encounters with the police in the Philippines.

What If the Car Breaks Down?

Experiencing car troubles for first-time travelers can be quite scary. Here are a few things you should know if your car breaks down when driving in the Philippines.

  • Pull Your Car Out of Traffic

Whether you’re on the busiest highways of Metro Manila or the quiet roads of Siargao, try to get your car off the middle of the road. Drive your car to the closest emergency bay if you can find one to avoid traffic violations such as illegal parking. Don’t get out of your car if you’re unable to pull it aside.

Make sure also to use your signal lights to warn drivers if you have plans of changing lanes.

If there are huge vehicles behind you, try to stay away or instead give way to them to avoid accidents. Never try to get ahead of them.

  • Use Emergency Signals

Turn on your hazard lights to get the attention of other drivers. If it’s dark, use your sidelights as well. Once your car is parked correctly, place a reflective triangle 10 feet behind your vehicle, so other drivers are alerted that you’re experiencing car troubles.

  • Call for Roadside Assistance

Once your car is pulled over, and your emergency signals are on display, call someone you know to alert them of your situation. May it be a friend or your car insurance provider, give them your location and inform them of the problem you’re in. If you don’t know where you are, take note of the landmarks so you can be easily located.

Sometimes, roadside assistance may not be included in your insurance coverage, so make sure to be aware of all the inclusions of your car rental insurance. If you’re carrying a Philippine sim card, always load your phone so that you can call someone in case of emergencies. Lastly, don’t forget to inform people where you’re going.

  • Ask Help From Strangers — But Always be Careful!

If you have a hard time contacting family members or authorities, you can reach out to strangers. Filipinos are generally hospitable people and would be happy to assist you. But cases of scams and petty crimes are common in the Philippines, so always be on guard when asking for strangers’ help.

If someone approaches you and offers help, be extra cautious. If you think they are acting suspicious, just slightly lower your window so you can talk. If roadside assistance is coming, just say thank you and politely decline the person’s offer.

What if the Police Stops You?

Philippine police won’t stop you unless they have a good reason to do so. So unless you’re breaking traffic rules or committing crimes, just stay calm. You may prepare your documents, but you’re not required to show them unless you willingly do so. Nevertheless, always bring them with you to be safe.

Police may also ask to check your tires and the trunk of your car. But again, remember that they are not required to do these. If they are committing any violations, dial 8888 or go to the People’s Law Enforcement Board to file complaints against them. Moreover, be careful if they try to confiscate your license, especially since you’re driving in the Philippines with a foreign license; only the Land Transportation Office and their officers are authorized to do so.

What if You Ask for Driving Directions?

Suppose google map still confuses you and driving instructions from Waze just aren’t working, you can ask help from locals instead to make your journey easier. The majority of Filipinos can understand and speak in English, so asking for directions won’t be difficult. If you want to include some basic Filipino words and phrases in a conversation with the locals, here are some that you can use:

Filipino

Greetings

  • Magandang araw - Good morning
  • Magandang hapon - Good afternoon
  • Magandang gabi - Good evening
  • Oo/Hindi - Yes/No
  • Salamat - Thank you
  • Walang anuman - You’re welcome
  • Paalam - Goodbye

Directions

  • Nawawala ako - I’m lost
  • Hinahanap ko ang - I’m looking for
  • Nasaan ang - Where is
  • Kaliwa/Kanan - Left/Right

Other Phrases

  • Para po - Please stop here
  • Bayad po - [Here’s] my payment
  • Paumanhin - I’m sorry
  • Ingat - Take care

Cebuano

Greetings

  • Maayong adlaw - Good morning
  • Maayong hapon - Good afternoon
  • Maayong gabii - Good evening
  • Oo/Dili - Yes/No
  • Salamat - Thank you
  • Walay sapayan - You’re welcome

Directions

  • Nasaag ko - I’m lost
  • Gipangita nako ang - I’m looking for
  • Asa dapit ang - Where is
  • Wala/Tuo - Left/Right

Other Phrases

  • Para - Please stop here
  • Bayad - [Here’s] my payment
  • Help - Tabang
  • Amping - Take care

What If There are Checkpoints?

Checkpoints in the Philippines are established to tighten security and lessen crimes, so there’s no need to be intimidated by them. And since Filipinos are friendly people, police might make some small talk. However, some officers violate their protocols, so it’s important to know what to do during checkpoints.

The Philippine National Police released a 10-point guideline so drivers would know what to do when encountering a checkpoint.

  • Checkpoints must be done in well-lit areas, and personnel should be in uniform with proper identification.
  • Slow down, dim headlights, and turn your cabin lights on when approaching checkpoints.
  • Never step out of the vehicle.
  • Keep all doors locked during an inspection as visual searches are only allowed
  • Never allow physical and body search.
  • Inspection of glove compartments, trunks, and bags are not required.
  • Be polite yet firm when talking to the officers. Know your rights as a driver.
  • Always keep your driver's license and car registration within reach (For foreign tourists, make sure always to bring your IDP, car insurance, and other related papers).
  • Keep your phone at bay for emergency purposes.
  • Report violations right away.

What if I am Involved in an Accident?

The first thing to do right after an accident is to ensure your and your passengers’ safety. After the initial shock has worn off, try to stay alert, and keep your presence of mind. If everyone in the car is unharmed, make sure that the vehicle is unmoving. Inspect for other possible dangers such as leaking gasoline or damaged electrical wires. You can also use your reflective triangles and turn on your hazard lights to warn other motorists.

If another car is involved, only check up on other passengers once you’ve ensured your safety. After calling authorities to report the accident, take pictures of the scene, and keep in touch with those involved. Finally, you can now go over your car insurance and estimated costs to cover the possible damages.

Driving Situations and Conditions

Driving in the Philippines is quite the experience. Drivers can get a little crazy on the road, and accidents are not uncommon even if there are strict laws about this. For example, it’s not rare to have overspeeding or drunk driving accidents. Statistics in the Philippines, show that there is still a high percentage of these occurrences despite the tight rules. Here are some important facts about the Philippines’ driving situations to have a fun yet safe trip.

How Frequent Are Vehicle Accidents in the Philippines?

Road accidents are quite frequent in the country, and they seem to be increasing each year. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) reported that Metro Manila alone reached an all-time high of 121,771 accidents by 2019. Some sources of these accidents include the use of mobile devices, bad overtaking, and overspeeding.

Cases like drunk driving accidents in the Philippines are also common despite the laws against driving under the influence. Many drivers continue to get behind the wheel despite their intoxication and the repercussions this may cause. So if you don’t want to get into any accidents or receive any penalties during your stay, just avoid drunk driving, or committing any traffic violations, in the Philippines altogether.

What Are the Common Vehicles Used in the Philippines?

Some standard vehicles used in the Philippines are subcompact cars, such as sedans, hatchbacks, and wagons; other common car types also include SUVs and pick-up trucks. In comparison, the best selling car brand in the country remains to be Toyota. However, you would also get to see other vehicles on the road.

Many Filipinos drive motorcycles mainly because of the heavy traffic in the country. When you’re on a motorbike, you get to zoom past large vehicles and navigate between narrow streets to get to your destination quickly. But don’t let this distract you from the road violations you might commit or the accidents you could get into. So be sure to stay safe and always drive carefully.

Are they using KpH or MpH?

The Philippines, like most countries in the world, use KpH. If you come from any of the countries that use MpH, this may take some getting used to as the digits on your speedometer will be significantly higher.

Rental cars in the Philippines also use KpH, and speed limits displayed also use the same unit. So as long as you follow the road rules and stay within the designated speed limit wherever you go, you don’t have to worry about driving on Philippine roads.

What Is the Road Situation in the Philippines?

The roads in the Philippines greatly vary in quality. Highways in urban areas have paved roads and multiple lanes. However, driving in the city is a bit of a headache due to heavy traffic, especially during rush hour. So it’s best to drive when exploring the hidden gems in the countryside. Unfortunately, this would also mean less paved highways and more narrow gravel or dirt roads.

Mountainous areas also have relatively unstable roads. They are full of curves, jagged turns and are prone to landslides. So always be extra careful when taking this route; rather, choose a different path instead.

How to Report Reckless Driving in the Philippines?

Reckless driving is one of the top causes of road accidents in the Philippines. If you want to file a complaint against a reckless driver, make sure to document their vehicle. Jot down the plate number and car details, or take a video of the car in action. If there is a dashcam on your car, you can use its footage as evidence. Finally, approach any traffic enforcer nearby and tell them about the issue.

You can also contact the Philippine National Police via 117 or dial 911 in case of emergencies. If you want to report public utility vehicles, you can dial 1342 to file your complaint. Lastly, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Facebook page is always active. You can visit it if you want to know any updates about when and how to file a report about reckless driving in the Philippines.

Are Filipinos Safe Drivers?

Despite the strict driving laws implemented, there are still many Filipinos who are reckless and irresponsible drivers. Most of the accidents in the country are caused by human factors that could have been avoided. Some examples like illegal overtaking or drunk driving are quite common in the Philippines even if there are laws against these acts. Additionally, there are plenty of drivers who also don’t seem to follow the basic road rules.

However, most of the chaos happens on urban highways, and foreigners don’t visit the Philippines to stay in the city. Suppose your getaways are found on the outskirts of town or in the rural regions of the country. Then you’d get to savor the moment behind the wheel. Not only can you avoid reckless drivers, but you can also enjoy the picturesque sights of the country.

Things To Do in the Philippines

Have you fallen in love with the Philippines and decided to start anew in the country? Maybe you spotted a job opportunity and decided to go for it? Or perhaps you just wanted to relocate for a new experience? Well, continue reading to know about the different things foreigners could do in the Philippines.

What Is an Alien Employment Permit?

Before you think of working in the Philippines, you must first have an Alien Employment Permit (AEP). An AEP is a permit foreigners need to be able to work in the country. It allows you to engage in gainful activities given that qualified Filipinos are not available for the position. Whether you work for an employer or not, you’re required to apply for an AEP permit.

AEP permits are valid for one to five years and can be renewed after its expiration. You can file for the permit in person or through your employer at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) regional office. Applications can also be online. If you’ll work for an employer, find one before applying for your AEP. This is because your permit is linked to your current company, thus changing jobs means you’ll have to apply for a new AEP.

Can I Apply as a Driver in the Philippines?

Foreigners must first have a professional driver’s license and an employment visa before working as drivers in the Philippines. Aside from this, an AEP is also required. Since you’d be applying for a professional license, you would also need to get some certifications after passing driving courses from driving schools in the Philippines.

Various driving courses are also offered in vocational schools in the country. You can apply for these courses to be more knowledgeable about some driving jobs. For example, you can enroll in trailer truck driving courses in vocational schools in the Philippines. They are offered in centers accredited by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

What Are the TESDA Driving Courses in the Philippines?

Let’s say you want to apply as a driver, but you don’t have enough training and experience for that particular position. Then you can enroll in vocational programs under TESDA to qualify for these positions. Driving jobs, such as bus driving or trailer truck driving, have courses offered in TESDA-accredited schools in the Philippines.

Driving NC (National Certificate) II is a driving course that trains you in operating light motor vehicles under LTO restrictions 1 and 2. In this specific course, you will be taught how to transport passengers or loads via different routes in your location and perform minor vehicle repairs.

Another Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) course is Driving (Articulated Vehicles) NC III. It will train you in transporting heavy goods, liquids, and other materials. You will also be trained to drive vehicles under LTO restriction codes 6 to 8 and be taught to perform minor repairs on your vehicle.

Is it Possible to Apply for Residency in the Philippines?

Applying for permanent residency in the Philippines can be achieved through marriage or a Special Retiree’s Resident Visa. But if you plan on working or have stayed in the country for over 59 days, you must apply for the Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card (ACR). Foreigners who wish to apply for an ACR must provide the following requirements:

  • A duly filled-in application form
  • A photocopy of the passport bio-data and visa page
  • A certified copy issued by the Records Section of the Commissioner’s Order of Approval granting the visa
  • Photocopy of proof of payment
  • Two passport-sized photos with a white background

Your ACR must be renewed annually. Once you have claimed it, you are required to present it to the Bureau of Immigration during your annual report in the first two months of each year. Your ACR certifies that you are a legal resident of the Philippines, so remember to always carry it with you.

Do I Need to Convert My License in the Philippines?

After staying in the country for over 90 days, you may convert your local driving license in the Philippines, given that your visa is valid for the next 30 days and your driver’s license is not expired.

You just need to apply for a student permit and submit other requirements, and then you can finally have your Philippine license. If your local license is expired, you would have to apply for a new one and pass some courses you could take in accredited driving schools in the Philippines.

How Do I Convert My Foreign License to a Non-professional Philippine License?

The requirements for the conversion of a foreign license to a Philippine license are:

  • A filled-in application form for driver’s license (ADL), which you can obtain online or at the Land Transportation Office (LTO)
  • Original and a photocopy of your passport and visa
  • Original and photocopy of your Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) if you are residing in the Philippines
  • Medical Certificate issued by clinics accredited by LTO
  • Original and photocopy of your driver’s license, along with your IDP if your license is not in English
  • Taxpayer’s Identification Number (TIN) if you’re employed

LTO recently required applicants to obtain a Theoretical Driving Course (TDC) certificate to get a student permit. And before you can take this written test at LTO, you must first complete a 15-hour course from the agency or any accredited driving school in the Philippines.

How Do I Convert My Expired Foreign License to a Non-professional Philippine License?

The requirements for the conversion of expired driver’s licenses are as follows:

  • A filled-in application form for driver’s License (ADL)
  • Medical certificate from any clinic accredited by LTO
  • An original and photocopy of expired foreign driver's license, along with an original and photocopy of an IDP if the license isn’t in English
  • An original and photocopy of a valid passport showing the first page, visa, and latest date of entry in the Philippines

Besides passing a written test, you would need a Practical Driving course (PDC) certificate. But before this, you must first take up an 8-hour class at a driving school in the Philippines. After you have passed all the exams and accomplished all the requirements, you can now enjoy the perks of having a Philippine license.

How Do I Convert My Foreign License to a Professional Philippine License?

The requirements for converting a foreign license to a professional license are the same as converting an expired license to a non-professional one. These include:

  • A filled-in application form for driver’s License (ADL)
  • Medical certificate from any clinic accredited by LTO
  • An original and photocopy of expired foreign driver's license, along with an original and photocopy of an IDP if the license isn’t in English
  • An original and photocopy of a valid passport showing the first page, visa, and latest date of entry in the Philippines

How Do I Apply For a Non-professional Driver’s License in the Philippines?

Assuming you cannot convert your driving license in the Philippines. Then you can apply for a non-professional license instead, given that you don’t have plans to work as a driver in the country. The requirements for a non-professional driver’s license are listed below:

  • A filled-in application form for a driver’s license
  • Student permit issued for at least one month
  • Medical Certificate

Besides these requirements, make sure you also have your other documents used in applying for a student permit like your passport, visa, ACR, and TIN. Applying for a Philippine license would also require you to take a practical and written test that requires you to take an 8-hour and 15-hour course, respectively. You can take up these courses in any driving school in the Philippines.

Top Roadtrip Destinations in the Philippines

After securing your documents and settling in, you can finally focus on the best part of your Philippine experience: Your roadtrip destinations. The Philippines is full of natural and man-made wonders that have and are yet to be discovered. Here is a shortlist of some of the best places and most fun activities for tourists and locals.

El Nido, Palawan

One of the hottest places to visit in the Philippines is El Nido, Palawan. With its white-sand beaches, vibrant waters, and stunning coral reefs, El Nido is definitely every tourist’s weekend getaway fantasy. The municipality houses 45 islets, each with its unique rock formation, which you can explore via island hopping or kayaking.

Visitors won’t have a problem with their accommodation as they can choose from a wide array of luxury resorts and glamping sites to more modest hostels and travel inns. Tourists can enjoy island life with all kinds of activities such as trekking, food tripping, partying, and even snorkeling.

Driving Directions: (5-8 hours via Puerto Princesa North Road)

  • From Puerto Princesa International Airport, you head west on Airport Rd.
  • Turn right twice on Rizal Avenue.
  • Make a right and left turn on Puerto Princesa North Road.
  • When you reach the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Taytay-El Nido National Hwy.
  • Turn left onto Real St.
  • Make a left turn onto Amban St.
  • Turn right onto San Joaquin St.
  • Take a right turn again.
  • Make a left turn.

Chocolate Hills, Bohol

If you want a change of scenery from the Philippines’ usual white sand beaches, visit the Chocolate Hills in Carmen, Bohol. The Chocolate Hills is the country’s third National Geological Monument, with around 1,776 400-ft high peaks making up this famous tourist destination. It is named after its vegetation, which turns into chocolate brown during the hot season and remains mint green throughout the wet season.

There are different things you can do to experience the beauty of the Chocolate Hills. You can go up the Viewpoints to have a birdseye view of the hills spread around the area, or you can rent ATVs and hit the trail alone or with a guide. Aside from this, you can also visit the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park. An ecotourism park that offers many activities like zip-lining and midair biking while enjoying the lush view of the Chocolate Hills at the same time.

Driving Directions: (1 hr 30 mins via Balilihan-Hanopol-Batuan Road)

  • From Panglao International Airport, head east and drive straight.
  • Make a slight left onto Panglao Island Circumferential Rd.
  • Turn right.
  • Turn right onto Borja Bridge.
  • Turn right onto Bohol Circumferential Rd/Tagbilaran East Road.
  • Turn left onto Ligason St.
  • Turn right onto Carlos P. Garcia East Avenue.
  • Turn left and continue on Provincial Rd.
  • Turn right onto Tagbilaran City-Corella-Sikatuna-Loboc Rd.
  • Turn left and continue on Corella-Balilihan Rd.
  • Turn right onto Cortes-Balilihan-Catigbian-Macaas Rd.
  • Turn right onto Balilihan-Hanopol-Batuan Road.
  • Turn left onto Loay Interior Road.
  • Turn right onto Chocolate Hills Rd.

Intramuros

Learn a bit of Philippine history by visiting the walled city of Intramuros in Manila. For 333 years, Spain colonized the Philippines, and during this era, the Spaniards built Intramuros to serve as a military and political base. Since then, the walls have stayed erect and have maintained their good condition.

Tourists can roam around the area and sightsee historic structures such as churches, plazas, and other buildings. Museum tours are also offered so visitors can learn more about colonial Manila. Some famous places you can explore within Intramuros are:

  • Fort Santiago
  • Casa Manila
  • San Agustin Church
  • Museo de Intramuros

Driving Directions: (40 mins via Roxas Blvd/R-1)

  • From Ninoy Aquino International Airport, head southeast toward Multi-Level Parking Access Rd and continue straight.
  • Merge onto Andrews Ave/Sales Rd and keep left to stay on the road.
  • Drive straight and keep right to stay on Andrews Ave. Continue onto Airport Rd.
  • At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on Airport Rd.
  • Turn right onto Roxas Blvd/R-1.
  • Turn right onto Remedios St.
  • Turn left at the 1st cross street onto Roxas Boulevard East Svc Rd.
  • Turn right onto Kalaw Ave.
  • Turn left onto Ma. Orosa St.
  • Continue onto General Luna St.
  • Turn right onto Muralla St.
  • Turn left onto Cabildo St.

Oslob, Cebu

Oslob is a small coastal town at the southern tip of Cebu that is widely known for its pristine beaches. They also offer one of the most famous tourist activities, which is swimming with whale sharks. However, this does not promote sustainable tourism as it exploits these gentle giants by luring them with food to certain areas where they don’t belong.

Instead, you can do other activities that don't harm the ecosystem and are still fun. Go island hopping and visit Sumilon island to discover the hidden gems and revel in its famous sandbar. You can do other fun things, like kayaking, going on cave tours, and checking out the curtain-like Tumalog falls. If you want to explore the ocean, go snorkeling to personally experience the bustling marine life.

Driving Directions: (3 hours via Natalio B. Bacalso S National Hwy)

  • From Mactan International Airport, head southeast toward Airport-Departure Rd and turn left.
  • Turn left onto Airport Access Rd/Lapu-Lapu Airport Rd.
  • Turn right onto Lapu-Lapu Airport Rd/Terminal Bldg Access Rd.
  • Turn left onto M.L. Quezon National Highway.
  • Take the ramp to Mandaue City and continue onto Marcelo Fernan Bridge.
  • From U.N. Ave, turn left onto Mandaue Causeway/Ouano Ave/Plaridel St.
  • Continue onto Sergio Osmeña Jr Blvd and keep right.
  • Keep left to continue onto CSCR Tunnel.
  • Turn slightly left as the road becomes Cebu South Coastal Rd.
  • Turn left and continue onto Cebu S Rd/Natalio B. Bacalso S National Hwy.
  • At Carcar City Cir, take the 2nd exit onto Natalio B. Bacalso S National Hwy.
  • Continue driving until you reach Poblacion, Oslob, Cebu.

Cloud 9, Siargao

Lately, tourists have been flocking to a newer hotspot at the northeastern coast of Mindanao. Siargao, also dubbed as the Philippines’ surfing capital, is a small island that has captivated both experienced and amateur surfers. Many visitors drop by Cloud 9 to experience the waves that gave this popular spot its name.

If Cloud 9 gets too busy, there are many other places to see. This is what makes Siargao perfect for roadtripping. Drive around the municipalities and take a dip at their beaches or go island hopping to the surrounding islets. Tourists can also go swimming with jellyfish in Sohoton Cove or explore the rock formations and limestone caves within the area. Some places to visit in Siargao besides Cloud 9 are:

  • Naked Island
  • Daku Island
  • Guyam Island
  • Sugba Lagoon
  • Magpupungko Rock Pools
  • Sohoton Cove
  • Blue Cathedral
  • Tayangban Cave Pools

Driving Directions: (45 mins to 1 hour via Siargao Circumferential Rd and Dapa-General Luna Rd)

  • From Siargao Airport, head east and turn right onto Siargao Circumferential Rd.
  • Continue straight onto Dapa - General Luna Rd.
  • Make a left turn.
  • Turn left onto Tourism Rd.

Vigan, Ilocos Sur

A UNESCO World Heritage site, Vigan City in Ilocos Sur, is another place to visit if you want to experience the colonial Philippines. Once you tour around the town, you appreciate not only Spanish architecture but also a fusion of Chinese and other European architectures. Vigan attracts many visitors due to its heavily preserved state. Although you can get around the city by car or bike, you can also try riding a Kalesa for the whole cultural experience.

Travel back in time by walking along the cobblestones of Calle Crisologo or attending mass at the Vigan Cathedral, one of the oldest Augustinian churches in the Philippines. You can also try some cultural activities like pottery and weaving at Pagburnayan, museum hopping, or food tripping. Some notable places to visit in Vigan are:

  • Plaza Salcedo
  • Bantay Bell Tower
  • Crisologo Museum
  • Father Burgos Museum
  • Syquia Mansion

Driving Directions: (2 hours via MacArthur Hwy/Manila N Rd/Manor)

  • From Laoag International Airport, head north toward Airport Rd and continue driving.
  • At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Laoag-Paoay Rd.
  • Continue onto Marcos Ave.
  • Turn right onto Otis.
  • Turn left onto McKinley.
  • Turn right onto Currimao-Paoay-Suba-Balacao Rd.
  • Turn right onto MacArthur Hwy/Manila N Rd/Manor.
  • Turn left onto Bantay - San Vicente Rd/MacArthur Hwy/Manila N Rd/Manor.
  • Turn right onto Quezon Ave.

It’s more fun in the Philippines with a lot of beautiful spots, adventures, and road-tripping adventures in store. However, you need to bear in mind that traveling to this country, all travelers are subject to following the rules and laws of that country. And one of them is carrying an International Driver's Permit (IDP).

Although it may seem unnecessary due to the Filipinos already being proficient and educated in the English language, the car rental companies will require you to have one. It is better to have one now by getting it from the International Driver’s Association to ensure a smooth driving journey throughout the country’s different islands.

References:

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