Philippines Driving Guide 2021

Philippines Driving Guide 2021

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

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 their 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.

General Information

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,

Geographic Location

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.

Languages Spoken

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.

Land Area

The Philippines is an archipelago that has a land area of approximately 300,000 sq. km. The majority of which is concentrated on the country’s largest islands: Luzon and Mindanao. For further comparison, the Philippines is slightly larger than Arizona, the sixth largest state according to land area in the US.

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.

Government

The Philippine government has a diverse past, but currently, it is a unitary state with a presidential system and a constitutional and democratic republic. The government has three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The legislative branch is responsible for creating, altering, and repealing laws and is divided into the Senate with 24 senators and the House of Representatives with around 250 members.

The executive branch particularly carries out and enforces laws. It has the President, the head of state, and Vice President, who supports the President and replaces them if they are unable to serve. The people who will fill in these roles are elected by the people and would serve a term of six years.

Finally, there’s the judicial branch that interprets and applies the laws and decides if they violate the constitution. It has the Supreme Court that has absolute judicial power, and lower courts established through law.

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.

IDP FAQs

Applying for an international driver’s permit allows you to rent a car in the country and 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 an International Driver's License Valid in the Philippines?

Yes, an international driver’s license (better known as an international driver’s permit) is valid in the Philippines, especially if your license is not in English. If you’re going to drive or rent a vehicle in the country, do know that you would need an IDP for your license. Rental car companies require an IDP, and police at checkpoints may look for it as well.

Where Can I Get an International Driving Permit in the Philippines?

Filipinos can get their IDP from the Philipines However, foreigners aren’t allowed to get IDPs issued by Philippine agencies because they will just be deemed invalid. If you want to get an IDP, you can get one from the International Drivers Association (IDA). IDA ships worldwide, so you can still get an IDP after you arrived in the Philippines.

How Do I Get an International Driving Permit in the Philippines?

If you’re in the Philippines, note that you cannot get an IDP issued by the country. If you want to get an IDP, you can get one from IDA. The process is simple and easy. First, you have to choose which bundle you prefer. After filling out the application form, be sure to upload a copy of your driver’s license and a passport-sized photo of yourself. After paying the fees, all you have to do is wait until you can finally get your IDP.

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.

Car Rental Companies

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.

Documents Required

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.

Vehicle Types

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.

Car Rental Cost

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.

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, and some agencies may even require a minimum driving experience of three years. Car rental companies can also charge a Young Driver’s fee of around $25 to $30 per day to drivers below 25.

Car Insurance Cost

Costs for rental car insurance would usually depend on the agency. Rental car companies charge different rates, and the total amount you’d spend on the insurance would also depend on which types you’d purchase. For example, Loss Damage Waiver or Collision Damage Waiver would cost around $20 to $30 per day. So if you want to know how much you’d really spend, it’s important to talk about this with your rental car company.

Car Insurance Policy

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 may include liability insurance, loss damage waiver, personal accident insurance, personal effects coverage, natural disasters, and roadside assistance. Just make sure that you aren’t buying insurance that you already have to avoid duplicates and prevent excess spending.

Philippines photo by Meo Fernando

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.

Important Regulations

Each country has its own set of regulations that every driver must follow. Note that depending on the city, driving in the Philippines can be a challenge. Here are some regulations that were created for motorists so they could stay safe yet on the Philippine highways.

Drunk-Driving

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.

Ensure Your Car is in Good Condition

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.

Things to Remember While Driving

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 drives, 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.

Parking

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.

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 license.

  • 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. 10666 or the “Children’s Safety on Motorcycles Act of 2015"

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 is also mandatory. Once again, penalties include fines and the revocation of the violators’ licenses.

  • Republic Act No. 8749 or the “Clean Air Act of 1999”

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.

General Standards of Driving

Driving in the Philippines can be quite challenging if things don’t go your way. The Land Transportation Office implemented different general driving standards, so drivers can easily and safely navigate the country’s roads. In the Philippines, you have the option of renting a manual or automatic car. And although both of them have their pros and cons, you must know which one would best suit you.

For example, if you have a business trip in one of the busiest cities like pn the major roads of Manila, you might want to rent an automatic car. But if you’re road tripping in the rural areas or in the less populated areas of Palawan or Siargao, it won’t be a problem to rent a manual. In the end, just make sure you’re renting a vehicle that would make your time in the Philippines easier.

Speed Limit

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

Seatbelt Laws

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.

Driving Directions

You’d most likely encounter roundabouts, more commonly known as rotundas, on Philippine highways. If you’re about to enter the rotunda, note that you must always yield to vehicles that are already in them. And before exiting a roundabout, don’t forget to signal your intention and check your side mirror.

If you’re going to overtake a vehicle, remember that the maneuver must be performed on the left as the driving side is on the right. Overtaking a vehicle on the right is not allowed, and if you get caught doing so, you might be fined.

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

    A. 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

    B. 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

    C. 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

    D. 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

    E. Traffic instruction signs
  • Supplementary signs - Ex. Use Overpass, and Trucks Use Low Gear
  • Movement Instruction Signs - Ex. Driver must slow down, Approaching dead end

    F. 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

    G. Roadwork signs

Right of Way

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.

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. So if you want to drive around when you visit, make sure you’re at least 21 years old. Also, don’t forget that there would be a penalty for driving without a license in the Philippines, so it’s important to carry your license wherever you go.

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 get one from the International Driver’s Association. IDA issues IDPs that are translated in 12 languages and accepted in 165 countries. Make sure to get yours now to start driving in the Philippines.

Laws on 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.

Driving Side

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.

Car Breakdown

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. Here are some important hotlines to remember if you’re visiting the Philippines:

    National emergency - 911
    National police - 117
    Philippine Red Cross - 143

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.

Police Stops

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.

Asking 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

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 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.

  1. Checkpoints must be done in well-lit areas, and personnel should be in uniform with proper identification.
  2. Slow down, dim headlights, and turn your cabin lights on when approaching checkpoints.
  3. Never step out of the vehicle.
  4. Keep all doors locked during an inspection as visual searches are only allowed
  5. Never allow physical and body search.
  6. Inspection of glove compartments, trunks, and bags are not required.
  7. Be polite yet firm when talking to the officers. Know your rights as a driver.
  8. 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).
  9. Keep your phone at bay for emergency purposes.
  10. Report violations right away.

Other Tips

Whether it’s minor or major, getting into an accident would always be a scary thing, especially if it happens abroad. But if you’ll be traveling overseas, it’s essential to know the protocols on what to do if you get into one. Here is what you must do in case you get involved in an accident in the Philippines.

What Should You Do In Case of Accidents?

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 precaution. 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 Conditions in the Philippines

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.

Accidents Statistics

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.

Common Vehicles

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.

Toll Roads

Although the Philippines has some toll roads, you’d most likely encounter them in Central Luzon. The Metro Pacific Tollways operates and maintains 223 km of expressway across the country’s three major toll road systems.

The toll road networks in Central Luzon include SCTEX, NLEX, NLEX-SLEX, Harbour Link, Citi Link, CAVITEX, C5 South Link and CALA Expressway. In the Visayas, there’s one upcoming toll road, which will be the Cebu-Cordova Link.

Toll stations are positioned in the expressway wherein vehicles can enter and exit, and drivers can choose to pay in cash or through an Electronic Toll Collection (ETC). Lastly, note that there are vehicle classifications present, and the fees to be paid would typically depend on the type of vehicle you’re driving.

Road Situations

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 fewer 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.

Driving Culture

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.

Other Tips

Besides the basic driving conditions in the Philippines, it’s also good to know other information that some drivers might think are necessary. Here are some additional tips you might need if you plan to drive in the country.

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.

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.

Philippines Photo by Gratisography

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.

Drive as a Tourist

Driving in the Philippines is relatively easy once you’ve gotten used to the heavy traffic and the occasional irresponsible driver. To avoid getting fined during your trip, don’t forget to bring your passport, driver’s license, IDP, and car papers.

If you don’t have an IDP yet, you can get yours from the International Driver’s Association. IDA issues IDPs accepted in 165 countries and translated into 12 languages. If you have any other questions about IDPs, make sure to check out the FAQs page of the IDA website.

Work as a Driver

Foreigners must first have a professional driver’s license and an employment visa, not a tourist 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).

Work as a Travel Guide

Due to the large influx of tourists, travel guides are currently in demand in the Philippines. Assuming you’re proficient in Philippine history and want to work as a tourist guide. Do know that you can’t just get the position unless you’ve passed specific criteria.

Some of the basic requirements to becoming a travel guide include finishing a four-year course in social sciences, preferably tourism, as well as being fluent in both Filipino and English. Different tour operators have various requirements for an applicant, and if you think you’re fit for the role, feel free to apply as a travel guide.

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.

Apply for Residency

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.

Other Things to Do

If you think that the chaotic everyday Filipino life is for you, then make sure to grab the opportunity to relocate to the Philippines. Many foreigners have done so and have shared their own experiences online. Before you can settle in the country, here are other essential documents you’d need and the steps you’ll have to take to obtain them.

How Do I Get 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.

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.

Can I Convert My Local Driver’s License into a Philippine Driver’s License?

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 licence or 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 Local Driver’s License into a Non-professional Philippine Driver’s 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 Local Driver’s License into a Non-professional Philippine Driver’s 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 Local Driver’s License into 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 Destinations in the Philippines

After securing your documents and settling in, you can finally focus on the best part of your Philippine experience: Your road trip 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 Photo by Ehmir Bautista

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 own unique rock formations that 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 or the cheaper and more modest hostels and inns. Aside from hanging by the beach, tourists can also enjoy island life by doing other things like hiking, kayaking, and even partying.

Driving Directions:

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

Things to Do

El Nido is one of the places tourists love to visit, and if you’re going to the island, do know that there are so many fun things you can do that don’t always involve the waters. Here is a list of activities visitors can enjoy when visiting El Nido, Palawan.

  1. Try Out Glamping

    Instead of checking in at a resort or a hostel, one unique activity you can try out is glamping, a glamorous form of camping. Tents are set-up at beach fronts and usually have various amenities and services that make visitors feel pampered. If you want to connect with nature while preserving that semi-luxurious experience, then make sure to try glamping.
  2. Participate in Island Hopping Tours

    Of course, an island getaway is not complete if you don’t go island hopping. There are many full-day tours in El Nido that typically include guides, boat transfers, and even lunch, so you don’t have to worry about packing your meal anymore. Lastly, don’t forget to always book in advance, especially if you’re visiting during peak season.
  3. Experience Marine Life by Diving

    If you want to experience marine life and see how sea creatures live underwater, you can go diving at the many diving spots in El Nido. Some of the most famous diving sites are South Miniloc, North Rock, Entalula wall and Entalula Drift, Pasandigan Beach, and more. Remember that there are over 40 diving spots in El Nido, and each of them is unique, guaranteeing you an unforgettable experience with every one of them.
  4. Go Hiking or Trekking

    Palawan has many mountains that are home to rich biodiversity. And one activity you can also do in El Nido is hiking. If you want a break from the ocean, you can hike along the mountain trails instead and admire the view once you’ve reached the top. Taraw Cliff is one popular place to trek; note that the cliffs are quite steep and rocky, so it’s important to wear a good pair of hiking shoes.
Chocolate Hills Bohol by Zed Benson

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. But don’t forget to climb the viewpoints and marvel at the beauty of the hills first. Afterward, you’re free to do as many activities as you want, particularly at the nearby Chocolate Hills Adventure Park.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Panglao International Airport, head east and drive straight.
  2. Make a slight left onto Panglao Island Circumferential Rd.
  3. Turn right.
  4. Turn right onto Borja Bridge.
  5. Turn right onto Bohol Circumferential Rd/Tagbilaran East Road.
  6. Turn left onto Ligason St.
  7. Turn right onto Carlos P. Garcia East Avenue.
  8. Turn left and continue on Provincial Rd.
  9. Turn right onto Tagbilaran City-Corella-Sikatuna-Loboc Rd.
  10. Turn left and continue on Corella-Balilihan Rd.
  11. Turn right onto Cortes-Balilihan-Catigbian-Macaas Rd.
  12. Turn right onto Balilihan-Hanopol-Batuan Road.
  13. Turn left onto Loay Interior Road.
  14. Turn right onto Chocolate Hills Rd.

Things to Do

The Chocolate Hills is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bohol. And do know that there are many activities you can do if you’re dropping by the hills. Here is a list of some of the most fun things to do for visitors of all ages.

  1. View the Chocolate Hills

    Make sure to climb up the viewpoints in Bohol if you want to take pictures of the stunning scenery. If you’re in Carmen, you can visit the Chocolate Hills Complex, which is a resort that serves as the main viewpoint of the hills. There’s even a restaurant, swimming pool, activity area, and more that guests can enjoy. Now, if you want a less crowded place to view the hills and relax, you can drop by Sagbayan Peak, which is around 10 miles from the Chocolate Hills Complex.
  2. Ride an ATV

    One fun way to view the hills and sightsee the area is to rent an ATV. There are typically different packages depending on the route you’d take, and travelers have the option of choosing an excursion with a guide or without one. If you don’t want a guide, just make sure that you’re willing to get a little lost or maybe encounter a bit of bumps along the way. Nevertheless, it won’t change the thrill of the experience.
  3. Visit the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park (CHAP)

    If you want a different escapade when viewing the Chocolate Hills, visit the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park. You can sightsee the hills by ziplining or midair biking, giving you that exhilarating feeling as if you’re a bird. Note that CHAP is an eco-tourism park, and you can do other sustainable nature activities as well. These include rope courses, horseback riding, hiking, and more.
Intramuros Photo by Aela Mataverde

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:

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

Things to Do

There are many historical monuments and structures within the walls of Intramuros. And although there are a lot of modern establishments, tourists who want to venture into the cultural and historical aspect of the Philippines can still do many things in Intramuros. Here is a list of some activities tourists can enjoy in the walled city.

  1. Tour Around Intramuros

    Visiting Intramuros is incomplete if you don’t tour around the area and see some of the historical landmarks within. Visitors can join a guided tour, wherein a tour guide walks them through different monuments and buildings on foot, then eventually via a kalesa. If history is one of your interests, make sure not to miss a tour around Intramuros, as you’re guaranteed to learn a lot about colonial Manila.
  2. Roam Around the Walled City on a Bamboo Bike

    Another unique way to tour around Intramuros is by riding a bamboo bike. This is another guided tour, but instead of walking around Intramuros, you get to choose a bike and ride it throughout the area. If you’re not comfortable biking, you can always choose a different mode of transport. Just keep in mind that cycling is eco-friendly, and nothing’s more fun than leaving a small carbon footprint behind.
  3. Visit the Museum

    It’s one thing to have an outdoor tour around the historical monuments in Intramuros, but it’s another to view the museums’ different artifacts. If you’re not joining a guided tour, make sure to drop by some of the museums if you want a peek at the history and lifestyle within the walled city back then. Some museums that might interest you are Casa Manila, Bagumbayan Light and Sound Museum, and Bahay Tsinoy.
  4. Have Dinner at Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant

    One great way to end your visit to Intramuros is by having dinner at Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant. This is a perfect way to immerse yourself in Filipino culture and cuisine at the same time. Not only do you get a restaurant with a very historical ambiance, but you also get cultural and heritage performances while eating.
Oslob Cebu Photo by Cameron Armstrong

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, be sure to choose other activities on the island that don't harm the ecosystem yet are still enjoyable.

Driving Directions:

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

Things to Do

Oslob is one of Cebu’s top tourist destinations, and many foreigners have visited the coastal town to experience its most popular attraction: swimming with the whale sharks. Unfortunately, this activity is not sustainable and eco-friendly. So if you’re going to Oslob, here are other fun things you can do that won’t hurt the ecosystem.

  1. Explore Sumilon Island

    Sumilon Island is one of the most popular destinations in Oslob. Many visitors flock to see its sandbar. But most importantly, guests can also do other activities like island hopping, diving, cave tours, and even kayaking.
  2. Go Paragliding

    One of the newer attractions tourists can do in Oslob is paragliding. Daanglungsod, a small town in Oslob, conducts paragliding activities from its local hills. If you want to do something different that doesn’t have anything to do with waters, then make sure to try out paragliding. Because instead of seeing the turquoise ocean, you get to see the turquoise sky instead.
  3. Visit Tumalog Falls

    For travelers who want a change of scenery, make sure to drop by Tumalog Falls. The attraction is a horsetail waterfall, wherein the cascading waters are in contact with the rocks, resulting in a curtain-like effect. If you want to go somewhere aesthetic without having to go to the ocean, then Tumalog Falls is the place to be.
  4. Sightsee Some Old Ruins

    Aside from the cerulean waters, Oslob has its fair share of ruins. The Cuartel Ruins, as well as the Baluarte Ruins in Sumilon Island, are some historical sites you can visit if you also want to keep in touch with Oslob’s heritage and history.
Cloud 9 Siargao Rene Padillo

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, the island’s most popular surf spot, to experience the waves that gave this famous site its name.

If Cloud 9 gets too busy, there are many other places to see. This is what makes Siargao perfect for tourists who want a tropical getaway. Drive around the municipalities and take a dip at their beaches or do other activities like island hopping, diving, and cliff jumping. 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:

  1. From Siargao Airport, head east and turn right onto Siargao Circumferential Rd.
  2. Continue straight onto Dapa - General Luna Rd.
  3. Turn left.
  4. Turn left onto Tourism Rd.

Things to Do

Siargao is one of the best islands to visit if you want a tropical getaway far from the most crowded beaches in the Philippines. And although the number of tourists are growing each year, Siargao has kept its charm and beauty. Here is a list of activities tourists can enjoy when visiting Iao.

  1. Surf at Cloud 9

    If you’re not afraid of the ocean, go ahead and surf at the island's most popular surf spot. Cloud 9 draws in many surfers, both novice and professionals. And those who don’t know the rules of the sport can learn it through surf instructors who willingly give lessons to eager students.
  2. Swim with the Jellyfish in Sohoton Cove

    Sohoton Cove is another popular tourist attraction that is home to many natural wonders, but thousands of stingless jellyfish. Guests who want to dive and swim with these stunning sea creatures can do so as long as they follow the guidelines set by the tour guide.
  3. Go Island Hopping at the Nearby Islets

    Since Siargao is an island with many islets, one of the best ways to explore the area would be to go island hopping. If you want to sightsee and discover the numerous lagoons, limestone caves, and rock formations, island hopping would be one of the best options.
  4. Experience Siargao’s Nightlife

    Aside from surfing, Siargao has one of the craziest nightlives out there. If you’re a partier or just a curious tourist wondering what Siargao is like after nightfall, do know that there are multiple bars and clubs depending on your taste. Experiencing the nightlife also gives you the opportunity to mingle with other tourists and make some new friends making your stay in Iao more memorable.
Vigan City Photo by Rhea Claire Gomez

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.

Driving Directions:

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.

Driving Directions:

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

Things to Do

If you don’t want your trip to the Philippines to be entirely about the beaches and other natural wonders, try visiting Vigan. The well preserved Spanish elements of the city are sure to attract guests who’d surely enjoy doing a wide range of activities in the area. Here are a few things tourists can do when visiting Vigan.

  1. Tour Around Calle Crisologo

    If you want to go back in time and walk along the streets of colonial Philippines, you can do so by strolling around Calle Crisologo. The cobblestone paths are well preserved and lined with different bars, hotels, cafes, and other shops that would attract tourists, making this area the perfect place for travelers to start exploring Vigan.

  2. Visit an Abel Showroom and Learn About the Craft

    Vigan is known for its Abel cloth. Guests can visit an Abel showroom to learn more about the craft, as well as know more about the craftsmen and the products they’ve been creating. Also, if you want to support local Filipino goods, don’t hesitate to buy some of their traditional blouses, shawls, napkins, and other products created by the weavers.
  3. Climb the Bantay Bell Tower

    Are you in the mood to visit some ruins? If you are, you can climb the Bantay Bell Tower that is found atop a hill that overlooks Bantay, Vigan. The place offers its visitors picturesque views of the sky as well as the surrounding landscape.
  4. Taste the Traditional Food

    Again, the Philippines has very diverse dishes. Each region has its unique cuisine, and Vigan has their own as well. You can try the Ilocos sinanglaw, a soup dish made out of beef that’s flavored with kamias and bile; the Ilocos empanada, an empanada with an Ilocano twist; Vigan style Pakbet; longganisang Iloko; and more.
  5. Buy Some Jewelry or Antiques

    Due to Vigan being an incredibly old town, many antiques and jewelry have been collected over the years. If your hobby is collecting antiques, you might find some old coins, furniture, paintings, and other interesting trinkets. So take the time to drop by Lucy’s Antique Shop along Calle Crisologo to check out some of its items.

    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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