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Driving In The Philippines

Updated on July 18, 2012

Driving In The Philippines

At first glance, driving in the Philippines seems like a nightmare. People everywhere. Dogs, children, chickens, bicycles, motorcycles... you name it, they are there. Including BIG trucks, buses, cars and farm equipment. (The farm equipment is not common except as diesel trucks hauling loads.)

Everybody is coming or going, stopping or trying to re-enter. Nobody is going the same speed. And the road is hardly wide enough to pass. The safest place seems to be right down the middle line of the road.

Not As Bad As It Seems

But, the more I looked and the more use to it I got, I realized the wonderful mindset the Filipino must have. You see tricycles (small motorcycle with a passenger car. Look at the picture, it explains it much better than I can with words) crammed with people, pigs and/or loads of what ever needs to be taken somewhere. Put-Puts, like the tricycles, except it uses petal power. Jeepneys and buses, and of course the all mighty car and truck. ...all going wherever it is they need to go. Nosing in to traffic, stopping wherever it is they need to to let passengers on or off, turning or passing.

A quick double beep of the horn lets upcoming people and vehicles know you are going to pass. Surprisingly, they move over and make room for you, then ease their way back into a comfortable place on the road all the while keeping their own pace.


There are no speed limits, no limit to how many passengers any said vehicles may carry, or how you can carry them. And they need not all be human. We have seen pigs, furniture, and crops. Have I mentioned that Filipinos are phenomenal engineers? They would live to be to have the sense of balance they do. They can balance their loads with astounding packing. And they have an amazing sense of balance themselves. You should see the way they can ride and hold on to just about any mode of transportation. Even the little children.

My grandchildren would be in heaven living like they do here, riding in the wind, sandwiched in between on single motorcycles. It reminds me of when I was a kid at the ranch. We, too, would stand up in the back of the truck, ride standing on the bumper or sitting on the top of the cab. It was a wonderful life. I am sorry for kids of today with so many restrictions. But, then again, with the speeds of our traffic, and the distances we travel in the US, it is really not practical nor feasible. But if you are not going anywhere fast, it was a wonderful life.

Philosophy Of The Road

The more I watch the Filipinos on the road I think I see a philosophy I love. It seems to say to me, “I will watch out for you. You watch out for me. Because what you are doing and where you are going is important and so is where I am going and what I need to do.” And they seem to say, “There is always room for one more.” And no one gets put out when they have to squeeze just a little more.

I Love the Filipino People!!


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