Driving around in the Philippines can be really trying work, especially for people used to driving in other more civilized regions of the world, so here are some tips for anyone driving around here:

  1. Never lose your cool. Let me say it again, never lose your cool. Being a hothead while driving in the Philippines, and especially Metro Manila can be trouble, even murder, as the Rolito Go and Eldon Maguan incident has shown.
  2. Public transportation is the king of the road. In most parts of the Philippines, this means jeepneys and buses. It rarely does any good to compete aggressively with these folk, as they will just run right over you. Especially do not lose your temper with them...
  3. When able, block intersections. If you don't, someone else will probably cut you and do the same. Of course everyone around here knows that it's bad practice but everyone does it just the same...
  4. Don't let anyone in if you can help it. Again, another bad practice that everyone does. See previous item for justification.
  5. The yellow light means "go faster". Everyone knows that's not really what it means, but everyone acts as if it were true.
  6. Speed limit? What speed limit? Usually the traffic in major cities, especially in Metro Manila, is abysmal, and getting to 30 kph within city limits is a cause for celebration. The freeways usually have a nominal speed limit of 80 kph (still pathetic!), but on normal days they're usually so jampacked that 40 kph is considered a good speed.
  7. Watch out for potholes and other road imperfections. Big reason for why it's usually unwise to drive at high speeds even in the rare times when it is possible (such as during the small hours).
  8. If you're pulled over, never, ever get out of your car, even if the cops insist on it. They aren't allowed to make a motorist leave his or her car. If they force you to do so then probably they're a bunch of scalawags who are intent on some evil.
  9. Always keep a full purse when driving. Useful for the times when you need to reach some sort of monetary agreement with a traffic enforcer who cites you for a traffic violation. Remember, on the streets of the Philippines the worst offense is driving without money.
  10. Never drive an SUV. Big ostentatious vehicle like that is not only a waste of precious gasoline, but also signals to everyone that you are a rich bastard ripe for the picking by kidnappers.

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