forget what you’ve learned at the dmv.

The Ransom Family


Want to try driving in manila?

Driving in Manila has a whole different set of rules, and we have listed some of them below.  No, these are not the rules published by the MMDA (Manila’s DMV equivalent).  Whatever those rules are unfortunately remain a mystery. Instead, these are the rules you just pick up as you go about driving.

In high traffic areas, street vendors walk between cars selling gum, cigarettes, newspapers, bottled water, and the like. Or should I also add, the not so like.  I have seen them selling cell phone chargers, seat backs, fishing poles, bolo knives, kitchen rags, toy helicopters, and  you name it.

Rule #2:  Expect to encounter vehicles of interesting makes and models

Rule #5: Be prepared to go window shopping

ADDITIONAL RULES If you are a christian driving in manila

  1. 1.keep tracts always in good supply in your glove box

  2. bundles of crackers or other snacks to keep in your car so when little kids beg for money, you can give them a “snack and a tract” instead (most of the time the money goes to someone else - and it perpetuates the problem of kids begging instead of being in school)

  3. 3.obey all traffic rules as far as you can tell

  4. respectful to all MMDA officials, no matter how

Rule #6: Always obey traffic lights, especially when making a left turn, regardless of whether or

               not they make sense.

Before making our left turn here, we had to really ask ourselves “should we stay or should we go?”  Couldn’t resist taking a snap shot. Later, we showed the picture to our ten-year old to see what he thought the driver is supposed to do here.  He observantly replied.  “I think the choice is up to you”.

Besides the odd looking vehicles above, even the familiar automobile brands from the U.S. come in unfamiliar models here, like did you know that Hyundai makes a Mini Van?  (that’s what we have).

Rule #1: Lines painted in between lanes are merely a suggestion

CLICK PLAY at right to to see what we mean, and get a feel for what it’s like behind the wheel in Metro Manila.

Rule #9: Observe proper distance rules between vehicles

The space between two cars must not exceed 12 inches.  Once a gap of more than 12 inches begins, you must inch your vehicle forward to force the gap wider in order to squeeze your car into the wasted space (or someone else will take that spot and set you back one car length further than where you could’ve been)

Rule #8: Be sure not to exceed the maximum number of passengers for your vehicle.  The guidelines are as follows:

Motorbikes:  6

sedans: 13

minivans: 23

jeepneys: 38

open bed trucks:

as many as can fit

Rule #3: Don’t be alarmed if people sometimes drive like animals.

(We saw the driver walk into the mall, leaving their dog to watch his parked motorcycle for a while.)

Rule #4:  Watch for the occasional tree in the road. (believe it or not, our minivan made it around this tree on the left side).

Rule #7: Standing room only please in all vehicles

Rule #10: On rainy days, watch out for children swimming

(we taped this a week before the tragic flooding, on a happier, ordinary rainy day

(still under construction)

We still plan to add to this page, so check back from time to time