Driving in the Philippines is a pretty interesting content to cover. A fitting comprehensive guide and hacks are much needed. Our country is eminent for many things: our mangoes, tropical beaches, welcoming people, and frightful traffic jams. Traffic is ubiquitously present in the great majority areas in the country and is felt in just about every city and road possible. The lack of proper urban planning, proper vehicle regulations imposed by the national government, unrehabilitated roads, not so efficient public transportation system, and most of all driver behaviors. Band-aid solutions were presented with ride-hailing apps a few years recently. However, over-capitalization and vague government regulations provide yet another grey area to pacify the traffic and logistics problem. However, anyone who’s ever been behind the wheel can’t deny the liberating feeling that driving provides. You have the freedom to go wherever you want, put as much stuff you want in your trunk, and you control your own playlist!
We, at Hertz Philippines, have created this comprehensive guide to serve as an FAQ and driving hack manual. If you’ve just landed in the Philippines and thinking of driving during your stay and to those who have been here in the country and a refresher course is fitting!
For foreigners: You’ll need a license to drive, especially if you’ll be renting a car from a rental company. Applying for a license isn’t complicated and it’s pretty easy if you already have a license from your place of origin. You are warranted to use it 90 days after the date of arrival in the country. Should you be staying long in the country you may opt to apply for a Philippine Driver’s License.
Obtaining a Philippine Driver’s License will not be difficult if you already have a valid driver’s license from your country. It is stated in the first paragraph of Chapter III, Sec. 21 of the Republic Act (RA) 4136, otherwise known as the “Land Transportation and Traffic Code”:
“Bona fide tourists and similar transients who are duly licensed to operate motor vehicles in their respective countries may be allowed to operate during but not after (90) days of their sojourn in the Philippines.”
You may only be allowed to convert your foreign driver’s license to Philippine driver’s license once you have stayed within a period of 90 days from the day of your last arrival in the Philippines. You can apply through the main branch of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) along East Avenue, Quezon City. The classification you must apply for is Non-Professional Driver’s License if you are not driving for a living (e.g. coach drivers, chauffeurs, etc.). You must bring and complete the following requirements:
If you do not have an existing driver’s license from your country and wish to apply for a new one in the Philippines, your application will follow the regular procedure. You must acquire a student’s permit first at the LTO East Avenue Branch. To apply for this, you must submit the following requirement hen you apply for a student’s permit:
Once your number is called, proceed to evaluator counter window and submit all the required documents and have it checked for completeness and authenticity.
Go to the Photo-taking/Signature Area to have your picture and signature taken when your name is called.
Go to the Cashier when your name is called to pay the necessary fees and obtain an Official Receipt.
Go to the Releasing Counter when your name is called and present the Official Receipt and claim the Student Driver’s Permit.
***Student’s permit is valid for 6 months and can be used to apply for a non-professional driver’s license after 1 month. The whole process of applying for a new one will be similar to converting a foreign driver’s license.
IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS TAKES A LOT OF WAITING AND THEY PROCESS VIA NUMBER QUEING. IT IS ADVISABLE TO GO PRETTY EARLY.
It gets even more challenging when you have to put up with a large number of people committing traffic violations. A driver’s license cannot be confiscated by a Traffic Enforcer during traffic apprehensions except on the following situations: