How to drive in Philippines?

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Basic rules of the roads and driving requirements.


Traffic drives on the right and overtakes on the left.
An extensive road network covers almost the entire nation, but road quality varies and congestion is common, particularly in Manila. Of the 160,000 kilometers network, only 17 percent is paved and the remainder consists of gravel or dirt roads.
Traffic conditions are often crowded and chaotic. Drivers routinely ignore stoplights, lane markers and other traffic control devices and traffic rules are rarely enforced. As in most places where traffic is highly congested and under-regulated, driving in the Philippines requires maximum attention and patience to avoid accidents. The road is populated with automobiles, trucks and buses, as well as manually-operated tricycles and carts. Due to a lack of navigable sidewalks, pedestrians also use the road in most areas.


There are highways on the Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon island groups.
The longest and most complete expressway is the North Luzon Tollway, running roughly north-west from Manila to the province of Pampanga.  Driving off-road driving is particularly dangerous, especially at night. Many roads are in disrepair, with large potholes; roads under repair are not often clearly marked or identified and may be a hazardous, especially at night. Roads at lower altitude frequently flood even after light rain, covering up holes and other obstacles. During the rainy season, roads at higher elevations sometimes experience landslides.


  • At intersections without "stop" or "yield" signs, slow down and prepare to stop -yield to vehicles already in the intersection or about to enter.
  • At intersections without "stop" or "yield" signs or with stops in all directions - yield to the vehicle on your right if you both arrive at the same
  • Stop the crosswalk
  • Yield to all approaching thru traffic
  • Vehicles in the round-about have the right-of-way
  • When entering a highway the right-of-way belongs to traffic on the highway.
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Pay all fines upon receipt of an official receipt.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is punishable able by law.


Country roads - 80 kmh
Main streets or boulevards -  40 kmh
City & municipal streets - 30 kmh.
Heavily populated streets,  approaching intersections, passing school zones & other vehicles - 30 kmh.


North Luzon Tollway Expressway has toll booths at both ends in Mabalacat and Manila.

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The minimum age to drive in Philippines is 16.


Foreigners may drive for 120 days with an International Driving License (IDL) or a valid license from countries reciprocating with the Philippines.  After which a Philippine Drivers License is required and may be obtained at the Land Transportation Commission office (LTC).


Local third-party auto insurance is required and is provided by several local insurance agencies, as well as comprehensive and collision insurance. They also provide claims processing and accident assistance. You may choose to carry comprehensive insurance through a U.S. company that insures in the Philippines.  Be sure to confirm whether this insurance will be accepted in the Philippines.


Front seat occupants are required to wear seat belts.


Police 166

Sources: Expat Focus / United States Embassy in Manila / Philippines Land Transportation Office / Island Properties /