Driving in the Philippines

Paved, gravel and dirt roads

Driving in the Philippines

Whether it’s due to your work or if you just wish to explore the Philippines, you are bound to travel by road, sea or air.

The government of the Philippines is significantly under-investing in the infrastructure of its country, with its public sector infrastructure budget consistently below 3% of GDP. This has resulted in poorly maintained infrastructure.

Around 17-22% of the roads are paved in the Philippines. The rest can be considered to be gravel or dirt roads. This means that the street conditions are not great at all (think potholes, repairs, floods etc). Which is why it is important to have good insurance. Thankfully, you do not have to worry about speeding, because road conditions will force you into driving slower. Beware of the fact that driving at night is extremely dangerous, due to the fact that most roads are in complete darkness.

So, how safe is it really to drive in the Philippines? If you are used to chaos, then you will have no problem at all. The international traffic laws are the same, yet they are often ignored. Stoplights are often disregarded, especially in smaller towns and intersections, and traffic rules are rarely lived up to. This means you need to concentrate completely on the road and being patient is essential. It does not help that the minimum age to drive in the Philippines is 16 (though a professional driver has to sit next to them).

Besides that, due to a lack of sidewalks, it is normal that people walk on the road as well. Once again, it is important to have good insurance!

Further reading

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