Sunday, July 20, 2014

Driving In Manila For Foreigners: The series

Manila is known to have some of the most traffic congested and hectic streets in the world. To the outsider looking in, the streets of Manila can definitely look like a lawless free-for-all where everyone does whatever they want, whenever they want with blatant disregard for anyone or anything else. Yes, this is true to an extent, but honestly there IS some order amongst the chaos. There is a "way" that people drive here, and once you get accustomed to how people drive here, and what to expect (and look out for!) it honestly isn't that bad. In fact, in some ways I actually enjoy (and almost prefer) driving here, but more on that later...

Driving a car here is definitely not for the squeamish or faint of heart. So, as a foreigner (I was born and raised in the US) now living and driving myself around Manila daily, I figured I would share some of my experiences and tips for foreigners that may want to brave the streets of Manila. I'll share my thoughts on what I think it takes to "successfully" drive the streets of Manila.

But first, let me define what I mean by "successfully". To some, a "successful" drive in Manila may just mean getting to the destination without incident. Yes, this is a successful drive, but to me a "successful" drive needs another qualifier. To me, a successful drive not only includes getting to the destination without incident, but also getting to that destination in a minimal or reasonable amount of time. It's easy to get to your destination without incident by driving super defensive, but driving super defensive may also mean that everyone and their Lola takes advantage of you and it might take you FOREVER to reach your destination...especially considering the horrendous Manila traffic. 

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