Driving Lesson In Manila, Philippines

When I told my wife I'd like to try a driving lesson she said I would get killed! I went ahead anyway.

I had some self-confidence based on my driving experience in Europe where the steering is also left hand. (UK is RH) Besides that, I did not need to think about gear changes and clutch control in Philippines.

Of course, I know a little about traffic conditions from my experiences as a passenger, but if we are to live there, I need to try, right?

My bro-in-law arranged the lesson, in and around Marikina City, close to where we live. Right from the start things did not go well. I just could not get onto the main highway from my junction. My 'instructor' just kept yelling 'Go Go Go' but there was just no room. The jeepney drivers worried me. The tricycle drivers harassed me. But the bus drivers terrified me!

I eventually made it but after less than 20 minutes decided to quit and let the instructor take me home. I felt like a wreck, I had palpitations and needed to change my underwear.

Naturally wifey kept repeating "I told you but you don't listen to me' Funny thing, after a couple of days my self-confidence returned and I decided to try again. I told my bro-in law to get a car with dual-controls. He didn't seem to really understand but said he would.

Next morning the same instructor arrived with exactly the same car!

This time things went a little better. I decided to drive a lot slower and to edge out into traffic slowly but surely when needed. The jeepney drivers still worried me. The tricycle drivers still harassed me. The bus drivers still terrified me! I had a bit of trouble with a Traffic Enforcer and to this day have no idea what I did wrong. This time I lasted more than 40mins (coz I drove myself back home). Biggest problem was at one of the U-turn sections, firstly nobody would let me get into the correct lane to turn, I was just stuck but determined not to move out of anyone's way until I wanted. Secondly, when I eventually made the U-turn nobody would let me across in the main stream. Anyway, I felt like a wreck, I had palpitations and needed to change my underwear.

Wife told me again, about how I don't listen to her but I felt I had done so much better. My instructor apparently had a different version and spent the next one and half hours creating waves of laughter amongst the family. My wife told me that he said that he wouldn’t take me out again at any price. I thought I might test his resolve!

The third time was basically a repeat of the others. Same car, same instructor (just a little more expensive - ha ha ha!! Got ya!). For me, everyone just seems to drive too fast and too close. If there's half a car length in front of you other vehicles from both left and right will try to move in. Nobody stays in lane, a complete lack of discipline. I really felt like I had to concentrate so hard, constantly looking to my mirrors and checking the signs to make sure I had plenty of time to move position.

I still have my self-confidence believe that given time and the knowledge to know the route where I am going I can make it. This time when I got home I felt like a wreck, I had palpitations but did not need to change my underwear.

My wife still says I don't listen. My instructor still filled the house with the family's laughter and said he still feels ill and will not take me again at any price. (Oh yeah!!)

Peter