Guide to Driving In Philippines - Drive Safe in Philippines

Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Philippines?

Driving in Philippines

The Philippines consists of thousands of islands, many of them uninhabited. All are beautiful and offer a wide range of different attractions. 

Driving offers a variety of challenges on the different islands; from the chaotic, congested centre of Manila to the dirt tracks of the jungle of the outlying islands. Decide the kind of holiday you want before booking your hire car as you may need to consider a 4 x 4 vehicle.

Driving Laws

Seat Belt Laws

The enforcement of the law varies across the country but to be on the safe side, ensure that you and all occupants of the car wear seat belts where they are fitted.

Drinking and Driving

The drink driving laws in Philippines state that you must have no more than 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. You’ll find that police patrols stop drivers regularly for random checks.

Must Have Documents

All you need to carry is your passport or a copy and a driving licence which is in English or with a certified translation. You’ll also need a copy of the insurance certificate and it’s useful to have the registration document as well.

Speed Limits

The speed limits for Philippines are as follows:
Open roads:   50 km/h
In Town:        30 km/h  
Highways      100 km/h

Minimum Driving Age

You have to be at least 16 to be able to drive in Philippines. If you're renting a car the minimum age is 21 but with some companies it can be 23. Even at this age you are likely to be charged a premium to cover your lack of experience.

Safety Camera Warning Devices

Filipino drivers are renowned for driving fast and make use of the legal radar detectors to spot the radar traps before it’s too late. 

On the Spot Fines

The police in the Philippines are generally fair and honest and you will find that if you are stopped, the officer will explain why. You will be issued with a ticket which gives details of the offence, the applicable fine and where too pay it. 

Child Safety Rules

In the Philippines there are currently no laws governing the safety of children in moving cars. It is up to the adults in the car to ensure the child is securely seated. If you hire a car from us, let us know your requirements before you arrive and we’ll ensure the appropriate seats are fitted in readiness.


A minimum of third party insurance is compulsory in the Philippines and you must be able to prove it by way of a valid certificate.

Rules of the Road

Standard international driving laws apply with one or two exceptions.
In the Philippines you will drive on the right
At junctions without stop signs you must give way to the right
You mustn’t overtake at a junction
It is forbidden to park on the pavement

Towing Regulations

There are no laws governing towing in the Philippines, just use common sense to ensure safety.

Speed Cameras

There are no fixed speed cameras in Philippines but you’ll find regular patrols armed with speed guns as well as vans with cameras which tour the motorways taking photographs of those that pass it.

Using Mobile Phones when driving

You are not allowed to talk or text on a mobile phone unless you have a hands free kit.


Parking regulations
There are many restrictions in place for parking in the Philippines. You must not park on or on the approach to a bridge, near schools or hospitals, near a government building or on a dual carriageway. You must also avoid parking on the pavement.
Paid parking
There is plenty of paid parking available in towns and cities, often in open lots but sometimes in parking garages. The costs are reasonable compared to western prices and you have greater security. The next best place to park is in the metered bays alongside the roads where the time is limited but where the parking is patrolled.
Enforcement of parking is done by the police. The scale of enforcement varies across the Philippines but don’t try to take advantage – the fines are quite steep for infringement.
Disabled parking
There are limited concessions for disabled drivers which include the provision of a handful of spaces at the more modern car parks and in parking bays. There is no concession on price however. 

Motor Way Signs

The motorways in the Philippines are called Expressways and are privately owned and incur toll charges.


I have broken down -  Nabalian pababa
Where is the police station? - Saan ang istasyon ng pulis?
I have a flat tyre - Mayroon akong Flat ang gulong
I have been in an accident - Ko pa sa isang aksidente
Where is? -  Saan?
Where can I buy petrol? - Saan ako makakabili ng gasolina?

Traffic Lights

Traffic lights in the Philippines follow the same sequencing as in much of the rest of the world so should be familiar to drivers. As with many other countries, a red light doesn’t always mean stop to some drivers so proceed through a green light with caution.

Toll Roads

All the Expressways in the Philippines are toll roads. The tolls are expensive compared to the average wage but you’ll drive on much better roads.


The emergency number in Philippines is the 117 for all the emergency services.

What to do in an emergency

Use the emergency number provided by your car hire company if you encounter a mechanical problem with your car. If driving a private vehicle, you’ll need to make sure you take the number of an emergency assistance company with you.
If you’re involved in an accident you don’t need to call the police if there is only minor damage and no injuries. If you do need to call the police, make sure you get a copy of their report for your insurers or the car hire company. Taking photographs of the scene and collecting the details of witnesses is useful.

Fuel Costs

As of November 2014, the average price of 95 octane unleaded petrol in Philippines is 73p whilst diesel is 67p. Prices can vary between the cities, towns and the smaller villages.


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Hiring a Car

With our Drive Smart guide you're fully prepared to hire a car in Philippines and stay safe on unfamiliar roads.