Grateful Dad #32: Driving In The Streets Of Metro Manila

July 09, 2022

I'm grateful to be given the chance to learn how to drive in the streets of Metro Manila.

I guess one of the greatest challenges that I had to overcome lately is learning to drive in Metro Manila (again). I say again because I already took a refresher driving course in 2017 but the years of no practice left me, shall we say, rusty so I had to relearn driving again.

Grateful for the opportunity to drive in the streets of Metro Manila

Grateful Dad #32: Driving In The Streets Of Metro Manila

Let me clarify one thing though before I proceed: I know how to drive and I’ve been driving since I was 18. However, I only drove a car in my hometown in Nueva Ecija. That meant that there was no traffic when I drove, there were large open spaces to park, and there were mostly just tricycles and motorbikes when I drove on the provincial road. In short, driving in my hometown was easy. I wasn’t exposed to challenging roads and all.

Anyway, when I started working in Metro Manila, I didn’t see the need to get my own car. MRT was so efficient at that time so it was the most practical option. Even when I got married and had my own family, we still didn’t buy a family car. Mommy Khris and I had our own reason for that but that deserves another post.

Fast forward to the pandemic and commuting became risky because of COVID-19’s threat. We were taking GrabCar but we felt that it still wasn’t 100% safe, especially because we were taking our two kids to their pediatrician and Miguel to his OT sessions. That’s when we finally decided to get our own family car.

Now, going back to driving, I had to practice again because, expectedly, I still wasn’t in sync with our new car, so to speak. It was a good thing that I was able to get my groove after just a few days. With regard to challenging roads in Metro Manila, I considered EDSA to be the hardest to navigate. 

Traffic was heavy and there were a lot of crests and troughs because of the underpasses and overpasses. Learning to drive through EDSA would allow me to experience those types of roads, particularly uphill (or hanging). I was nervous in the first few instances that I drove through EDSA.

In fact, there were about two occasions when my engine died in the middle of EDSA because I miscalculated the amount of pressure that I had to apply to the clutch (I drive a manual vehicle because that’s what I’m used to). 

In times like that, you just have to act fast in starting your car again to avoid disrupting other motorists. In the end, I got the hang of things and I could say that I’m more confident in driving around Metro Manila. It’s just a pity that fuel prices suddenly soared so we’re not using our car too much these days.

On another note, I just have a few notes and observations while driving:

  • Obey traffic rules at all times.
  • Be mindful of pedestrians.
  • Safety should be your utmost concern at all times and not getting to your destination in the shortest possible time.
  • Be a gentleman on the road, even if that’s not the most popular stance of Filipino motorists. Always try to give way to other motorists especially if you’re not in a hurry, anyway.
  • Ask and you shall receive. Most motorists are respectful and giving. If you want to change lanes, signal appropriately, and other drivers will give way.
  • Changing lanes isn’t always necessary. If you can, it’s best to stay in your lane. The same is true when making turns; do your best not to encroach on the other lane when turning left or right.

Driving has been a source of adventure for me in the last several months and I’m grateful for that. I just hope that fuel prices start to go down soon. Likewise, I hope we find a good solution to Metro Manila traffic soon.

How about you, do you love driving as well? What can you say about driving in Metro Manila? Feel free to share your experience in the comment section below.

For the last three editions of Grateful Dad, you may read the following posts:

For all the past entries, please click here.
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