Self-drive North Luzon for christmas
Replies: 17 - Last Post: Mar 14, 2013 6:22 PM Last Post By: pennydime
Nov 18, 2012 6:12 AM
Self-drive North Luzon for christmasHi,
We (3 aussies) would like to hire a car from Clark airport and drive up to the Banaue Rice Terraces, back down to Taal Volcano and then across to Mt Mayon... where we would like to drop off the car and fly out to Puerto Princesa.
Does anyone know if it is possible to hire in one place and drop off in another? Are the roads between these places generally well maintained? We have been to the Philippines recently, but not to these areas (and we didnt drive). We are fairly confident drivers, having driven in many countries, so slightly chaotic road conditions dont phase us - I figure if we can survive driving the wrong way through a crowded souk in Fes then we can handle anything!
Oh, and insurance, do we need to purchase additional cover? Some people have told us that other road users will actually TRY to hit us to extort money... I like to think better of people (especially since we found Filipinos to be some of the warmest and kindest people on the planet) but it would be nice to think we are covered in case of an accident.
Thanks in advance for your assistance!
Nov 18, 2012 6:53 AM
Nov 18, 2012 7:26 AM
2There is an Avis car rental at Clark Airport but no drive and return anywhere near Mayon. You would need to drive from Clark to Banaue and then down to Taal and then drop off the car in Manila, figue on at least 7 days to do that, and if youve never driven any kind of vehicle in the Philippines before.. good luck..
Nov 18, 2012 1:03 PM
3Roads on those routes will be ok, generally 2-lane concrete. Sometimes crowded and slow going in the towns. It's a fair way and you need some time. If you've driven in Africa the Philippines is no big deal, seems crazy to people who have no experience with 3rd world driving but really pretty much the normal chaos.
Don't know of any rental that would let you drop off in Legaspi, also no Legaspi-PP flight except via Cebu or Manila.
Nov 18, 2012 1:37 PM
Nov 18, 2012 8:14 PM
5Bwa ha ha like driving in Africa.
Or you can hire an agency driver to drive for you.
If you are going to drive the rule is there are no rules , just whoever gets the nose of the car in gets the right of way. Don't get angry if someone cuts you in and getting honked at is not tantamount to someone cursing at you , it's more a warning sign. If you get caught by a traffic enforcer from those invisible one way signs, you don't necessarily have to give bribe , try to play humble ,call the enforcer bossing and if you're good at explaining they will usually let you off
Nov 18, 2012 8:29 PM
6Thanks for the responses everyone - much appreciated. We have plenty of time so the distances and traffic congestion don't bother us. Some of the best experiences we have ever had when travelling is discovering the places along the way that the buses dont stop at.
I think maybe I will hire a car at Clark (we are flying from KL with AirAsia so we have to fly in to Clark) and drop off in Manila. Annoying that we have to backtrack a bit, but that happens;-). It is good to hear that most roads will be paved - I know the Philippines road system is only about 17% sealed. Little bit of offroading = good. 500km in a row of it = bad.
We have driven in every country in Europe (over 35,000km clocked up in the past 2 years), in Morocco, Turkey, Egypt and SE Asia (Singa to Bangkok)... and in Australia of course, so the road conditions are nothing we don't feel we can handle. Besides, I learned to drive in Tasmania - and us Tasmanians are some of the most terrible drivers I know! :-)
Thanks again - and if the police pull us over I will take marites4's advice and play the humble traveller :-)
Nov 18, 2012 9:03 PM
Nov 18, 2012 10:21 PM
8I agree with surfboy. You can rent a car through Avis and then you can drive up North from Clark to Banaue then Manila to Taal and Taal to Manila and drop the car there. Our clients used Avis before and rented out a car from Manila and left it in Clark. So I assume you can do the opposite. Then you either take a bus going to the Bicol Region (takes around 8 hour or so) or fly. Currently, there's no international car rental in Albay. So either you will drive back the car to Manila or leave it before you go down South. Or rent a car with a driver so he can drive it back. But for sure this is more expensive. But personally I prefer flying t to Bicol. Going up North by land is okay since roads are in good condition and you will seldom encounter zig zag roads unless you're in the Mountain Region. But it is different in Bicol. The region is just South of where I live and you'll pass on some of the towns here before reaching Bicol. And though the roads are well maintained, the area is famous for sharp and dangerous zig zags. Not a good option for someone who is not familiar in the area. Im not judging your capability as a driver. But my ex and some of my male friends who are car racers admitted that their dare devil attitude is nothing compare to the danger that lies ahead on the way to my hometown. And the road going up here is way "tamer" compare to some parts of Bicol.
Also dont worry about people who extort money by pretending they are hit by a car. This usually happens in Metro Manila and crowded places there like church, universities and malls. I assume there's a small possibility that you'll visit these places :)
Edited by: trigger_elf
Nov 18, 2012 11:51 PM
9The conditions Marites describes apply mainly in Manila. Traffic enforcers are pretty much absent in most of the country, and people aren't as pushy outside the city. I've been driving here for decades and Manila is about the only place I really avoid driving.into. Zigzag roads don't bother me, rough roads don't bother me... Manila is just a shitty place to drive.,
Nov 19, 2012 1:37 AM
Nov 19, 2012 1:46 AM
11Carry cash to pay police "fines" and also to pay for any chickens or dogs you run down. Every city has police that will extort you for cash fines, not just Manila. I have never heard of Filipinos trying to hit another car to extort money, but if you do happen to get in an accident, take pictures and be prepared to pay for hospital bills if you are at fault.
Nov 19, 2012 3:51 AM
12I've been driving all over Luzon for 15 years and never had anyone try to get money from me outside Manila, not police and not over a chicken or dog, though I've hit several over the years. I would not object to paying hospital bills if I was at fault, it's up to me to make sure I'm not at fault.
Nov 19, 2012 5:13 AM
13Yes take photos, esp number plates etc. We got hit by a bus in Manila, his fault and on the report he changed the number plate slightly, would have got away with it if we did not have photos. MAke sure you have insurance. I have driven in Pis but I would not do it in Manila. Also watch out at night, many vehicles don't have lights. Traffic in towns can be bad, even small ones, we got stuck for an hour in one small place becauise of 1 way system and tricycles cutting in all the time. If I were you I would hire car, 4 wheel drive is best for rice terraces, from Clark and then return, then fly to Legasi and then hire one around there.
Nov 19, 2012 1:04 PM
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