Riding Around

Riding around in my automobile doing things and seeing thing I’ve never seen before. Well that ain’t going to happen here. The traffic is unbelievable. Here the bigger you are the more power you have on the road, just ask a bus driver or a tractor trailer driver – “who’s the king of the road.”

Now me, I do a lot of walking around. So far the farthest I’ve walked is 12 k. one way. I’ve walked from Talisay to Gingoog City. I know that’s a long walk for an old man like me, I met a lot of people along the way, and the most famous saying in the Philippines is ”HEY JOE,” but most of the time I ride a multicab in to town and back.

Watching the kids swim at Taklis Falls
Watching the kids swim at Taklis Falls

The multicabs are small and everyone is packed in tight like sardines, I like sitting in them, there is a lot of women who ride them so I can sit nice and close to them and nobody say anything. I used to have a multicab van, red one  I drove it all over the place and in some places I shouldn’t have especially in the mountains, mud and water in not good to drive in and you can’t go anywhere cause you are spinning your wheels in the mud, but you are not stuck. It’s just that you can’t go up hill anymore so you have to back down the hill. I had to back down one hill 2k before I could turn around and sometimes you can turn around in the middle of the road if it is wide enough to do. I did that too.

Muddy Multicab
Muddy Multicab

I remember one time I had a van full of people (In-laws and out-laws) we were going to Subongcogon to our farm there. I drove up this road and we stopped moving, tire was spinning, people shouting, dogs barking, kids crying, chickens cackling and every time I tried to back up the van would slide sideways towards the ditch. The ditch was like a gully on each side of the road 1-2m. deep . We piled out of the van. I never shut off the engine or took it out of gear it just sits there the tire spinning; now what I think?  “Ok here is what we do” I said. Just then my wife started to holler in biasya and the guys all looked at me like I knew what she was talking about, but I didn’t. She was saying something about a carabao or an elephant maybe a dinosaur pulling us out then something hauling us out a truck or tractor maybe a blimp who knows. I knew I sure didn’t know what she was hollering about, so I told her to be quiet and sit there and I said it calmly. Then I told her to get into the drivers seat and turn the steering wheel to the right as hard as you can and put it in reverse and when I give the word you step on the gas and let off the clutch, Of course she had a comment about it not working, facing uphill and something about Newton and the fig tree he was sitting under (the law of gravity I think). I told her to quit jabbering and just do as I say OK? She said “OK. “  So my 2 brother-in-laws and I got in front of the van on the passenger side then I told her to let off the clutch and step on the  gas when she did the van moved back and the rear-end slid sideways to the left so when that happened we pushed  the front of the van to the right  and it spun around in a 180 degree and was pointed downhill, it took a couple of tries with all the ruts and mud but it got done, everybody got back in the van and we preceded to go home.

Riding around on the roads in northern Mindanao, some are in very bad condition and they fix them a little at a time. Now this is the confusing part,now pay attention here cause I’m going to compare mangos with clams, Ok in the States they take a section of road and completely re make it from the ground up. Here they redo it from the ground up but they skip sections in between, and the sections they skip are just as bad if not worse then the sections they are replacing…I didn’t understand the reasoning behind it, why do half a job? So my Uncle explained it to me so it was very clear why they did it like that.  If they fixed all the road at once then the local road crew would have nothing to do and they would be laid off cause there was no work for them as it is they go around and patch the holes and fix up the road. Ok I said I can relate to that, the need to keep people working in the community.

Ok I’ll stop here for now and let all this sink in. I hoped you all enjoyed the article … Thanks for reading it …Phil

Post Author: PhilR (9 Posts)

Being of sound mind (some people would give you a good argument on that, I’m sure, hee hee) and good moral person. (Only god knows for sure) I come from a long line of Irish. I was born and raised in Crossingville Pa.USA... went to school and until 1970 was drafted in 71 served 3 years in army ,stationed in Virginia beach, Virginia at Fort story Va. the post is on the beach half in the Atlantic and half in Chesapeake bay discharged in 74 then I bummed around for a couple years . I got a job doing construction work, joined the carpenters Union in 1999 and did it until 2009 when the economy went to hell in a handbag I retired and moved to the Philippines I meet Jessica in Aug. of 2005 on the internet visited her 2 times before I moved here. She had a house built in the winter of 2006-2007 started in Oct. and we were in it in Feb. 14- 07... I sold my organic farm in the states and moved here for good in June 2009 and been here ever since...So far so good... Nice weather and no snow too.

Investigation in the Philippines


  1. ScottF says

    Wow. I don’t even know what to say to that comment about the half-fixed roads. I can somewhat understand it, because of the cost for housing, etc. But that is a messed up philosophy. It’s going to take a LOT of getting used to the Philippines way of doing things.

    Just so long as they don’t do work like that for me, we’ll be fine… I think.

  2. says

    Hi PhilR: Well I have to disagree with you as I would not be without my own vehicle. It gives me independence and allows me freedom to go where I want when I want, rain or shine. The majority of expats where I live all have their own set of wheels be it a vehicle, motorcycle or both in some cases. Yes I agree, it can be frustrating at times like anywhere in the world especially if you live in a city for example.

    • says

      I felt the same as you, Jim, for many years. The past couple of years, though, I rarely use my vehicle. I find public transportation not only adequate, but quite good, and more enjoyable than driving. Of course, if I lived in a “somewhat” remote area like you do, that would be a different story. Phil is also located in a rather remote area too.

  3. says

    Hi Bob – Thats true if you live in a city as you do. Although I live in a rurual town its still only 30 mins or so to the city of CDO on a very good road. I/We could use the aircon vans or jeepneys that run regularly from out town to the city then I’d need to use either taxis, jeepneys or motorellas once there to go where we want with all the polution i.e diesel or petrol smoke. Additionally if going for lunch or a dinner its difficult to get dressed and turn up looking fresh after travelling in a jeepney from the Bukid. Also if shopping I can throw the large cool box in the back of my vehicle and no matter how long the trip takes the goods are still fresh on our return. No give me my own set of wheels and independance anyday where I can sit in the comfort of aircon polution free air and come and go as I/we please.
    Yes it horses for courses and maybe I/we just like our comfort now we are retired.

  4. Franz Dela Cruz says

    I can relate to your story… our car wont start so i had to push it and mind you i was in my long gown… then somebody threw a lighter then laughed! ahaha.. it was humiliating at that time but it made me laugh today 😀

    Speaking of laughing at experience… do you guys know Bogart the Explorer from Davao City? He is so funny… He even said “in the Philippines if you have DSLR, you are professional photographer” aahaha (There’s a truth in it though)

    Watch it… here’s the link

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