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Do you need a car in the Philippines? EAM

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Americans love our cars.  That is probably true more for Americans that for any other people in the world.  Most likely it is because the United States is so large, and in parts of the USA it is quite a long distance from one place to another, requiring a long commute.

So, when we moved to the Philippines, one of the first things of substance that I did was to purchase a car.  I have enjoyed having a car, and have gotten some really good use out of my vehicle here in the Philippines.

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A few years back, though, I made a fundamental change to the way that I address transportation.  If I knew 14 years ago what I know now, perhaps I would not have purchased a motor vehicle at all.  Truth is, I rarely drive my car anymore, although I still own it.

Why the change?  Well, public transportation is quite good, in my view, here in the Philippines.  I can get anywhere I need to go in the Philippines with little hassle using public transportation, and it is also very inexpensive.

I got a series of questions, though, through my Expat Answer Man voicemail line recently.  Paul was wondering about having and operating a car here in the Philippines.  He was particularly interested in the costs of doing so.  How much was a vehicle license, insurance and other costs of owning a vehicle.

On today’s Podcast, I address Paul’s questions, and share my view about the need to have a car in the Philippines.

Have a listen and see what you think.

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Thanks again for listening, everybody!

Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

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Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
6 years ago

Hi Bob;
When I lived in Olongapo proper I really didn’t need to own a car for as you stated the local transportation was cheap and there was always one waiting be it a Trike or Jeepney. But when we purchased our land outside the city the need to have our own transportation came with the move.
We will drive down to the Subic Freeport, park the car and ride a Jeepney around town, because it is now next to impossible to find a parking space.in Olongapo.

MindanaoBob
6 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Hi Paul – You are absolutely correct, there are times when having a vehicle certainly makes things more convenient! Because I live in the City, my situation differs from yours. If I lived a ways out of town the public transportation availability would be much different. Like so many things in the Philippines, you just gotta do what works best for you!

Bill Bernard
Bill Bernard
6 years ago

On the few occasions when I had multiple stops several purchased items, I have hired the same cab for a negotiated all day price. The driver is willing to go everywhere with you, usually his English is decent enough to assist you, and he will also know the better places to get items. I was never certain what to pay, but usually they seemed very happy with 1500p, leaving me to believe I overpaid. Getting the drivers cell number and using the same one whenever possible is best, they become much more loyal and reliable. Let me add that I… Read more »

MindanaoBob
6 years ago
Reply to  Bill Bernard

Hi Bill – I don’t really know the proper daily rate for a taxi either. You are right about Davao taxi drivers, I have always found them honest, and friendly as well! 🙂

PapaDuck
PapaDuck
6 years ago

Bob,
We don’t own a car, but next year we will probably purchase one as it is much more convenient taking longer trips rather than use public transportation.

MindanaoBob
6 years ago
Reply to  PapaDuck

Hi PapaDuck – Wanna buy mine? Ha ha.. no, I probably wouldn’t sell it, but it just sits in the driveway, and the thought does cross my mind sometimes! 🙂

Luke Tynan
6 years ago

A car is a convenience, but I agree with you Bob public transportation is cheaper and is almost as fast as a private car to drive some place and a lot easier to not worry about finding a parking spot

Roger Craft
6 years ago

Plus if you own a car it will get beat to death by the crazy drivers in the Philippines. lol

queeniebee5
queeniebee5
6 years ago

Hi Bob, . Being over 2 1/2 hours from Cebu City, we rely on our older Pajero to be able to go to the city for grocery shopping and mall/my beauty parlor visits a few times a month. In between times, my husband doesn’t mind taking the big Ceres busliner and then taking a taxi or jeepney to his final destination in the city. I’m not really into the bus because it’s a long trip (3 hours one way) with no aircon, so I prefer our own vehicle Diesel fuel for our Pajero is the cheapest, so that helps my… Read more »

queeniebee5
queeniebee5
6 years ago
Reply to  queeniebee5

We also own a multicab, but we’d like to trade it in for a used Volkswagon bug for me to use in the province.:)

MindanaoBob
6 years ago
Reply to  queeniebee5

Cool… owning a Bug would be kind of fun, and they are still popular here!

queeniebee5
queeniebee5
6 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

Hey Bob,

Boy–I’ve seen so many cool old Volkswagon beetles online for sale here So many of the coolest ones are from the Davao region–I wonder why? Do you see many of them there on the roads? I wonder if one could be purchased and shipped up here to Cebu…

MindanaoBob
6 years ago
Reply to  queeniebee5

Oh, yes, I see them all the time, very popular. I am sure it would not be too difficult to have one shipped up to you.

MindanaoBob
6 years ago
Reply to  queeniebee5

Yes, I understand that Queenie, as I mentioned earlier to Paul… if you live out of town, a car is needed much more.

Good luck with your new motorcycle! I hope you enjoy it.

Lenny
Lenny
6 years ago

Article interesting…….I was in the car business back in the states all my life..ALWAYS needed and had a car…BUT when I came here I found I did not need a car…I use local transportation and I go where ever I need to.. and for cheap…I did however buy a car from a guy who needed cash and i saw an opportunity to fix the car up and sell it for a profit…When i had the car it was a convience. in some ways .But not really needed…as I repaired the car I found that the weather here is quite a… Read more »

MindanaoBob
6 years ago
Reply to  Lenny

Hi Lenny – For sure, in the States you really need a car of some sort! Not much public transportation in lots of areas.

Rusty Shackleford
6 years ago

I think if you have a baby it is an absolute necessity. I bought my car when my wife was 9 months pregnant. The thought of carrying a newborn baby in a tricycle or in a jeep does not sit well with me. Not to mention carrying a newborn on a motor-single. I want seat belts, airbags, and a temperature controlled area for my baby! Bought a 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage G4. Thought for a while about getting a second hand Honda Fit or something, but I heard they get chopped up and welded back together again. That’s just my humble… Read more »

Bob Martin
6 years ago

Hi Luke – Nice to hear from you. I used to drive everywhere I went, but rarely get behind the wheel any longer. I like using the public transportation. 🙂

Bob Martin
6 years ago

I never experienced that problem, Roger Craft. My car is more than 14 years old and doesn’t have a dent on it! It has traveled a couple hundred thousand miles too! 🙂

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