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Motorcycles in the Philippines

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Before I start let me say that I have owned quite a few Motorcycles during my time here on Earth, and in my estimation there is no greater feeling of road freedom one can have, albeit a small convertible cars will come close.

The pictures posted here are photos of a couple my machines, but as I do have an Ex-wife that somehow caused a lot of my old photos to have disappeared, along with a house and many other things. I will post the few pictures I have left, but could find none of my two Harley’s My BSA and a couple of others. The other photos are from here in Asia.

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A friend of mine went to his former house in Florida and found that there had be a break according to his EX and the thief only took his stuff.

Here in the Philippines I long for the thrill of two wheels again, but at age 67 (This Week) I put it behind me as did Little Jacky Paper (Puff the Magic Dragon) I’ve had to put my childhood dreams away. Plus my wife Mayang did say; “HELL NO!”

I’ve watched the way they operate these underpowered only a step above Moped machines here. They are ridden with absolutely no regard for any common sense or the rules and laws of man. It was reported on the local TV News that more people are killed while riding on two wheels than in any other mode of transportation. The life expectancy of a stray chicken on the National Highways is far greater here in the Philippines then being on two wheels. It has gotten so bad that Trike drivers complain about the motorcycles.

The government is planning on new laws to solve this growing problem. But in fact all that must be done is to enforce the laws they have. A motorcycle must operate on a public road under the same rules as any other form of transportation. Yes it’s just that simple.

On Friday while waiting for my wife at the bank in Olongapo, a van pulled to the right to discharge three young passengers onto the sidewalk. Not knowing that a motorcycle (90cc) who was also using that part of the road as his personnel lane. Had he hit the vans door I would have cracked up on the spot, but the kids were exiting by the sliding door and he hit all three slightly.

The van driver thumped the motorcycle rider a few times on the head after it was found that the children were not seriously hurt. The police arrived scratched some stuff on a piece of paper and the dumb rider was allowed to go on his way.

I refuse to lecture those hardy folks that choose to ride here for I too still have a love for two wheels and we all liked that TV Show “Sons of Anarchy” but if you remember these bikers had rules whereas here it is true anarchy on the road and no rules apply. So agree or disagree with me if you must, but the bottom line is “Please Stay Safe”

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Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson; has resided in the Philippines since 1993, living close to Subic Bay. I’m married to a wonderful girl named Maria (AKA Mayang).Who is from Gordon Heights in Olongapo where she grew up with her Mom & Dad and seven siblings Our two daughters are both grown up and have left the nest, the eldest married to a wonderful guy named Chris, and they have blessed us with our granddaughter Heather Colleen Our youngest daughter and her husband Cecil have blessed us with a grandson named. Jayden Logan. I’m a retired U.S. NAVY Senior Chief after 22 years of active duty. After retirement from the Navy I lived for 7 years in Puerto Rico as a Night Club owner. Then Hurricane Hugo told me to find a new line of work, I was hired by Military Sealift Command and went back to sea in Asia as a Merchant Seaman for 10 years. After 30 plus years at sea I buried my anchor on a mountain in the Philippines and am now residing in Dinalupihan (or DinBat for short), Roosevelt, Bataan where we built our home. And last but not least, anything I writes will be pure "Tongue in Cheek "If anybody is offended, I'll lose no sleep over it, but here's a quick Mea Culpa in advance!

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John Weeks
John Weeks
8 years ago

Paul – Happy Birthday to you @ 67 years young! One of the prices I paid to move here was to give up my 2007 Ducati Monster – a bike I dearly loved to ride. But it was only because I lived where I could ride with relative safety that made the experience so liberating. I’m with you; no way I’d ride a motorcycle on most streets here. I even stopped feeling guilty a while back for cursing the motorcycle riders – especially in Manila – these guys are NUTS and pose a public danger – especially where kids are… Read more »

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
8 years ago
Reply to  John Weeks

John;
The Pinoy believes that they have bought a no rules required form of transportation.
One of the things I loved was kicking it on my Norton from Jacksonville Florida to Key West on my Norton. But then on A1A there were rules that were enforced.

John Weeks
John Weeks
8 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

That Norton was a beautiful bike! I have my own good memories of Key West, Clearwater and Charleston too.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
8 years ago
Reply to  John Weeks

John;
All three were great places to play.

Dennis Glass
Dennis Glass
8 years ago
Reply to  John Weeks

Hello. I also live in Tagaytay. I’m and American ex-pat. Just wanted to say hello. My name is Dennis

Hey Joe
8 years ago

Anarchy Rules apply when driving anything in the Philippines whether two, thee or four wheels and above. The only law that seems to apply consistently is the laws of Physics that when combined dictates the he ho has the heaviest largest vehicle will survive the crash the most often. Excluding buss crashes where the leave the road and tumble down a mountain, bigger is definitely better and generally are given right of way! I fully believe that a Philippine drivers license is is issued only to collect revenue and Identify dead drivers

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
8 years ago
Reply to  Hey Joe

Joe;
You are talking about the rule of TONNAGE which I believe in.
Your comment that “Anarchy Rules” is an oxymoron because there are no rules with anarchy; it’s like the driving teat’ Rule number one. There is no rule number two.

Bill
8 years ago

Paul,
First of all, I hope you had a wonderful Birthday. Your article is a great reminder of how people need to be careful. Riders and pedestrians alike. My riding days ended back in 2003 when I broke my right leg in seven places. Funny thing is I was only going 25 mph. Tops!

I won’t be driving anything with two wheels. Especially over there!!

Have a safe day!

Bill

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
8 years ago
Reply to  Bill

Bill;
There is a time to put your toys away, on my 50th birthday I cut my hair as I felt the pony tail in gray, was not the image I wanted to put out there. I stopped riding bikes because I like cold beer. It was one or the other.

Carl Duell
8 years ago

Its amazing what they do with a motorcycle. Who needs a truck LOL

Heinz Schirmaier
Heinz Schirmaier
8 years ago
Reply to  Carl Duell

I think I’ll forget about riding a bike in the Phils, gonna bring a full size HUMMER if I can figure out how to fit it in a BB! LOL!

bigp
bigp
8 years ago

Do as Johnny Cash did. One piece at a time.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
8 years ago
Reply to  bigp

Loren;
Now that is a good idea.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
8 years ago

Heinz;
Victory Liners are not impressed by Hummers. (lol)

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
8 years ago
Reply to  Carl Duell

Carl;
That is so true

Brenton Butler
Brenton Butler
8 years ago

Hi Paul You would have been in your element in Dumaguete last week, they had a big ride and all kinds of cool Harley’s and other bikes. There was a hundred or two hundred in total. There was a 3 day ride through Negros. In regards to laws, the start would be wearing helmets, which is law now. In Dumaguete about 1 in 10 people used to comply after the laws were implemented, now it’s like 1 in 20 or 1 in 30. I guess it’s all good till you crash and strike your head though. I know other road… Read more »

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
8 years ago
Reply to  Brenton Butler

Brenton;
Big bikes abound on Luzon Sit-N’-Bull one of my hangouts always has a Harley or two outside, and the owner’s inside.
For some reason big bikes are respected here. Helmets are required for the Kano but not for the infant on the gas tank.
Traffic lights? Olongapo has one stop sign, but it doesn’t work.

John Power
John Power
8 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Paul, traffic lights, like all other road signs, are just a suggestion in the Philippines!

Axel
8 years ago

First…The picture of your Norton Commander…Bring back memory…have had that, what a machine it was those days. Now i ride motorcycle again here in Philippines. I love it, it is a kind of challenge every time i take it out for a spin. I know, i know, it’s dangerous, but what isn’t? At least i do something that most Filipino drivers don’t do: I wear a helmet 🙂 Also i drive with all my remaining senses very much awake and follow all rules in traffic. I know others don’t follow rules, but i can’t do more than follow them, drive… Read more »

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
8 years ago
Reply to  Axel

Axel;
I agree with you if one rides with due diligent they have a greater chance of survival. In this article I never said “Don’t Ride” I was pointing out the danger that is involved. On two wheels seldom are you the hitter of another person, you are the one being hit by them. They just happen to be wrapped in a metal cage with airbags. And yes that Norton was a screamer.

GaryM
GaryM
8 years ago

I plan on getting a small motorcycle when I get there. It will be an inexpensive way to get back and forth to school. I will wear a helmet and ride sensibly. I have seen too many people get seriously hurt or worse on bikes.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
8 years ago
Reply to  GaryM

Gary;
You will ride sensibly; I just wish we could say that about the people you’ll be sharing the road with. Stay safe and enjoy.

JOHN
JOHN
8 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

I ride a motorbike or scooter daily here in Bohol, using my car only in rain or for heavy shopping. Helmet always and full gear when on a trip. I have ridden around Bohol, through Cebu to Bantayan Island, around Siquijor, northern Mindanao to Camiguin Island and even Cotabato. Camiguin is a joy on a motorcycle due to excellent roads and so little traffic. I have been driving in the Philippines for over 10 years, so well know the driving habits or lack of them here, not to speak of cattle, dogs and drunk pedestrians on the road. Driving defensively… Read more »

Bill S.
Bill S.
8 years ago

Happy Birthday Paul!! I am 11 years your junior, but gave up 2 wheels a few years back, just too dangerous anymore to ride, unless your with a large bunch of riders. I need a minimum of 4 wheels or better yet, tracks on heavy equipment. I will not under any circumstances ride any motorcycles on any roads, once we move there. I am still trying to decide about even driving a car there, I assume there are some kind of laws or mabe just casual rules that motorists go by there, but for the life of me, I sure… Read more »

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
8 years ago
Reply to  Bill S.

Bill S;
Hey youngster! (lol) Drive a car here is an adventure as long as you are not subject to road rage. In Puerto Rico I was cured of that, they cut you off? No harm no foul you’ll be allowed to do it the next time and be forgiven. The same applies here, play the game and smile, the timid never cross the intersection.

papaduck
papaduck
8 years ago

Paul,
Never owned a motorcycle, but my brother owns 10 or so, a few classics and often goes on long road trips. Paul I think you would look good riding one of those Harley or Can Am Spider three wheelers. Hope you had a nice bday yesterday.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
8 years ago
Reply to  papaduck

Randy;
Bikes are not for everyone, but they are a great way to travel, and its true riding in a group is even better. Cars seem to give way when they see 10 to 12 big bikes in their rear-view mirror.

Don
Don
8 years ago

Paul, your in a great area (Subic) to ride big bikes. We ride north all the time, and just going to La Union for the day is great. And you can be in AC in under an hour. In Manila, complete different world for bikers. Some parts (Quezon city) have deemed bikers to be criminals and have created all sorts of stupid laws to ban them. Ride only in blue lane, no full face helmets, stickers on helmets, no back riders, number plate on vest, only white helmets, and so on. Anyway. if you want to ride sometime, just ask… Read more »

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
8 years ago
Reply to  Don

Don;
I see you guys at the Bull, and will admit I’m a tad jealous thinking back to all the runs I’ve been on. But that’s in my past now. But my love for bikes is forever. Next time I’m at the Bull, I’ll talk to Ron. Watch out for those swarms of 90 to 125 CC flies on the highway. Stay safe.

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