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Help a Traveller » Philippines » Metro Manila

Can foreigners drive in Manila?

My wife is Filipina and we are staying there for a month. Her brother (who lives there) says he has a car he can lend me. Can I use my US license to drive around Manila? - Michael White - Guest

foreigners drive manila
Driving foreigners, in your case, tourists are a rare breed in the Metro, and for good reason! Unless you have great experience navigating Manila traffic, you probably best leave the driving to your brother-in-law or have someone who knows their way around the road drive you around.

But if you insist on driving, your foreign driver's license will suffice for your first 90 days of stay (since you're only staying a month, you are all set) just brace yourself for the crazy traffic (especially on rainy days) and equally crazy motorists.


Yes, you can drive in Manila with your own driver's license, but if you want to have a Philippine driver's license, you need to go to the Land Transportation Office. Just beware of fixers. A new license should cost you about Php585 for a non-pro or pro. The price is already inclusive of the computer, license, and application fees. You can check out the LTO's page about prices here

I advise hiring a driver or taking other means of transportation like the MRT, LRT, and taxi though. Manila traffic can become chaotic, and you might be surprised with some traffic enforcers suddenly asking you to pull over, even if you don't have a traffic violation, just because they want to extort some cash from you. I also can't emphasize enough that there are many bad drivers here who can't stay on their lane and love to swerve.  Not all pedestrians follow traffic rules and they will cross the street even if there is no pedestrian lane, and even when there's a sign that tells them not to . So, better be safe than sorry (and frantic every time you hit the streets with a car). You'll be sparing yourself from the stress, too.

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