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Driving in Davao

In an earlier post I wrote about the crazy driving here in Davao, but there is so much to say. I could write something every day and still find more to write about, but you all would get bored.

Driving here is a crazy adventure. First of all there are many Jeepneys, MultiCabs, MotorCabs, Pedicabs, private cars and motorcycles that the traffic congestion looks worse than the Los Angeles Freeways during rush hour.

Entering a main road is like a roll of the dice. There is very little driver courtesy. What you have to do is inch into traffic until an oncoming driver realizes either let you in or have an accident.

Everyone tries to ride on the left of a 2 lane road since Jeepneys and other public transports keep stopping on the right lane to take on or let off passengers. If you by chance switch to the right to pass a few cars and get stuck behind a stopping Jeepney, you might have to wait for him to move again since nobody will let you back into the left. If both lanes are stopped due to congestion, watch out for the space between the cars because some driver will try to make it 3 lanes. Then if there is no oncoming traffic, a lot of drivers will drive on the oncoming left lane.

There are traffic cops at some major intersections, but they will stop oncoming traffic next to an intersection, but let’s and waves on the left turning traffic and the through traffic too.

People on bicycles drive in the center next to oncoming traffic to avoid the stopping jeepneys. Motorcycles will drive everywhere except the sidewalks.

For a while the city has been installing traffic lights on major intersections but has yet to power most up. They have also added turning lanes. The problem with the turning lanes is they have not widened the roads; they made the other lanes narrower. A left turn lane is used for a 3rd lane and then they all squeeze back and fight for a space as they pass the intersection.

I am very surprised on how few traffic accidents there are here. Oh yes, there are accidents but with all the traffic and weaving back and forth there should be many every day. Well thank GOD there isn’t since an accident adds more congestion to an already congested city.

With all said, traffic here is wonderful compared to Manila. There it is 10 times worse.

I heard a funny story. A Filipino taxi driver moved to the US. He went to get his driver’s license and failed the driving test 7 times. So he moved back to the Philippines.

6 Responses to “Driving in Davao”

  1. macky says:

    hi bruce – i think i found your blog through bob martin’s site. i have become very fond of your blog & have read every post (even from the old site).

    it’s very refreshing & different. it’s also nice to see that things are going very well with your move. i’m also glad to see you have nice family setup there. good people.

    reading your blog gives me a new perspective of my hometown. like looking at things through fresh eyes.

    you can can count me in as another regular reader. good luck with everything.

  2. Bruce says:

    Macky,
    Thank you for enjoying my blogs. I have seen your comments on LiP.
    I have heard alot of foreigners here complain about living here. Even though things are different I try to accept them and learn to live with them.
    I would like to post more articles but at times do not know what to write about. I do miss So. CA since I had lived there for 18 years of my life.
    Eat a carne asada burrito for me sometimes. 🙂

  3. mia says:

    Hi Bruce!

    Have you tried driving in Davao?

    Mia

  4. Bruce says:

    Mia,
    Yes I drive in Davao. I have a Kia.
    I have driven in New York, California and all over the USA but never experienced driving like here. At first I was not able to memorize how to get around since I was so busy watching the other vehicles I was not looking at the landmarks. I now can drive most places without my navigator Elena.

  5. mae says:

    hello bruce .i am so amused by how you described our trafic there in Davao :). I too is from Davao but i am here in New Jersey now. Yes i can truly empathize with you ..and isnt it amazing how we all survived the chaos on the road :)..
    Been here in AMerica for a year and i still miss life there in the philippines. Material-wise America is rich but there is a void in everyones’ life here.life here is empty coz people are just too preoccupied with working,paying the bills and preparing for their retirement.big houses with just two to three people living in it.most are just houses but not homes. I still hope to spend some of my years there is Davao. I love the people there and i guess theres indeed no place like home.Happiness is where your heart is.

  6. Bruce says:

    Mae,
    Thank you for comenting. I love when readers let me know about themselves and their life. This way I get to know you all better and can try to write articles towards their interests too. You are correct about many of the people here. I lived in Florida for 10 years and barely knew my neighbors to say hi. Here I love to have conversations with neighbors and people I meet when out.
    Who you enjoying winters in Jersey? Also think of me when you have a pizza, I miss GOOD N.Y. style pizza.

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