I will describe using the theory of being on the right side of the road, not the English system of driving on the left.
Defensive driving is the key. You need to watch the vehicles in front of you, next to you and behind you. I will describe using the theory of being on the right side of the road, not the English system of driving on the left.
In America and I would guess most countries you stay in the right or slow lane except to pass. This is a habit I am constantly trying to break. Here the right lane stops constantly because of Jeepneys stopping to pick of or discharge passengers.
You need to use side mirrors constantly because motorcycles will pass on your left, right or in front of you. Even if you’re in the right lane they will squeeze alone the curb.
If you’re driving off the main 4 lane roads and come to an intersection, slow down, vehicles will cross the intersection without looking. They will cut through a corner gas station instead of going to the corner.
If you come to an intersection and you want to make a left turn you either have to wait for a break in traffic but you might have to wait a long time. The other way is slowly nose your way in.
If there is a TMC Officer directing traffic to enter a main road from a side road, and your making a left turn, he will stop traffic coming from left but not from the right, so as you enter to make the turn watch oncoming traffic from the right.
At Malls, schools, Churches on Sunday mornings and heavy rider areas there will be many Jeepneys looking for customers. As you get near, get to left lane and watch for Jeepneys pulling out to get into traffic or to pass others.
Passing is a constant way of driving. If you’re on a 2 lane road and behind a slow moving tricycle or any slow moving vehicle, you will probably want to pass them. Also when you’re driving watch out for incoming traffic passing someone in your lane. This is also a problem on the bigger hi-ways with trucks and buses will jump into oncoming lanes to pass traffic.
You also need to watch out for pedestrians, they will cross streets anywhere. There are pedestrian crossing lanes but I have never seen traffic stop for anyone crossing the street.
In Davao there is LTO Officers (Land Transportation Office) but mostly you will see TMC Officers (Traffic Management Center). They will me at intersections and at heavy traffic locations. They will blow their whistles to get traffic to move or to stop. Hand signals are confusing. To get you to move, they do not usually use large arm signals. There is also no rule or consent. Mostly I see a partially outstretched hand, palm down and finger movement like a hand wave such as an upturned hand used to call a baby or child.
Also if you drive at night, not all streets are lighted and many vehicles do not turn on their lights. I was told to have my windows tinted. I started out with medium tint on windshield and dark sides and rear. Because of the loss of visibility at night I had the side window tint trimmed off to see the side mirrors and the lower part of windshield changed to a mirror coating that is clear at night so you can see. Even with that I have almost rear ended vehicles on dark street with no lights at all.
There is very little courtesy or consideration from most drivers, so you need to be very defensive. At first you will get stressed and upset, you will want to scream but remember, this is how things are here. You cannot change it, so accept it and go on with your life. Or else, use public transportation.