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Motorcycle Usage in the Philippines

Here in Davao and I would guess in all areas of the Philippines, the motorcycle is the most used type of motorized vehicle. This is because it is cheaper to purchase than a car and is able to travel in bad terrains where a car could not maneuver.

Online I found statistics for 2006. In this year, the number of registered motorcycles was 2,409,363 whereas the amount of cars was 792,373. I do not know if this number includes public vehicles known where there is a miniature bus powered by a motorcycle welded in the middle or a sidecar that seats four to six passengers.

There are many motorcycles with a welded attachment on the side like a flat bed for delivering merchandise. I have even lately seen what looks like a small delivery truck from the rear and once you see the front, it has a motorcycle seat and handlebars and powered by a motorcycle engine.

Besides these modified motorcycles, many times you see a normal motorcycle with anything imaginable being transported. I have seen a rider, facing the rear, holding a large TV on his lap.

Thanks to a friend of mine, he allowed me to use some photos he has collected over the years showing a normal motorcycle delivering many different items. As you might noticed, not all or maybe any are from the Philippines. Many are from Viet Nam, China and other Asian countries.

I know this is not one of my in-depth and thoughtful observances, but something I hope you will enjoy.

20 Responses to “Motorcycle Usage in the Philippines”

  1. Seth says:

    That is funny. I remember when I was in Davao I seen a family of four riding on one motorcycle and it didn’t have a side car. I have been amazed at how resourceful many of the Asian Nations are when it comes to using motorcycles.

    • Bruce says:

      I have seen more than four and then there is the “skylabs” in the provinces where that have boards across the seats for more passengers.

      Resourcefulness is one thing. Saftey is another.

  2. Steve in Davao says:

    and spew out a lot less pollution.

  3. Marvin says:

    I heard somewhere that the Philippines was fazing out 2 strokes and new bikes had to be 4 stroke. I have noticed more 4’s lately.

  4. Evelyn says:

    hahaha..i enjoyed the pix,bruce…

  5. Tom Martin says:

    A freind who does not live full time in Davao because of his job is told me on his last visit he was buying his wife a motorcyle to use up on their farm outside of Digos. He was hesitant about buying it because fearing an accident. The only advise I could give was she did need transportation going from the farm to town, but I hope and pray that she does not put their son on the cycle, he is 2, without a helmet. I often see parents on a cycle with helmets with their children not wearing helmets. I would be more concerned about protecting my children than myself. It reminds me of the television ads I have seen where charities that have feeding programs in Africa show to tug on heart strings in order to raise money for their charities. They show starving children in the arms of their mothers that are fat as hogs. I once ask the president of one of the organizations about this and he told me the mother eats and takes care of herself knowing that if anything happens to her there is no one to care for the children. Maybe that makes sense, but I just do not think I could eat anything knowing my child was hungry, but of course I have never been in that situation and may think differently if I were.

    • Bruce says:

      I wonder too why many poor women are so fat. I was thinking they eat all the left overs. It could also be nutrition. Here a full stomach, no matter what fills it, is important. Maybe they give the nutritious food to the kids and they just eat the rice and bread to fill up. An all carbohydrate diet just builds fat.

  6. freely says:

    Hmmm, I wonder what modifications I’ll make to mine when I purchase it, I can’t stop tinkering with things. I hope the Philippines doesn’t mandate 4 cycles like Thailand, there is something better available;
    At $350 cost it means more jobs and opportunities for locals instead of motorcycle sales for manufacturers in Japan and China.

  7. freely says:

    Bruce, generally you’ll see 2 cycle more than 4 cycle motors because they are cheaper and easier to make and maintain no matter what kind of motorcycle they are installed on. The down side though is they run dirty/smokey. There’s a joke that says that a 2 cycle motor is the most efficient way to turn oil into smoke:D
    I hope the regulators consider all their options before they make their decisions.
    Those 2 wheelers sure are amazing workhorses though, aren’t they:)

    • Bruce says:


      As I said, looking at a motorcycle I cannot tell the difference. Also for me, with the crazy drivers here, I prefer 4 wheels and a steel box surrounding me.

  8. Al says:

    Love motorcycles, I’ve driven one in the Philippines and it’s cool! That’s because I got myself familiar with the local particularities first.

    Word of advice: Even if the light is green, DO assure yourself before going through 🙂 Forget US/UK or wherever you came from, new rules, mostly unwritten 🙂

    • Bruce says:

      You are right, there are no rules for driving and motorcycles have their own set. They do not realize how dangerous it is when they are cutting off cars and passing on right.

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