Should I Own A Car in the Philippines?

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Author: Reekay V.

Since 2012 I’ve been traveling through various islands of the Philippines as a full-time Expat and spent 1999 living in Vietnam.

Share with me my ongoing adventures of life in the Philippines. Hopefully you find my observations helpful in your own adventures.
— Reekay


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  2. have you ever considered your fhilpina getting a licence and she drives the vehicle om doing that with mine an until we decide to buy a car we will just rent a car when needed that she’ll drive

  3. Reekay, how about this for a topic for a vid, “How to get ur Filipina to talk about your death or life planning after your gone” I think most of the good guys want to insure a good life for them. I have found they do not like to talk about death. Be it wife or GF till ur last breath. I feel this is an important conversation.

  4. I love having a car here. It’s definitely not the economic option but as a lifestyle choice it’s great. I still have a motorbike too, but now that’s used for recreational trips.

    Definitely agree with your view regarding switching to a car when the time comes to get off the bike.

  5. If you have an accident and are in the right, because you have more money and be found having to pay a bribe to cops or??

  6. A cousin of mine, who is also married to a Filipina, was in a collision driving in the Philippines. He reckons he swerved twice but the motorcycle that hit swerved three times to ensure a collision occurred. The three people on the motorcycle naturally demanded compensation with menaces. As you said you have to be very careful but sometimes there is nothing to avoid the situation.

  7. If I didn’t own a vehicle, but wanted to go hiking in the province, do I hire a driver to take me out there and pay them to wait till I’m done hiking? OR, would they just abandon me out there and I’d be forced to find a 2nd driver? How does one make day trips out of a city and get back home if they don’t own a vehicle?

  8. Having children might change the bike vs car equation. Not your problem, but something folks might consider. Also, with some of the islands, you’re never too far from home. You might be able to make a case for an EV tied to solar/wind charging at your home…

  9. Having been to the Philippines multiple times with the intention to retire there . I would not own a vehicle . I’m considering a motorcycle however I probably will not even do that . If a expat gets into a accident it would most likely become very problematic quickly no matter if it wasn’t even your fault . The traffic is just to crazy anyway . I get the convenience factor but the risk is just to high . My aim is to relax and have a lower stress level when I’m there . Having a concern about a accident wouldn’t make me feel at ease .

  10. Wow…I remember watching your channel 7 or 8 years ago before I made my first trip to the Philippines. 14 Trips later and married now to a very sweet Filipina I brought back to the US…we are now considering retiring early and moving there full time. (I’m 50 and she is 36). I appreciate all the videos back in the day….they really helped me get over the hurdle of traveling alone and just pulling the trigger and buying my first flight. Absolute very best decision I ever made. Thank you!

  11. I agree living in a city no need to have a vehicle, too much traffic, headaches of driving in chaos.. Living in the province probably would require a vehicle. The answer really all depends on your living location

  12. Bought an Isuzu pickup 5 years ago. Best move ever. Got me off my murdercycle and no more emergency trips to the ER. Wife has her own car too. Completely independent.

  13. I am in complete agreement with you.and continue riding at 70. My long term girlfriend is the problem with this. Despite what.she says, it is the status. A constant argument.

  14. I understand your reasoning. I live in Eastern Laguna and I don’t think there is any Grab around here. At odd times people even have difficulty getting a tric. For me owning a car is freedom. And as you say. I like to drive. And as you say also it comes at a great costs. But so far I am lucky enough to handle. But if I were to live in a Manila or other big place probably I would think twice.

  15. This is quite awesome advice, the liabilities that come with owning a car is beyond me. For the most part, i have never seen foreigners owning a car. Just imagine if you want to travel as soon as possible or move to another country, now you have to worry about selling that car or motorbike.

  16. I understand where you’re coming from, but I’m not a motorcycle person. I never learned to drive one and I don’t feel safe on one, even as a passenger. I need four wheels! But it all depends on the person. It also depends on where in the Philippines you live. As you mentioned in your video, it will be difficult to find public transport down in the boondocks. When I still had my house in Ormoc, I had one of these little Suzuki Carries. They are cheap in both purchase and maintenance, but the are old, revamped cars. I didn’t want to buy a new car, because I was only there on vacations. I never lived in the Philippines. If I would live there, I would probably go for the cheapest brandnew car I can find. At the moment that is the Suzuki S-presso, which I believe costs about 530K pesos. I wouldn’t go for an expensive car there, but again, that’s my viewpoint. I know there are others who won’t settle for less than a truck. I like the idea of Grab, but I’m the kind of person who wants to be able to get into my car when I want to and drive it where I want to go. It’s really a very personal decision.

  17. Car isn’t expensive
    It’s the gasoline that kills you
    And the traffic and lack of parking
    Poor narrow roads
    It’ll drive ya nuts

  18. Hi Reekay, good points there. As I mentioned earlier, I have my own car here and I have been driving since I got here (over 6 months now), no accidents yet. Anyway, cost is higher that Grab, but, I need my car for my own reasons. It’s still cheaper to have own car here than in Scandinavia.

  19. One of the 1st things I did after settling into the little province town I’m living in is I bought a decent used 2001 pickup truck. Fortunately, I have a garage to keep it in and can do most of the mechanical repairs myself. My wife owns the house we’re living in, and we have been doing a lot of DIY upgrades and repairs. Out here in the country we need a truck to haul tools and materials. In our case, a personal vehicle is a must have.

  20. Though I have Phils DL & driven since I was 16, I have not been behind the wheel once in 5 yrs here. When I don’t use my legs public tranport is cheap & relaxing to me . I could b a road rage stat & nonsense of a cano always being at fault no matter who causes the accident does’t sit well w/me either.

  21. At the soon to come $40 gal, the future of transportation will be never again what it was. You will then need to have some very deep pockets.

  22. @Reekay’s LifeBeyondTheSea ., Wow, you posted the highlight of my question. I use to own a mid size SUV in Luzon way way back, so i’m comfortable driving in The Philippines (just need a good car video camera system) and if you like to live a little further off from any of the Cities where there’s no taxis or grab so having your own vehicle is a big plus for me. Also, you can pretty much drive anywhere and put the vehicle on a Ro-Ro ship for inter island travel, instead of paying to hire a vehicle every time and that will add up to travel expenses. I’m looking for a used 4 door pick up truck 3-5 years old that cost around 800k – 1 million Pesos. I’m still not fully committed to any relationship right now, so owning a vehicle would be in my name and rent a place to live for the time being.

  23. I own a truck here in the Philippines and you need a car, it is so much safer and easier to get around. Parking can be a hassle sometimes, but nothing beats having a car. You can’t be scared to drive here, that’s the bottom line. If you can drive in LA mid afternoon traffic, you can drive here. Some of the things you say make a little sense, but most of it is opinionated.

  24. Good video….I live in Cebu and I’m looking into buying a Suzuki Jimny. Its a 4 wheel drive that is pretty cheap and easy to drive and park. 6 of my neighbors have them and really like them. I looked at the you tube videos and they stack up very well against other expensive 4 wheel drives..You can get them new for about 21-25 thousand USD.. I would not wait till your too old because you could be in a bad accident and get hurt…If your in the country you should think about a car. If your going to live in the city than grab is great..To me having a car gives me great freedom even when they are not practical…

  25. I’m trying to fly to Valencia from the USA at some point next year. Can you do a video on planning your travel (booking the tickets) what’s the best flight route, etc to take? Even looking into flights right now is sooooo stressful because I don’t see any flights directly there.

  26. your points are exactly how I feel. I do have a Philippines drivers license for that occasional car/truck rental, but 99% of the time I use Grab/Taxi/Trike

  27. What about having a dash cam in your car or motorbike. is that proof you did not cause accident

  28. Driving in the Philippines and the western world it’s like day and night. When I will be an expat I’m not planning to own a car. Taxis are so cheap! I think it’s good to have a driver license but owning a car in my book it is not a must.

  29. Great topic…I will look into buying a car but I know your right about all the reasons not to get a car. I am 67 years old and I might hire a driver.

  30. Iive on the island of Bohol. The immigration office is 3 hours away from me in Panglao. The only means of transportation there is by bus or van. Have you ever had to ride in one? That is why I bought a car. I added a front and rear camera

  31. Same here in Thailand..I used grab because it’s easy and no worries like you said..

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