Monthly Archives: March 2015

Road Hazards Unique to the Philippines


We’ve all seen that pink MMDA sign which says “Bawal Tumawid May Namatay Na Dito.”  It’s funny in a way and would seem to be an indication that a simple “No Crossing” or “Bawal Tumawid Dito” sign doesn’t do the trick anymore. The MMDA had to phrase their billboard in a way that makes people more aware of the dangers of jaywalking. Or simply because Pinoys are simply hard-headed and that’s the reason why it’s common to see a “Bawal Tumawid” sign coupled with a wire mesh.

And while crossing on dangerous portions of the road is an obvious hazard to both drivers and pedestrians, it’s not really unique to the Philippines as heard-headed citizens are everywhere (save for Singapore perhaps). Here’s a list of road hazards that we can (proudly?) say is unique to the Philippines:

Jeeps are a symbol of the Philippines and they’ve been called the king of the roads. Unfortunately, the king doesn’t really care much about turn signals, No Loading/ Unloading zones, or—if you’ve ever ridden a “Patok” jeep—your ear drums. If you’ve been living in the Philippines for a decent amount of time, you’ve probably ridden a jeep driven by a driver who only knows two speeds—super fast that would make Schumacher blush, or super slow which most of the time coincides with when you’re late and/ or when it’s time for the said driver to fill up at the gas station (and he’ll be paying with coins).

Commuters who ride jeepneys are also faced with various dangers while on the road, including “holdapers” and “snatchers.” I’ve had the personal experience of riding a jeep and see a snatcher grab the necklace of a lady passenger. Oh yeah it was scary, but you probably have your own nightmare story of encountering these bad guys while riding a jeep.

There’s a reason why tricycles are found almost everywhere here in the Philippines. They’re rugged enough to take on the dirt roads and have a small capacity so they get filled up quickly. Their ideal for short distances and are even sturdy enough for really long ones). However, they can become a hazard to other motorists, especially when they trudge along major roads and highways—these don’t exactly use power engines. If a car or bus behind a slow-moving trike tries to overtake and then meets oncoming traffic, an accident might happen.

In 2011, the DILG ordered local governments to enforce bans of tricycles and pedicabs from national roads, but you still see tricycles on main highways these days. Better make sure that you have comprehensive car insurance should you be unlucky and get into an accident caused by a slow-moving tricycle.

Meet the cousin of the tricycle, the kuliglig. Kuligligs are farm tractors that are sometimes used to pull a trailer that carries passengers and other load. Kuligligs are not just found in the provinces where farms are, there also kuliglig versions that ply the streets of Manila. Kuligligs are actually banned in the capital city. Late on, authorities compromised and banned them on national roads instead. You might have seen news videos of police crackdown on kuligligs in Manila.

Major Flooding and Storms
Ok, so this one is not so unique to the Philippines as more cities around the world have to grapple with floods thanks to climate change. Pinoys though, have a different way of dealing with flooding year after year—we just grin and bear it, while helping out others who were affected by it of course.

“Na-Ondoy” (which means your car or house got flooded by typhoon Ondoy) entered the Pinoy lexicon when that tropical storm caused major flooding in many parts of the metro in 2009. Typhoon Yolanda was another huge storm that laid waste many cities in the Visayas region, most notably Tacloban in Leyte. These two tragedies triggered massive humanitarian aid efforts across the country.

There’s a lot of dangers on the road whether you’re driving on the roads of the Philippines, the Autobahn in Germany, or on the streets of Russia where you can be victimized by scammers who try to pin you down on hitting a pedestrian charges (have you seen those crazy dash cam videos?). The takeaway message is to drive smartly and safely and to always be prepared. Make the necessary routine checks before you hit the road and always ensure your car insurance is updated and comprehensive.

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