have just completed a 600km journey on a failippine National Highway (Manila to Matnog). Here’s what I saw/experienced:
(Please bear in mind this is a NATIONAL HIGHWAY)
- Vehicles overtaking around bends (vertical and horizontal). Level of anticipation = NIL: the other driver will move out of my way.
- On four occasions I had to stop on my side of the road, in order that an oncoming overtaking vehicle could complete their overtake. On one occasion, after slowing down, I had to take to the soft verge. All incidents were made safe due to my anticipation.
- I endeavoured to keep up with the flow of traffic, but failed. I am no slouch when it comes to driving, with acknowledged racecraft and roadcraft experience at instructor level. And I drive a very swift car.
- The average failippino has no concept of any discipline, mechanical sympathy, vehicle dynamics, or thought to what can reasonably be expected to happen when operating a vehicle. Theirs is an I’m holier-than-thou, self-rightousness, that just amplifies what we here at PFB have pinpointed in the Failippine psyche. The true belief in theur mind that nobody else exists, or if they do they are of lesser importance. So get the fuck outta my way, I have decided to (insert foolhardy banzai manoeuvre here)
- What National Highway has a basketball hoop on the pavement, facing the road, where the road is the court? That got my attention, ffs!!
- Two car head on, one car side on, and four motorcycle collisions.
- Three trikes and three motorcycles forced off the road by overtaking vehicles. All clearly in view…
- On more than ten occasions – 30mins to an hour after being overtaken – I would arrive at a tailback. All the vehicles that had frantically tried to get ahead and barrel into the distance at ridiculously insane speeds were there in front, about three seconds to the better. J
- Some vehicles (mainly belching two-stroke oil or red diesel) were incapable of exceeding 30kph and blocked the road for many kilometers.
- Some road surfaces were so badly maintained/scarred that to exceed 30kph would cause damage to your vehicle. You had to pick the least damaging route through.
- Some roads, where it would have been reasonable to overtake, one lane was blocked to dry out the rice harvest.
- I drove as I would do in the UK and at the swiftest safe speed.
- My fastest speed, when sight lines allowed, was 120kph. Most of the time my speeds were below 100kph due to the close proximity of houses, poor road surface, etc. The only road that was excellent and could allow higher average speeds was Manila south super. But that has speed cameras, apparently.
Remember the above is over 600kph of National Highway. In a normal country this would take say 7-9 hours. My journey time? Fifteen hours!! Not much of it pleasant….Published in