So as my regular readers know I go to the Philippines often my ex wife is from there. This time i decided to go to Baguio Philippines a town that I’ve never been to in Philippines before. It’s located in the northern part of the country 5100 feet above sea level, in the cordillera mountains. The climate is different then where i most often go in Philippines, Cebu City. It averages 59 to 79f and rains a lot. So cold as shit for this journalist! This trip was to be a true affirmation the American trucker in a foreign country. I wanted to embed myself with the locals in the true Gonzo style of writing to get the real story.
I wanted to live like the typical person from Baguio. I wanted to learn about the truckers, and people of Baguio. The trip up to Baguio was a five hour drive in a Toyota pickup. The road was paved, and wound through many little towns, and it was a toll road. It was 12 midnight when we left Manila so very little traffic, and mostly just truckers on the road. It was a steady climb up the mountain, and if you have seen how people drive over there oh brother. It’s called combat driving very few rules as far as I can see. I have seen a few truck stops on the way up, and they look just like truck stops in the USA. The truckers were the same as here. They talked about how fast, and nice there trucks were. We stopped for breakfast at a little roadside truck stop. I ate some pork dishes with rice, and a beef soup. Baguio unlike most parts of the Philippines is loaded with farms. So all fresh vegetables, and good beef. So there were a lot of produce haulers there. After that we headed up the mountain to Baguio, and the little room i was staying in. Unlike many foreigners in philippines i dont stay in hotels i stay with the people at their house. Im a gonzo journalist i prefer to get the real story, and you can’t do that in a resort.
Baguio is called the summer capital of the Philippines because of the weather, and tourists. But i have only seen 3 white dudes when i was there, and I the gonzotrucker. It was a beautiful city with the mountain backdrop and the parks. It’s very different then any other city in the Philippines. For one thing the people of Baguio are farmers, and farm owners so there is more money there. Baguio city has a population around 300,000 people. Most are Ilokano people of the mountains. Baguio has 8 colleges, and is the center of education for North Luzon. It has many markets and street vendors. Unlike other Philippines cities i’ve been to very few street beggars, and street children.
“The region around Baguio was first settled primarily by the Ibaloi’s and the kankanaey’s. In the nearby town of La Trinidad, Benguet, Spaniards established a commandant or military garrison, although Kafagway, as Baguio was once known, was barely touched. In 1901 Japanese and Filipino workers hired by the Americans built Kennon Road, the first road directly connecting Kafagway with the lowlands of Pangasinan. Before this, the only road to Kafagway was Naguilian Road. On September 1, 1909 Baguio was declared a chartered city. The famous American architect Daniel Burnham, one of the earliest successful modern city planners, laid a meticulous plan for the city in 1904. His plan was, nevertheless, realized only to a small extent, primarily due to the growth of the city well beyond its initial planned population of 25,000 people. The Americans earlier declared Baguio the Summer Capital of the Philippines on July 1, 1903 and The American Residence as the residence of the American governor-general to escape Manila’s summer heat. They further developed Baguio, building parks and public structures such as Wright Park in honor of Governor General Luke E. Wright, Burnham Park in honor of Baguio city planner Daniel Burnham, Governor Pack Road, and Session Road.” Quote from Wikipedia.
Truckers And License requirements
Truckers in the Philippines earn an average of seven us dollars a day. They not only drive but load, and unload as well as work on their trucks. They drive all types of trucks from old Cabovers to lorry trucks. They mostly haul containers, flatbeds, and tankers. Fuel in the Philippines cost 45 pesos per liter so that comes out to about $4 dollars a gallon same as the USA. Requirements for a license are as follows
| 1. Must be at least eighteen (18) years old.|
2. Must be physically and mentally fit.
3. Must not be a drug user or alcoholic.
4. Must be able to read and write in Filipino or English.
5. Must be clean, neat and presentable.
| 1. Duly accomplished Application Form for Driver’s License.|
2. Valid Student Permit (at least five (5) months old / NP – 4 mos. Old).
3. Medical Certificate (from an LTO accredited or Government Physician) or valid AFP/PNP organic personnel ID.
|4. Negative Drug Test result (from DOH accredited drug testing center)|
|5. Taxpayer’s Identification Number (TIN).|
|— NBI, Police or Court Clearance or Certificate from Commanding Officer, if a military personnel.|
|7. Must have passed the written and practical examination.|
|Fees and Charges :License Fee Php. 240.00|
|Computer Fee 52.80|
|TOTAL 292.80Application Fee Php. 25.00|
|Computer Fee 52.80|
| TOTAL 77.80|
Most of the truckers are company drivers because they can’t afford to buy a truck. A truck in the Philippines can cost $8000 usd to $15,000 usd. The Philippines does not have too many options for leasing or buying a truck on a loan. The country does not use credit scores like we do. There you will need to have a long standing bank account, and 50% down plus collateral to get a loan. The fastest i’ve seen any of them drive is around 50 mph. They drive all over the road, and pass on curves and hills. They just beep their horn, and you are required by law to get out of their way!! Oh how i wish that was the way here. Philippines truckers are just like us in most ways. They curse, and chase wild women when they’re not over worked and under paid! “Just like us”. One difference i have seen them use spotters, and there is two drivers per truck mostly due to the fact they load, and unload their trucks. The truckers of the world are the same. I did not see any women truckers in the philippines im sure there has to be some. I will research this, and get back with you on it. I just ask some friends there and they tell me in metro manila there are a few women truckers. Also some of the busses are driven by women. I will keep researching this. Lane splitting is ok there, hell use any lane you want there.
Regulations for truckers
Unlike the usa, uk, and europe the philippines has few regulations that are diffrent then passenger cars. http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra1964/ra_4136_1964.html
They have toll roads, and radar speed traps with tickets to be given out. At the entrance to the toll road was a sign reading overweight, and overloaded truck rules will be enforced!
Section 48. Reckless driving. – No person shall operate a motor
vehicle on any highway recklessly or without reasonable caution considering the
width, traffic, grades, crossing, curvatures, visibility and other conditions of
the highway and the conditions of the atmosphere and weather, or so as to
endanger the property or the safety or rights of any person or so as to cause
excessive or unreasonable damage to the highway
I put this in here because this is funny, everybody there drives just like this. That is from an accutual philippine driving manual!!! All of the regulations are they at that link. You can read it, and understand it in 3 hours lol. In 3 hours here you just get stated on all the regulations.
E. Violations relative to weights and load limits.
|37||Load extending beyond projected width without permit||200.00||Driver|
|38||a. Operating MV with wheel axle, or axle group loads in excess of the limits in Sec. 9, RA 4136 or any regulation without permit.||P 150.00||Driver|
|b. Operating MV with total weight of cargo carrying device on passenger truck including cargo exceeding 100 kilos.||P 150.00||Driver|
|c. Allowing more passengers and/or more freight or cargo in his vehicle more than the registered carrying capacity.||P 150.00||Driver (If PUV, imposed upon Conductor)|
|d. Baggage or freight carried on top of truck exceeds 20 kilos per sq. meter and not distributed in such a manner as not to endanger the passenger or stability of the truck.||P 150.00||Driver/Conductor|
So what did I learn? Philippins truckers are the same as all truckers of the world. Most of this information was gathered at a drinking party where i met a one eyed, one armed truck driver who claimed to have one ball but I never confirmed that!!! We spent all night drinking, and talking while playing poker “he took most of my money” but i got the story! After drinking until five am we blacked out, and I woke up in a chicken coop. What a night that was. If someone can tell me what happened it would help me?
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