We Are Finally Going to Buy a Vehicle in the Philippines

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My asawa and I have lived in the Philippines since our retirement to “paradise” for over five years without owning our own means of transportation. We are finally going to buy a vehicle in the Philippines this coming November when I cash in a retirement investment. Regular readers of Philippines Plus will know that I’ve always advocated the use of public transportation such as jeepneys and tricycles. What has prompted this shift in policy?

Overloaded jeepney at San Miguel, Jordan, Guimaras

With our upcoming construction on our new property due to begin in November, it has made it more practical at this point to purchase a vehicle.  The home we’re building on our lot is located on a fairly bumpy private road that becomes very difficult to navigate during the rainy season. We have been advised by an Australian that has a farm nearby that it would be wise to purchase a four-wheel drive vehicle.

We were going to buy a truck anyway, since it would help in hauling construction materials to the new job site. Plus, my wife and I both prefer a truck; we owned one in America for years.

Our new location is also about 25 minutes from the provincial hospital in Guimaras and is not near any public transportation. With my recent health problems, such as my kidney stone attack, it would be prudent to have a reliable vehicle on hand.

My asawa has wanted us to buy a truck ever since we moved here. But we were not able to pay cash at the time and I refused to buy it on credit. As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of jeepneys, which run to the nearby Jordan Wharf where we catch a pump boat to Iloilo City, and a ton of tricycles that afford cheap transportation.

Trikes and jeepneys galore at the New Site Market in San Miguel, Jordan, Guimaras

A jeepney ride to the Jordan Dock only cost 13 pesos from our location. A tricycle can cost 7-10 pesos depending how many passengers are on board. Why in the world did we need to own a vehicle? We didn’t.

I know of some expats that felt the need to own a large SUV and be saddled with monthly payments. I felt no need for that. I’m a simple man leading a simple life in the Philippines as an American expat. If I wanted a Western lifestyle, I would have stayed in America.

What kind of truck are we looking to buy?  Aside from a Dodge Ram pick-up, we’ve only owned Chevrolet Colorado’s. I’m bothered, however, by the recent GM scandal in which they held off on issuing recalls on some of their vehicles, but I see that the 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 are listed as very reliable trucks.

With apologies to the Tom Cat, who is a Ford Ranger man (he’s also a vegetarian, so there you go), we will probably not be purchasing any Ford products. I grew up in a Chevy family where my Dad owned a 1966 Chevelle SS 396 that was pimped out with chrome reverse rims and the latest 8-track deck with a rocking Steppenwolf tape. That car could scoot down the road faster than Gov. Chris Christie heading to a buffet.

There are Chevrolet dealers in nearby Iloilo City and my wife and are both partial to a Chevy Colorado with an Oceanic Blue paint job that we saw on display at SM City several months. But I’ll keep an open mind (aside from the Ford’s) and see what kind of choices we have in the big city. We were quoted a price of 1.4 million pesos, 32,000 US Dollars, on the sporty Colorado but have gotten an offer from another dealer for 1.2, 27,500 USD.

My wife converted her U.S. Driver’s License last year at the Land Transportation Office to a Philippine license. My American license has expired and if I wanted to obtain one here, I would have to take a written and driving exam.

I would never drive in Iloilo but would be able to roam the streets of Guimaras, albeit I would be dodging jeepneys and tricycles that love to stop in the middle of the road to load or unload passengers without warning. It could be a test of my limited patience.

So how about you? Are you an expat in the Philippines that already owns a vehicle? Or do you rely on public transportation like we have for the past five years? What’s your take on this?

Author: The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO" aka "THE CRUSTY OLD EXPAT." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 19 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people in the last two years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.

24 thoughts on “We Are Finally Going to Buy a Vehicle in the Philippines

  1. Sounds like you’ve thought it out well Dave, especially with your new location. I’ll stick with public transport myself for now, but in your shoes would likely do the same. Hope all is well in paradise 🙂

    1. Aside from a 13 hour brownout yesterday, Rease, all is well.

      If I was in your location I definitely would stick with public transportation, Rease. You have access to jeepneys and taxis, if need be for emergency, and you are close to the main shopping areas and hospitals. If we were still in Iloilo we would not be buying a vehicle…period.

        1. You might be right, Rease. 14 frickin’ hours yesterday, Wednesday. But here’s the kicker: Melinda’s house, about a 5-minute trike ride away, isn’t affected by the brownout. They are zoned for a business in that area. Talk about irony. Can’t go there, however, to work on the website since they do not internet service, plus the house is a brick oven, much like Savannah.

  2. I bought an L300 back in 2005 for $12000.00 because the wife wanted a veh that the whole tribe could get into if we took a trip around the island. Has worked out pretty good, can raise back side seats and use for hauling stuff in back. Did not want expensive veh in Philippines because had experience back in late sixty when had new 69 Mustang and had nothing but problems do to roads and gas supply most was water. Even though it only cost $ 1800.00 from Detroit. I had to order parts from USA to keep running, even though Ford had plant in Manila making LTD’s. I think if you buy an American name car in the Philippines and built in Asia it is not built to the same standards as in the states. Another reason I did not want expensive car is because when driving around you are more likely to get high jacket or stolen. Who wants to go to jail for a cheap veh. I have parked my car in town to do shopping and come out to find the paint had been scraped or dented because most people there doesn’t care about other peoples property. I have had to have it painted twice since buying it. Once was because nephew took it without permission and wrecked it on the way to town and because of weather, even though it is kept in carport, every scratch turns into rust. Good luck on keeping your veh looking new the first trip to town and parking it. Oh and when picking up your new car buy an extra set of side mirrors because teeners like looking at their selves. Have had to replace mine from being twisted around so much so they could see their face.

    1. I am sure the new vehicle will get dinged up very quickly, George, and there is very little parking in the main shopping areas of our island. I will NOT be taking it on the ferry to Iloilo City since I do not want to handle the stress of driving in that big city. We will use the truck mainly to haul construction material to our new site, excursion to different places on Guimaras that we have never been to, trips to the beach and to Jordan Wharf in Guimaras where we can park it to catch the pump boat to Iloilo.

  3. Dave,
    Just like you we will probably get a truck sometime next year. We will probably get a Ford Ranger though. I just like the look of them and they have a dealer right here in town. The price is about 1.5mp and it is also diesel. I believe the Colorado is the only Chevy truck sold here. I also want a cap for the bed to. The Toyota and Mitsubishi trucks look alright too. I know you said you don’t want drive in Iloilo, but you can use the truck to do your monthly shopping at SM. Being able to haul things is the reason I want a truck. One think I won’t do is get it on credit where you have to give post dated checks for the amount of payments and your payments are 800usd per month like one guy I saw online Who now is unable to make the payments and will be repossed.

    1. Well, Papa Duck, I’m not a young guy like you and don’t want to deal with driving in Iloilo. But as I noted in my remark to George, we will have plenty of excuses to drive around Guimaras.

      Nope, cash only, that’s the only way we roll.

      1. Dave,
        Don’t blame you on that one. Traffic is not fun to drive in. I’m going to give it a try. We are close to the Star Tollway which is expressway driving and we can get to a lot of places and not have to deal with a lot of the traffic craziness. Sorry to hear about the long brownout. I know it can get frustrating after a while. Thank God its rainy season and not as hot. Hopefully the cable will be repaired soon, but I would n’t hold your breath.

        1. I might not even get my license, Papa Duck and let Melinda do all the driving. She got her first driver’s license in American at the age of 40. God Bless those ladies at the Secretary of State Driver’s License Dept. in Springfield, IL, for staying overtime an hour and letting Melinda finish her written exam, which she passed with flying colors. Only took her two years to get her license as her bonehead of a husband gave up on driving lessons after she backed up our truck into a cornfield outside of town and smashed down a few stalks.

          Thank God for her Ate Lourdes, her Filipina buddy, who gave her lessons in the big city to finish her training and which helped her to pass the driving part on the first try, also.

  4. Hey Dave, welcome to the ranks of the mobile (or not mobile depending on the traffic). We bought my Brother in Law’s Toyota Vios. Its nickname is bumpy from all the dents. I drive all the time here in Manila and have driven all over Luzon. The traffic here (and city traffic is much different then in the province) is really not that bad, you just have to read the intent of the other driver. The dents in our car comes from trying to park in the crazy small drive ways and such. IMHO if you are gonna get a truck JUST for the house construction you will find that (at least here in Manila) the buildings suppliers deliver to the job site. Here is a hint,,,almost joking,,I am not gonna fix the dents on the car,,,,looks like I am to poor to kidnap lololol.

    1. Scott H, you are an Iraqi War Veteran, and I salute you for that. The only place I served in the military was at Whiteman AFB in Sedalia, Mo., during the Vietnam War era. I was in the military police but there is no frickin’ way I would drive in Manila. You are one tough guy.

      Yes, Cousin Emma’s hollow block factory will deliver our hollow blocks, concrete and sand. And I’m sure who ever we get our roof from will deliver that, too. The truck will be used to make pan de sal runs for the workers and to pick up small items from our local hardware stores.

      1. Don’t forget the ice,,,,,,,,,,,,,I swear ice added 10% to the cost of the house. Since your Brother in Law is the Forman it might be a bit different. But for us, we supplied the water and ice for the water. They supplied their own food but cooked it over coco lumber fires lolol. We did make or buy them lunch on special occasions. We also (the asawa that is) ran the payroll ourselves and handed the pay to each worker. In fact it is customary to give advances to each worker who asks for it (and since almost each one wants it) so basically there are two paydays a week. There are just to many scare stories of handing the payroll to the forman and he either takes a portion out or absconds with the whole thing. I am sure as you get closer I will have more scare stories for ya lololol.

        1. We will have water, Scott h, good point. The crew will provide their own lunches, but we will furnish pan de sal and some sort of liquid refreshment (not Red Horse) for the morning and afternoon , merienda.

          I will leave it up to the asawa as to who handles the payroll. I probably think she will supervise the monies and distribute them to Joery, our brother,-in-law foreman, to hand out. We can trust our brother-in-law 100% but the wife will take care of the book work on it. But it’s not up to me. I’m staying out of the whole process as much as possible and don’t plan to get involved in the details. You know the old saying, “ignorance is bliss.” I plan to be really blissful. 😉

          I’m not keen on advances. When our CR and new roof were constructed at “The Compound,”I’m pretty sure there weren’t any advances handed out. Our contractor/architect ran a tight ship.

  5. Hi Dave
    I just bought a old jeep.I put new tires on it and had seats
    re-done.Why I would not buy new? Ok for one thing its hard to
    drive over 30 miles or over here in Palawan so many cars tri
    etc and I cant tell you how many times little kids have climbed on my car ma and pa saying nothing,even had a few men
    eating there dinner with plates on my hood haha!If you buy new driving down that bad muddy road are going to wash your
    new car everyday?If for some reason you had to go back and live
    in the states it would be very hard to sell a new car not to
    many with that much money and that is a dam lot of money haha
    Think About it

    1. Bob, you back in the PH now? My wife has a brother over in Palawan.
      Well, I’m sure the truck will have to be washed a lot, no doubt about that. When we take it to our local market, I will be sitting inside and discouraging anyone from using the truck for a dinner table or the side mirrors for grooming purposes, as George mentioned. Take care.

  6. well that’s practical choice dave…it is a necessity on you and your family to own a vehicle…for your convenience also…good day…take care

  7. Hey Dave I have a suggestion why don’t you and who ever else lives along the road grow a few veggies in your yard and tell the mayor you need a farm to market road to get your veggies to market. The mayor makes out and the home owners make out with road maintained by city.

    1. Hi, George, let me try this again about 20 hours later as another 14 hour brownout hit as I was typing my reply.
      Not a bad idea but since we are on a private road and not a public road we do not have to obtain any permits when we build our new home. I have an Aussie friend down the road who has done extensive new building projects and we do not have to obtain any permits. The road is bumpy at times but I think having the road stay private would be more of a benefit to us at this time. As far as permits go, we have another Aussie friend that just built a new house on a main road. His house was built without permits which he is now obtaining. His fine for not obtaining a permit? 181 US Dollars.

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