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?

12 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. You sure have had a lot of black outs lately! Maybe you shoulda stayed in Iloilo 🙂

  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.

  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. 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.

  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. 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.

  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
    Bob

  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. OK, OK enough about the truck. I want to know where your going to find a new 8 track player for it!!

    1. Dave,
      You could probably find an old 8 track in one of the stores here lol.

  8. 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.

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