Renting a car in the Philippines is still difficult. There are three major problems. The first problem is to find a car rental company. The big ones like Hertz, Avis or Europcar have only few locations and they are all in the mega-cities.
There are lots of small companies in Metro Manila, Cebu City, Davao and Angeles City. But their service and the condition of their vehicles are not very trustworthy. They can be found in the classified ads of the local newspapers.
Problem number two is that you have to bring back the car to your point of departure. Because of the over 7000 islands of the Philippines, you cannot rent a car in Manila and give it back in Davao. The costs of returning the car would be much too high.
And when you found a car, problem number three will hit you. You will encounter a completely new style of driving and very strange traffic rules. Read our "Driving in the Philippines – a Beginner’s Guide".
If you plan to do "Island Hopping" then we rather recommend to rent a motorbike on each island you visit. The cheap 125ccm bikes are easy to drive and you can do so with any foreign driver license.
All 3 companies offer chauffeur driven cars and self-driving. Some categories are only available as "chauffeur driven".
If you have no driving experience in the Philippines, a chauffeur driven car might be a good idea to prevent stress. A chauffeur not only is used to the somehow strange traffic rules, he also knows routes and places.
Booking on-line and paying at booking time is less expensive than on-site booking. Some companies offer up to 20% discount in some locations.
If you drive yourself, you will enjoy a new driving experience and freedom. You won't have to feed and lodge a driver. But then you absolutely have to acquire good maps, a good navigation system or use your smart-phones navigator (e.g. Google Maps).
We are using the map app from Ulmon on our smartphones and tablets. You can use them without being connected to the Internet.
Priority? What priority?
There is no unique or uniform traffic law or traffic code. The best resource is: Land Transportation & Traffic Code (RA 4136, 1964)
Sometimes very dense traffic in cities
We strongly recommend to read the LTO - TRAFFIC VIOLATION AND ADMINISTRATIVE FEES AND CHARGES.
We hesitated to include this CCTV video clip because the clip contains heavy injury of 3 people.
We decided to show it to you, because such accidents happen every day in the Philippines.
This video had been recorded by a fixed police camera near Tarlac City on Christmas last year (2016).
Even if you are a really cautious driver, such accidents can hit you.
When watching this video you see a motorbike with 3 passengers, a kid, the driver and a 3rd person.
Keep an eye on all the persons not implicated in the accident. Only few people in the Philippines know about FIRST AID.