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I have been in Manila a number of times. Actually it seems rather restful compared to some places. Most of the time is spent in traffic that moves slower than walking. Of course I do not do the driving but our Filipino driver seems to have endless patience.
I am not sure if others have mentioned it but the conditions of the roads is surely a factor in driving here in the mountainous areas and off the national highways. East of Lopez on the national highway to Legaspi there are about 100 k of broken pavement with potholes that could easily disable your vehicle. There are no specific warnings, no barriers, or lights at night. It is like a testing ground for Humvees.
I am surprised there are not more accidents. I have seen less road rage here than in places like Toronto when there is bad traffic. Another interesting aspect of the situation at least here in Legaspi is that the use of sirens is much less common than I have experienced in Canadian cities and I imagine it is also true of the US. Manila may be different.
It is not forbidden for a foreigner to drive in Manila. I drive here all the time and after a few days you get use to it. Given the standard of driving there are surprisingly few accidents, you always have to be alert to the unusual. In Manila a driver would cost you more than Ps3000, going rate is about Ps7,000 and sure somebody is going to come back and say they pay a lot less, like everything here its negotiable, what else is provided and what you expect. It will though cost you more because every time you are out the driver needs feeding etc. I gave up with drivers because, I feel safer driving myself, most experienced professional drivers I have come across are not good drivers, just look at the bus, truck and jeepney drivers, and at least I have been taught to drive and had to pass a test before getting a license. However, I do not like to drive in the rural areas at night for the reasons mentioned below. Driving in Manila or the highway is okay with a bit of extra caution.