Pinoy Driver

A guide to PH navigation: Navigating through the cramped streets and roads of the Philippines


Driving in the Philippines could be adventurous and challenging at the same time. This is a fact that every Filipino driver knows and has experienced. If you are a driver who’s still figuring out how to navigate your way through the busy streets of Metro Manila, especially in Makati and Marikina areas where one-way routes are designed like a maze, then here are tips to help you sharpen your navigation skills.

Use landmarks


This is probably the most common tricks and there’s a reason why it is the most common: it is very effective! Before you make turns look for a landmarks such as banks, shops, restaurants, buildings, a statue, etc. It is easier to go to and from your destination if you keep an eye out for certain landmarks.

Let the sun be your guide


The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. If you have any idea what time it is you can measure and judge your direction from the sun’s position. This trick is most effective about an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset as it’s easiest to gauge the sun’s position.

Consult Google maps


Whether you are navigating through city or country areas Google has it all mapped out for you. Thanks to its interactive maps and satellite images navigation is made easier. You’ll really never get lost as you go to new places and old favorites using this useful tool! (Google Maps)

Google Maps app has voice-guided navigation so that you can stay focused on the road especially when you are driving by yourself so don’t forget to download the app on your smartphone or tablet, too.

GPS navigation

A GPS (Global Positioning System) can display the user’s position on the unit’s electronic map along with several possible routes.


Bear in mind that a car’s satellite navigation will have the maps preloaded but smartphones downloads the map using data plan. Be sure you have data plan or a pocket wifi if you want to use it using a smartphone, or else it won’t work. This is a disadvantage with fixed systems because the maps can become out-of-date quickly in newly developing areas.

Don’t hesitate to ask


Ask for directions as long as it is safe to pull over and do so. If you’re unsure where to go in a certain area, ask people in that area, especially PUV (public utility vehicle) drivers, e.g. tricycle drivers or jeepney drivers, as these people are very well versed with all sorts of routes in their mind.

Lookout for direction-giving road signs and road markers


If you’ve driven places here you’ve definitely encountered these type of signs. The NLEX (North Luzon Expressway) and SLEX (South Luzon Expressway) has many of these signs to guide you to your intended exit point. Other road signs tell you the direction and remaining distance to a certain place. E.g. “Sta Rita Exit 10 km ahead”.

Improve your route knowledge


Deliberately divert to your usual route when going to a familiar place. This will expand your knowledge about the area and your brain will eventually develop a mental map of the area. One advantage of this is that incase there is a roadblock caused by road maintenance or an accident, you can detour from your usual route with confidence when going to your destination.

Stay calm

Everybody gets lost from time-to-time — it’s normal, so relax and don’t panic. If you’ve been using the techniques above then you’ll most likely be able to backtrack, or you can always stop and ask someone. You now have potent strategies to use to get to your destination!

Carlos is a digital marketing and lead generation expert who has helped advocate driver education websites since 2012.

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Posted in Advice, Car

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