Car Rental in Manila
This information is correct as of June 2015.
Where to rent a car in Manila
Somehow, Manila has many international and local car rental companies under its wing. For a city with inhabitants that are highly reliant on public transportation and their private vehicles, it surely comes as a surprise that the city is home to even international car rental companies, who offer their services and deals. Most of the local car rental companies offer vans and family vehicles – and these types are probably the only cars that are for rent. It is because that if a local 'rents' a car here, this almost automatically means that he or she is renting the vehicle primarily because he is travelling outside the city on an excursion or a trip to a province or so – mainly on leisure – and with a group that would probably not fit his or her personal vehicle (or if no relatives are willing to lend their vehicles). Even businessmen who usually rent out cars when they are on field work, are offered company vehicles, or even personal vehicles (of their employers) at their disposal here. Ultimately, even tourists (first-time tourists or even those who visits Manila a lot) get around using the Metro Rail Transit and Light Rail Transit (1 and 2) lines, cabs, and the jeepneys – because really, renting cars is like eating sushi with banana ketchup. (It is just odd here.)
However, if travellers do insist on renting cars and driving at their own phase, Manila has quite several car rental companies that travellers may utilise for the purpose. These companies include Avis, Sixt, Grand Frix, Manila Rent a Car, Avalon, National Car Rental, Nissan Rent-a-car, Hertz, and others. Be prepared to pay for the hefty fees, along with bond requirements or 'down payment', before the car rental company releases the vehicle and its papers to the renting party. Further, the renting party should have valid identification documents, driver's license, and international driving permits (especially if renting through the bigger car rental companies; otherwise, if applicable), and should be of legal driving age. 'Student' drivers in the Philippines may drive as young as 16 years old, although the legal age for professional drivers to get a driver's license in the country is 18.
What to expect when renting a car from Manila
Manila is relatively small for a capital city, but is an undeniably dense place that is filled with people and therefore, with commuters. Road rules and regulations are like 'suggestions' and not 'rules' here, that using a non U-Turn slot to go and do an illegal U-Turn is almost always tolerable. Jaywalkers and pedestrians hailing jeepneys, buses, shuttles, and tricycles (tricycles on bigger roads) can be found everywhere – and travellers who are driving are advised to simply use the inner lanes to avoid them. Road width varies here from 4-4 changing into 2-2 (abruptly) for most areas, so watch out. Driving is on the left-hand side, overtaking is on the left as well, while during intersections, the innermost lane can be used for (but sometimes the lane used for slower vehicles on the right are used for overtaking too!) crossing or doing a U-turn. Do not be surprised if several road warriors will run the yellow or the red lights, especially at night when there are fewer vehicles, but do not try to do this as it can pose danger to the pedestrians. Traffic police can be found everywhere; mean drivers are everywhere too. And for the finale – traffic congestion is a norm from 8 in the morning up until 9 or 10 in the evening.
Getting to your destination
Although Manila is a driving disaster, what is great about it is it is connected to many provinces that can be visited and enjoyed. Drive your way to the Philippines' magic, in just a couple of hours.
Hot springs and a mountain to trek – that is what makes Laguna. Discover rural living in the areas of San Pablo, and go forth to Pansol and bathe in the beautiful springs there. Try and trek the Mount Banahaw, too.
Reach Laguna by going through the Quezon Boulevard in Manila towards the Metro Manila Skyway connecting to the South Luzon Expressway/Star Tollways, taking the exit at San Pablo. Tolls ahead, and don't be surprised to pass through a number of toll plazas.
Want to visit an underrated but beautiful black sand beach minus the long travel time and the flock of tourists? Visit Atimonan! Atimonan is a township/city in the Province of Quezon, where travellers may enjoy nice and warm Pacific waters. From Atimonan, travellers may visit the nearby islands of Patnanungan, Jomalig, and Polillo through the Lamon Bay and the Polillo Strait.
From Manila, take Quezon Boulevard and on to the Metro Manila Skyway, R-3, Pan-Philippine Highway/AH26, and Candelaria Bypass Road to Pan-Philippine Highway/AH26 towards Atimonan.
A historical place with some of the best Hispanic-Filipino food finds, Malolos is one of the most accessible capital cities in the area. Take a side trip in Santa Maria too – and have some chicharon.
Reach Malolos by taking Rizal Avenue towards Dimasalang Road and all the way to Andres Bonifacio Avenue, passing by La Loma to the North Luzon Expressway. Continue through the expressway, and exit at the Tabang exit. Go through the MacArthur Highway/Manila North Road to reach Malolos.