5 tips on how to survive driving in Makati City

Have you ever driven in the “country” that is Makati City?

Of the major cities in the Philippines, Makati has probably one of the most stringent traffic rules. A lot of drivers passing through this city’s streets have stories to share of finding themselves being at odds with the city’s (sometimes overzealous) traffic enforcers and ending up receiving a traffic citation ticket.

You can just imagine the headaches and hassles that Makati driving can bring to the life of a law abiding “Juan dela Cruz”.

Here are five driving tips that might save you from the long arm of the Makati law.

1. Know Where, When and How to Park.

Where? Streets that allow parking usually have parking slot pavement markings painted along its stretch. As a general rule, sidewalk curbs painted white are for general parking use, yellow curbs are usually reserved for business establishments, and red curbs are no-parking zones. Parking in front of fire hydrants is also a big no-no. Always check for Parking or No Parking signs or verify it with the city parking attendants.

When? Some streets allow extended parking only at certain times of the day. During business hours (usually from 7AM to 5PM), most street parking areas allow cars to be parked for a maximum of 3 hours. On the other hand, some streets offer free parking after 5PM. So it’s always good to check out the Parking Signs nearby.

How? There is a correct way to street park when parallel parking is allowed. Your car should generally face the same direction as that of the street lane’s traffic. If you’re caught parallel parking with your car facing traffic, then have some money ready because you’ll most likely end up claiming your towed car at the city pound (usually at Yakal Street).

To be on the safe side, it’s always best to park in a paid-parking lot.

2. Figure Out the “One Way” Labyrinth Riddle

This is what Makati is known for, the “One Way / Two Way” street riddle. Always read the street traffic direction signs usually found at both ends of a street, or at the corner of each intersection. Be aware that some streets permit two-way traffic on weekends or holidays.

3. Obey All Traffic Signs

If a sign says “No Right Turn on Red Signal” then do as it says. These are traffic “honey pots” where Makati’s MAPSA (the city’s traffic enforcement group) people make a heyday. You’ll find these traffic zealots usually ‘hiding’ around the corner, ready to spring to action to apprehend the unsuspecting driver.

4. Buckle Up. Seatbelts Save Lives (Among other things).

Buckling up not only saves lives, it also saves you from paying fines for not putting seat belts on. MAPSA people have eyes trained to watch for signs of ‘passenger seatbelt underutilization’.

5. Remember Your License Plate “Number or Color Code” Day.

This is one traffic rule that makes the city seem more like an autonomous country. Makati does not follow the usual National Capital Region (NCR) Vehicle Reduction Program schedule, otherwise known as the vehicle Number Coding Scheme.

Vehicles with plates ending in a certain number are not allowed on main roads on certain days. The number code days are:

Monday: Plates ending in 1 and 2
Tuesday: Plates ending in 3 and 4
Wednesday: Plates ending in 5 and 6
Thursday: Plates ending in 7 and 8
Friday: Plates ending in 9 and 0

Most NCR cities and municipalities enforce the ban on the following specified hours: 7AM to 10AM and from 3PM to 7PM. In Makati’s case, bans are enforced from 7AM to 7PM. So you better watch out.

The five survival tips above cover traffic regulations. How to survive while driving along with Manila’s general driving public is a different story.

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Related Blog Entries:
7 Ways to Avoid Road Rage – Part 1
7 Ways to Avoid Road Rage – Part 2