Driving, as I realized, is a very important skill a person can learn through practice. Like in any other skills, it also starts from zero to little knowledge until one becomes a professional.
Especially in the Philippines setting, where public transportation such as buses or jeepneys control most of the roads, learning how to drive isn’t a necessity. Unless, there’s a private car in the family or that you wanted to own one, it is only then that it becomes a priority.
In my case, I remember my father taught me the basics of driving back in my college years. It was also kind of our bonding moment. However, after I graduate it didn’t become a priority for me. Driving in big cities didn’t give me the same excitement as I know others would feel. For me, I would rather be comfortably sitting in a train or bus than driving in traffic.
Learn to Drive
But now, I feel old enough to appreciate it. Ha! The main reasons why I wanted to pursue driving are because one, in small towns like where I live, it’s more convenient to drive a car. Two, well, we don’t know but maybe years from now, if I think that I will need a car, I’ll buy my own. And who’ll be the driver of my future car but myself? Three, it’s empowering for women if they know how to drive and I want to be like that woman- who doesn’t wait for a guy to drive her- who in other words, depends on other people. In my direct family, for example, all women don’t drive. So, I want to be someone who can or hopefully will inspire them to learn too.
First Step: Driving Lessons
To make this plan a reality, I first needed to learn how to drive. So, I enrolled myself to a driving school in our town for a 10-hour driving course. I chose to drive a manual over an automatic because as I’ve heard, once I learn how to drive a manual, it’ll be easier for me to drive an automatic. The total fee cost 6,000 PHP.
Before the actual driving part, I attended a two-hour orientation in which I was taught the parts of the car, how to drive a car in theory and the rules & signages I need to obey on the roads.
Thereafter, when I have free time, I do two-hour actual driving lessons. At first, I was taught how to start the engine, drive forward and reverse and others. As I became more confident with it, they gave me more challenges until I was able to drive on the main road. I found it stressful to drive particularly that I have to consider and remember a lot. Ha! After the lessons, I told my instructor how I appreciated it more to be a passenger than to be the driver.
I drove from one city to another for almost an hour. After that class, I was mentally exhausted. I felt tired like the same level when I studied for a test. =)
As I am writing this post, I still have a couple of hours remaining to complete my course. I was told, my next driving goals will be parking and improving my driving skills in intersections.
Second Step: Driver’s License/ Student Permit
Before I was allowed to drive on the highways, I needed to get a driver’s license/ student permit first. I actually had a student permit before but since it was ages ago, even before I worked abroad, I needed to get a new one and start new.
Qualifications & Requirements for Student Permit
One requirement for a Student Permit is a medical certificate. It was when that my hearing and eyesight were tested. For hearing, I had to wear a headset and listen to which ear would I hear the sound from. For eyesight, I told them I wear eyeglasses. They checked me for color blindness which luckily, I’m not.
The next step was to fill out an application form, wait for picture taking followed by payment of fees. Finally, I got my student permit, in a receipt form.
It took me two hours to process everything but I think it could be less.
Student Permit to Non-Professional Driver’s License
My next step will be to convert my SP to Non-prof driver’s license after 30 days. It will also be in this stage that I will have to take a written test and a practical driving test. Only if I will pass on both tests, that I will be approved for Non-prof.
Check the LTO’s website HERE.
Wish me luck. =)
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