Safeguarding our health has become top priority while traveling in the “new normal”. While I’ve long been an advocate of reducing our carbon footprint by using a bicycle or taking mass transport when traveling, I’ve finally decided to take driving lessons to acquire new skills and expand my options when I travel. Aside from the convenience, driving your own wheels – whether it’s a motorcycle or four-wheeled vehicle – poses a lower health risk compared to riding public transportation. Even if I don’t my own vehicle yet, rentals are conveniently available across the country. Several small-island destinations in particular such as Siargao, Camiguin and Siquijor are even better off explored on your own scooter.
After getting a student’s permit from the Land Transportation Office, I enrolled in a car and motorcycle practical driving course at NC Tiger Driving School, which has LTO-accredited branches in Mandaue City and Danao City. The full course consists of sixteen hours total, divided into two-hour sessions over eight days: four days for car lessons and four days for motorcycle lessons. The school can advise you on the requirements for enrollment.
I took my driving lessons at their Mandaue branch, located at the North Reclamation Area (near the old North Bus Terminal). For my car driving lessons, I opted to learn how to drive automatic transmission only, although students may also request manual transmission (aka “stick shift”) too. I practiced driving in a Nissan Almera, modified with an additional brake on the front passenger side for the instructor.
The first session covered pre-trip check-up and steering basics. We began by driving around the parking lot first. It was my very first time behind the wheel, and was surprised to quickly find myself driving confidently around the enclosed property after a couple of rounds. Most students spend their session driving within the premises during their first session but since the instructor felt I was calm, ready and quick to learn, I was allowed to drive out of the property and take short ride around the Reclamation Area and all the way to Plaza Independencia!
The second and third sessions were all about practicing “defensive driving” skills on longer drives father out in Metro Cebu. This is when I got to drive around Mactan island, passing both bridges and maneuvering down highways and narrow roads. For the third session (the only one using Chevrolet Spin), I drove all the way to Busay and back the following day, via a meandering mountain highway. The fourth and last session covered different ways to park (ie. nose-in, parallel, diagonal), which I feel needs more hours of practicing to master.
The following week, I moved on to motorcycle lessons, where I learned to drive three different models with different transmissions: automatic, semi-automatic and manual. Since I already know how to ride a bicycle and have driven ATVs before, driving a motorcycle was much easier to pick-up, and I found myself driving around the parking lot on my very first try on an automatic Honda Beat scooter! Learning the manual Rusi motorcycle was trickier, since you have to pay attention to gripping the clutch lever in order to shift gears. Unlike car driving lessons, motorcycle lessons only take place within the parking lot for safety reasons.
Overall, I had a great experience learning how to drive at NC Tiger Driving School, thanks to the friendly and patient instructors who not only imparted invaluable knowledge and techniques, but also knew how to instill the confidence in their students to become skilled, alert, and responsible drivers. After completing the course, the driving school issued a certificate of completion, and offered the medical check-up (to be paid separately from the course) needed to apply for a new driver’s license.
Practical Driving Course (PDC) for Motor Vehicle & Motorcycle (Automatic & Manual Transmission) – PHP 7,500 only
Theoretical Driving Course (TDC) – PHP 3,000 only, inclusive of medical check-up, lunch meal, and unlimited coffee
Contact Number: +63 9561475893