Driving Licences and Licence Plates

August 21, 2009 – Friday

Now I could have used my UK driving licence for 3 months here, it’s perfectly legal, but it seemed sensible to apply to the LTO (Land Transportation Office) to transfer my UK licence to a non-professional Philippines driving licence. Also Gina wanted a student drivers licence. So off we went to the local LTO office here in Santiago City expecting to wait all day in a long queue. Not a bit of it. Well, actually the first visit was abortive because we didn’t have the necessary proofs of identity with us. But on the second visit the LTO official invited us inside his office (fairly obviously because I was a foreigner) and we sat by his desk while we completed all the necessary application forms. There was even a multiple choice question test. I then had to take a drug test which necessitate going across the highway to a small building where I had to produce a urine sample. Then back across the road for a photo and about an hour later we collected both licences, mine just a temporary six month paper licence. They say you get your photo card full licence at the end of the six months. We’ll see.

The licence plates for our new car arrived yesterday. The last digit on the plate is a 6 which means we are not allowed to use the vehicle on a Wednesday. 1 and 2 is Monday, 3 and 4 Tuesday etc. all to keep down congestion.
Before we received the plates from the car dealer we had temporary plates bearing their name plus dated invoices to cover the period beyond the grace period of 7 days although in the event this was hardly necessary as the LTO was quite fast dealing with the registration. So now we have the plates and the stickers showing we have paid the vehicle licence to 2011. Plus another sticker for the inside of the windscreen. While I was doing this I also addressed the adherence of the Virgin Mary to the top of our dashboard as she kept falling over due to heat from the sun when the car is parked. How she came to be there is another story…..