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Amazement from Drivers License Renewal in Siquijor Feb 15, 2023

Amazement from Drivers License Renewal in Siquijor

Location Google Map: LTO (Land Transportation Office), Siquijor Poblacion, Siquijor Island, Philippines

Expired Drivers License
My driver's license has expired for nearly 10 years. I never found the need to renew my license because I was completely content on commuting with my bicycle or taking public mass transport. All that changed with my move to Siquijor.

A Bike wasn't Good Enough
Even though I had a bicycle, it was only a small folding bike that was ideal for transporting on a jeep or interisland ferry. It's heavy, it's got only 20" wheels and its gears are either too tall or too short - definitely not for the long uphill rides required in Siquijor. Public mass transport is severely restricted that if I miss the 2pm last trip, I have to pay exorbitant motorcycle fees to get home. It was imperative to go around on a motorbike. But for me to drive one, I had to renew my license at the LTO.

folding bike
portable folding bike but not for long uphill rides

Bracing Myself for the Horrors
Back in the day, any documentation you had to secure from ANY government agency was fraught with anxious trepidation - long unorganized lines, incompetence, mayhem, fixers, inefficiency, and coming back for a succession of days until it's done. Out of dire necessity, I braced myself for my driver's license renewal in Siquijor.

LTO Prerequisites
I've done my homework before going to the LTO, ensuring I cover my bases and lessen whatever aggravation awaits me. I've acquired the needed documents - medical exam certificate (P500) and the free online CDE (comprehensive driver's examination) passing certificate.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]Siquijor's LTO office is organized, efficient and transparent - no fixers, no corruption and no unnecessary delay. From what I was told by locals, it wasn't always the case. But with the new district head - Gerlad J. Dominguez, the office had a shakedown and policies were strictly adhered to.

Drivers License Renewal in Siquijor
LTO grounds in Siquijor

License Steps in Summary

Before going to the LTO
  1. CDE online exam - FREE
  2. Medical certificate (P500) - best to take it at an authorized center

At the LTO

  1. Fill application form - the guard will ask you first and direct you to get the form from the 1st front desk guy. In my case, the guard even filled up my form!!
  2. Give the form to the Complaints Desk - that's right, Complaints Desk. She'll sort out all your documents and give it to the people inside the building. Your name will just be called.
  3. Pay (P90) - I'm not sure what the P90 is for, but I paid it anyway - maybe it's for the online exam. Go back to your seat until your name is called again
  4. Picture - your name will be called and you'll be asked to go to the Picture Office inside the building. There, your biometrics will be taken. You will also be given all your documents to be presented to another section where you take the online test.
  5. Online test - there will be 60 questions, multiple choice between 3 answers, and one hour to finish the exam. Some of the questions are actually common sense questions. The difficult questions could be hacked - 2 answers could be obviously wrong, so the 3rd answer must be the right one. Your result will be known immediately when you finish the test. Some people keep coming back because they can't pass the test. But if you pass...
  6. Actual driving test - you will be asked to do a driving test with your vehicle. If you don't have a vehicle, you can rent one at the nearby driving school, TL Mabuhay. M'am Renee and M'am Eileen are both friendly and helpful. Car rental for the exam is P500. With the tester on the backseat, you will be asked to drive to Siquijor Poblacion and back. That's it. It's easy if you already know how to drive a car. If you pass...
  7. Pay (P910) - P585 License fee, P225 Penalty fee (for having an expired license), P100 Revision of records (I had to change info from my previous license)
  8. Get your laminated license - that's it! You get it in one day with no hassle! I was even thinking, "This doesn't happen in the Philippines...but hey, it happens in Siquijor!!!"

Adding Motorbike Option
Normally, I'd be done, but my previous license was only for driving a car...not a motorcycle. But my specific need in Siquijor was to drive a motorcycle, so I had to add it to my license. Why didn't I just combine the 2 on the renewal? Because it couldn't be done. I had to reinstate my expired license first, and then, apply for a license recode. This meant I had to do everything all over again...with some add-ons:

At TL Mabuhay Driving School

  1. PDC (P1,350) - I had to walk back to TL Mabuhay Driving School to secure a PDC (a driving certificate for motorcycle...mandatory)
  2. Motorcycle rental (P150) - while at TL Mabuhay, I also rented a motorcycle for my ride test

Going back to LTO

  1. Document processing - I had to give back all my documents + the PDC
  2. Pay (P90) - for the motorcycle online test
  3. Picture - same thing...biometrics, picture
  4. Online test - it's not specific to motorcycles. It's essentially the same test I took earlier, with some new questions randomly picked by the algorithm
  5. Pay (P425) - P100 change DL, P225 replacement fee, P100 revision of records
  6. Drive test - I was asked to drive the motorcycle along the front road, make a U-turn and back
  7. Get your laminated license - that's it! In one day, I was able to renew my expired license, receive a new laminated license, have it replaced with another new license with the addition of the motorcycle code. One day!!!!

Ending Thoughts
To have this process take place in just one no-hassle day, is NOT the norm in the Philippines. Perhaps it only happens in Siquijor. And it didn't happen by chance. This new system is entirely due to one man's vision, courage and integrity - Gerlad J. Dominguez. During his term, his office received the much coveted Seal of Excellence award. With Mr. Gerald around, I somehow feel optimism that there is hope in this country.

Amazement from Drivers License Renewal in Siquijor
the Seal of Excellence award for Siquijor's LTO

I remember back in the day when I renewed my Drivers License in Pasay, I had to come back 3X (so 3 days), and every time, I had to elbow my way to a throng of angry and exasperated people who were also there for the same thing. I saw stacks of papers in front of the staff that wasn't moving because they kept getting new paper from someone from the inside (the fixers). It was a blatant in-your-face corruption that you felt helpless with. It was disparaging. All I wanted to do then was just leave the country...because it wasn't an isolated was the norm in every department, in every government agency throughout the country. Perhaps the entire country should take note of what's happening in Siquijor's LTO...they have much to learn and much to emulate!!!

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider

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More on Siquijor Poblacion:

Siquijor Poblacion Info
  1. Resorts - there are beach resorts in Siquijor Poblacion but the popular resort destination is San Juan.
  2. Transport - from Siquijor Poblacion, jeep, tricycle and motorcycle rides are available. There are local jeeps that ply the couter-clockwise route to San Juan and end up in Lazi. From Lazi, another jeep takes the continuing counter-clockwise route to Maria, ending up in Larena. Between Larena and Siquijor, only tricycles are available. Tricycles charge between PHP 20-40 until San Juan Poblacion. Tricycles and motorcycles can be contracted privately at higher fees.
  3. Siquijor Port - Siquijor Poblacion is the capital of Siquijor Island. It has the Siquijor Port which is the port of most inter-island ferries plying the Siquijor route. The other port is Larena Port.

More on Siquijor Island:

Siquijor Island Local Info

Jeeps - there are only 2 routes for jeeps within Siquijor Island - and they are rare. Most people have their own motorcycle transport.

  1. Siquijor Port to Lazi - last trip leaves at 3pm from station near market
  2. Lazi to Siquijor Port - jeeps depart from the Lazi Port area. 5 jeeps, the last trip at 12:30 pm. Lazi to San Juan, P50.
  3. Larena Port to Lazi - jeeps are unpredictable. As of this writing, there is only 1 jeep plying the Larena-Lazi route. This jeep leaves Larena for Lazi at 9:50am. After that, no more jeep. You'll have to take a tricycle to Siquijor Pob for jeeps going to Lazi
  4. Lazi to Larena Port - 6am (daily) and 9 am (M-Th)

Food - these were suggested by a local to me

  1. Lechon manok & liempo - roasted pork belly and chicken at Joel's in Siquijor Poblacion. I've tried this myself...yummy, even if the chicken was no longer hot
  2. Bibingka - sweetened rice cake by Fidy's Bibingka (P30) in Sawang, Maria. I've come back for this and I buy for other people as well as 'pasalubong' - they love this
  3. Siopao - at the Rosita store near Thrifty (P25) in Siquijor Poblacion
  4. Peanut butter - by Rene. Just ask around in Siquijor Poblacion. It's popular
  5. Torta - sweet cakish bread at the Thrifty story in Siquijor Poblacion
Siquijor Island Map
Siquijor - Dumaguete Boat Trips (as of Jan 2023)
  1. Montenegro Lines - at Siquijor Port, P234.00/pax, P169/bicycle, 7:30am/10:00am/2:00pm/4:30pm

  2. Montenegro Lines, Siquijor to Dumaguete

  3. Aleson Shipping - at Siquijor Port, 6 am and 6 pm daily, 1:30 pm M-Sat, Regular P200.00/pax, Aircon P250.00/pax

  4. Aleson Shipping, Dumaguete to Siquijor

  5. Ocean Jet - 40 mins,at Siquijor Port, 0919.066.5964,,, 6:00am/6:00pm, P350/pax (tourist/open air), P580/pax (business class)

    Ocean Jet

Siquijor - Tagbilaran - Cebu City Boat Trips (as of Jan 2023)

En route to Cebu City, the ferries usually make a stop-over to Tagbilaran (Bohol) to pick-up more passengers or unload.

  1. Ocean Jet - 8:20 am, at Siquijor Port
    To Tagbilaran: P800/tourist & open air, 2 hours (arrive 10:20 am), P1200/business class
    To Cebu (Pier 1): P1600/tourist & open air, 4 hours (arrive 12:40 am), P2400/business class
  2. Lite Ferries - at Larena Port, no Senior Citizen discount for online ticket purchase
    To Tagbilaran: T-Th-Sun, 3 hours, depart 7 pm - arrive 10 pm, P475/standard (Tourist, PHP 750)
    To Cebu: T-Th-Sun, 10 hours, depart 7 pm - arrive 5 am, PHP 605/standard (Senior P484), Tourist, PHP 770
  3. Apekoptravel - at Larena Port to Tagbilaran: 1:00 pm, xxx hours, P750
    Reserve through call or text: Cleare - 0938 283 4760 | Grace - 0936 534 6564 | Jessel - 0961 759 6711, Pay via G-Cash: +63-917-880-1464, Email:, Facebook messenger: Apekoptravel. Enter your birthday and nationality to get discounts: 0 to 3 years old free, 4 to 9 years old will have 20% discount, 10 years old and above full price, Filipino Senior Citizens will also have 20% discount

Siquijor - Plaridel Boat Trips (as of Jan 2023)
  1. Lite Ferries - at Larena Port, T-Th-Sun, 2:00 am, 5 hours, PHP?

Siquijor - Cebu (Liloan) - Cebu City BUS Trip (as of Jan 2023)

There is only one bus plying this route - Sugbo Urban. Tourist class coach, a/c, comfortable, Sun-Fri (these dates keep changing). P420 for bus, P275 for ferry to Liloan. Larena Port around 5 am, makes a clockwise roundtrip around Siquijor Island - Larena, Enrique Villanueva, Maria, Lazi (stops at Lazi market for breakfast and leaves 6:50 am), San Juan, Siquijor (arrives 8am, P50 from Lazi to Siquijor Poblacion) and catches the 1pm ferry at Larena Port (Sundays at 3 pm) for Liloan, Cebu and resumes its land route. Arrives Cebu City (South Bus Terminal) 10 pm.

Sugbo Urban is the cheapest and most convenient way because it goes around the island (clockwise) along the circumferential road, passing through - Enrique Villanueva, Maria, Lazi, San Juan, Siquijor...and back to Larena where it takes the ferry at 1 pm. This saves you the hassle and high transport cost of a tricycle. Besides, it's a long trip from the other side of the island to be taking by tricycle.

Sugbo Urban

Sugbo Urban

Suggested Destinations After Siquijor Island

These are the nearest popular destinations from Siquijor by boat

  1. Bohol - Bohol is an island northeast Siquijor. Tourist attractions are Chocolate Hills, Tarsier Monkey, Loboc River Cruise, Beaches of Panglao, whale sharks (recent offering), freediving (recent offering)
  2. Cebu - Cebu City is the usual gateway into the Visayas. But in Cebu Island itself, there are many offerings - Whale Sharks of Oslob, sardine run at Moalboal,Thresher Shark of Malapascua
  3. Dapitan (Zamboanga del Norte) - I haven't been there but a lot of island ferries ply this port. There must be something here.
  4. Dumaguete - Dumaguete is a small charming progressive coastal town in Negros Oriental. Cafe and restaurants line the famous Boulevard Boardwalk. Tourist attractions include Japanese Shrine, Casaroro Falls, snorkeling along the southern coastline (Dauin, Masaplod Norte, etc), Balinsasayao Twin Lakes
  5. Plaridel (Misamis Occidental, Mindanao) - I haven't been there but a lot of island ferries ply this port. There must be something here.


Siquijor Blogs
Siquijor Island
  1. Goodbye Siquijor April 18, 2024
  2. January Chronicles: Bandilaan Meditation January 2024
  3. My January Yoga Practice: A Journal January 31, 2024
  4. Jan 2024: Squid, Balangawan, Margarita Pizza January 2024
  5. December Chronicles: Yuletide Season December 30, 2023
  6. December Snapshots: Bolo Bolo Dip, Christmas Lunch, Tuba Denizens, Friends Forever, Men Working, Cow / Crow December 1-30, 2023
  7. Eggplant Bulad Pizza December 20, 2023
  8. Canghaling Cave November 14, 2023
  9. Kings and Queens November 13, 2023
  10. Barangay Vote-Buying October 22, 2023
  11. Real Estate Mapping October 1, 2023
  12. Learning Cebuano: Oct October 1-31, 2023
  13. Oct Food Hack: Pizza, Kinilaw, Coconut Bread, Fish Okuy, Carrot Omelette,Lemon-Grass Tea October 2023
  14. Sep Snapshots: Fisherman, Granny, Pedicure, Big Fish, Garbage September 1-30, 2023
  15. Sep Food Hack: Fish Tinola, Ratatouille, Chayote Omelette, Flat Bread September 2023
  16. Together Forever Sep 11, 2023
  17. The Cigarette Talk Sep 1, 2023
  18. Siquijor Star Meditation Center Aug 31, 2023
  19. The Lost Dogs of Siquijor Aug 27, 2023
  20. Moving to a Bungalow! Aug 22, 2023
  21. Aug Chronicles: CDO produce August 31, 2023
  22. Aug Snapshots: Pan de Sal, Palpitate, Taho, Tuna, Pineapple August 1-31, 2023
  23. [an error occurred while processing this directive]
  24. July Chronicles July 31, 2023
  25. July Snapshots July 1-31, 2023
  26. Learning Cebuano: July July 1-31, 2023
  27. June Chronicles June 31, 2023
  28. June Snapshots June 1-31, 2023
  29. Learning Cebuano: June June 1-31, 2023
  30. May Chronicles May 31, 2023
  31. May Snapshots May 1-31, 2023
  32. Learning Cebuano May 1-31, 2023
  33. In Search of a Cool Climate May 25, 2023
  34. The 64 km Bike Ride May 16, 2023
  35. Lazi Fiesta May 15, 2023
  36. The Boulevard Opening May 5, 2023
  37. April Snapshots April 1-30, 2023
  38. Learning Cebuano...Again! April 1-30, 2023
  39. Kris Visits Siquijor Mar 17 - Apr 15, 2023
  40. Exploring Siquijor with Marky Mar 25 - Apr 11, 2023
  41. Siquijor Healing Festival April 5-8, 2023
  42. The Talk at United Church of Christ April 2, 2023
  43. Mar Snapshots Mar 1-31, 2023
  44. Vigil for the Ghost Ship of Siquijor March 31, 2023
  45. Judging an Essay on Gender Equality Mar 29, 2023
  46. The Thief, the Shaman, the Elves and the Police Mar 20, 2023
  47. Finally Acquiring the Motorbike Mar 18, 2023
  48. Bitcoin Blunder Mar 15, 2023
  49. Maria's Unsung Beaches Mar 11, 2023
  50. Lagaan Falls Mar 9, 2023
  51. Tibhong Spring Water Source Mar 8, 2023
  52. Bolo-Bolo Natural Spring Mar 2, 2023
  53. Reasons to Get a Wife March 1, 2023
  54. Feb Snapshots Feb 28, 2023
  55. Camagung-Ong Natural Spring Feb 28, 2023
  56. Heeeere's Johnnie! Feb 26, 2023
  57. Manifesting a Motorbike from Thin Air? Feb 18, 2023
  58. The 'Bad Guy' of Siquijor Feb 15, 2023
  59. Amazement from Drivers License Renewal in Siquijor Feb 15, 2023
  60. Locong Falls Feb 9, 2023
  61. Inguinal Hernia? Goodbye ABS! Feb 4, 2023
  62. Jan Snapshots January 31, 2023
  63. In Search of Tubod Cold Spring Jan 27, 2023
  64. 1:4:2:3 Nadi Shodana Jan 26, 2023
  65. Lazi's Boulevard Jan 22, 2023
  66. Lazi: A Monthly Stay Jan 21, 2023
  67. 7 Days in Maria, Siquijor Jan 14-21, 2023
  68. Capilay Spring Jan 17, 2023
  69. Siquijor: In Search of Resonance Jan 9-14, 2023
  70. Riding Around Siquijor's 86km Coastal Road Apr 3, 2012
  71. Exploring the Cantabon Cave of Siquijor Feb 23, 2012
  72. Jovee and Missy's Excellent Adventure Nov 6-7, 2010
  73. Freediving in Siquijor's Marine Sancturaries Apr 23-24, 2010
  74. Island Tour of Siquijor Apr 22, 2010
  75. Kram's Siquijor Wedding Apr 21, 2010

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