Of course, the roads in the US are better!
Of course, the vast majority of people would say or think that the roads in the USA are vastly superior to the roads in the Philippines. But, are they? What people think is not always true. Especially when the people doing the thinking have not even been to the Philippines.
The fact is that most Americans think that the USA is the best at everything. In my opinion, that is not always true. The USA is a great country, but it is not perfect.
What roads am I comparing?
I can only compare roads that I have had the experience of driving on. In the Philippines, the roads that I drove on were on the Island of Mindanao (considered the poorest part of the Philippines). I actually never drove on any roads outside of Mindanao, although I rode with other drivers on many other islands.
The vast majority of my driving was on roads in Davao City, General Santos City, and the roads connecting the two cities.
In the United States, I have driven in most US States. However, much of that experience was more than 2 (or more) decades ago. Things have likely changed (for the better or worse) in those decades. My current driving, so far, has only been on roads in Indiana.
A conversation a few weeks ago
A few weeks back, I was trading emails with a close friend who lives in the Philippines. He is an American expat there, like I used to be. He lives on the island of Luzon, where Manila is.
My friend made a comment in an email (paraphrasing) about how now I was at least driving on good roads. That is not exact, as I say, I would have to go dig up the email, and we exchange a lot of messages, so it would take some time to find it. But,t hat is the jist of what he said.
My response to my friend came after I took some time to consider what he had said. It was not something I had really thought about. I’ll get back to my reply to him at the end of the article.
Davao City is sort of the “unofficial” capital of Mindanao. It is the business hub of the island, and has the largest population, by far, of the island. The population of Davao City is 1.5 Million or so.
Frankly, most roads in Davao City are great! In recent years, mostly since the former Mayor of Davao became President of the Philippines, the problem with the road network is that it can no longer handle the amount of traffic in the city. But, the quality of the roads is excellent.
General Santos City
General Santos City (GenSan) is an up-and-coming city, about 2 1/2 hours south of Davao. Over the past 30 years or so, GenSan has become more of an economic powerhouse, mostly due to its status as the “tuna capital of the Philippines”. GenSan exports tuna all over the world. Some Tuna from GenSan is sold for sashimi to Japan and can bring up to US$20,000 for a single fish. So, there is money in GenSan, although the Tuna industry is sort of an “up and down” thing, it varies a lot.
The quality of the roads, in many cases, in General Santos City is even better than Davao City roads. In addition to the local money, back in the 1990s, before GenSan became a huge Tuna port, the main roads in and around GenSan were built by the US Government. And, the US-built first-class roads in GenSan, for sure. Now, if you get off of the major roads, there are still some dirt roads in the City, and some lower quality paved roads too. But, in general, the roads in GenSan are quite good.
I have driven in a large part of the State of Indiana in the past few months, since getting a driver’s license here. Not everywhere, but in enough of the State to get a good idea of how the roads are here.
In Indianapolis, the State Capitol, and largest city, the roads are quite good. I really don’t have any complaints. I also find the roads quite good in Lafayette. Pretty good roads in Kokomo too. I drive pretty often in Lafayette and Kokomo, and from time to time in Indianapolis.
In the other parts of Indiana where I have driven? Not so good.
Problems with the roads in much of Indiana
- Here are some of my complaints about many of the roads here in Indiana.
- Many potholes
- The lines (and other markings) on the road are often so faded that you can’t see them
- Many times I find the signs lacking
So, what about the email with my friend?
At the beginning of this article, I was mentioning that a friend said something to me like “at least you have better roads to drive on.”
In truth, though, the roads in the part of Southern Mindanao where I drove many miles over the years are quite a bit better than most of the roads here in Indiana.
I certainly don’t mean to be critical of my new home, I am really enjoying life in a small town midwestern America. But, it’s just the truth.
USA vs. Philippines Roads? Not a contest, at least in the areas where I have driven. I will say, many parts of the Philippines have very substandard roads, much worse than the roads here in Indiana, though.
The Philippines has one huge advantage over the U.S.: No freeze/thaw cycles to wreak havoc on road surfaces!
Yes, I completely agree on that.
Mark has it correct. Here in Butte the roads are terrible. The pothole crew works from April through October, and the crew with the equipment is a huge part of the city budget. After a winter here the potholes that were just “fixed” come back bigger. The only real solution is to replace the whole street, but potholes start appearing about five years after the repaving is finished.
Another problem is the way street paving and utility works are funded. You’ll see a street repaved, and then the next year a different part of the city digs part of the street up to replace the water pipes. A couple of years later along comes the sewer system. Then they dig it again to put in new underground fiber optic cable. Every time they dit up the asphalt they create places for new potholes. So, why don’t they do it all at once? The money for each of these projects comes from different budgets at different times (some local budgets, some federal budgets, some private budgets).
A good example is right by my house. Two years ago they repaved a stretch of the street to fix the ripples caused by heavy trucks braking on the hill. This year they decided to fix the side walks on both sides of the street while putting in ADA mandated corner curbing. The new sidewalks have a one inch gap between the concrete and the asphalt which will create really big potholes this winter.
Hi Tony – Yep, I’ve been to Butte many times, since my Dad was from near there. I can attest to what you are saying.
Isn’t funny how there is never enough money to fix the roads, yet they charge things like gas taxes and other things that are always supposed to provide the money necessary? Hmmm… I wonder why? 😉
You moved to Indiana? From the Philippines? It must be live still living abroad. We lived in Indiana, and there were almost no Americans in that state! Ha ha.
You are right! The community where I live is about 50% immigrant. If you go out in public there is as much non-English as English.
I live in pot hole city the New Orleans area and we have plenty of pot hole. We had a man hole cover sink into the ground it took them 5 years to repair it. I had to dodge it for 5 years. Last year the fix it. But New Orleans was built in a swamp.
Have a wonderful day.
Hi Nathan, I used to live north of lake Pontchartrain, in between bogalusa and franklinton. So I’m very familiar with the area, and completely understand what you are saying.