Random | Of A1 Experience and Learning New Skill

A1 Driving School

I guess most, if not all of us, would want to have a car. Not in our dreams, but in reality. And I am no exception. It's a childhood dream. A dream I intend to fulfill; if not soon, then someday. But before that, I need to learn to drive first. Otherwise, fulfilling my dream and owning a car would be futile. What for is a car if I couldn't drive it, right?

And so last September, I inquired from one of the most (if not the most) popular driving school here in our country, the A1 Driving School. I chose A1 mainly because it's highly recommended by a friend. And since I've no idea about driving and just want to have a basic understanding of it, I enrolled in one of their beginner courses, a 10-hour manual driving course which include a 2-hour orientation lecture, 10 hours actual practice driving and some lecture series. By the way, there's this A1-course where one would have the option to choose between a driving instructor or a training vehicle. I'm not particular with the vehicle or the driving instructor so I chose just the standard manual driving course, as earlier said. A not so good idea, I think (will tell you later why *wink*).

The course costs 6,600 Php but since they have this promo last September where one could avail of a 10-percent discount (cash payment) in any course as long as you enrolled within the month, I only paid 5,940 Php. I enrolled last September 15, attended orientation Sunday following my enrollment and was supposed to start actual practice driving the weekend after that. But I don't have my student permit, yet. So I applied for it first; supposed to schedule my application on September 19 but because of bad weather, postponed it to September 26.

Anyway, for those who would want to know how to apply for a student driver's permit (for Filipinos, 19 years old and above) in the Philippines, here it is:
  1. Go to the nearest Land Transportation Office (LTO) office (not in the licensing centers at the malls) in your area.
  2. Bring a legal or government-issued identification card (SSS, GSIS, passport, postal ID, voter's ID) together with the original birth certificate. Have them photocopied and bring the photocopies together with the original.
  3. At the LTO office, secure and fill up the application form, get a queue number and wait for your number to be called.
  4. Once called, submit the application form together with the identification requirements. The evaluator will check and verify your application and then forward it to biometrics section where your signature and photo will be taken. Wait for your name to be called, first.
  5. Once done with the biometrics, the application will be forwarded to the cashier. Again, wait for your name to be called by the Cashier. Student permit fee costs 317.63 Php, including application and computerization fee.
  6. After payment, wait for your name to be called once again (by the Releasing Officer, this time); after which, you'll be issued the student permit, finally! In my case, after playing several levels of PvZ2...hehe.

Seems a simple process, right? But it will still take around 3 hours (maybe more, depending on the number of applicants for the day) for you to have your student permit so be prepared and bring with you lots of patience. :P By the way, student permit is valid up to one year, from the date of your application.

Ok, now back to my actual practice driving. First day - 2-hour session: After meeting the driving instructor, I immediately told him I've no background in driving. He understood me and instead of letting me drive the vehicle out of the Trinoma Mall, he drove it to Mindanao Avenue where there's less vehicle and there we started our session. He orient me with the car and then let me sit on the driver's seat. I'm nervous, super duper nervous so when he asked me to start the engine and practice foot work on the pedals, my legs and feet were shaking. I can't control the pedal pressure I have to ask him for a timeout several times. He didn't pressure me, instead talked me out of my nervousness by making small talks. At last I was able to control myself and the pressure to the pedals so we practice foot work for a while, without moving. And then afterwards, we started practice driving. For the 2-hour session, we drove around Mindanao Avenue, Congressional, Project 8 and then back to Mindano going to Trinoma again. Yey, I can now drive a car...haha.

Second day - 3-hour session: Unlike my first session, I was the one who drove the car out of the mall's parking. We drove through Quezon Circle then to Commonwealth going to A1's training center. The road to the training center is narrow, a narrow two-way street you'll learn to be cautious and really control the car. At the training center, I was taught various types of parking (forward and backward vertical, diagonal and parallel). I was also taught maneuvering and driving through inclines. It's hard, really hard, especially the parallel parking and the driving through inclines. I stalled the car several times, actually. And yeah, though I was able to drive through the highway (before reaching the center), it doesn't mean I wasn't nervous anymore. I was! I was just able to do it because there's the instructor to guide me (and step on the break pedal, if need be...haha) all throughout. After my practice driving, I was tired. And hungry, very much hungry. Hehe...

Third day - 3-hour session/Fourth Day - 2-hour session: Like the first and second sessions, there's a review of the starting and stopping procedures. And then more foot work and turning (U-turn, left/right turn) practice. We drove through Commonwealth Avenue again, along Mindanao Avenue and again at the training center. And there it goes, my 10-hour manual driving lesson is done.

Am I glad it's done? Yes, I am! Can I drive now? Yes, but only if I have company and not in the busy streets, yet. Can I drive along the highway, with the company of a professional driver. Not yet! Yes, I know how to start and stop a car; I know how to bring the car from one point to another. But I know I can't really drive a car, yet. Not out in the streets where there's a lot of bully drivers!

Driving is a skill. And to learn the skill, a 10-hour practice driving for a beginner (and I mean a real beginner here, those with no idea whatsover about driving, like me) is not enough. I need to practice more. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. Oh, not perfect. But near perfect, as my team lead (at work) and I used to joke about.

So yes, I need to practice more. But inasmuch as I want to extend my driving lessons at A1, it's expensive. I'd rather save it for the car, I want to start saving for my dream car. The practice driving, I can continue that with the help of my ever supportive and very accommodating BFF. For now, I'm happy that I have the basic understanding of driving, I know I can learn and acquire the skill, later if not sooner. ^_^

~ oo00oo ~

By the way, curious about why standard manual driving lesson (with no option to choose for a driving instructor or training vehicle) is not quite a good idea? Well, it's just a personal preference, I would say. Of the four-day sessions I have, 3 out of the 4 driving instructors I was assigned to, smoke. And they do smell like it, from inside the car. I hate the smell of cigarette smokers (emphasis on smell, not the smokers), I just tolerated it because I don't want to spend more (kurips...hehe!). But for those like me who doesn't like the smell of cigarette smokers and has extra moola to spend, I suggest you request for a driver that doesn't smoke. Except for this issue, everything's a good experience. The driving instructors (the ones assigned to me, at least) were all professionals, they were courteous and patient, they were easy to get along with. And the training vehicles, they're all in good condition. A1 may be a little expensive compared with others, but given their facility, their training vehicles and the personnel, it's worth the price you'll pay, I would say. ^_^

~ oo00oo ~

After almost two months, at last I was able to come up with a new post. Congrats to me...hehe. Happy and blessed Sunday everyone! ^_^


  1. same situation here. Stalling the car everywhere. :D

  2. Hi I just want to know if the instructor smells like cigarette when you enter the car or when they tell you to stop and park and they smoke

    1. Hi! they smell of cigarette when they enter, and one of them smoke during stops, too, iirc.


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