Flat Tires – It’s More Fun in the Philippines!!

My view while guarding the jack and jack stand.
Dang, it’s hot!!  Summer has truly arrived and today it hit 92 degrees Fahrenheit.  That and a good dab of humidity made for a rather long and lazy day.  But now it’s 7 PM, and the aircon is humming, bringing down the temperature and making my electronic doo dads a little more safe to use.
So I mentioned last time I would tell you the story about my flat tire.  It’s an important story because it imparts two things:  One, the importance of being prepared for an emergency outside of a “First World” country and, second, how truly nice people can be.
OK, so I bought a 1998 Mitsubishi Pajero a month or so back.  It’s in good shape but it came with a flat spare tire (burst, actually, from the heat and overpressure) and a questionable left rear tire.  The owner said she was going to replace the spare, so I figured I would wait to get it, and swap out the questionable tire (making it the spare) with the replacement.  Great plan but I forgot that people sometimes take their time in delivering promises. 
So, five weeks later, Michell’s sister Maricar is visiting and they decide to take a day trip up to Casaroaroa Falls up the mountain past Valencia.  Cool, I’ll give them a ride, I figure, me being such a gentleman and all.  So, we take off and up in Valencia, I roll down the window and hear a click-click-click coming from the questionable tire.  I pull over and sure enough, the tire is gouged and the belt is clicking against the pavement.  I send the ladies off on a habal-habal motorcycle taxi towards the waterfall and head down the mountain.  On the way, I hear it start hissing.  Thankfully, I made it all the way down to the National Road before it went completely flat.
Great.  Dead tire and no spare.  Woo – hoo.  I grab the lug wrench and the jack, and I soon figure out that the lug wrench is the wrong size and the jack is rusted out.  Flat tire, no wrench, and a dead jack.  I know there is a Roberts Auto Parts tire shop nearby, so I flag down a trusty tricycle and we roar off to the shop.  I get there and they want to sell me a tire, of course.  I don’t want a tire, I tell them, as I am waiting for a seller to give me a new one.  Hmmmmmm…  They confer amongst themselves and suggest I get a used tire.  Cool.  I hop on another trike and find a used tire for about 2000 pesos ($45).  I get it back to the shop and they tell me it is no good and I got ripped off.  One of them beckons me on to the back of his scooter and we roar off – massive 31-inch tire in my hand – back to the tire shop.  There, the mechanic rips into the store owner a bit and – surprise, surprise  – he hands me back my money. 
Cool, right?  But it gets better.
We get back to the shop and the guys at Roberts Auto Parts have another palaver amongst themselves.  Taking obvious pity on the poor, sweaty (and thoroughly pathetic) American, they actually GIVE me a used tire.  Awesome!!  Our merry band all jump on a motor scooter once again, and they soon have the truck jacked up and the blown tire off.  Not wanting their equipment stolen why they are replacing the tire back at the shop, they have me sit by the truck to keep an eye on it.
It’s hot.  Very, very hot, and there is nowhere to sit but on the pavement.  Yeah, I feel the same way as you – it’s hard to take pity on me when I was such an unprepared moron. 
Five minutes passes under the relenting sun, and a wizened elderly Filipino drags a plastic chair out for me to sit on.  Very nice.  He nods his head, mumbles something and returns later with a cold 8 ounce Coke (and a smile).
The guys from Roberts return with the new used tire on the rim, mount it, and we all return to the shop where I pay the bill – a whole whopping $16 US.
Wracked with guilt and more than a little gratitude I give them all a nice tip and tell them they have made a customer for life.
It’s true – I went back and got a new tire from them a few days later.
So, two things are seen in this story: 
One – Don’t go off into the unknown with no spare and bad equipment.  I am just glad we heard the tire clicking and it didn’t go flat further up the mountain – there is no AAA or tow trucks around here.
Two – People are awesome.  Robert’s Auto Parts (the tire shop) charged me a minimal amount for the “rescue” (that’s what they actually call it – which, in my case, was so very apropos). 
Being an idiot and getting a flat tire:  It’s more fun in the Philippines!!
Tomorrow I will put up the post on our trip up to Twin Lakes Park that Michell and I made on Sunday.
This is how you tow a broken down vehicle round these parts.


  1. I thought after you were given the coke the next paragraph was going to read something like. “next thing I know I woke up in a bath tub full of ice and my kidney was gone”..hehe….glad it worked out for you. Lesson learned for all involved including the readers.. Thanks

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