Claiming a driver’s license from LTO East Avenue in 2021 (tubos)

Tubos in Filipino means “to claim”, but somehow it felt like “to pay a ransom”.

After a traffic violation last week, I had 72 hours to claim my driver’s license from the main Land Transportation Office at East Avenue, Quezon City.

Last Tuesday, I took my ticket and rode a Grab instead of bringing my car. This was a good decision because available parking is difficult to find in a government office. The ticket acts as a temporary driver’s license up to a certain time period.

I arrived at LTO East Avenue at 1:00pm and at the gate, the security guard asked about the purpose of my visit. I told him it was for “tubos”. He then told the Grab driver to drop me off the back of the complex (LETAS Building where they process all the traffic violations).

Inside the building there were two queues: (1) for waiting for the violations to be “encoded” and (2) for waiting for the invoice to be paid out (which includes a summary of the traffic violation and a breakdown of fees). Waiting for (1) took about an hour, but (2) and eventually payment was done within 15 minutes. Bring cash. The waiting area is airconditioned so people in line were napping or using their smartphones.

Outside the LETAS building (right in front) is a chapel and next to it is the cashier’s office where there is a short line for payment. I find the chapel to be an odd addition to a government office, separation of church and state and all (this is the Philippines so that is merely a suggestion).

In the LTO complex there were a lot of signs warning people not to deal with fixers (these are people who claim to expedite your paperwork). I did not have to deal with fixers while I was there.

Left the complex at 2:30pm and walked out to take another Grab home.

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