Doha’s Ambassadors and their Cars (The Philippine Ambassador)

Philippine Ambassador to the State of Qatar
Mr Wilfredo C. Santos

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Please tell us more information about yourself and how many years you have been working for The Philippines Embassy in Qatar, What was your previous job in your country.

Answer. I have been the Philippines Ambassador to the state of Qatar since 29 April 2015.

My first foreign assignment was in February 1996 at the Philippine Embassy in the state of Kuwait as Third Secretary and Vice consul. I was also assigned in October 1999 at the Philippines Embassy in the Republic of Singapore as Second Secretary and Consul. I have had other foreign postings including the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco, USA. In July 2005 I served as Deputy Consul General with the rank of Career Minister.

Which car brands do you prefer to drive the most? What makes it different than other brands?

Answer. Well normally I look at the car and check what car has the cheapest maintenance and available parts. I prefer the brand Fiat but the last car I owned was a Honda.

Now that I am the Ambassador, I prefer to buy cars such as the Audi A4 as it’s a great and suitable car and I feel comfortable driving it with my family.

Tell us about the car industry in your home country?

Answer. When Philippines gained independence after the war, the Filipino people preferred to drive American cars. However, since around 1960, attitudes and preferences changed and we started to use Japanese cars such as Toyota and Mitsubishi instead.

In the capital city Manila, people like to drive expensive and high class brands. In other cities also like Cebu and Davao, there is a demand for high quality car brands. Some of the cars driven in these cities include Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

What do you think about driving in Qatar and are there any major difference between driving here and your own country?

Answer. That is a good question! Well in regards to driving in Qatar, I feel that sometimes it can be quite stressful especially if one is driving themselves. I do consider myself lucky though because I have a private driver from the Embassy who drives me to places. Saying this, I do drive by myself in Doha but only on the weekends as its less traffic.

I have driven in many countries however including the USA, Kuwait, Singapore and of course the Philippines. Driving in my country can be a challenge because of the large number of cars and traffic.

Have you ever changed a car tyre before? Any interesting experience or stories to tell Cars In Doha Followers?

Answer. I will be honest, I haven’t ever experienced changing a tyre before but I would like to share two experiences with you –

  • When I was young in the Philippines I was driving a Toyota Corolla and it was raining heavily and there was a big traffic jam in Beundia. There was a massive rain storm that flooded the street and my car suddenly died! I had to push the car myself to the side of the street to let other cars move…it was not a great experience!
  • I was in a car with the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister. We were following the Minister’s car when someone hit our Diplomatic car and he damaged our car bumper! The driver went out of the car and surprised me with his response. After I asked him what had happened all he said was that he needed just a few minutes to completely change the bumper. Low and behold, after just a few minutes, he had completely changed the back bumper and put a brand new one so that we could continue our journey safely.

What is the best car racing sport and why?

Answer. Definitely Formula 1. We are proud of our Filipino / Swiss F1 driver Marlon Stockinger. We see him as a future Champion and so we wish him all the best and good luck with this.

What is the brand of your Embassy car and does it have any special interiors that you’ve commissioned?

Answer. The Embassy car is a Mercedes-Benz E-300 and the interior is just the standard interior. The Embassy also has another car – the BMW 5 Series.

 

What do you think about electric cars? Do you think there is market for them in Qatar?

Answer. I think electric cars are perfect for the future. They save on gas and petrol as well as being better for the environment and the air but I do think they still need further development.Regarding electric cars in Qatar, I think it would be good for the future of the country but for now I don’t think it’s the best idea as petrol is still very cheap and people’s still prefer to drive the ‘traditional petrol’s car.

Have you ever been dune bashing in Qatar?

Answer. Not yet! But I definitely look forward to going.

What’s your best place in Qatar and why?

Answer. Hmmm best places? Well I really like the Corniche area in Doha because I like the clean looking sea.

The skyline at night reminds me of some of the cities I have visited before. The architecture of some of the buildings in the West Bay area are amazing. I also am a big fan of the old Souq.

Can you give Cars in Doha followers a few tips about driving in Qatar?

Answer. f course…..I believe driving in Doha should be pleasurable and enjoyable. Therefore, people should not speed and take over from cars at high speed. People should also respect and listen to the Traffic Department and follow their safety rules for their own and other people’s safety.

Can you describe Cars in Doha the Website in a few words?

Answer. Well as you know I am still new to the country, but I do believe that Cars In Doha is a good source of information for people visiting and living in the country. It is perfect for someone like me as I’ve only been here two months so it’s good to learn more about driving in Doha. I will definitely recommend the website, Cars In Doha to my community and encourage them to check out your site.

From Right side, Cars In Doha Director “Mohamad Wehbi” & “Wilfredo C. Santos” Philippine Ambassador to Qatar

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