Jeepneys, Philippine Cultural Way of Travel

Have you ever traveled on a public transport vehicle where everyone aboard seemed to be neighbors though they were all perfect strangers? Discover what it’s like to travel in the Philippines in style and sit back and have a great conversation with someone who could become a great friend.

Jeepneys still remain the main method of transportation in the Philippines. They are found literally everywhere. Whether you are in the huge cities of Manila, Cebu, Davao, Baguio, and Olongapo or maybe in some backwater town somewhere on the Islands of Luzon, Mindanao or Visayas, you’ll be surprised to find a jeepney speeding along the streets or trudging along dusty rugged trails. It is still the most practical and the cheapest way to travel in the Philippines.

In the mid-1940’s, at the end of World War II, the jeepneys were first created from surplus Willy’s Jeeps. The rear section was opened to fit a cab and an open entrance to the back, then benches were attached to the sides with comfortable back supports and an open frame window to let one have a whiff of the cool breeze.

Round bars were attached, running all around the body from which passengers can hold on to when getting on or getting off. At first canvas tops were used as a roof, but as time went on the canvas roof was replaced by metal  — to ward off the sun in summer and the rain during the cold rainy season. Bright colors soon replaced the olive-drab colors, and an array of artwork was painted on the whole vehicle.

To top it all off, elaborate hood ornaments were added – sometimes a horse, sometimes even four horses would be on the hood, or even a huge trumpet-like horn to bellow out a roar to the public to announce the vehicle’s arrival. All this was done to attract would-be passengers and provide a unique travel experience in the Philippines.

One might say that to travel in a jeepney is to take a taste of the Philippine culture. There is a distinct camaraderie that occurs only in this mode of travel.

Here are a few tips when on a jeepney:

First, when your in a jeepney, it is expected that when another passenger yells out to the driver and hands over his fare it is expected that those who are at arms length to grab the money and hand it to the driver or to pass it along. In this case the guy who paid the fare may have been too far back from the driver. The case is the same when the driver gives back change.

Second, casual conversations also take place inside a jeepney. People sometimes ask where another passenger is going or where he’s been, not necessarily that they want to know, but it is just a uniquely Filipino way to say hi. Drivers also might sometimes josh a passenger, and anyone also has a chance to get back at him. Just in case the driver can’t understand what a passenger was saying people along the line in the benches would help and try to explain. This also works vice-versa.

The culture in a jeepney is one where every passenger gets to help one another and sometimes make a total stranger a great friend. It is where one can share a ride with another and get a sample of that unique Filipino hospitality.

[Tags]Jeepney, Traveling, Philippines, Transport, Manila, Cebu, Davao, Baguio, Olongapo[/Tags]

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