A popular mode of transportation from the province to the city is the famous Pilipino jeepney. Each jeepney, as you could see from the pictures, has it’s own unique look from colors, to symbols, words and design chosen by it’s owner’s personal preference and taste.
After doing some research, I discovered that the jeepney was made from leftover US military jeeps after WWII. Pilipinos would strip them, add a roof for shade, decorate and design them, as well as add more seating to accomodate more passengers and charge a fare. This eventually evolved into an inexpensive means of transportation throughout the islands which the Philippine government quickly regulated, requesting drivers to have regulated fixed fares, a special license and regular routes. As the jeepney evolved, 2nd hand Japanese trucks, mini-vans and Japanese auto parts were used to make the modern jeepney.
When riding a jeepney, there is usually a driver and sometimes a conductor in the back assisting passengers to get on and off, while at the same time collecting the fare. There is usually someone who will announce the stops as well as the routes. In most cases, there is no conductor, and the driver will just have to trust that the passengers on board will pass the fare down to the him from the new passenger(s).
A jeepney is flagged down like a bus or taxi. Because passengers are sitting tightly next to each other, the elderly and women are always seated, shoving, loud behavior and talking are discouraged and not permitted. Children are allowed to ride for free if they sit on the lap of their caretaker, as not to take up space. If the jeepney is full, male passengers sometimes will cling to the outside of the vehicle or sit on the roof, which is considered illegal and is dangerous.
To ask the driver to stop, passengers will knock on the roof, hit a coin against the metal handrails, or simply, ask the driver to stop. Modern jeepneys install buzzers or buttons to make it easier for passengers. Drivers prefer that passengers say “para/stop” or “sa tabi lang po/please pull over” rather than knocking or whistling to have them stop.
And this, my friends, is an introduction to the culture of the Philippine jeepney.
On any visit to the Philippines you can see people crowding into bright colored automobiles called the Jeepney. They are the most popular mode of public transportation in the Philippines! I became completely obsessed with the Jeepney upon my first visit to the country.
The Jeepney has become ubiquitous with Filipino culture. The more flamboyant the paint job and the decorations the better. Often times the decorations make absolutely no sense although religious references and air brushed portraits of family and children are common attributes. The brighter the better to attract the customers needing rides.
The Jeepney is a relic of WWII when the US military started to sell off the surplus jeeps to local Filipinos. Although I have heard many Filipinos tell me that a Filipino invented the “Jeep”… one of many claims I have heard during my visits to the Philippines.
Riding in a Jeepney is a cultural experience that should be had when visiting the Philippines but know that they are crowded, hot, and are often filled with exhaust fumes especially if you’re in Manila. They have also been known to be robbed from time to time, so a tourist visiting the Philippines would want to share this experience with locals that know the Jeepney drivers and their routes.