Jeepney’s are the most popular public transport in the Philippines.
jeepney, Philippines’ pride
In almost every street and every village and city you’ll find them and they are going everywhere.
In fact it would be easy to travel from north to south only using Jeepney’s. They have markings on the windshield and on the sides what their routes are. But you can always ask the driver or conductor if they are passing the place you want to go. You can even ask them to warn you when you have reached your destination or transfer point.
Fare prices are low. Per person one has to pay 7 to 8 pesos for the first 4 km. For every extra km a few pesos more. The only problem is that the Jeepney’s have a specific route and then going back. So if you have to travel further you have to take another Jeepney and pay again of course. That’s why Jeepney’s are mostly used for distances until about 10 km in City areas but in the provinces until sometimes 40 or 50 km.
Jeeps stop on demand, that means that if you want a ride you just wave to the driver and he’s stopping the car so you can go in or out. They stop even on street corners or on pedestrian crossings and also on traffic light when they are green (except in a few cities where regulations are more strict). Once you are having a ride and like to get out, you just say ‘para’ or ‘para po’ and the driver stops right away and lets you get out on practically every place in the street, thus also on street corners and pedestrian crossings. Some jeeps have a conductor who collects the fares. If there’s no conductor the driver himself collects the fare mostly while driving. If you are sitting near to the driver, be prepared to hand the fare from other passengers to the driver or the change back to the passenger. The proper term to give the money is: ‘bayad ko’ (I am paying). So if you are in the end of the jeep, you just say these words and hand the money to someone between you and the driver (or conductor).
What I like the most in Jeepney’s is their looks. Most cars are painted in bright colors with a large variety of images and text. A lot of those images are religious but you can see also images from the drivers children, their favorite movie stars, singers and so on. These days it is a separate industry to paint the jeeps. The techniques they are using now is air-brush. Several years ago they still painted the traditional way.
One other remarkable thing in jeeps is the ornaments they put to decorate the vehicle: Carabao horns (the horn from the local water buffalo), horses, hooters and antennas you can see. Lots of colorful lights and lamps are completing the jeep. Especially after dark it is nice to see the colorful lights they have. In the passenger compartment you can often hear a music installation which is producing very loud (mostly disco) music. For a person like me, who hates loud music, it’s a crime to get into such jeep.
In almost every souvenir shop you can find miniatures of a jeepney, Philippines’ pride. Nicely painted and from small to large.
Jeepney, Philippines's pride
Nowadays there are also jeepney’s with air conditioners. I have seen them in some parts in Manila. I haven’t had a ride in them so I do not know much about them. They can be recognized when they have windows and a door on the back, while ordinary jeepney’s do not have these.
The latest trend, but not yet very popular because of the costs, is an electrical jeepney. They are very good for the environment and low noise. Only few are available in Manila.
I have added one extra picture showing the papal transport in the Philippines on his stay January 2015. The Pope Mobile is constructed on a Jeepney base.
Lots of jeeps are already older and really need renovation. Drivers and owners of jeeps usually just wait for renovation or repair until the car breaks down. That’s the reason that a lot of jeeps are producing a lot of noise and black smoke. Also their tires often don’ have profile anymore. And I’m told that there’s even jeeps with practically no breaks. The driver has to break on the engine and do the mechanical break when the car almost stands.
Maintenance is something that a Filipino hardly knows. Not only in cars, but also in their houses and appliances. The last few pictures of the series I took when in a traffic jam. A driver is filling the radiator from a bottle, ingeniously made with a hose and a funnel, next to his drivers seat.
A visit to the Philippines is not complete without having at least one ride in a jeepney, Philippines’ pride! But do not mind the driving style of many drivers, the drivers feel like they own the road. And mind your head when entering or leaving the vehicle, the passenger part is very low and you might get your head hurt.