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Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Third-World feature: The Jeepney

Can somebody please explain to me why Filipinos take so much pride in the jeepney? Wait, was it an over assumption? Maybe yes, maybe not. But some writers, cultural workers, nationalists even write about the jeepney; romanticizing the jeepney art, the jeepney culture, its history, and the purposes it serves for Filipinos. Screw those; I hate riding jeepneys and I long for the day to come when I never would have to ride one ever again.

So I did a little research and found this site providing comprehensive information on the jeepney. They are collectively called the undisputed "King of the Road", symbol of Filipino creativity, innovativeness, and ingenuity, and the workhorse of Philippine transportation.

From a WWII Willys to this
(Photo grabbed from Google)

The jeepney has long been part of our cultural heritage because it is undeniably one of the few unique things that we have in the Philippines. Yes, and this unique thing makes the kind of traffic jams in our country unique as well. Of course it is not the sole reason why traffic is really jammed in the Philippines but, for me, it takes up most of the reasons why. 

The jeepney delays traffic and on the personal level, it is a total waste of a person's time. When I think about all the productive things I could have done while stuck in a jeepney in the middle of heavy traffic, sometimes I even run out of cuss words.

Every time the jeepney stops to pick up a passenger is somebody's time lost. Drivers pick up passengers anywhere they want, even if they have to violate traffic rules. They would stop at every hint of passenger on the side walk, whenever, wherever. The worst part is, there are jeepneys whose brakes when stepped on by the driver pulls the passengers towards the front. Damn gravity. One, two, or three times is alright, but try twenty of those if you don't get nauseated. Happens to me all the time.

Also, jeepneys take longer, unnecessary routes. Another obvious waste of time. One's time is already compromised in picking up prospective passengers then it happens again when other passengers need to be dropped off in a destination that is out of your way.

Some drivers are irresponsible.They gas in retail that is why they gas every once in a while. Another waste of time. I do understand however how limited their income from this kind of livelihood is that's why they probably cannot purchase enough fuel. Also, do they even take emission tests anymore these days? Some jeepneys emit fumes worse than factories do.

Also, some drivers are just unbearable for they smoke despite their 'NO SMOKING' signs. There are also instances when they would stop for a while to chat with fellow drivers or stop by their houses. Really, what a total piss.

Some jeepneys which have been on the road for a decade or so already look like scraps of metal put together are still given the franchise or the license for business. It's a bad sight, really. Very third-world (which we are). I don't think he Land Transportation Office (LTO) regulates sufficiently the public vehicles in this country when in fact they should do. Some jeepneys, even buses, must be checked up if they really are still safe for people to ride in. It's just a matter of safety and precaution.

Finally, I would have to say that it is probably going to be truly more fun in the Philippines if Filipinos and foreigners alike will no longer have to cover their faces with handkerchiefs from the heavy smoke emission by these public vehicles and also, not to always bear with the unbearable traffic jams especially in the major cities in this country so that both commuters and non-commuters may still enjoy Philippine air. That, my friends, is surreal. Or maybe I'm saying, the jeepney will always be a part of this country and that I can never get rid of it.

I am closing this post with a deep sigh since tomorrow, I will find myself riding the jeepney again. 


  1. It's Inertia gal. The smoke and waste of time is all part of the fun..it's completely in the context of a jeepney ride experience. Try the MRT LRT instead.

  2. hm, what's your alternative to jeeps?