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Jeepney – Your life is in your own hands!

March 23, 2010


Photo courtesy of Flickr

Diamond in the back, sunroof top
Diggin the scene
With a gangsta lean, wooh-ooh-ooh
Diamond in the back, sunroof top
Diggin the scene
With a gangsta lean, wooh-ooh-ooh
Diamond in the back, sunroof top
Diggin’ the scene
With a gangsta lean, wooh-ooh-ooh

Meet the Jeepney, this clunky, mean ridin’ machine will have you holding onto your stomach. If you are a bit taller than the average Filipino you may have a hard time fitting inside the low slung roof and crouched quarters. However, my 4’11” couldn’t be stopped! I easily squished in the corner of the jeepney and tried to catch the breeze.

The jeepney is a cross between an elongated jeep and a jitney. A jitney is another name for a taxi. August Wilson made it famous in his play with the same title. I tried catching a taxi, but it’s a bit overpriced to go a short distance and have to pay 50 pesos ($1 USD) for less than 15 minutes. Yes, I’m cheap! If you take a jeepney you can pay less than 10cents for the same distance. That’s 7 pesos!

Today, I rode and had to hold on for dear life. The driver was hell bent on getting us to the station in less than 5 minutes. I have to say, he was the most efficient driver I’ve had. The other drivers meandered on and on and were constantly getting stuck in traffic. This guy cut through side streets and back alleyways. He honked at women carrying their children across the street. He tailgated horses! He was relentless. If someone had the right away, he drove so close that they had to back down or lose the front fender of their vehicle. Let’s just say if this was a drag race, this man would hit every car to win and still add gas to the peddle!

Meeting the Locals

Riding in a jeepney is a great way to meet everyday people. While I was in the jeepney I met a woman who travels overseas for business, I met a woman who worked as a waitress in Dubai, a maid in the U.S. and trained at a chicken factory in Kobe, Japan. She had all of these jobs in one lifetime. She seemed young, I’m sure she’ll try something else soon enough.

Dating and Traveling

I think I would have definitely had a local boyfriend if I stuck my hand out while I was in the jeepney. Three guys practiced their pickup phrases on me, but just like anywhere else, when the guys get stupid, it’s time to ignore them.

Safety

Actually the jeepney is relatively safe.  If you are in Manila, forget the taxis and the LRT, take a jeepney! You won’t regret it!

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