Wonderful world of the Jeepney

“I need to get some stuff from the shop”

“OK, jump in the bus and lets go…”

Welcome to the wonderful world of the Jeepney.

Jeepneys first hit the roads in the 1950s, refashioned from military vehicles left behind by US soldiers after World War II.

Some entrepreneurial Philipinos took those US Jeeps and modified them, adding features to make them roadworthy (??), and creating a new form of mass transit.

There is bit of Spanish, Mexican traits there; how they incorporate vivid colours, fiesta-like feelings. There is a little of the Americans because it evolved from the Jeep. There is a little Japan because of the Japanese engine. But it was built by Filipino hands.

Better designed for 5 foot + Philippinos rather than 6 foot + Europeans, I tended to hit my head on the roof every time we went over the paint on the Zebra crossings, and as for hitting a pothole, I’ve been known to loose consciousness for whole minutes!

With names like Delilah and Rosa emblazoned across the front, each one is individually adorned with religious and nationalistic artwork — no two are identical. Religious prayers such as “God bless our journey” and “God is with us” are necessary due to the way they drive in the Philippines which could in some way be due to the driver multi-tasking, taking money, arguing with passengers, identifying fare dodgers, avoiding potholes, chickens and pedestrians, oh, and did I mention the traffic??

All life is here, which goes some way to explaining why there are so damned many of them — how many Philippinos can you get in a Jeepney — haven’t a clue, never did find out due to loosing consciousness on a regular basis.

Also annoyingly it shows the hateful Philippino trend of being able to curl up and go to sleep wherever, whenever and despite of whatever… whilst struggling 6 foot Europeans wonder if they will ever get the feeling and use back in their legs and I’m sure I smelt smoke, and PLEASE avoid that pothole, I need the toilet!

I rode in one from Indang to Lobo, a journey of 110kms ( 66 miles) which according to Google takes 2 hours and 55 minutes. Do NOT believe Google — has Google ever travelled in the Philippines let alone taken a Jeepney — you have to factor in the damned thing overheating and bursting into flames every 45 minutes, spot checks on the highways ensuring that everyone is “safe”, i.e. no riders on top or hanging out of the windows and the toll gates seemingly every 5 miles where no one has the correct change and to argue with the toll attendant about the charge is a national pastime, oh, and did I mention the traffic?? Try over 5 hours,in other words about 20kms/hour (12mph) — I can ride faster on my push-bike!

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