The fight for survival goes on and on daily. In the streets all over the Philippines, every move you make is an act of survival. Our country is tough and to a certain extent dangerously charming. Even public transportation is risky business. The roads are still dominated by one vehicle, the jeepneys and their drivers. To ride a jeepney, you have to learn a few things to pull through.
Your next problem is getting to ride one. Just wave your hand as it comes, it will stop very near you. Here in Manila, frequently there's no need. Stand by the road and look as if waiting for a ride, a jeepney will automatically stop in front of you. Its annoying really, especially if its not what you want to ride.
|Image from Chelle|
Hang firm once you get seated. There are some "sabitan" you can grab and hold while the driver zips the jeepney through the narrow roads especially if it is "patok." A patok jeepney is described as a vehicle with drivers not wanting to go on low speeds. Its a good idea to hang on because jeepneys swerve and stop abruptly, often to pick up passengers the same way you got picked.
Paying for your fare is supposed to be easy. With all those passengers riding with you, one is bound to reach for your money and pass it on to reach the driver, just don't forget to say "bayad po." This is the part that I hate the most, because not everyone seems cooperative. Some are sleeping or some are pretending to be deaf and wait for others to help instead. Grrrrrrrrrr! Patience is a virtue though, so politely say "makiki-abot lang po." If no one would still budge, I guess its ok to make a scene already, just be creative like shouting "ang di mag-abot ng bayad ko, mahold-up sana."
|Photo by Jobaraccuda|
Its not really that bad, not until the road bandits get in the picture.
These local terrorists complicate the life of commuters. The snatchers, "holdapers," pickpockets and the others prey upon their victims by striking swiftly. Its just good news that chances of being victimized is very, very low. Aside from the fact that you cannot really distinguish who's good or bad from your fellow passengers (most bad guys operate in groups), you can't do much when things happen. Don't be like them throwing away their lives to earn quick but meager. If you're carrying a phone and a wallet with around a few hundred, give it to them and ask for your IDs. Perhaps they're that reasonable.
|From Janelle Moran|
The part where you'll have a problem (if you're a woman) also relates to hair. Traveling by jeepney ruins the hair, making it dry and lose its style. I've heard of girls ranting their hate for riding jeepney and getting their hair bad. Its the combination of sun, wind, dust and pollution which causes trouble. So if you spent a lot on your hair, better think twice before jumping aboard.
|Photo by Angkulet|
Survival skills. They're yours now so the next time you ride a jeep, you'd survive or fare better than others but take note that the risks makes it all the more exciting. Its still about being street smart, after all you're still on the streets.
I have my respect to the jeepneys. They're a caricature of the whole Filipino Culture. In its colors, the drivers, the passengers and the roads it travels, its largely Filipino living. The next time you ride, try to observe and be curious. You will discover plenty of things occurring while on a jeep is fascinating. To be truly Pinoy, you have to love our common way of transportation.