Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I *heart* the Jeepney

Arghh…there’s too much negativity going around these days. Let’s talk about something fun! How about...

...the good ol’ iconic jeepney!

Something about this WWII army vehicle-inspired speeding piece of tin makes me feel sentimentally patriotic.

In the jeepney, you get to literally rub elbows (and upper arms, legs, feet, bum—you know what I mean) with pinoys from all walks of life. The nervous young man checking to make sure he has all the papers needed to get that overseas job on the luxury liner. The heavy set, well-coiffed-by-a-gallon-of-hairspray woman furiously fanning herself as her make up melts in the heat. The harried looking mom scolding her sulking daughter who forgot to bring her baon. The driver loudly swapping querida stories with his conductor in Cebuano. The irritated old man trying to avoid being suffocated by an oblivious young lady’s long hair streaming relentlessly towards him (obviously not a scene for shampoo commercials!).

In the jeepney, you get to feel all sorts of emotions. You are touched when a man quickly decides to get off earlier so the old lady with her heavy basket can have his seat. You see your life flash before your eyes as your speeding jeep misses a rampaging bus by an inch. You are on the verge of violence when a lady squeezes herself behind you to take the seat nearest the exit—when there’s nobody else in the jeep—so she can get you to pass her fare to the driver. Grrrr. You keep yourself from laughing out loud when you see your tanned, tough-looking jeepney driver admiring his newly-manicured nails (painted with clear nail polish)—but of course, checking them out the manly way, that is, fingernails curled inwards and not splayed out!

In the jeepney, you experience the ebb and flow of Pinoy life. When election comes, they’re bound to be plastered with election stickers of their favorite candidate (I swear I saw "FPJ in 2010!"). If you don’t have a TV at home (like me), don’t worry, the jeepneys will blast your ears off with the latest dance music that’s hit the popular TV shows. You know that life is really hard when the driver and a passenger are red in the face quarreling over whether he should pay P10 or P11.

Of course, if you are a foreigner new to the Philippines, a jeepney will orient you to Filipino culture by instructing you: that drivers are sweet lovers; barya lang sa umaga (pay with loose change in the morning), that you should “full” the string to stop; that only those named Judas do not pay their fare--and God knows who they are; that jeepneys are owned by people named Jun-jun, Ging-Ging, Au-au and Mak-mak; pangit ang dumidikit (those who tailgate are ugly).

By looking at the jeepneys’s artwork, you discover that Filipinos are spiritual (eg. painting of Virgin Mary, Bible verses spelled out all around the jeepney’s ceiling, the rosary dangling from the rearview mirror); that we love all things foreign (eg. Mickey Mouse, Garfield, Japanese Manga, the American flag and the Mercedes Benz symbol installed in the hood); and of course, that despite the state we are in, we are still proud of our country (eg. white sand beaches, Mt Mayon, Banaue Rice Terraces)

No other portrays life in the Philippines like the jeepney—the scary parts, the beautiful side, the sad moments, and the funny bits.

So, what do you love about the Philippines?


carlotta said...

i love how you described what it's like to ride in a jeepney. pakiramdam ko kanina i was riding in one when i was reading this entry. sarap mag-people watching sa jeep, no? ako most of the time sa klase ng footwear ng pasahero ako nakatingin hehe! :)

what i love about the philippines is the fact that there are still lots of places, beautiful places to be discovered. they're just there, waiting. :-)

and oh, i believe you about that fpj in 2010 sticker coz i also saw it, in a cubao-san juan jeep. :)

Wil said...

The surf spots, of course. :D

I appreciate the convenience of the jeepney and the fact that they don't try to rip you off like the cab drivers. Of course, their contribution to air quality leaves much to be desired. Although, that's probably true of a lot of vehicles, not just jeepneys.

mitsuru said...

you forgot the classic jeepney lines "pasok ho kayo, maluwag yan, araw- araw ginagamit." he-he

Jen said...

hahaha! you made me laugh! i do experience the same things! katuwa!

Rudy said...

Ah, the jeepney. You either love them or hate them. But, like the cockroaches that infest every home in this country, they'll be with us for a long long time, unfortunately. Heck, they might even survive a nuclear holocaust, like the cockroaches.

Abaniko said...

Ang pinakagusto ko sa jeepney, mura lang - P7. Pag pumapasok ako sa opis on color-coding days, nagje-jeep lang ako pag di masyadong mainit. Ang taxi kaya P60. Isang masarap na lunch (with yummy dessert and juice) na to sa canteen ah.

cpsanti said...

hahaha! riding in a jeepney is always an adventure ;-)

Gypsy said...

So my eyes werent playing tricks on me! There is such a sticker! Anobayan...hehe.

Walang dadaig sa Davao when it comes to free wifi hotspots. Pero I see it more now in Metro Manila, so thats great to know. :)

Ngek! Never saw that--what I do know is that the driver seems to make a sudden break so that everyone slides over to one side, thus making more!

Glad I made you laugh. ;)

Rudy naman, cockroaches??? Come on, positive nga dapat eh. hehe. I know what you love about the Philippines--da pinoy bloggers! ;)

You know what--that is also how I think when I consider how much money I can save. Hehe.

Yup, adventure talaga! Thanks for the visit!

Grace D. Chong said...

What do I love about the Philippines? Everything--warts and all!

bing said...

in the jeepney, you can witness a gangster box a young man because the lad just happened to stare at him, or a maniac rubbing his elbow at the sides of a young pretty woman, or a little vagabond child who suddenly board the jeepney then grabbed the necklace of a student, or a man perspiring but letting his armpit emit that foul odor, etc, etc.

i forgot this is a positive post about the PUJ. i can't help but mention these things.

very interesting post. hope it's ok to link you up. :-)

Annamanila said...

Your post made me long for a jeepney ride again.

Oooh, I am reminded of the small dramas that can take place behind that 3 x 1 meter of running space. Chockful of sights and sounds and scents and sensations. Yes, life in a jeepney can inspire a few blog pieces. hmmmm ...

IA said...

it's been so long since i last rode a jeepney, but for a minute there, i was holding my breath just like i always did when i rode jeepneys!
great post!

what i like about the Philippines, it's home!

Annamanila said...

Awwww, gypsy, this is too wonderful for words. Galing galing. Made me nostalgic and all hot to to ride the iconic jeepney again. Daming drama that takes place in that 4-6 sq m space di ba? And yes, it is a mobile classroom on Pinoy culture.

Annamanila said...

Susmaryosep, halfzheimer na nga ako. I have commented na pala here.