A Jeepney, what is it?
I will simplify by describing the Jeepney as an assortment between an American military Jeep and an English school bus.
It is a vehicle customized and personified according to the tastes and personality of its owner. They can even be baptized and have the driver’s first name above the windshield. They often put a chrome horse on the roof, in reference to the days of the horse-drawn carriages. There are geometric patterns, flowers, advertising, kitsch, slogans … Everything is allowed according to the representations and the soul of the owner. Some drivers even think that the more decorated it is, the more it attracts passengers.
The Filipinos nickname the Jeepney “King of the Road”, which in French means “King of the road”.
Origin of the word “Jeepney”
They are called in Filipino “Dyipni” and in English “Jeepney”. It is the contraction of the word “Jeep” and “knee” which means “knee”. This word coined by the Filipinos is not accidentally chosen. These jeeps are known for their crowded seats and the passengers are knee to knee.
History of Jeepneys
Indeed, at the end of the Second World War, the Americans abandoned in the territory of the Philippines about 75,000 jeepneys. These vehicles were then recovered by the locals and then transformed into a bus. Thanks to the Filipino touch, they became works of art, a cultural emblem and a symbol of the country.
What are Jeepneys for today?
Jeepneys today serve as the most popular transit in Manila. This bus is the only one able to mold itself perfectly into the shapes and size of the crowded streets and alleys of the Capital of Manila.
How much does a Jeepney ride cost?
The trip costs 9 pesos in the capital for the first 4 kilometers. This is the equivalent of 0.40 US Dollars. Hand the money to the driver by saying “bayad po”. If you’re already seated inside the jeepney, and since you’d probably be knee-to-knee with about 20 passengers, the money has to flow from hand to hand to the driver’s front seat. The other passengers will help you by saying “bayad daw po”.
Jeepneys, on the safety side
I didn’t suspect the slightest risk of theft. On the contrary, the proximity of people makes the jeepney a place of socialization. So take advantage of the friendly atmosphere and chat with the locals.
Jeepneys are they polluting?
With diesel engines, old jeepneys emit 6 times more CO2 gas compared to a modern car. The engine is very noisy but you can listen to music or socialize with the other passengers.
On the other hand, the new jeepneys are not very noisy but their emission of polluting gases remains subject to discussion.
Don’t miss a Jeepney ride if you set foot in Manila. Go everywhere and nowhere. Immerse yourself in a flamboyant and endearing culture. Savor the human warmth. Have fun, get lost, live differently!