Blog Entry #4
June 11, 2016
Manila is home to every kind of transport imaginable and it is also home to an overwhelming amount of traffic. Since arriving here, I have experimented with pretty much every form of transportation available- plane, train, subway, taxicab, private car, tricycles and jeepyneys. A tricycle is a motorcycle with a small carriage attached to it, situated low to the ground. I have decided that the tricycle provides just the right balance of thrill and danger, all from inside a comfortable enclosed little space. The jeepney, however, is really my public transportation of choice.
For 7 pesos minimum fare, I can share a ride somewhere with nearly 25 other passengers. Waving a jeepney down is kind of like waving down a taxi- except that most of the time it’s not even necessary. There are informal designated stopping points for jeepneys along sides of the roads. They are notable because there are usually clusters of people waiting at certain corners. When I board the jeepney I have to step up, and crouch down low, to avoid hitting my head on the low ceiling of the makeshift bus. Passengers sit across from each other, but always peer past one another, through the small, open windows on both sides of the bus. Many passengers ride with hankerchiefs covering their mouths, to avoid having the sand and dirt enter their nostrils and mouth.
Once we have all squeezed our hips onto the small, short ledge on the bus, loose change starts being passed from hand to hand. ‘Bayed, po!’ says the person who is passing up their money. This is a sign that someone is paying their fare. The people who pass up his money say things like ‘bayed, daw,’ to indicate that they are passing on the fare for another person… and so it goes with each new person that enters the jeepney. One of my hands usually grasps the metal bar just above me, to keep from losing my balance when the ‘dryber’ takes the turns too quickly; another one stays free to help pass along the fares. My backpack usually sits on my lap in front of me.
When it is time to get off, the words are simple, ‘Para po!’ which means, ‘Stop sir.’ By asking someone to stop I am letting them know it is mine time to get off, and on to my next destination. The jeepney is perfect form of public transportation because there is a sense of social accountability and responsibility. The fare is the same for everyone and it is up to the passengers to make sure everyone makes their payments.
*Photo courtesy of blog, Best Tropical Vacation Hot Spots: Modes of Transportation in the Philippines, written by Dee Yuzon. Posted November 18, 2013, accessed August 20, 2016. http://tropicalvacationspotsblog.com/modes-transportation-philippines/