Memos from Asia

Flashy-decorated “Jeepney” Bus, Filipino Culture and Transportation

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ANTIPOLO CITY, PHILIPPINES – FEBRUARY 16, 2019: Colorful passenger jeepneys with artistic designs at a jeepney parking lot.

For different countries, there are different modes of transportation. The most common ones are buses, trains, or taxis.

You’d expect that one of these would be the primary mode of transportation by the majority of the countries in the world, but in southeast Asia, that is not the case.

Why Jeepneys?

Manila, Philippines-October 24, 2016: Colorist dyipnis-jeepneys are a common means of public transportation all across the country-here stopped at a traffic light on T.M.Kalaw St.-Manila-Philippines.

In the Philippines, although buses and trains exist, they are not the ideal mode of travel because of the limited routes that they go to.

On the other hand, taxis are quite pricey for the everyday commute. The cheaper alternative that they have been called “jeepneys”.

Jeepneys travel routes that buses do not take, and they are relatively cheaper than any mode of travel currently present in the country. Riding a jeepney would cost only half a dollar for the farthest route.

Where did it Begin?

“Bontoc, Philippines – March 26, 2012: Passengers sit atop a very full jeepney The jeepney found everywhere in the country. It carries between 16 to 30 passengers.”

Jeepneys were first utilized in the Philippines after World War II. They were modified military jeeps that could seat around ten people, which was more than a regular jeep could.

When the war ended, a lot of these vehicles were left and sold the Filipinos. Because of its seating capacity, it easily became a popular mode of transport at that time. The use of this vehicle became widespread.

Because of this, the Philippine government recognized and regulated its use for a more organized implementation on pricing, routes, and registration.

Jeepney Art

Tagbilaran, Philippines – Febuary 10, 2013: Jeepney. Jeepneys are public transport. They were originally made from US military jeeps left over from World War II. Tagbilaran in Philippines.

When the jeepneys were first sold to the Filipinos, they had no roof, were in one size, and were in one color.

Now, if you go around the different cities in the Philippines, you will see that it has evolved so much from what it originally was.

You would see the ones closer to the original jeepneys still there, but there are a lot more of the modified ones which are longer and could seat up to 20 passengers.

Also, jeepneys are now full of color. Some of them have even personalized the designs to reflect the current trend in the country, religion, and interests of the owner.

People ride a jeepney public transportation in heavy traffic in Manila, Philippines. Metro Manila is one of the biggest urban areas in the world with 24 million people.

The Filipinos are known to be resilient and resourceful people. Jeepneys are the living proof of it.

They have turned the painful war memory of jeepneys to a useful everyday mode of transportation.

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