I Can Ride Out Anything for I Survived a Manila Jeepney Ride

Jeepneys, aptly called the King of the Road and seen here plying the streets of Manila, are the most popular mode of transportation in the  Philippines.
Jeepneys, aptly called the King of the Road and seen here plying the streets of Manila, are the most popular mode of transportation in the Philippines. | Source

I always had to go through sorrows and despair that crept beyond the limits of my despair.

I had known the faces of humiliation, rejection, and fear like they were familiar foes.

So when the fierce Philippine typhoons keep me holed up idle in my place, I would often congratulate my battered reassuring self, “Darn, I pulled through life! Now I can stand anything. Bring it on fate! “

The unbelieving me begs an answer to the question, “Geez, how did you pull through the throbs?”

The believing me – ever present in my striving and straining colorful life – fights back and fires an answer the moment the question is posed, “There’s God. He gave me all the talents I’d ever need. There’s Dad. He showered me with so much love. Then, there are the Manila jeepney rides. They sharpened me into a Filipino street smart, born and raised in the hardy Philippines.”

Jeepneys from the Point of View of an Old Hand

To the novice and unassuming, a jeepney ride through the bowels of the Philippine capital Manila is a leisurely journey in a gaudy, festooned, public transport vehicle – a cheap way to get from Point A to Point B or just about anywhere through a tried-and-tested way that local Filipinos do.

To the seasoned – to which I readily classify my self – and forewarned, a jeepney ride in Manila or its neighboring cities in the National Capital Region is bigger than one’s typical commute in a public transport vehicle.

Riding a Manila jeepney or any jeepney in most of the cities in this Southeast Asian country is a game of life and death, chock-full of lessons that left me smartened up and earned me some of the many degrees in the School of Hard Knocks.

Lessons from Jeepney Rides

By riding the jeepney, I heaped nuggets of wisdom about living that no girl – no, not even a boy, I think – would ever learn in her air-conditioned, music-filled, tinted car.

One, I taught myself to develop acceptance.

Instead of engaging in an orgy of self-pity for riding in the midst of fellow jeepney passengers who could be pickpockets, hold-uppers, sex maniacs, the poverty-stricken, the deranged, and everyone in between, I learned to embrace diversity.

It is the unwillingness to see through other people that creates the ghastly narrow-minded person in us.

When we refuse to look at people, we do not understand how they became who they are, why they do the things they do, and what they can really do both good and bad.

By understanding people, we do not necessarily condone them nor become one of them.

Instead, we build up our social awareness, our capacity to sympathize with people from all walks of life, and our reflexes to respond to unpleasant incidences created by these same people.

Two, I learned to extend the boundaries of my tolerance.

Petty annoyances have little chances of bothering me now that I had ridden jeepneys for so many times in my life.

Displeasures from sitting in a jeepney side by side or across people with nasty body odors, worn-out shoes, and unkempt or washed-out clothes or those using foul language and displaying distasteful manners could not send bellyaches, headaches, or irritation to my system.

People look down on others because they are different and have had little interactions with them.

By mingling with people, we learn to relate with them, respect them, and in some instances even work with them.

Three, I learned to laugh, live, and slip in the elements of surprise and shock into my life.

When I can joke about my experiences of smelling fetidness, breathing in fumes, and bumping into strangers, strange, and not-so-strange when riding jeepneys, then nothing trifling can push me into hysteria.

When I can find a reason to feel sympathy after seeing fatal collisions of jeepneys steered by drunken or reckless drivers as well as people or animals ran over by jeepneys on breakneck speed, then I feel that I am human, somebody who seeks justice without becoming too consumed by distress.

Jeepney Ride - Worth the Price I Had to Pay

For all these things, I have neither pity for myself nor envy for people who have been spared the troubles of riding in jeepneys - the famous or infamous public vehicles in the Philippines.

For I have seen things that no person who always had the comforts of their own cars would ever see.

I have learned lessons that may be too difficult for them to grasp.

Only people who can truly see and understand can ever become brothers and sisters to the world.

I do not regret having to ride Manila jeepneys at so many points in my life.

Clearly, all these lessons in life I learned are all worth the small jeepney fares I had to pay.

Copyright © 2011 Kerlyn Bautista

All Rights Reserved

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Comments 10 comments

iamaudraleigh 4 years ago

kerlynb...I have to be honest. I did not expect what your story was going to be all about. It was a little shocking, but amazing!It was a fantastic piece that was well written and formatted!

I am so glad you were able to "embrace diversity","develop acceptance" and "learned to laugh" on your journey through a Jeepney Ride.

Well done and voted up!


mamalila profile image

mamalila 4 years ago from Washington, DC

Thanks for that ride, Kerlyn! I thoroughly enjoyed that!!!


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@SimpleGiftsofLove Oh, you're very kind in your words. LOL :) At least I made you smile, so glad Linda!


SimpleGiftsofLove profile image

SimpleGiftsofLove 5 years ago from Colorado

Your writing is the stuff legends are made of. I love, love love everything you do, thanks for the entertainment on a cold 10 degree night here in the West. Kudos my friend! I needed a good laugh. Up, interesting and funny.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@Peter Dickinson Ouch! That was awful :( Sorry to hear that. Unfortunately, we need to watch out not only for protruding screws and low roofs, but also hold-uppers, pickpockets, maniacs, sudden brakes, as well as drunken or reckless drivers when riding jeepneys.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@Hubertsvoice Hahaha! :) It must be quite tough for you to ride Philippine jeepneys! But you're OK with riding jeeps, right? I have to admire you for having that kind of attitude. Kudos!


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 5 years ago from Southeast Asia

I love the Jeepney. I have rode more than a few and met some lovely people on my journeys. I too have Jeepney story which starts when I cut my head open on a protruding screw in the low roof and ends in me discovering myself in a blood soaked bed. Much of what happened in between is not for here but I will never forget that Jeepney. Thank you for your hub.


Hubertsvoice 5 years ago

I understand what you say about surviving a jeepney ride. Imagine being me at 6 ft 5 inches tall riding those jeepneys from one end of Bicol region to the other almost daily. Now over the hills of Olongapo back and forth several times a week. Yet, I wouldn't trade the experience for anything in the world.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@lzlpio90 Hello kabayan! I'm so happy you dropped by :) Many thanks. A day isn't enough to share our jeepney stories, is it? LOL!


lzlpio90 profile image

lzlpio90 5 years ago

This is a very great and inspiring hub. I ride jeepneys too, almost everyday in my life. Aside from being cheap, it's the most accessible one. I could save my pocket by riding jeepneys. Well, i guess not all the time like what you've mention, the one sitting next to you might be a pickpocket. Yes, you are very right.

I was also bumped into lots of trouble by riding jeepneys and the most annoying one is you do not have any control of your time. Well, I am not a talkative person. I can only relate to you:D

Nice reading your hub. Cheers for my fellow jeepney passengers!

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