The jeepney, often called dyip (jeep), is a popular Filipino icon. This colorful ride is the most commonly-used method of transportation all over the Philippines. Be it in areas as big and busy as Metro Manila or small towns and villages, commuters always choose jeepney to take them from point to point as it is widely-available and cheap.
Naturally for locals, riding a jeepney is not rocket science as it has been a part of their lives. But for first-timers, it can get confusing considering that jeepneys come in varying colors and go on different routes.
This article covers information about jeepneys including its origin, useful tips, and common terms used during a jeepney ride in the Philippines.
Origin of Filipino jeepney
The current jeepney model evolved from the Jeeps used by the American military forces during World War II. The Jeeps were altered to add roof for protection and long benches to accommodate passengers. Over the years, it has evolved to what it is today.
How to ride a jeepney
Jeepney doesn’t work like a taxi where you can just get in a vehicle and ask the driver to take you directly where you need to go. They follow a specific route so it’s important to map out your itinerary. Know where to get on, to get off, and popular landmarks of the area. The route or destination of a jeepney is always displayed on its body so if your destination is somewhere between Baclaran and Divisoria, the route which is Baclaran-Divisoria should be written on the side and windshield of the vehicle. Sometimes, a destination may require riding multiple jeepneys. To be sure, you can ask the driver or fellow commuters if the jeepney you’re on passes by your destination.
You can get on a jeepney from terminals or wait for them to pass by a jeepney stop nearest you. Tickets are not necessary and advanced booking isn’t possible. The mode of payment is always in cash, preferably in smaller bills or loose change. There is no cashier and several jeepneys do not have a conductor to assist the driver. The money is passed along until it reaches the driver. Minimum fare is P9.00 ($0.18-0.20 USD) and can go higher depending on your destination. Discounts are given to students and the elderly (locally known as senior citizens).
While most Filipinos can understand English, it helps that you know common terms people used during a jeepney ride.
Bayad is a Filipino term for payment while po is a term used to show respect. Use this phrase to pay your fare not only in jeepneys but also in taxis and tricycles. It is commonly followed by saying where you want to get off and how many people are making the payment. Example, “Bayad po. Baclaran, dalawa (two).”
The phrase is used to ask fellow passengers to pass the payment to the driver or the change back to you.
Para means stop. The phrase is used when you need to get off the jeepney.
Sukli means change when you pay using a bigger bill. It is used when you are approaching your destination and the driver hasn’t given you your change yet.
It is the local phrase for how much. Use it if you are not sure how much the exact fare is. Example, “Magkano po Baclaran?“
Pros of riding a jeepney
- Available all over the country.
- Cheapest mode of transportation in the Philippines.
- Picking up and dropping off is easy for drivers and convenient for passengers to get on and off since you can catch one from almost any place in the area.
- Gives opportunity to talk to locals.
Cons of riding a jeepney
- It’s not the safest way to travel as there are no seat belts and there are drivers who enjoy driving fast.
- It is an open-air vehicle so there’s no air-conditioning. It also exposes passengers to air pollution especially in congested areas.
- It can get messy and uncomfortable when it rains.
- Jeepneys are usually overloaded with passengers. You are more likely to find yourself having skin-to-skin contact with a stranger squeezed beside you.
Tips when riding a jeepney
- Pay in coins or smaller bills as much as possible.
- Be mindful of your valuables and place your bags on your lap where you can see them. Avoid using expensive jewelry or showing off your gadgets to prevent attracting thieves and hold-uppers.
- If possible, sit beside the friendliest looking passengers on the jeepney. They might be able to share information and tips when they know you are new in the area.
- Be considerate of other passengers by occupying only the space you need.
The article should be able to help you familiarize yourself with the most popular way to get around the Philippines. Now, are you ready to try it?
READ MORE: Transportation in the Philippines