Manila Travel Blog

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We made our way out carefully and cautious from the sea of people scattered around the square where the famous church was erected. I pulled my slingbag close to me, not wanting to attract unwanted attention. We walked out into the street, trying to decide whether to hail a taxi or to climb into another one of the famous transportation in the city, a jeepney.

Since my trip to this city last year, I have been pretty impressed with this means of transportation and how everyone seems to be so comfortable taking it night and day. I wanted to experience sitting in a jeepney for myself, though the more adventurous me wanted to try squeezing myself ON THE TOP in a sardine packed jeepney like this,

I know I wouldn’t feel safe or comfortable putting myself in such dangerous position, especially when driving in Manila can be… challenging. That is another aspect of the place I am impressed with; despite how dangerously everyone drives here, one seldom see scratches on the vehicles and the accident rate is actually pretty low.

We walked aimlessly up the busy street, not knowing what to expect, not knowing which one to take. There were at least 10 colorful jeepneys in front of us; some empty waiting for people, some packed to the max, and some with people boarding or jumping down from it.

‘This should be interesting’ I muttered to myself as I zigzagged my way through the crowd, looking at the destinations painted on the body of the jeepneys. A haggard, sweaty looking man was directing the traffic flow, particularly people who were looking for the right jeepney.

He pointed at me, asking me in some local language, I assumed he was trying to ask my destination. I ignored him at first, still trying to squint my eyes to read the imprinted letters on the jeepneys but he kept trying to be helpful. In the end, it was my friend who answered him.

‘Malate church?’

‘Malate eh~? come come this one’ he waved us to one of the waiting jeepneys. I read the destinations on the jeepney but could not locate the words I was looking for. No “Mabini” or “Baclaran”, am I supposed to trust this guy?

‘This one? Malate?’ we confirmed again.

He nodded hard, now looking a little frustrated that we didn’t believe him. All he wanted was to direct us up the jeepney so he can move on with directing the others to the right jeepneys.

Ok sure, why not. We climbed up the waiting vehicle, excited for our first virgin jeepney ride. The guy who helped us earlier whispered our destination to the bored looking driver in front. To be safe, my friend leaned over to the driver and told him to inform us when we reach our destination and he nodded. And so the F1 ride began.

The driver took us on a ride we’ll always remember. As he slammed the accelerator, I found myself jerking back, legs raised, hands trying to grasp on something to balance myself with. I found a metal bar that I held tight to for the rest of the journey as we zigzagged our way through the traffic.

It was actually a cool fun ride. Despite the low windows that you keep having to lower yourself down to peep on the world outside, inside the jeepney was actually a world of its own with music blasting loudly through the speakers. Only in these local rides that you get to listen to all the hip happening songs IN TAGALOG version. Yes, I’m not kidding, it seems like they ‘Tagalogized’ everything.

Imagine having to listen to Florida's Low in Tagalog

or Taylor Swift's Love Story

and the funniest one, Akon's Right Now Na Na translated to Banana na na LOL

We found it funny in the beginning, having to listen to "Lau lau lau" instead "Low low low" but after some time, it was actually pretty interesting. People hopped onto the jeepney, screamed their destination from the back and passed the fare from one another to the driver. Driver never looked back or track who is going where. He just stopped at a particular destination and you have less than 10 seconds to 'jump' out jelir Also do expect a lot of jerking and braking in the entire journey, perhaps a strong stomach to hold everything in after a big meal is definitely recommended heh...

It's obvious we arrived at our destination in one piece, after much shaking, braking and jerking behind the wheels.

Yes, it's one of those little things that reminds you...

'Welcome to Philippines'

and I love every single bit of it.

mc_taz says:
Very obvious from your faces you really enjoyed the ride!
Posted on: Apr 16, 2011
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3,369 km (2,093 miles) traveled
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photo by: Deats