Jeepneys: What To Know About PH’s Cultural Icon

Last Updated: October 18th, 2018

Jeepneys: What To Know About The Philippines' Cultural Icon

Colors of the Philippine flag

 

Jeepneys: What To Know About The Philippines' Cultural Icon

Colorful and symmetrical designs

 

With its vibrant and colorful designs, noisy engines, and relatively cheap fare, the Philippine jeepney has become the country’s preferred mode of transportation since the end of the Second World War. Rivaling the centuries-old Spanish-era churches in the country, the Philippine jeepney has now become a national symbol that showcases Filipino ingenuity.

While traditional jeepneys now faces an uncertain future with the arrival of modern jeepneys, change will and has to come for the better. That doesn’t mean, however, that we’ll come to forget the contribution this iconic “king of the road” has brought the country.

 

1. The word jeepney is said to be a combination of the words ‘jeep’ and ‘jitney’–with ‘jeep’ referring to the military vehicle used during the War while ‘jitney’ is a popular term referring to an American taxicab.

 

2. With most of the country’s public transportation damaged during the War, local manufacturers modified the war jeeps that were left behind by the Americans to transport more passengers.

 

3. The first iteration of the country’s jeepneys were refurbished military jeeps that were developed by American automobile companies–Willys and Ford.

 

Jeepneys: What To Know About The Philippines' Cultural Icon

One of the first jeepneys after the War (image credit: John Tewell on Flickr)

 

Jeepneys: What To Know About The Philippines' Cultural Icon

Plying the roads of Manila (image credit: John Tewell on Flickr)

 

 

4. While it was initially devised as a temporary solution as a means for transport, it quickly evolved into the cultural symbol that we know today.

 

 

Jeepneys: What To Know About The Philippines' Cultural Icon

Mechanical art

 

Jeepneys: What To Know About The Philippines' Cultural Icon

On a curve using a wide angle lens

 

5. Realizing the widespread use of jeepneys after the War, the Philippine government began to regulate its use. From having special licenses to regulated routes to having a fixed rate to charge.

 

6. The jeepneys that we see today, however, are now run using surplus engines and spare parts from Japan.

 

Jeepneys: What To Know About The Philippines' Cultural Icon

A long queue of passengers in one of Makati’s jeepney terminals

 

Jeepneys: What To Know About The Philippines' Cultural Icon

Parked at a wet market

 

7. Countries like Papua New Guinea and Vietnam imported thousands of jeepneys from the Philippines. With Papua New Guinea, it was done as a more cost-efficient alternative for buses while Vietnam received donation from the Philippine government to alleviate its traffic situation. News reports also say that India and Guam are said to be the next export targets for jeepneys.

 

8. The design of the modern jeepney have several iterations in different parts of the Philippines:

 

The Cordilleras

  • Jeepneys in areas like Benguet, Sagada, Baguio, and Ifugao are fitted with truck wheels to better maneuver unpaved mountainous roads.

Cebu

  • Deviating from the usual long-nosed front of the jeepneys, Cebu’s jeepneys are flat-nosed and are made from surplus trucks from Japan.

Iloilo

  • Commonly known as “passad” Iloilo’s jeepneys are built from sedans and pickup trucks with an elongated body.

Leyte

  • Most of the jeepneys in island of Leyte are built using “multicab” imported from Japan.

Davao

  • Known as uso-uso, the Nelson-type jeepneys manufactured and used in Davao City feature a front grille and elongated designs that are usually fitted with a powerful stereo system.

 

 

9. With the Transportation Department’s plan to modernize jeepneys plying the roads in the country, we may now see the end of the traditional jeepneys that we’ve come to know since the end of the Second World War.

 

10. Prototypes for the new jeepneys now comply with new standards including a minimum seating capacity, Euro-4 compliant engines, higher headroom, and some even feature CCTVs and Wi-Fi.

 

 

Jeepneys: What To Know About The Philippines' Cultural Icon

Most jeepneys lack proper—cleaning

 

Jeepneys: What To Know About The Philippines' Cultural Icon

Looking on while waiting for the traffic light to change

 

Jeepneys: What To Know About The Philippines' Cultural Icon

During Manila’s monsoon rains

 

Jeepneys: What To Know About The Philippines' Cultural Icon

 

The Manila Project

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Instagram

 

 

References:

  1. Stanford Engineering
  2. The Philippine Star
  3. Inquirer
  4. Gulf News
  5. The Manila Bulletin
  6. Popular Mechanics

 

themanilaproject

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *