Juan dela Cruz has heavily relied on jeepneys for decades. It may not be the most convenient (and, uh, fashionable) mode of transportation, but it is the most affordable — only Php8 on a 4-kilometer-jeepney route.
Moreover, it can be found in almost every barangay, town, city, and province in the Philippines.
And just like the “bayanihan“, “mano po“, and other Filipino customs and traditions; riding on the Sarao jeepney spawned habits, good and bad, that are definitely Filipino. I’m sure you can think of more but here are a few:
- Passengers help other passengers into or out of the jeepney
- Passing on of payments from one passenger to the next till it reaches the driver
- Drivers and passengers usually help lost passengers by providing instructions
- Passengers demanding to be let out the jeepney even if it hasn’t reached the unloading point
- Lack of courtesy in asking other passengers to pass the payment on to the driver
- Passengers who take more seating space by sitting sideways or putting their bags on the seat
So, for us to have a more comfortable and pleasant ride; let’s not forget to follow common courtesy whether or not the jeepney is in transit:
1. If you’re just waiting for more passengers, pay up right away.
This is my pet peeve: passengers would wait till the jeepney’s full of passengers before they start paying; thereby, inevitably making those sitting behind the driver the official “passer” of payment. Walking those few steps closer to the driver won’t hurt, except if you got luggage or you’re handicapped.
2. Say “please”.
Your co-passengers are not obligated to pass your payment on to the driver. They’re doing you a favor if they do it. On top of saying “Bayad!” which is addressed to the driver, say “Pakiabot” to anyone who voluntarily gets your payment from your hands.
Sometimes, all you need to do is give cues. If I’m getting tired of passing payments, I either put on my earphones or pretend I’m sleeping. When co-passengers aren’t polite and they expect change from payments made, I don’t stretch out my arm when passing their change, this time. So, they’re now pressured to exert more effort in getting their change.
3. Tie your hair.
We don’t really care if your hair is “soft, smooth, and silky”. If it’s flying right at our faces and stinging our eyes or, worse, sticking up our noses, do us all a favor and hold it together.
4. Shave or wear deodorant. Please.
Women naturally and understandably are more sensitive as regards this rule. Heck, I’ve seen girls who’d rather get bumped out of their seats just so they won’t reach for the hand rail and expose their underarm, especially when they’re wearing sleeveless tops. But, I guess this can be applied everywhere because unsightly underarm hair and foul-smelling pits never give us happy memories.
5. Pay in coins or smaller bills.
“Barya lang po sa umaga” (Coins only in the morning, please) signs are common in jeepneys. It works to both the passenger’s and the driver’s advantage. The passenger doesn’t have to wait till the driver comes up with the change and the driver won’t need to look for fellow drivers to exchange peso bills and coins with.
6. Mind your own business.
I’ve always been amused at how some Filipinos would read what their seatmate is typing on their mobile phones. Eavesdropping on phone calls happens a lot, too. Either those or you suddenly have an audience looking at you from head to toe. Be reminded that it’s rude to stare. If you like observing or looking at your seatmates, find a way to do it discreetly, then. Or better yet, just look outside.
7. Keep your bags away.
Away from our faces, knees, legs, feet, arms, etc. If you have put your whole house into that precious bag, make sure to hold it in front of you while getting in and out of the jeepney. If possible, just put it on the floor.
8. Fold wet umbrellas.
As much as possible, we’d want to stay dry inside the jeepney when it’s raining. If you get on the jeepney with a drenched umbrella, there’s a right way to do it: start closing your umbrella while still holding it over your head and get on the jeepney then carefully hold it together while you get in and look for a seat.
9. Sit closer to the driver when you need directions.
This way, you won’t have to yell out to the driver to ask how to get to a place or if you’re almost in your destination.
10. Don’t litter!
Most jeepneys now have trash bins located at the far end (behind the driver). Use it. Can’t find one? Don’t throw it out! Hold on to it and look for a trash can when you get out of the jeepney.
Taking a passenger jeepney to get to to your destination here in the Philippines will teach you a thing or two about Filipino attitudes and behaviors. Whether you’re doing it as your everyday means of transportation or just to experience what it’s like, good manners and common courtesy should join you in your travel. 🙂