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Lakaw is a journey is a step is a move. I love to travel around the world and this is my travel and travel gadget site. Welcome and Enjoy!

0 comments | Monday, July 23, 2007

This is just a reprint of one of my articles that was published in the lifestyle section of the Sun Star Newspaper many years ago, during my wee wee years. I truly miss my 'Philippine jeepney' days.

What would you feel if when you have to wait for hours on a jeepney stop just to get a seat you could hardly fit in? What if hanging aft is the only choice left so you can be home on time? How would you feel if you were in a deep hurry for an appointment and the jeepney you boarded on had to stop by for a fuel refill? Grrrrr...

If you are one of the many who do not own a luxury car or even an ordinary chity chity bang bang (imagine a car that starts with two little sneezes and short blasts) you can always go out to the streets and pick up a taxi or much more exciting, opt for an air-conditioned public utility jeepney. If your budget is tight, go for the latter and experience something unique.

As far as I can remember, the first time I rode a jeepney without my mother dragging me by the hand was when I was in my last year in high school. As a young promdi then, I wasnt able to fully utilize my freedom as a commuter, that is, being free to go anywhere, as mom was never absent to help me transport myself. When the much-awaited first came upon a young, inexperienced fellow, as I was to ride a jeepney from Talamban to Colon, across the streets, alone I felt excited and rather uneasy.

LOST IN THE STREETS. I had this fear of taking a PUJ with glass windows too small to get a good view of the outside, since I could be brought somewhere else from where I wanted to go and the fact that I wasn't used to memorizing landmarks, just added to the apprehension. I could only pray that this would never happen. But I ended riding one of them, anyway. Up the lane to the highway, I kept on peeping through the small opening so I could tell where I was in the first place. As expected, I was apparently heading in the wrong direction. Why had I not been more attentive to mom when she said that 13B is for Carbon route and 13C for Taboan? Thank God that the person next to me, noticing my anxious movements and nervousness, told me where to get down and take the nearest ride back home.

JEEPNEY DREAMS. I never learned from just one instance though. For me it is cool to experience something the second time around, well this time in a different way.

A little dizziness was not a barrier for someone driven by the need to buy a school requirement for the next day. Totally drained from working on a project overnight, I could tell there was a clash happening between my consciousness and my eyelids. Still, I went out, took a jeepney and started a journey too noteworthy to forget and too odd to forget. A hundred meters and my eyes started to give in and my mind wandered through the vastness of thought. Yes, I had fallen asleepfor fifteen minutes! And that was a span of time enough to get me heading back home. Opps, ha ha ha, but no one else had noticed it though. So I acted as if nothing had happened, waited for a while, then got off and never looked back.

A LADYS TALE. One can certainly derive important lessons from another persons experience. Take this one. I was on board a jeepney via downtown one fine early summer morn. Being the first passenger, I took the rear and seat near the entrance. Minutes later, a refined, young lady hopped in. Taking a seat directly opposite to me, I knew at first glance she was bound for work, her thick red lips and facial facade told me so. I was enjoying her charms (she was beautiful) when all so suddenly, without both of us knowing, the driver braked to an unexpected halt to an old woman who wanted to get on board. In physics it is stated that in every action there is always a counterpart reaction. Newtons Law of Motion, that is. Before the reaction could affect me, I was able to quickly grip myself firmly on my seat. The lady unfortunately let herself slide, slip and skate along the lengthy passenger seats down to the front. An exhibition she did not anticipate. A little later she grumbled, called the driver filthy names and without paying she got off.

MONEY-SAVING. This is not all about the term mamukong (a word for anyone who intentionally rides without paying). It is about saving a small amount supposed to be for fare in a moral and honest way. Read this:

A friend and I happened to occupy the front seats--which we were not actually used to-- of a Colon bound jeepney. Amidst a solid jam of cars in a busy afternoon, we talked of places we have been to, memories we cherish, family origins and old generations. In the middle of a revealing tete-a-tete, the driver interrupted with statements about his personal life. He asked questions, traced two generations of my fathers family name. There was sorting out of family trees, which eventually led to the conclusion that we were relatives, not that close though. He then talked of life and how he managed to cope, and how he supported his family with his little earnings from his being a full-time jeepney driver. A moment later, we handed to him our fare but he insisted that we keep it.

I have never met someone who questioned me about what I do inside a PUJ, especially during boring trips. It sounds funny or strange huh, but I am hardly ever without something to do usually small things like singing the weeks top song, or watching the driver smokes under the NO SMOKING ordinance printed in bold letters on the jeep top or simply praying for the safety in travel.

I would sometimes make quite a big deal out of reading every bible passage, notes or even poems posted on the sides.

Ang jeep ay parang alkasiya, kaya ang ibigay niyo ay barya

I will always ride a Pasajero

Thank You. Ride Again

Load and unload on jeepney stop only

There were times I was more interested in keeping an eye on a baby sleeping on his mothers lap, or thinking about the risks those men hanging at the back could surely get into.

I have learned so many things in all my years of riding a jeepney alone. An unidentified youngster snatched a newly bought cap of mine while the jeep was on a stop: I would have to be always cautious and alert. A lady was left in shock when a man snatched her gold necklace while she was asleep: I should never put on expensive jewelry or anything valuable for watchful eyes to see - especially at night. I learned the rights of a disabled person, the right to access to any public utility vehicles.

Well, these are the things I best remember. To those coming from far-flung provinces and still orienting themselves in riding one of the coolest transports in the city, be not worried. Inside a PUJ you are safe and free unless the driver is reckless, or you are seated beside a holdupper, or a CITOM officer tells you "Sir, come down. You have been caught for jay walking".

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