Jeepney In The Philippines

A Glimpse Into Filipino Culture!

Can you remember the time when you used to take the jeepney in the Philippines every day? I can.

Everyone knows the jeepney is the most practical and cheapest way to get around in the Philippines.

In Iligan today, you can take a jeepeny ride for about eight pesos depending on the distance traveled. Jeepney routes are painted on the side or on a signboard placed on the windshield in front of the driver.

With all the decorations of sorts, be aware that sometimes the name of the jeepney route is very hard to see.

Jeepney In The Philippines

Iligan Jeepney – Fiesta


At the end of World War II, the United States’ military began heading back home. They left behind surplus of US military jeeps – some old some new.

Filipinos stripped down what once a “drab green willy” and painted them with brilliant colors. And to accomodate for passengers, they added bench seating.

What used to be green, now brightly colored vehicles became an expression of the new owner’s personality.

The jeepney in the Philippines became the major mode of transportation. And today, the Philippine jeepney has become a symbol of Philippine culture.

Jeepney in Iligan

In Iligan, each jeepney runs a certain route known as “boundary”. They are usually painted on the side of the vehicle. See examples below, remember V.V. means vice versa.

City Proper – La Salle – Villa Verde, V.V.
City Proper – Tibanga – St. Mary, V.V.

Jeepney In The Philippines

Iligan Jeepney

In every instance, getting around Iligan is easy. Just stand alongside the road, raise your hand and voila! A jeepney is bound to stop in front of you.

You might have to catch a sikad , tricycle, or a habal-habal if you don’t live close to the major road.

Once you get on, hold on to the bars just in case the driver makes a sudden stop before you are seated. You would not want to end up on another passenger’s lap. Unless, he or she is your dream Romeo or Juliet. (Wink)

When Inside the Jeepney

Know that you can pay the driver anytime you want. If you are the farthest from the driver or conductor, you might have to ask the passenger closest to him for some help. You can expect your change to be return the same way.

So, next time you sit close to the driver, expect some passengers asking you for some assistance. This is the norm when you ride the jeepney in the Philippines.

Let’s face it, drivers rely heavily on passengers’ honesty to earn good money. So to encourage passengers to pay their fare, they post this sticker.

Jeepney In The Philippines

Iligan Jeepney

“God knows Judas not pay…”

“Basta driver sweet lover” means “Every driver is a sweet lover”
They hope that this would stir up passengers’ conscience.

It is amazing what you can learn on what’s going on around town just by riding a jeepney. And it is not from the jeepney’s radio either. It is through what locals call, “radyo baba” (baba meaning mouth).

It’s not uncommon for strangers to strike up a conversation with another passenger. And one can’t help listen as passengers seated facing each other shoulder-to-shoulder and sometimes even knee-to-knee.

Trust me! You have no idea the lessons and stories I have picked up from years of riding the jeepney. Some are happy, some sad, some appalling, some hilarious – it’s life’s drama unfolded.

Tips When Riding a Jeepney

You waive your hands to get in to a jeepney. What do you do to get off one?

Well, all you have to do is simply tap or knock on the roof and say, “pa daplin lang or para” simply means, stop.

That’s how you tell the driver to stop.

Simple, isn’t it? (Note: this would only work if your jeepney driver speaks Visaya).

If the driver doesn’t hear you, expect other passengers to yell to get his attention.

Don’t see any designated jeepney stops? I’ll let you in a little secret…there are none. Really, there are no designated jeepney stops. Drivers will just roll ever so slowly allowing his passenger to get off.

Before long you’ll be an expert getting on and off the jeepney in the Philippines.

Finally, this brings us to the last quote:

“Basta driver sweet lover”

You already notice that each jeepney in the Philippines is distinct from the other. The ornaments, ranging from plastic fruits hanging on the rear view mirror to a puppy with head bobbing up and down reflect the driver’s personality.

Jeepney in the Phillipines

So I leave you to guess the personality of the driver who sticks this sign, “basta driver sweet lover”. In translation, means “every driver is a sweet lover”.