Wednesday, May 21, 2008
In the Philippines, the jeepney or dyip is one of the country's icons. According to some urban legends, the dyip originated after the second world war when the Americans left a considerable number of jeepneys in the country. They used to be the mode of transportation during the war against the Japanese. Filipinos then, decided to convert these dyip into a mass transport system. Thus came the Philippine Dyip (Jeepney).
When I was a kid, I admired the colorful dyips traveling along our streets in Pampanga. And the best feature is that, long before the MMDA, dyips in our neighborhood are already color-coded. Yellow dyips travels to our town either from San Fernando or the Pampang Wet Market, Green ones travel around our town passing through the main streets such as Miranda, MacArthur Highway and Sto.Entierro. Grey dyip on the other hand travels somewhere in Dau and together with its cousin the Dark Blue dyip travels farther away. The rare Royal Blue dyips end point is Pandan. Lastly, a multicolored dyip travels from our town to Dau towards Mabalacat. Up to this day, these color-codes are still followed and it has already been a part of our town's transportation system, a part of our local culture.
Yesterday, I was given a chance to ride a yellow dyip right at the first day of a press-released, nationwide fare increase from 7.50 pesos to 8.00 pesos for dyips. I sat on the front seat beside the mamang tsuper and immediately paid him the updated 8.00 peso fare for my short trip. After sometime, I was thinking how fast mamang tsuper to accept my 8.00 pesos knowing that it was just about 9 hours past from the start of the price increase. And I was so glad that I was able to read the news and avoided being scold by manong for not doing so. Then, just two blocks before my destination, with the tip of his fingers, manong touched by arm and handed me 0.50 centavos. "Hindi ba tumaas na ng sinkwenta ang pamasahe?" I said. "Binawi kaninang madaling araw." manong answered. I was not surprised about the roll back of the price increase since like an ordinary consumer, I got 0.50 cents more for my other expenses. What caught my attention was the honesty and sincerity of manong to give back my spare change. Staying in Manila,we had to make sure that we pay the exact amount or expect the jeepney driver to keep the change.....most of the time.
I can't generalize the idea that jeepney drivers in Pampanga have better moral foundation compared to Manila drivers. However, one thing's for sure.....manong is someone the Filipino people should be proud of. I hope we could be "proud of ourselves" as well. ;)