Vehicools series (4) – The Philippine JEEPNEY
My son and I were on a recent visit to my hometown. My nephew Liam was eager to entertain his 2 year old cousin so he went on a treasure hunt around the house and found these toy-like objects -miniature vehicles that are almost too beautiful to play with. These miniature models became the inspiration of this week’s posts “Vehicools”. We look into vehicles that are ‘cool’ and ‘noteworthy’ because of how they came to be and what they have come to symbolize.
Today I feature the Philippine JEEPNEY. It is the undisputed “King of the Road” in the Philippines. Why? Because it stops anytime and anywhere. Jeepney drivers are so eager to please their clientele that when a passenger taps the roof of the jeepney and commands, “Stop”, most drivers stop instantly- much to the delight of the passenger and the annoyance of private car owners sharing the road with the King. Jeepney stop zones and signs are now in place but some passengers still insist and some drivers still oblige.
Here’s a little Jeepney story for you:
Once there was a jeepney driver who stopped in a no-stopping zone. The CITOM officer (City Traffic Operations Management)questioned him: “Did you see the sign ‘No Stopping’?” “Yes, Sir. I did see the sign.” replied the driver. “So if you saw the sign, why did you stop?” asked the officer. “Because I did not see you?” replied the driver.
The Philippine Jeepney
Jeepneys are the most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines. They were originally made from US military jeeps left over from World War II and are known for their flamboyant decoration and crowded seating. They have become a ubiquitous symbol of Philippine culture.
The word jeepney is commonly believed to have come from the words “jeep” and “knee” because of the crowded seating, passengers must sit knee to knee. Hence, the word jeepney. The word jeepney is also a portmanteau of “jeep” and “jitney“.
|Jeepneys Stuck in a Traffic Jam
Capitol Area, Cebu City, Philippines
|This must belong to a guy named Aaron
(could also be the owner’s son’s name)
Jeepney owners like to include a name
or a combination of names to their jeepney’s design
For example if the side of the jeepney reads JESRAEL –
my best guess would be: the names of the owner’s kids are: Jessica, Ray and Elmer.
by Godofredo Stuart/StuartXchange
Jeepney art is a combination of the “art of the accessory” and the “art of the color” applied on a basic canvas shell of galvanized metal or buffed and glimmering stainless steel. For the most part accessories are handpicked and altered or added on at the owner’s whim. The “art of the color” is usually applied by airbrush or sticker artists. Many jeepneys concentrate the art on the front, insanely cramming the hood area with accessories, the sides with empty galvanized expanses or scatterings of ads and small art. Some are gleamingly and colorfully wrapped with accessories and airbrushed or stickered art.
No two jeepneys are alike. Even the drab generics show distinct differences. Customization starts with the shell, a detail here and a detail there. Then the myriad of personal touches – a choice accessory, horses and horns, lights and mirrors, flaps and guards, names and dedications, a color preference, an art theme, a religious icon or invocation – a composite of details that proudly blazons a signature, a personal statement and ownership.
Learn more about the history of the Philippine Jeepney
Read more articles about the Jeepney