These former U.S. military jeeps and left-overs from World War II are today’s most common and cheapest means of public transport. Contrary to buses, there are hundreds of them so that you never wait for a long time. They pick up and drop passengers anywhere along the road, so that you’ll often not have to walk a single meter.
The fare basically depends on the distance. One trip within Bacolod City costs 7 PHP (0.12 euros) for adult passengers and 5 PHP (0.09 euros) for children and elders. The inter-city jeeps I took between Bacolod, Bago and Sipalay charged 14 PHP (0.24 euros) per trip.
It’s a very practical means of transport that I use almost every day. That’s why it was important to learn the following two Ilonggo expressions from the start:
“Bayad lihog” – “I’d like to pay, please” when you hand over the 7 PHP to the passengers in front of you who’ll pass it to the driver.
“Lugar lang” – “Go down” whenever you wanna be dropped off.
Unfortunately, the disadvantages of jeeps are numerous as well.
The longitudinal seating and lack of seat-belts raises security concerns to most foreigners using a jeep for the first time. But after a while, you don’t think about that part of your journey anymore.
As a tall German, I often suffer from the limited space in these vehicles. When I ride a fully crowded jeep, passengers literally climb above my knees to get in and out. Whenever I carry too many bags during rush hours, I prefer taking a tricycle or taxi, even if the trip may be ten times more expensive. But the space in jeeps is just too limited.
And finally, a jeep drive gives you full exposure to the city’s pollution due to the open rear roof and windows. The old jeeps themselves are most probably one of the main sources of pollution in the Philippines’ streets. So when you start feeling your throat and sniff after every ride, you’ll probably consider dusk masks like I do now (and I found them so ridiculous before).