Top 5 Warnings About Public Transportation in the Philippines

I have been a commuter for more than 15 years already.  With all the "bad elements" here and there while on commute, I am still thankful because it has made me a street smart person. I formally started to take public transportation when I attended college. Ever since I was born, I was confined in this small neighborhood, "Canlubang" in Laguna where everything was just walking distance. Come the time when I had to go to Manila for College, it was like everything thrown at my face all at the same time --- taking the jeep, fx, bus, lrt, mrt and pedicab! Therefore, I can truly say I'm a well-trained commuter, molded in the best training ground along the side walks of Manila where all the snatchers and other bad guys are on the look out to get your most valuable possession.

Anyway, I am also thankful that I am now out of the hustle and bustle of the city but is now a simple Laguna commuter. My daily travel time is around 30-45 minutes from home to work which requires me to take the jeepney and tricycle only. There were times when I feel so tired about hopping in and out from one public vehicle to another. But, hey, that's life! At least I'm spared from the polluted surroundings of the city and instead travel lightly with a relaxing green surrounding going to my work place.

Throughout the years, I have realized how public transportation in the country can be very poor. Not only the system itself but also the commuters you get to encounter everyday --- they can be rude, ill-mannered and stinky, too! I must say, they can get the best out of you. And so, from my daily ramblings in publicly commuting, here are some facts you should be aware of about public transportation in the Philippines and other elements you might encounter.

1. Jeepney passengers can be very RUTHLESS.
Nowadays, commuters seemed to have lost good mannerisms and care for other co-passengers. When riding the jeep, people does not like to provide a seating space for new passengers unless they are asked by the driver to do so. It's as if their butts have been glued to that particular spot of the jeep. Apart from that, passengers hate to be seated right behind the driver because when people pass on their fare, you instantly become the driver's assistant in handling fare or changes to their bills. Also, the seat (on both sides of the jeep) right near the entrance is like a million dollar seat because it provides easy access as you go down even if you are the last person to be dropped off. It seems as if passengers have become really passive and selfish that when you ride the jeep, you are like a loser if you end up right behind the driver and it is such a luck when you get that million dollar seat near the jeepney entrance.

2. Smokers cannot purposively read the the "NO SMOKING" sign.
I think this is true in almost every public transportation. There are still passengers who suddenly become blinded and seemed to have lost their basic reading ability when they see the "NO SMOKING" sign. Despite the written and verbal reminders, they still smoke their lungs out just because they cannot refrain from doing so! Other passengers can be very unmindful of other people who does not like the smell of smoke and who serves as second-hand smokers. If you want to get rid of these people who continuously smoke their lungs out, you have to shout at them straight in their face that not everybody in the jeep or bus would like to smell the sh*t they bring out from that nicotine-filled stick.

3. Beware of some DISHONEST and GREEDY drivers.
Some drivers take advantage of passengers who does not really have presence of mind . There can be very witty passengers who will ask for changes up to the last centavo and there also naive ones who simply rely on trust without knowing that changes to their money are lacking a few pesos already. We are all trying to work hard to earn money and it is not an excuse that one earns more than the other to outwit equally hard working individuals.

4. Expect to be squeezed (especially during rush hours).
Taking the public transportation can be comparable to being lost in the jungle. Expect the unexpected. Passengers can be very aggressive especially during rush hours -- going to the office and going home from work because they are so desperate to get to their respective destination the earliest and fastest way possible. So, expect to be squeezed up to the littlest muscle in your body because jeepneys, buses or lrt become like a prey to hungry animals just like when commuters spot the sign board to their target destination. It's as if they should always be the first one to ride and it's all like a racing competition.

5. Public transportation are generally unsuitable for "not-so" slim people.
It's very inconvenient that nowadays when you ride jeepneys that they make 9 people fit into the 8-seater row of the jeep (one-side of the jeep). Well, what can we expect from greedy drivers?!They are more concerned on their profit than provide what the passengers pay for. Say, if a passenger pays Php 8.00 as a minimum fare and unfortunately he gets that last seat on the jeep, sad to say you will have to sacrifice that only one-fourth of you butt is seated and stay like that until you reach your destination. So, talk about paying Php 8.00 for 1/4 of your butt in that awful sitting position!

These are the scenarios that I, personally have observed in the 15 or more years of commuting. Thus, if you are a tourist looking for the cheapest way of going around the city, try considering the cab or joining some group tour rather than complain and be disgusted. I've thought of writing up these things instead of the usual complaints which may appear more negative. Anyway, these are just warnings and the rest is still up to you. :)


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