Jeepeys and Tricycles oh my! A day in Manila
November 5. By Alfredo Barahona
I give up. I can’t sleep. It is roughly 5:45 AM. I can’t sleep and it’s not just because of the 13 hour difference between Toronto and Manila, but because of the noise from Jeepneys and the Tricycles outside.
At the crack of dawn, the city wakes up. Jeepneys and the Tricycles are working class, privately owned modes of public transportation. Jeepneys are war-time Jeeps transformed into small buses. Tricycles are regular motorcycles modified to accommodate and transport entire families for a more affordable, working class fee. Each Jeepney and Tricycle is registered with the municipality and their owners pay taxes.
These are hard-working people with a unique and creative approach to their work.
It doesn’t always look safe to travel in vehicles that appear to be handmade and zigzag in and out between cars, big buses and even bigger trucks. I was born on the other side of the Pacific, almost directly across from the Philippines. As in El Salvador, Manila drivers turn a three-lane road into six or even more lanes. They honk, cut in front of other cars, and drive within a hair of each other. How do they do it?
But wait. It is not just Jeepneys. Tricycles, cars, buses and trucks cut each other off. Pedestrians also weave in and out of traffic. Vendors approach buses and cars as they stop in traffic jams. This is a very busy place.
Yep, Manila definitely reminds me of El Salvador. Is that why I feel so alive here? Oh, and wait until I show you the spectacular photos of the sun set I saw while walking on the sea shore by Roxas Boulevard! Hasta la vista amigos y amigas!