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A Different Kind of Ride

Essay by   •  June 10, 2013  •  Essay  •  1,316 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,528 Views

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The sun was already at its peak hour when Mang Kado, a 40-year-old father, decided to leave from the terminal parking lot together with his wife and a two-year-old daughter. He was sitting on the front seat of his newly painted limousine while his female counterpart was busy stretching her arms to reach for the payment of the passengers. "Today will be the same as yesterday; it will always be a long ride," he sighed after he hanged the small placard with Cubao Alimall encrypted on it. Dismissing the idea of boredom, he turned on his radio and tuned in his favorite FM station, Love Radio. He took a few U-turns before coming to Marcos Hi-way; later then his vehicle was stuck for a 30-minute traffic jam. Another hour later and he stopped by a near terminal--it was his last destination. Few more minutes and his four-wheel buddy will resume its operation.

Turns out that Mang Kado is one of those thousands of industrious jeepney drivers that we get to see everyday we commute. Sure that these men's daily routine is really tedious, but they have limited choice of earning a valuable cent. They have the expertise in their respective field (which is driving), but it is not that easy to catch a good opportunity being a well-paid laborer. Thus they endure as a public utility driver.

Nevertheless, their lives came into shock when the Department of Transportation and Communication announced in 1979 that they are planning to exclude the "king of the road" from coasting the country's main roads, avenues, streets, extensions, among others. Of course numerous labor associations went to these main roads and streets to rally for their rights while freezing the flow of traffic in Metro Manila where a lot of commuters came panicking. The plan was never passed, and 33 years after the uproar, the issue still remains to be a hot debate.

True enough that those jeepneys came as one of the top polluters in the cosmopolitan, and the overpopulation of these utility vehicles made our national roads very complex and traffic loving. However, the government underestimated the power of the iconic jeepney. What do jeepneys have that made them very influential? Is there really any possibility that jeepneys would suddenly fade away in our lives? Let's see the reasons behind.

To fully understand why jeepneys are that much important compared to other vehicles, we must look at it in three different perspectives: the vehicle being an art, a culture, and history.

The jeepney as an art is already obvious by its nature; however, many of us limit our observation of its art in its outside look. But what's there inside the jeep that we could consider as an art? In a micro level of seeing such things, one may see that in the front seat of the car is a mini altar. Pictures of Jesus Christ, Virgin Mary, Filipino saints like San Lorenzo Ruiz and the now famous San Pedro Calungsod are all bannered in array. Small figurines of angels and saints could also be seen. There are also collections of various colors, sizes, and designs of the rosary plus the fresh sampaguita on the centermost part of the altar. In addition to the pseudo-Christian image of the altar, mini Buddha and other Chinese feng shui products could also be seen on display.

The inner murals of the jeepney may also capture one's attention. One may think of what the connection of Helena to Mang Kado. Is she his wife? His daughter? His mistress? Though it's funny to think of such things, it is very eminent for drivers to put calligraphy of the names of his wife and children, signifying their unity as a family. When elections are near, posters of politicians,



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