My Newfound Respect For Jeepney Drivers

Some time ago whilst I was commuting home, our train conductor told us that we has to disembark because they had some technical difficulties. This station was three stations away from where I needed to get off.

The alternative to trains, here in Manila, is to ride a Jeepney. Now the jeepney was first made from the WW2 jeeps that the Americans left as “gifts”. But if you ask me, I they left it behind because it would be too expensive to bring with them, though that rant is for another time.

So here I am with a sea of people on the busy streets of Manila, trying to get the jeepney to get myself home. Try to imagine, you’ve just come from a concert and you want to get home, but all the cabs are being taken by other people. So you end up waiting over an hour, then it rains. That’s what happened to me.

I got so tired that I just stop trying to get a ride.

When I did, I had become aware to what was going on around me. People were struggling to get a ride, trying to get home. People who needed to get somewhere fast hung on the back of the jeepney, because seats were already full. The air was polluted with sweat and noise, I felt very constricted .

Then I saw these other people, whom I call hollers, shouting their lungs out, “Divisoria! Divisoria!” (it’s a place to buy cheap things). The intensive labor these people go through, how hard it must be to do this everyday, I thought.

I couldn’t imagine myself working this hard for such little reward everyday. Then I saw this documentary on Jeepney drivers and let’s just say, I have newfound respect for people who deserve to be rewarded.

To work so hard till your back aches, your head aches, your heart aches… it’s unbearable. Then in the end of the day they get less than $10. And that money is used to, somehow, feed their nine children. That’s just insane!

And what’s really unbearable is that, people like me, want to change it, but I in reality, am just too powerless. Yet the seven richest people in the world, who can supposedly can eradicate poverty over a day, don’t do anything.

Greed is the problem here, and I can now fully understand why my Liberal Arts professors hate large capitalist corporations. If Corporate Social Responsibility didn’t exist, well.. I’ll just leave that to your imagination.

3 thoughts on “My Newfound Respect For Jeepney Drivers

  1. Whenever I think about these people and how hard they work, it makes me feel bad for complaining about anything. I sit in our car on the way home to a nice house with enough food to stuff myself and a soft bed to sleep in. They probably go home to a small room in the slums, bringing the day’s profit and using up every cent to suffice for their everyday needs. And then the same routine the next day for the rest of their lives unless some miracle happens….
    Good post. Very eye-opening.


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