9.9.11

Transportation, the Public Kind

    Obviously, life here is different- sometimes the difference is a welcome relief and sometimes it presents challenges that leave me wanting to pull my hair out. Jumping into a new culture is like jumping into a card game already in process. Everyone knows the rules but you. Most people expect you to just know the rules. The best way to learn the rules is usually break them...which does not really lend to winning or even being successful.

   And now you know how I feel about transportation here in the Philippines. I have jumped into a game already in full swing and am trying my best to keep up...and to not break the rules (okay, actually I am more worried about getting lost) as much as is feasible.

    There are five major types of public transportation in the Philippines: taxi, jeepney, pedicab, motorcycle, and bus. Since I am pretty sure you have heard of taxis, motorcycles, and buses, this blog is focusing on the jeepney and pedicab.

The jeepney is usually painted bright colors and the base fare is p8.
Before getting off at your stop, you send up the payment to the driver by way of the other passengers. If you need any change, he just passes it back the same way. Thanks Jess for this shot!
The view from the from the front seat of the jeepney. Thanks Jess for this shot!
    The above is a jeepney, they were originally made from leftover jeeps from World War 2. The jeepneys have routes that they follow, so to get where you are wanting to go you have to know the routes and where you are going. I have learned to ask two very important questions to gage distance, "How many rides?" and "How much is the fare?" Because so few people drive here and because the jeepneys are constantly stopping to let more people crowd in, most people have no idea of the actual distance between point A and point B.
    I live sort of out of town, so my fare is usually p11, which is equivalent to about a quarter. To get one you wave it down. (Not hard.) The hard part is seeing where it is going while it flies past you. 


Pedicabs, aka tricycles. Not all of them have tops. And some of them are not motorized, they just have foot pedals.
  
  I honestly do not use these much, but when these drivers can be really helpful. And they are much cheaper than taxi's and take you to the specific place you want to go. Sometimes it is hard though because they usually want the "white" price and not the "right" place. I have learned though, that if I think they are overcharging to just say in Visaya, "Good gracious, so expensive?" They usually laugh, and bring it down to at least a reasonable price...if not the "right" one.

    And that is how I get around!

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