Jeepney Art

by Malory Columbretis

The streets of the Philippines, especially that of the National Capital Region, sure suffer from traffic as heavy as the air pollution. Filipino commuters like me are pretty much used to these. From the trains to the buses and the tricycles and sidecar pedicabs, all means of public transport (aside from taxis) are hell to ride– it’s like participating in the Hunger Games at least twice a day. But of all the hells I could choose from amongst these means of public transport, I would always choose the Filipino jeepney.

Jeepneys were originally made from the leftover US military jeeps from World War II, and the name is believed to be a combination of ‘jeep’ and ‘jitney’ though others suggest different sets of words. Since then, the jeepney became a popular public utility vehicle in the Philippines and was even dubbed ‘Hari Ng Kalsada’ or ‘King of the Road’. Like how rice is always on the plate of Filipinos, the jeepney would always be on the Philippine roads.

Now, the reasons why I prefer riding the jeepney over any other public ride out there are (1) it’s cheaper than bus and train, (2) I find it more comfortable as opposed to the train where you have to stand and have a number of people directly proportional to the area you take up squeeze you on all sides, and the bus where you either sit and get your way out blocked by a myriad of bodies or you stand and suffer every brake and acceleration the vehicle makes. However, the top reason why I ride jeepneys is because they are canvases for artistic expression.

They can have graffiti,

line art,


and portraits.

Sometimes, they even have messages that could tell stories.

‘Mula sa Piso’ (From a Peso)

And you would even know how many brothers and sisters the owner has and what their names are if you’re observant enough.

What I like most is you could know what they are fans of.

I remember my favorite jeepney when I was in high school, it had portraits of The Beatles all over, and they even play their songs inside!

I know some of these are borderline copyright infringement, but I don’t care and I believe I speak for the majority of Filipinos. Anyway, it will never change the fact that I will always find commuting more fun in the Philippines!

Also, a bit late, but happy Independence Day, Pilipinas kong minumutya!

Aking adhika, makita kang sakdal laya.