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    The Vice Guide to Travel - Philippines Jeepneys


    by VBS.TV

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    In case you're a little fuzzy on your South Pacific history, here's a quick little primer on the complex state of Filipino-American relations in the early 40s from a fresh Swedish perspective: Americans wanted back what they rightfully owned by purchase, so they gathered a bunch of Filipino troops and chased out the Japanese. This was just a couple of months before a little device called The Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, thus ending WWII and warfare as it was known up until that point.

    A couple years later they decided/were forced to jam. Apart from the kids born out of soldierly love, the Americans also left their army supplies behind. It would have been more expensive to bring it back home, and anyways war as they knew it was over so who gave a hoot, right? Among the stuff they left floating around were the infamous Willys Jeeps. Even if you’re a girl or hate the History Channel, if you’ve only ever seen one war movie or flipped past an episode of M*A*S*H you know exactly which vehicle I'm talking about.

    Metro Manila, with its estimated 18 million inhabitants, is a transportation nightmare the likes of which my spoiled Swedish brain cannot even begin to wrap itself around. I'll start getting mad at "the city" when it takes 20 minutes to take the train across town, but who do you get mad at when there are millions of busted down old Toyotas and overloaded scooters between you and the other side of the city? Apparently, if you're Filipino, you don't. You just take whatever car you've got, rip the roof off it, then flip the roof over and graft it to the back to double your carrying-capacity and call it a bus. This healthy attitude toward open-car surgery is what spawned the Jeepney and made it a mainstay of Manila's dusty network of roads. Wherever you are in the city, all you have to do is wave and one'll stop for you. They're the perfect blend of a taxi and a bus and they are really fucking cheap.