As I mentioned the other day, I’ve been riding jeepneys lately. I consider it a further part of my acculturation to the Philippines. I’ve already lived here a long time, more than a decade, but I can still learn more about the culture here and make efforts to better fit in culturally. So, that is what I am doing.
As far as I can recall, I don’t think I’ve missed a single day of riding the jeepney somewhere since I started last week. I’ve had mostly good adventures on the jeep, but the one bad one that I wrote about a couple days ago. Today, I need to go to Union Bank for some business that I need to take care of there… so I’ll take the Jeepney again.
Actually, riding the jeepney has really made me re-evaluate a number of things about my life in the Philippines. It sounds silly, but I’m serious on that. Normally, if I am driving, I hate the jeepneys. They are constantly blocking traffic and such. Now, riding in the jeepney, though, I can see it from their side. I still may not like it if I am driving… but I think I’ll cut them a bit more slack in the future. There have been some other things as well that have come from riding the jeep, which I think will make me re-address some of the things about my life here, and, I believe, make me a better person. All from such a simple thing as riding on the jeepney! Ha ha… funny, but true.
I have to say that I have enjoyed the experience overall, and I have made a firm commitment to myself that I will be riding jeepneys on a regular basis in the future too. When I first started, I didn’t think I would be doing that, but I have felt that riding the jeepney has been a good cultural learning experience, and I’ve enjoyed it too, so why not continue? My only complaint is that it can get hot in the jeepney, so I will have to adjust to that still.
Yesterday, on my way home from an errand, I had a fun experience. After having rode the jeepney to take care of some of my errands, I had already gotten off and was walking the rest of the way home. Two young boys, probably like 8 years old started waving to me, yelling “hi, Joe” and such. I spoke back to them in Bisaya. I passed by them and kept on the way home, and in a few more minutes they had chased me down and wanted to talk to me. I stopped and talked. Here is how the conversation went:
Boys: Sir, can you speak Tagalog?
Me: Dili, Bisaya o Ingles lang ko. (no, just Bisaya or English)
Boys: Ah, OK. Wow, you can speak Bisaya?
Me: Oo, sigurado. (yes, for sure)
Boys: Sir, naa kay bola? (sir, do you have a ball?)
Me: Wala koy bola, sorry. (I don’t have a ball, sorry.)
Boys: Ah, sige. (Oh, OK)
more small talk… then after a few minutes:
Boys: Naa ka bay kwarta? (Do you have money?)
Ha ha.. I never give money to beggars, but these boys were not begging, they were just curious and friendly, so…
Me: Oo, naa koy kwarta. Kong hatagon ta ka ang kwarta, pagbahin mo. (Yes, I have money. If I give you money, you share.)
So, I gave them P20 (almost 50 cents US) and they told me they would buy some crackers for a snack. We said goodbye, and I headed home. I am sure they will be watching for me to pass again… there might be more money, after all! 😆 Anyway, looks like I have two new friends in the neighborhood.
So, as you can see, it’s been fun traveling the Filipino way. I’m going to keep it up!