A further look into local life: Cavite, Philippines

Transportation

Jeepneys and tricycles are the primary means of public transportation in the Philippines, although the former is more heavily relied on. The ones I rode while in Cavite cost P9 per ride, which is 20 to 21 cents in the U.S.

Unfortunately, there are no maps provided on jeepneys, so riders will need to have to know where they are going. To know what jeepney is going where, riders need to look for the route written on the side of the vehicle. (For example: Amadeo to Silang.) It’s immensely helpful to have a resident ride a jeepney with you. Otherwise, do some research on where you’re going and what routes you can take, and ask locals or drivers for help.

To ride a jeepney or tricycle, you wave your hand in the same way you would call a taxi. Once you’ve arrived where you need to go, you yell, “Para!” to the driver to signal him to stop. As there are no designated stops along the route, the driver will stop right when he hears the signal. He may or may not pull over to the side when he stops, regardless of whether or not there is a vehicle following immediately behind.

Jeepneys can probably fit a dozen or more people, while a tricycle is designed to carry four passengers.

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However, I was told that some tricycles will carry 10 kids during rush hour after school. I’m not sure how that works. It’s not safe, but drivers need to earn their living.

In addition to these, buses and a limited train system are used to commute.

There are also a lot of cars in the Philippines. However, traffic can be torture and driving can be a heart-pounding experience that requires assertiveness and aggressiveness:

– There aren’t enough stoplights
– Wearing seatbelts is not enforced
– A two-lane street will become three lanes when traffic moves too slowly; similarly, a four-lane street can become a six-lane one
– Overtaking all the time, even if just to pass a car moving slightly slower, is not rude – it’s normal
– It is a wise move to get as close to the bumper of the car in front so nobody else can squeeze into the lane.

Drivers basically always have the right of way – not the pedestrians, not the car that’s supposed to get to go first: drivers have the right of way.

But hey, if the car has air conditioning and you’ve got guts and money, driving will spare you from the lung-polluting smoke that is the Philippine atmosphere.


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