In the Philippines, the Filipino jeepney is considered the “King of the Road”. A national symbol, this iconic form of public transportation is proudly Pinoy, and the most popular way for locals to travel around. A jeepney is crowded, cheap, and no two jeepney’s are the same.
Many are decorated with bright colours and flashing lights, jeepney art will be appreciated by street art and mural lovers. The painted jeepneys are all unique way, and are anything but boring!
Jeepneys are embedded in Philippine culture and art. London has a red double decker bus, New York has the yellow taxi cab, and the Philippines have jeepneys. All are iconic, all are insta-worthy.
If anything is an expression of local culture in the Philippines, it’s a jeepney, and Moalboal Eco Lodge share a pictorial guide to jeepney street art in Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines.
What is a Philippine Jeepney?
The Filipino Jeepney is a cheap, popular form of local transportation, with some journeys costing as little as P20 (32p or 39c). Although they have designated routes, they will stop anywhere along the way to pick up new passengers, or to let people off.
Passengers are crammed in like sardines with as many as 20-30 people. Locals sit near the open rear door to make it easier to get out, and when new passengers jump on, generally they have to walk towards the front of the jeepney with a lot of shuffling around. With its open rear door, often you will see passengers standing outside, hanging on to the back and the roof bar. Its open windows mean City journeys can be noisy, polluted and wet during rainy season.
Just as every wall doesn't have street art painted on it, not every jeepney has jeepney art, so when you do find one, it's special.
Painted jeepneys can be described as art on wheels with brightly spray painted religious images or cartoon characters. Superheroes tend to be a favourite and some have big lights on the front and rear. Every jeepney is different and I personally love to look at every design that passes me by.
History of the Jeepney
Jeepneys were born after World War 2 when jeeps were left behind by American troops leaving the Philippines.
During the war, the country’s main transport systems (cable cars and trains) were severely damaged which created a big problem for locals struggling to travel around.
When the war was over, there was a surplus of jeeps which were sold or given to Filipinos. They were upcycled and used as buses to transport people. Locals made them longer to carry more passengers, seats were turned sideways to face one another with an aisle down the middle, and a metal roof was added to protect passengers from the blazing hot sun. The jeepney as we know it was born.
The idea was revolutionary because jeepneys were able to carry passengers faster and cheaper than cable cars. Used mainly in Manilla, the jeepney was proving very popular and in 1953, Sarao Motors started producing new jeepneys. This was the beginning of jeepneys becoming part of the Filipino culture, and a symbol of the Philippines.
Jeepneys around Moalboal
When visiting Moalboal, you can expect to see some (if not all) of the following painted jeepneys. Popular routes are Badian to Ronda, Badian to Dumunjug or Moalboal to Alegria (for Kawasan Falls).
I highly recommend you factor in some time to take a ride in a jeepney. You don’t have to travel far but it’s a huge part of the Philippine culture and isn’t that what travelling is all about? There is no better way of immersing yourself into the Filipino way than jumping on a jeepney to the next town and maybe sampling some local Filipino food.
If you are travelling on a budget or wish to save your pesos for a sunset beer, travelling like a local will help keep transport costs down. Using public transport means you are also being a responsible tourist, and at Moalboal Eco Lodge, we definitely encourage that.
I have only included beautifully painted jeepney photos in this article, and you will see many regular jeepneys driving which are just like any other ordinary vehicle.
Miscellaneous Painted Jeepneys
Jeepneys outside of Moalboal
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