Icons of the Philippines

The Philippine Jeepney

"King of the road"

Near the end of world war 2 the US military begun to reduce their willys jeep. Hundreds of these jeeps were either sold or given to the Filipinos. These jeeps were stripped and were altered locally to fit the needs of the Filipinos. Metal roofs were added to have shade since the Philippines is a tropical country.The back saloon was reconfigured with two long parallel benches with passengers facing each other to accomodate more passengers. 

The jeepney quickly became a popular means of transportation among the Filipinos. Not only was it cheap but also a rugged kind of transportation that can be used even in rugged terrains. The innovation of Filipinos was reflected in these jeepneys, the decorations and infinite ways that these vehicles have developed proved the ingenuity of the Filipinos.

The development of the  jeepney includes the addition of passenger capacity. Addition of size and length and seat assembly to accommodate more people were added. The length were literally made longer by giving it longer chassis.

A writer once said: “The Jeepney is a mobile assemblage of signs, and symbols, decorative motifs and fetishes, rattling along the streets of Metro Manila and other towns throughout the archipelago with a Whoopie that would astonish the designer of the Original Willy’s Jeep”.

Because of its reliability and strength the jeepney was tagged as the “King of the Road”. The presence of the jeepney in every road be it on Manila or provinces of the Philippines only proves the undying love of Filipinos for this vehicle. A trademark of the Philippines the jeepney is already an iconic mark in Philippine picture. Describing Philippines without the jeepney on the picture will surely make that picture dull. The Philippine jeepney has been there since the independence of the Philippines, the jeepney is an art that expresses the Filipinos colorful history. Watching these jeepneys passing with their different designs, colors and signage only shows the artistic sides of the Filipinos.

The Philippine jeepney is already a trademark of the Philippine scenery. Every roads in Manila or even provinces of the Philippines is not complete without the presence of this vehicle. Tourist visiting the country usually tries to ride this vehicle to get that cultural feeling of a Filipino. Even Hollywood superstars are excited to try to ride this unusual vehicle. Many visitors of the country are being led to ride this iconic vehicle of the Philippines. 

Hollywood star Vin Diesel

But the Philippine jeepney though already a trademark of the country has it's disadvantages also. Aside from having a diesel engine which is of course a big contributor to air pollution there is also traffic because of the reckless drivers of this vehicle. Undisciplined drivers especially in Manila are a menace and very rampant in the roads of the city. Overloading of passenger which is a safety hazard is also an issue in this vehicle. In rural areas people are sitting in the rooftop of the jeepney which is unsafe. Many vehicular accidents that involves the jeepney seems to be fatal mainly because the jeepney is made of of thick plates. 

This vehicle that has been a trademark figure for the Philippines still a lot of potential. Improvements should be done to maximize the efficiency of this vehicle. The government should find ways to make sure that this iconic vehicle of our country will remain in its stature. But for this vehicle to remain in this category, improvements for its engine and safety features should be given priority.

Philippine Tricycle

"Strike Anywhere"

Tricycles are built in a variety of styles, which differ from city to city, and are usually made locally by building a sidecar and affixing it to an imported motorcycle. Usually both the cycle and sidecar are covered, but not always by the same roof. The artistic presentation of the sidecar of the tricycle is almost the same as the Philippine jeepneys. Some sidecar uses stainless sheet so that it looks shiny and clean. Others are painted colorfully and a sticker such as “Basta sexy libre” which means if sexy ride is free is pasted on some of its wall.

Passenger tricycles can accommodate from four passengers up to as many as 9 or more, excluding the driver. Goods can be placed on the roof. One or two passengers can sit behind the driver while several more can sit in the sidecar, depending upon the design. Additional passengers can sit on the roof or stand hanging onto the side or back of the sidecar. In rainy weather, a tricycle will be completely enclosed in heavy plastic covering.

Tricycles are most common in provinces and acts as the main transportation from inner barangays to the city. These tricycles are also a big help especially at night where the transportation are limited. For the right fare or what we call “special” which means renting the whole tricycle it can take a passenger to almost anywhere so long as the amount of payment is agreed upon. It also acts as an ambulance since it is easy to operate and readily available so long as it has gasoline, the tricycle can take patients to hospitals even in the dead of the night.

The tricycle has been designed by the Filipinos artistically. The sidecar with its stainless plating is radiant combined with other colorful paraphernalia it is a beauty to appreciate. Others even have loud stereos in the sidecar that in park areas of these units the ambiance is somehow festive. A part of Filipino’s everyday living, the tricycle is a commuter’s first option to ride to and from schools, offices, and markets. Iconic on its own this mode of transportation is really a big help for Filipinos everyday life. The tricycles of the country are already a part of Filipinos everyday living that the widespread use of this is available even in rural areas of the country. Cheaper than the jeepney when it comes to maintenance the tricycles is even more affordable compared to jeepney and other forms of transportation. 

Tourists visiting the country will most likely try to ride the tricycle but jeepney will probably be chosen first. But since the tricycle can enter areas where the jeepney cannot, tourist will most likely ride the tricycle. Tourist spots of the country which are remotely located in the rural areas are rampant with tricycle. Roads are not yet well develop or sometimes it is out of route for the jeepneys and buses.
Safety is one of the disadvantages of this particular mode of transportation. It is supposed to be carrying passengers up to 5 only and that includes the driver. But hardheaded students and even drivers allow these students and passenger to ride the tricycles more than the allowed number of passenger. Oftentimes 10 to 15 persons will try to squeeze in the sidecar, some hanging from the rear and side of the sidecar and others on the rooftop of the sidecar.

The tricycle is a Philippine transportation vehicle that is efficient and rugged. Used in rural and urban areas, it can be used rain or shine. For the right contract fare it can take you to street corners, the next town or even the next city. It can even rule the national highways.

 For example, these tricycles can be seen in highways being followed by buses and trucks behind them, who cannot overtake them and   have to keep pace with these tricycles. It can enter city streets, inner roads, alleyways, dirt paths and even in places where no identifiable pathways are seen. The tricycle with its small size can enter even the narrow streets of the country. Truly a tricycle can “Strike Anywhere”


  1. sir, hw much is one unit of a trycle?

  2. I rode in one once. I'm here again now, but we're sticking mostly to taxis on this trip!