Riding in a jeepney routing from Cainta to Kalookan City was a new destination for me, a challenge for me indeed. It was my first time riding a jeepney not heading for UP or vice versa. And this wasn’t just any other ordinary trip because I had to be keen at that point of travel. My duty was therefore to observe and to interact with people inside the jeep. As I have said, it was a tough experience for me because I was taking the chances of getting lost or getting held-up or getting confronted by strange people. I was just minding of the possible things that might happen to me. Remember that I was entering a new environment, may be different from what I am used to.
Anyway, this was what I have observed, what I did, and how I interacted with people inside the jeepney.
September 29, 2005, at exactly 7:25 in the morning, I rode a yellow-dominated color jeepney. I know it was 26 seaters, 12 in each side and 2 in the front seats because while the jeepney was still lining up waiting for its trip I approached the driver asking information about the trip. I explained to him my goal for the trip. I needed to explain to him because in anything that would and might happen, at least I solicited the driver’s consent. That made me felt secured.
I was the first passenger because I got into that jeep though it wasn’t its turn. I thought to myself this would be fine at least I made some interactions with the driver. His name by the way was Julius Taniola.
When its turn came, I opted to sit at the back, opposite the driver’s side, second from entrance because I thought it would be an apt place for me to observe the whole duration of travel. People from different ages and businesses went to the jeepney rushing. Though they fell in line while waiting for the jeepney, once they got inside the jeepney, they were catching their choice of place on where to sit as if it was theirs. I saw a lady dispatcher, who, according to the driver, was in-charged to list all the plate numbers of the jeepneys who lined up in the terminal for the purpose of order and unity. There was also a lady caller who was assigned to call the passengers’ attention to get in the jeep. She was howling out loud even at that very hour.
Because it was early in the morning of a weekday, I expected the passengers to be school or work goers; and yes, I think they were. I counted the heads; we were 28 all in all including the driver and an additional male passenger who hanged outside the jeepney because there was no way he could force himself in. I knew that the regular fare for one to reach the end destination was P10.00, P8.00 for the students (a six kilometer stretch) because beforehand I asked the driver, but then I still asked (in tagalog, of course) a passenger seated beside me just to know what and how her approach in answering to me would be. She replied in the very dialect “Hindi ko alam eh. Bago lang ako dito.” And she turned her head back mine. Okay, lets continue.
There were three girls seated on the other side opposite mine. They were wearing their school uniform; it was a green-dominated one. I heard them talking about other people, probably with their age. One girl said, “May girl friend na ba yun?” The other girl replied, “Oo daw.” The third one continued, “Maganda ba?” I stared at the third girl. She stared back at me and so soon got her eyes away from mine. They continued chatting. I just ignore their topic.
I continued to monitor the passengers. I found two sleeping, two browsing their cell phones, six peeping outside the window though it was difficult because the window shields were there to cover up the passengers from the drizzle, I caught nine resting their heads on their arms that laid on the rails, the rest, they projected a blank stare, attending their eyes to something without even paying attention to what it was. Some passengers, dropped off at the Tandang Sora Bayan Palengke, some at their respective schools varying from elementary to tertiary. I eyed one lady who transferred seat from the driver’s side to the other side; perhaps because it was spacey on the other side as it was still a little crowded on their side.
During the trip, I recognized landmarks such as schools, churches, fast food chains, dry and wet markets, pawnshops, beauty salons and many others. The last drop was at the Petron Gasoline Station. I checked my clock, it was 8:05 am. Therefore, our travel time was about 40 minutes.
I was supposed to drop P20 bill before I leave the jeepney, however at that very instance, I have decided to stay in the jeepney as I was thinking that it would give convenience to me if I would rather stay in that same jeepney than leave and catch another jeepney to lead me back. Anyway, I went back safe, though it was tiring.
That was my adventure trip from Marcos Highway also known as Commonwealth Avenue via Tandang Sora routing to Quirino Avenue. It was indeed a live and actual experience – another chapter of this road of adventures called life.