Jeepney 101: 17 Steps to Mastering the Jeepney

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  1. Prior to riding a jeepney, you must completely memorize a map of the city, using major landmarks and malls, not street names, as your orientation.
  2. When deciding which Jeepney to ride, bring binoculars so that you can read the fine print posted in the front window of the Jeepney. Do not be thrown off if the landmark’s name is shortened. For example if you want to go to a restaurant that is en route to Gaisano Mall, find the small placard that says “Gmall.”
  3. Before getting on a Jeepney, make sure you have small bills or coins (no larger than 50 pesos=$1.00).  If you do not have small bills, find something to buy from the sari-sari cornerstore in order to make small bills. This is critical preparation for riding the jeepney. Jeepney drivers refuse to carry change.
  4. If it is between 7 and 9 in the morning or 5 and 7 in the evening, be prepared to push, shove and run to catch your Jeepney, beating as many people out of the ride as possible. No holds barred. Note that leaving the house at 8:30 and leaving the house at 9am result in the exact same arrival time to your final destination.
  5. When you finally find the right Jeepney, discretely hold the number of seats needed for your party out to the driver (like a catcher would do with a pitcher in baseball) as if speaking a secret code. *Please note* “seat” in Jeepney terms is defined as ¼ of a Filipino butt cheek, which is approximately 1/8 of an American butt cheek.
  6. *translation note* If the driver raises his eyebrows, he is welcoming you onto his treasured jeepney.
  7. When entering the Jeepney, fold your body in half, while squeezing 1/8 of your butt cheek onto your designated seat. Hold on tight to the rail above you for added support. Raise your eyebrows to say hello to your fellow jeepney riders. Begin the obligatory morning texting to fit in with your fellow jeepney riders.
  8. Remove all precious possessions from your pockets, as they will fall out due to the fact that your legs have been squeezed in and raised to eye level.
  9. Even if you have your fee (8 pesos=10 cents) ready, resist paying immediately. That will make you look like a pushy, harried, on-time foreigner. At all costs, you must not look like you are timely.
  10. Do not pay when you get off, as this will hold the Jeepney up for an extra 2 minutes. Instead, wait for the perfect moment to pay, allowing just enough time to look casual, while also giving yourself enough time to receive change before your stop.
  11. Yell “bayad” (payment) and pass your money two people in front of you. When they do not take your money, yell “bayad” once more, while jiggling your change. If they still do not respond, shove your money in front of their cell phones to distract them from their 1000th text message of the morning. *translation note* If the driver makes eye contact with you in the mirror and raises his eyebrows, he is asking “how many people are in our party and where you are going.”
  12. Like your filipino counterparts, you should consider bringing a handkerchief to protect your orifices from the black exhaust emitted by morning traffic. Despite using a handkerchief, do not be alarmed when all of your boogers the next morning are black.
  13. Whatever you do, do not move to the left (away from the  jeepney exit) when someone new enters the Jeepney. If you must move, move to the right, forcing the new Jeepney rider to crawl over you. Do not make exceptions for old people or mothers with babies, this will make you look like a foreigner and a schmuck.
  14. To stop the Jeepney yell “lugar lang.” You may also make a kissing noise with your  lips (sucking in air) or tap a coin on the metal roof. Or, for best results, do all three at the same time.
  15. Even if someone exits the Jeepney a mere 15 feet from your destination, do not get off. Getting off early will make you look like a foreigner and schmuck and will require you to walk 10 extra steps in the glaring heat.
  16. Do not wait too long to get off the  Jeepney, as you risk flying past your destination. This will make you look like a foreigner and schmuck and will require you to walk the glaring heat.
  17. To exit the Jeepney, once again fold your body in half, while simultaneously sliding your backpack on your shoulder and hop off as quickly as possible. Do not be alarmed if the Jeepney starts moving again while you jump off.
  18. Wait for the next Jeepney to take you to your final destination. Repeat steps 1-17.