How To Ride a Jeepney in the Philippines Like a Local

June 7, 2017

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How To Ride a Jeepney in the Philippines Like a Local

I remember the first time riding a jeepney. I handed my 10-peso coin to the driver and sat back against the plastic vinyl seat letting my hair whip wildly in the Philippine breeze. It was an empowering moment, as if I had somehow accomplished something amazing. American learns how to ride a jeepney! I felt exhilarated. In that simple moment I fully realized for the first time what an incredible journey I had waiting before me.

You can read more about that amazing journey of travel, adventure, and self-discovery in my Philippines memoir. Be sure to subscribe for book updates!


So, You Want to Learn How to Ride a Jeepney?

Are you traveling to the Philippines and need to know how to get around like a local? Have no fear! Here’s everything you need to know to ride a jeepney in the Philippines.

how to ride a jeepney in the Philippines like a local

Wait…What is a Jeepney?

A jeepney is one of the most popular methods of public transportation in the Philippines. They are painted with bright colors, designs, or murals, and often adorned with tacky interior decor. Through the years they have become an iconic symbol of the Philippines way of life and culture.

Jeepneys originally came from old war jeeps. Just after World War II, the overabundance of American military jeeps were either given away or sold to Filipinos who converted them in order to drive passengers. They added several new features including metal roofs and interior benches that face each other inside providing more room for passengers to sit. Doors placed at the back of the jeepney allow passengers to quickly enter or exit at each stop.


How To Ride a Jeepney

You can hail a jeepney down or get off anywhere along the designated route, which makes it more convenient than other modes of public transportation. I have actually seen a jeepney drop off passengers and then drove on, and literally twenty feet down the road it dropped off more passengers. I mean, talk about convenience! Either that or laziness.

Get a Ride
To catch a jeepney, just wave to the jeepney driver approaching on the road and he’ll stop for you if he still has room for passengers. Enter through the back and take a seat. Then pass up your fare along to someone sitting next to you and they’ll pass it along until it reaches the driver. Kind of a strange system, but everyone does it so it’s completely normal! If you have change due, it will get passed back to you in the same fashion.

If you’re in the city, you can go directly to a jeepney terminal and catch a jeepney there on the route you want. Just remember that these jeepneys need to fill up entirely before departing, so be prepared to wait awhile.

How Much Will it Cost?
If you don’t know how much the fare is, just ask someone. Sometimes on short routes, there is one fixed rate (maybe 8-10 php), while on longer ones, you pay for the distance you travel (around 12-50 php). Just tell the driver where you’re going and ask how much it will be. Depending on the province or region, some drivers prefer that you hand your fare to them at the window first before entering the jeepney in the back. Either way, someone will tell you what to do and you’ll be on your way!

Getting Off
Finally, when you’re ready to get off, just call out “para!” and the driver will pull over. Pretty neat, right?

Helpful Tip

If you’re not familiar with your destination, try to sit up near the front and ask the driver to tell you when to get off.


how to ride a jeepney in the Philippines like a local

That’s All You Need to Know to Ride a Philippine Jeepney
And now you know how to ride a jeepney! Once you get the hang out it, riding a jeepney is pretty easy and a great way to experience the everyday culture and life in the Philippines. You’ll meet lots of friendly (and very inquisitive) Filipinos along the way. Just remember to relax, have fun, and always go along with the adventure!


What other fun modes of transportation have you taken while traveling? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Ingat! Take care!


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More about Deborah

Filipino American with a passion for making a difference. Writer. Blogger. Dreamer. Adventurer.

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