D115 . Dec 24 . Jeepneys in the Mud

I arrived in the Philippines on Sunday, met with Véronique & Guy on Monday, took a night train for the famous Banaue rice terraces, and on Tuesday morning we were there… Then, we needed to catch a Jeepney to bring us to Batad, right in the middle in the terraces.

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Jeepneys are the most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines. known for their crowded seating and flamboyant decorations, which have become a ubiquitous symbol of the archipelago.

1

The word jeepney comes from the combination of the words jeep and jitney a small bus that carries passengers on a regular route with flexible schedule.

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When American troops began to leave the Philippines at the end of World War II, hundreds of surplus jeeps were sold or given to the Filipinos. The jeeps were stripped down and altered by the locals; metal roofs were added for shade; and they decorated the vehicles with vibrant colors with chrome ornaments.

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They reconfigured the back seat into two long parallel benches with passengers facing each other to accommodate more passengers. Its size, length and passenger capacity had increased as it evolved though the years.

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The original jeepneys were refurbished military jeeps by Willys and Ford. Modern jeepneys are now produced with surplus engines and parts coming from Japan.

2

On our way to Batad, we passed by this magnificent yellow jeepney, here. Classy isn’t it ?
Well, a few kilometers later, it wasn’t the case anymore…

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After a few days of heavy rain, the mountain’ side had collapsed on the road.
A mechanical digger came to rescue us, so that we can use the road again.
There was nothing to do but watching, and waiting, and watching… and waiting…

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Then, some thought they could go through. Like the above yellow jeepney. Like the white jeep below. Like this side car.

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And the rescue episode of the side car is worth watching :

So, finally, the mechanical digger came back, picking rocks from the mountain to fill the mud holes of the road. Hum. So we waited, and watched, and waited, and watched…

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Overall, three hours of jeepney to cross 25 km.
Then the road stops for real and we have make it through the forest by feet, ’til we reach Batad. We will sleep at Rita’s. No electricity. Basic shower. Mosquitos. But when you wake up, the view is just absolutely breathtaking.

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