5 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Commuting Via Jeepneys

5 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Commuting Via Jeepneys

I have been a commuter for as long as I can remember and have experienced riding just about every type of public utility vehicle around. Jeepneys, however, remain to be my favorite kind. Not only do I take pride in riding a rare form of transportation that only our country can offer, what’s more, the atypical intimate culture jeepneys provides for their passengers has allowed me to experience them in a more personal way.

Even with a usually similar route every time, I’m constantly confronted with different types of people and scenarios, yet they go on to be more than just another piece of my day. I keep my eyes and ears open for opportunities to learn and re-learn some of life’s greatest lessons, and although the list below may seem clichéd for most of us, it won’t hurt to remind ourselves every now and then of the things we can find most helpful to us at any given time, and we can thank jeepneys for helping us out with that.

5 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Commuting Via Jeepneys

5. On self-dependence and trusting your own capabilities.

Perhaps the most distinctive mark of the jeepney commuting experience is passengers passing on someone else’s fare (or change) to and from the driver or conductor. It’s anything but novel for customary jeepney commuters to encounter this every time they ride this famed vehicle and one could only get used to the act. As much as it is a norm, people tend to see it differently than others. Some can look at it as a form of common courtesy and a sheer ask of favor. For others, it’s a manifestation of disrespect and indolence. Whichever way we look at it, it reveals a strong message for anyone on either side of the fence – that is to say, how we depend on other people to do things for us.


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While we are fortunate enough to have other passengers openhandedly doing us a favor every so often, it’s wise to remind ourselves that we cannot always rely on someone else to extend a helping hand for us, no matter how open-minded they are about it. Needless to say, paying for a ride is, first and foremost, a responsibility which you yourself should be liable for. Help is good, but before asking someone else for it, find it in yourself to get the help that you need for yourself. You’ll learn to acknowledge it as a practice of being more proactive on the things that concern you more than anyone else. You don’t need to wait for other people to fill those seats just so you can have someone to hand your fare to. Try to get out of your comfort zone once in a while.

4. On knowing your goals and planning ahead.

The seats in jeepneys are constantly filled and emptied. People are moving and changing – fast. We don’t just sit anywhere, anytime, and in any way we want to. It’s therefore important to remind oneself when in this type of environment that it’s not always about you. There are places meant for you and surely limitations on how you should act for yourself and for the people around you, and you absolutely don’t need to go stepping on someone else’s toes to get there. These vehicles can just speed up and stop at any second, and you don’t always have the luxury to get yourself together while finding that one place for you.

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Moreover, that one-way aisle is designed for you to take a look at your goal from one end, so you can prepare ahead. While most of us are aware that change is probably one of the few constant things in this lifetime, don’t always think you can move people with your words or actions, more than ever, at a time when you expect them to. And the driver won’t always be there to wait for you to, either. Certainly some of the best things in life take place in the most random and spontaneous circumstances, but there are also the other ones that don’t just happen in a whim, and they definitely deserve to be celebrated just as much – maybe more.

3. On learning how and when to keep certain things to yourself.

Jeepney rides can be long or short, depending on your destination. One thing’s for sure, though: we all have our ways to kill time aboard. We see people texting, talking, listening to music, sleeping or sight-seeing. Even so, we need to keep in mind that some aspects of us simply aren’t meant for others to see and ought to only be known by a few special people in our lives, or us alone. As much as you have your family and closest friends to share some of your secrets with, remember that you still owe yourself some private moments. Those kikay kits, gadgets, and phone calls we see and hear people have inside jeepneys are much too personal for strange eyes and ears to take.

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In a space where we’re normally surrounded by people we don’t know, it’s likely we become extra careful on how we handle ourselves, or we’d end up as the unsurprising prey of the day. Disclosing certain things at the wrong place and time and with the wrong crowd, whether you do it by mistake or not, could potentially take those things taken away from you, or worse, used against you later on. Make an effort to contain yourself from time to time, the world doesn’t need to know every last detail about you.

2. On honesty and saying no to temptations.

Even as you consider the things you might need to keep to yourself, know that you also have other ones that call for your openness more than anything, such as paying your fare. Jeepneys are further well known for the fact that passengers are free to pay for their ride anytime they want to, save for those that have conductors who collect fares before you even step foot on the vehicle.  For the most part anyway, a jeepney ride can be the best thing to happen to slackers. However, you don’t have to be one of them.

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Save yourself from the guilt and humiliation and set the best example you can for the people next to and in front of you, and more importantly, for yourself.  Those drivers may act like they don’t care or notice, but they can be just as sneaky as you are. I know there can be times when you’re just desperate to keep that money, and you’d probably be right for doing so now and again, but cheating won’t help in the long run. You’ll be utterly surprised how much more another person might need it than you do.

1. On being open-minded and considerate of other people.

With such a generally tight, restricting space and a middle-facing seating arrangement, it’s definitely tricky not to stare at other passengers every now and then and be so quick to spawn opinions about them. Commonly, we acknowledge judging other people to be bad behavior, but it has its good use at times. The challenge most of the time, however, is how we handle those thoughts.

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Sometimes, we get surprised in exquisite ways, like when people turn out the opposite of what we thought them to be. The next time you encounter a middle-aged guy with rugged clothes, a student who looks like he or she hasn’t had any baths for days, or an aged woman who tends to be infuriated by the simplest things; maybe you’ll want to think twice about them. They’ve gone through more than you might think they have. A few glances at them may show you a bit of who they are, where they come from, or where they’re going, but don’t always think you know everything. Often, the finest conclusions are made by the finest of details. There’s more to everyone than what we see on first impressions, and we just have to deal with what we see in our most communal way.

Like the others of its kind, the list can certainly go on for days. You may find some of them too conventional, irrelevant and even offensive to your personal choices. Nonetheless, jeepneys have their ways of showing us that they’re more than just a commuting medium and that quite a lot of help can be found literally anywhere and anytime.

Check out another one of our jeepney articles here: Make a Jeepney Ride Fun and Interesting

5 Life Lessons We Can Learn From Commuting Via Jeepneys


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