London Bus Driver Drives Jeepney in Manila: Toughest Jobs

When In Manila… try driving a jeepney! =P

London bus driver Josh West heads to Manila, the world’s most densely populated city, where, with his host Rogelio Castro, he braves the chaos of the streets in a Jeepney.

In this programme in the series where British workers accept the challenge to do their jobs in some of the toughest conditions in the world, London bus driver Josh West heads to Manila, the capital of the Philippines and the most densely populated city on Earth. Josh will be driving a Jeepney, a colourfully decorated, adapted jeep which has no power steering, dodgy lights and an uncomfortable seat. His host is Rogelio Castro and together they brave the chaos of the streets. It’s a hair-raising and often hilarious ride, but Josh also learns about the incredible over-crowding and devastating poverty of Manila. He forms a strong bond with Rogelio and is moved by the daily struggle of an ordinary Filipino working to feed his family. It’s an emotional roller coaster and Josh returns a changed man, aware that all the separates his life from Rogelio’s is the country he happened to be born in.

 

JOSH WEST

Joshua West drives a huge, red, double decker bus, the no 148, through the streets of central London.

His route takes him through some of the poorest parts of the capital, as well as swanky Park Lane, trendy Notting Hill and London’s famous landmark, Big Ben.

His customers too, range from those not doing too well to American tourists looking for Hugh Grant’s house, in Notting Hill.

Josh says his day can be made or ruined, by whether early customers are friendly and cheerful, or grumpy and rude. The worst are those who have a go when bad traffic makes the bus late. They blame him personally, though, he says, “It’s not like I stopped along the way for a cup of tea”.

His bus is really high-tech, with CCTV cameras, an electronic ramp and power steering. Everything is done with the gentle push of a button.

But when Josh isn’t driving, he likes nothing better than shouting at a bunch of people and making them suffer. And they thank him for it afterwards. Because whenever his shifts allow, Josh helps run a keep-fit “Boot Camp”. Early in the mornings, come rain or snow, Josh is out in a local park, making people run up and down, and do push ups and sit ups, till they are screaming in pain. Afterward everyone goes for a slap-up breakfast.

One of these poor people being tortured by Josh is Lynn, his long term girlfriend who has agreed to marry him. They will soon be tying the knot. Lynn is the love of his life and Josh hopes to take her to the Philippines, one day, to meet Rogelio and his family.

ROGELIO CASTRO

Rogelio Castro grew in a beautiful coastal village of Damortis, La Union in the north of the Philippines.

As a young man he moved to Manila to find work and was happy to do anything. He has been a construction worker, a truck driver, and a radio operator before finally becoming a Jeepney driver.

Initially Rogelio rented the Jeepney, but now he is buying it on a scheme which allows him to pay for it with a portion of his daily earnings.

Rogelio is married to Edith, who he spotted working in a shop, near where he was a security guard. He was immediately smitten, and wooed her by leaving roses, in her shop doorway, with a note saying, “from a secret admirer”.

They have three adult children and two grandchildren, who all live with them.

Rogelio’s greatest wish is for his two small grandchildren to go to good schools and get a decent education, but that’s not yet possible because Rogelio is the only breadwinner and money is tight.
Rogelio’s biggest fear is of what would happen if he became unwell or his Jeepney was damaged. The family has no safety net.

What they do have though, is strong community support. When Rogelio built his four storey home, he did it with his own hands and the freely given help of neighbours and friends.

CREDITS

BBC
Series Producer: Simon Davies
Director: Simon Phillips
Producer: Simon Phillips
Executive Producer: Sam Bagnall
When In Manila… try driving a jeepney! =P

When In Manila… try driving a jeepney! =P






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