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Means Of Escape: Jeepney

If the world’s most-famous surrealist artists were in the driving seat for an episode of Pimp My Ride this beauty is what you might end up with...One thing’

If the world’s most-famous surrealist artists were in the driving seat for an episode of Pimp My Ride this beauty is what you might end up with...

One thing’s for sure: you’ll certainly know when you’ve locked eyes on one of these bad boys. Garishly flamboyant, covered in a range of hues and bizarre objects – as though Dali and Duchamp had been directing mechanics on Pimp My Ride while high on mescaline – you can hardly miss them.

A word to the wise, though: If you study them for too long you run the risk of inducing a headache... or being flattened, of course. So, like most folk in the Philippines, hop aboard a ‘jeepney’ – a word-fusion of a Jeep and a ‘jitney’ (a North American word for unlicensed taxi) – sit back on your bench and enjoy the ride.

They may look like a lot of fun and are now integral to Filipino life, ferrying passengers – local and tourist alike – to and fro, but their existence is down to the kindness of Uncle Sam’s troops at the conclusion of World War II. Ending their service in the Philippines with surplus Jeeps on their hands they gave the keys to the locals, whose public transport system had been decimated by the fighting.

Filipinos grasped the American munificence, cleverly stripped out the backseats and installed benches before going to work on the paintjob, adding their individual flair. And, boy, they definitely did not hold back on that front.

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