InTrans / Jun 30, 2016

Exploring Asia: A Filipina perspective

Go! Magazine

4 people on a motorcyleposted on June 30, 2016

Decerie Chua Deluta, called “Denxei” by her friends, is a 20-year-old girl living in the Philippines. She has a degree in literature, and enjoys music, film, books, nature, and brunch by the seaside.

Denxei lives in Quezon City, the most populous city in the Philippines, with an estimated population of about 2.8 million people. Quezon City is one of the cities that makes up Metro Manila, which is the National Capital Region of the Philippines.

A quick selfie on the way to brunch
A quick selfie on the way to brunch. Photo by Denxei.

Our June 2016 Go! Explore article series has been about experiencing different cultures and transportation all over the world. When we explored Asia, we took a look at transportation in the Philippines. Let’s take an even closer look by getting a first-hand Filipina perspective!

Have you ever been taken a ride on a habal habal?

I’ve ridden a habal habal once or twice, and it was a really exhausting ride. I rode on one once when I went to some rural, mountainous areas. The first time I tried it, I was really nervous and also excited. There were only three of us riding the habal habal that time, but it can carry 5 or 6 passengers… or more than that. I enjoyed it very much, it’s a fun time! On the back of a habal habal, you get a 360-degree view and the feeling of flying. It’s windy, but a great ride on sunny days.

What about a jeepney?

You wouldn’t be called Filipino if you ain’t tried it, even though I’m not a huge fan of riding jeepneys. It’s a struggle, yet so fun, to ride. It’s especially difficult during rush hour. You know… city living… there’s more people, more traffic, and a lot of pollution. You need to be more comfortable than riding in a jeepney, where you’re sitting for hours with lots of passengers and noisy vehicles around you. Jeepneys are more fun in rural areas.

What’s the difference between riding a habal habal, and riding a jeepney?

Jeepneys are more of an urban (city) vehicle, while habal habal is more for rural areas. A habal habal is a lot like riding on the back of a motorcycle, but a habal habal can fit 10 or more passengers. They’re both way cheaper than a taxi, and in some areas, they only use jeepneys.

What other methods of transport have you used in the Philippines?

Habal habal, jeepney, and kalesa are the most notable, more famous, rides here in the Philippines. Have you heard of ‘kalesa?’ Kalesa is basically an 18th century Rolls-Royce, it’s a horse-drawn carriage. It was introduced in the 18th century by the Spanish. Kalesas used to be the upper class’ mode of transportation–so only the nobles and higher-ranking officials could afford the luxury of kalesas before. Things have changed a bit since then, because it became a mode of tourist transportation. I had my first kalesa ride when I visited the old stoned city in Intramuros, Manila.

Kalesa in Manila, Philippines
Kalesa in Manila, Philippines. Photo from Wikipedia Takes Manila.

Related links

Denxei’s Instagram:

Kalesa ride:

By Hannah Postlethwait, Go! Staff Writer