10 Ways to Ride a Dyipni

Built from the pillages of war, there roars the Mighty Dyipni. Very Pinoy in its identity, creativity, and ingenuity, it rules the highways together with the more modern yet outnumbered buses, LRTs and taxis.

Outdone too are the traysikads and the motor-powered ones, a poor cousin yet another product of Pinoy’s genius, taking the weary or the simply lazy to the minor street corners which other public utility vehicles fear to tread.

But there where everyone sees and life stands ablaze with activities is the Mighty Dyipni, king of the road.

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You have not experienced Pinoy if you haven’t rode one. Erap used it and won the presidency (but who wants to remember that?). To you, the dear uninitiated, a short but sweet field guide on how to ride the dyipni, and find out why we are where we are right now (well, partly, that is.)

1. BETWEEN THE KARAG-KARAG, THE ALUMINYUM, AND THE FLAMBOYANTLY BADUY. First, choose your dyipni that attests at first to your taste. That is, if you have much in terms of choices. But then again, it is easy to be deceived by first impressions, just like when we choose our presidents.

Our Mighty Dyipni will likely be a treasurefold of hanging religious articles, colorful embroideries, and that disco light that goes with the mega-bass sound. Distasteful or simply chic, what matters in the end is the engine — and if it gets you to your destination alive and in one piece.

2. RUSH HOUR. If there is one indicator of how congested the city has become, look no further than the queue or the scuffle for the dyipni. No one is spared by this transportation amok.

On worse cases, the jam can go on till midnight. And you have to bear with the street potholes and manholes left open. Some call them “craters” as they have grown in size yet left unattended.

3. LABELS. They range from “Katas ng Saudi” (hard work and investment finally realized) to “De la Cruz Family Part 2 (growth and pride in number) and rival those slogans that launched presidents, like “Mambo Magsaysay” and “Sobra Na. Tama Na. Palitan Na.” Oh, but those connote sadder realities. Just like the labels, we survived the cheekiness just the same.

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4. QUOLORUM. Cutting trips, biglang-palit signboards. On those times when you really need to get somewhere quick, beware this type. Fortunately, their “popularity” has waned. Or has it?

5. SIKSIKAN SA PROBINSYA. The pride of provincial journeys, where the dyipni does not leave until Aling Sitang has stepped in from her market-day shopping.

Tribute to our people who still know their neighborhood, besides saving gas for the driver spared from another trip back (But a real pain for the poor engine that had to carry the whole barangay with another long bench to accommodate more people inside, an added support on top for the goods and more passengers, and the rears, of course.)

Stay tuned for the epic laughter, story telling and various gossips retold time and again. Not to be missed.

6. RESERVED SEAT FOR THE LADIES. Pinoy chivalry at its best retained even as courtesy has become a strange affair for some countries. Balm to the spirit in these crueler days.

Nice to be riding a dyipni if you’re a lady, so long as you don’t mind the ogling curiosity of “macho” Pinoys.

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7. SABIT, DEKALI. Or something that sounds like an alliteration of “likod” or rear. It’s dangerous, it’s illegal, but it is fun…oh, well. (Ladies don’t get to enjoy this though.)

And if you’re lucky enough, you’ll get to see hot-blooded males engaged in one-hand fistfights while their other hand holds onto the rail. Cooler heads will prevail but only after enjoying the sight. Ouch!

8. HOLY SMOKE! Dyipni-riding on dusty streets can definitely choke the not-so-equipt lungs. Despite the smoke tests, just the volume of carbon-spewing and lead-emitting dyipnis and the hordes of other vehicles can shame the smog of India! (OK perhaps that’s an exaggeration, but still worth a look at the state of our environment.)

9. CHOCOLATE CROCODILES. The one who spoils the ride. The killjoy of the traffic experience in this asphalt jungle.

To the driver: Make sure a crispy 100-peso bill or ube is at hand or you get a ticket and an invitation to a drivers’ seminar. Works faster than red tape. A microcosm of the sadder vicious cycle of our corrupted affairs.

10. THE (TAMARAW) FX HAS RISEN. It’s selling so well and fast copying the fame of our Mighty Dyipni, air-conditioner added. But it can only contain so much and getting a unit to run as PUV is entailing stricter rules.

The Mighty Dyipni is here to stay. And you know why.

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