Article: Marianne Rabang | Photos: Alberto Mari Reyes | Topic: transportation
Transportation Guide for Students, Tourists, and Everyone
With it’s unusual terrain and intermittent weather, Baguio City has very limited kinds of transportation. Train terminals and subway systems are non-existent. This is a good set-up because the city’s land area is quite small, only 57.5 square kilometers. So practically, the road is always congested during peak hours. Then, how do we go here and there in this tiny place?
To help everyone, especially our students from Pines International Academy, here are the main modes of transportation in the city.
The jeepney is the Philippines’ King of the Road (or Hari ng Kalsada). Always a feast for the eyes, jeepneys make the streets of Baguio colorful and alive. The different designs keep your eyes peeled for a moment or two when one of these bad boys pass by. Known as an iconic symbol for the Philippines, the jeepney always has some Filipino (and foreign) elements inscribed somewhere in it.
It can be a racehorse on the hood or the graduation photos of the owner’s children in front of the driver’s seat. There can also be an inspirational quote somewhere around the back part. A common design includes “God is with us” or “God protect our trip”. These are just a few of the countless and unique details that may reveal a bit about the owner’s personality and Filipino culture in general. You can read more about jeepneys here.
Being honest and cordial are some of the best qualities of Baguio taxi drivers. Still have a change of two pesos? Don’t worry, our manong drivers will give it to you. Left something while rushing out? Manong driver will return it, expecting no reward. What’s more, they will also entertain your questions about the city–they are the best tour guides! You will learn tons of information about the history and culture of the place. Some of the things you might want to ask about are the 1990 earthquake and the change of the landscape of the whole city. I’ve been told many times about how the biggest mall in the region distorted (or a few choose the word “revolutionized”) the lifestyle and, in general, the life of the citizens.
On the lighter note, it is also a fun time-killer to look at the names on the taxi doors. There’s “Dragon”, “Mabalot”, “Saranghe”, “Good Time”, and of course, the infamous “Octopussy” (Who ever thought of that name?!).
PRO TIP: Don’t forget to install the Grab app to get the upper hand, especially during weekends and rainy days.
Sometimes, things don’t go all too well with wheeled vehicles when there is heavy traffic or heavy rain. You can’t expect to go to your destination on time, especially during prime time. In these cases, going from one place to another by foot is the best option.
Since Baguio generally has compact land area, the roads just go in circles. Basically, this means that everywhere is connected with everything else. For those who are not used to walking a lot, just treat this as your exercise for the day. Before you know it, you’ve already developed and toned your leg muscles!
Oh, but please do be extra careful at night! Remember and do what they say: one, put your bag in front of you; two, always have accessible self-defense tools; and three, always keep your presence of mind.
There you have it, everyone! Here in the highlands, we usually use jeepney, taxi, and our feet to go from one place to another. How about in your own regions? What modes of transportation are indispensable? Share them with us!