The two worst times I have had on a jeepney were the time I was pick pocketed and the time I nearly got murdered. Given the hundreds of times I have ridden jeepneys, all over the Philippines, that isn’t too bad a record.
Picking My Pockets
The day I was pickpocketed I was riding a jeepney down Fields Avenue in Angeles City to get some medicine for a mate. He was staying at a flash hotel I would never stay at, so I guess the jeepney that pulled up outside there was waiting for rich tourists… like I appeared to be. I should have known not to get in as there were no women in the jeepney. Two men sitting across from me and one next to the driver. As we pulled away another two men got in and sat next to me. Right next to me. So close I was pinned against the side. I noticed the one next to me had what looked like a menu, all colour photos and very interesting he kept opening and closing it, distracting me.
Looking back I knew something wasn’t quite right, I just couldn’t put my finger on it. The jeepney soon stopped and the man beside the one next to me got up and left. I instinctively felt my back pocket and realised my wallet wasn’t there. I grabbed him by the arm as he was getting out but everyone began to tell me my wallet was behind me… which is was, jammed in the back of the seat. I had to let go of the man to turn and check and I picked up the now empty wallet, then got out after the man. The jeepney drove off and I was left there watching this bloke hail a trike and ride off.
I hailed a trike parked on the other side of the road which had two guys sitting next to it. We took off after the other man but lost him when he alighted and disappeared between some houses. The trike crew drove me back into town and waved goodbye. I realise now they were all in on it. The jeepney driver, passengers and the two men in the conveniently placed trike. All allowed the money, probably still in the jeepney, to get away while I chased the picker. Even had I stopped and caught him I would have been outnumbered by the trike crew. Back at the jeepney, I was outnumbered by the passengers and what could I have done? Frisked him? I would have been assaulted, maybe stabbed and tossed to the side of the road.
A Professional Set Up
What miffed me most was if I hadn’t been doing a mate a favour it would never have happened. He made no offer to replace the money I had to get from an ATM to replace my cash and buy his medicine and his only comment was; ‘why didn’t you hit him?’ Hit who, exactly? And how would that achieve anything? I was targeted by a gang of professionals and lost about a hundred bucks, but lived to tell the tale.
The other incident was in Manila. I heard two nasty looking types that followed me onto a jeepney say three words among a few more I didn’t like. Patay, tambok and kano. Kill, fat and foreigner. The other people in the jeepney suddenly went very quiet and none would look me in the eye. These two were across from me so I handed one my jeepney fare, smiled and hopped out as we were stuck in traffic. I stood at the back of the jeepney, staring in at them and they sat there, wondering what to do next. The jeepney then moved off and I ducked through the traffic and jumped on the back of the next one going the opposite direction, standing up, hanging on for grim death and looking back to see if they followed me. I saw one jump out and look around but by then I was too far away and lost sight of them. Were they planning on murdering me? I’ll never know.