Pretend you don’t see the word Iloilo City on the jeep. How will you know that this jeepney is Ilonggo? Stop and think…
Well, 3 things: No. 1: The design of the jeepney’s body. You don’t see this in Manila. What they have there are heavily adorned Francisco and Sarao models. The contemporary Ilonggo jeepney is wide-bodied yet streamlined and painted in a solid hue, usually bright. What’s so amusing too about it is that the jeepney’s hood is patterned after the hood of branded cars, pick-ups and vans. The Ilonggo latero (the jeep fabricator) can expertly replicate the hood of a Nissan Frontier, a Hyundai Starex, a Fuego or any other.
No. 2: That airbrushed painting of a ship with the word Epiphany below it. It tells a lot about the owner of this jeepney. It’s the fruit of his hard labor in the seven seas. Have you heard of Katas ng Saudi? Well, this one is the katas of the ship where the owner worked. Iloilo, particularly southern Iloilo is home to many seafarers.
No. 3: Below the ship’s name Epiphany is the italicized phrase Pasajero Sosyal—that’s the builder of this jeepney. To date, Pasajero Sosyal is one of the most popular jeepney makers in Iloilo.
Now, how do you know those young men in the jeepney are Ilonggo? Difficult to tell unless you know dem teens, right? Hmm, but with only this picture to work with, how can we conclude they’re not Ivatans (Filipinos in Batanes) or Ilocanos? Well, Ilonggos love the camera. We are very bibo.