I was reading the Philippine Daily Inquirer's news item on the Popemobile and was amused not by the article but by all the comments on it.  There are those who praise the Jeepney as a mark of Filipino ingenuity and there are those who curse it for being the icon of urban traffic.

Below is a sampling of what people wrote.  I am sure you will be amused too.

"The Jeepney a symbol of Filipino ingenuity?---try stupidity and stubbornness.  It has been obsolete the day it was put together and was only seen as a temporary solution to a transport problem soon after World war 2, yet it defies logic to think it is still around polluting and choking the environment wherever it is used never mind that it is a very inefficient and dangerous form of public transport and is the cause of much traffic chaos."

"Why we seem to take pride in this pre-historic contraption eludes all manner of reasoning for surely we could do better but we don't."

Another lady said,

"Well... the message to the world is that this is the automobile that the Filipinos can best design. I can understand that over 50 years ago, this was the design that the Filipinos could do. However, there's more science and engineering that can help design a new Filipino Vehicle. Let's stop embracing what is so old, heavy, gas consuming, polluting vehicle. Let's redesign the jeepney. Make it light, energy efficient, aerodynamic, hybrid or electric, etc. Wow, whose idea is it to put the Pope in the Jeepney. We will be a laughing stock around the world."

And perhaps it was an artist who said this,

"Proud of the jeepney the rolling garbage can for being madumi, unsafe, uncomfortable and for its crazy decorations."

To continue,

"Let's face it. The jeepney is an anachronism. It is a symbol of Filipino backwardness. Scrap them and use buses. That's the sensible way to go."
Photo from the Inquirer

But back to the Popemobile, another guy said,

"This has to be the ugliest thing that I've ever seen. Looks like it was designed and assembled by a bunch of 13 yr olds. Can we ever forego the "pwede na yan" mentality?"

Love it or hate it, the Jeepney will never go away.  It will always be here to stay.  It is the most practical form of transport especially in the provinces where a reliable workhorse to transport farm produce, goods, and people is necessary.  It makes a great excursion vehicle for fun-loving Filipinos who want to feel the wind kissing their face and blowing through their hair.  Even if a hybrid with less fuel consumption were created, the new contraption will not be able to handle the demands of rocky mountain roads, rivers to cross, and muddy mountain passes.  And since a large part of the Philippines is still provincial, there will always be an ever present need to resort to the Jeepney we have loved (or hated) through the years.

The Popemobile, according to the article will be sporting cross sculptures by Ramon Orlina.  Honestly, if one were to complete the symbolisms, I think a pair of Carabao horns should be placed on the hood, because that's what it really is - a mechanized Carabao.


4th Generation Jeepney in Iloilo derived from Isuzu D-Max
(photo from Ilonggo Jeepneys)

Chrome Hummer being prepared for conversion into a 5th
generation Jeepney.

Negros Island.  The SWEET Spot of the Philippines.