While in the Philippines, I interviewed an old U.S. vet who's lived in the country for years. Married his second Filipina wife after he outlived his first. He said he's always been amazed about America's attitude toward the Philippines, which was still an American colony as World War II broke out. "We fought the Germans and Japanese," he said. "We had the Marshall Plan in Germany and rebuilt the country into one of the strongest economies in the world. We had a similar plan for Japan. And what did we leave the Philippines, which fought beside us and suffered greatly for it? They got our jeeps."
Well, the Philippines have made the most of what they got. They retrofitted those early jeeps into splashy, lengthened buses, which became known as jeepneys. Sixty-five years later the progeny of the original jeepneys still roam the Philippine roads by the thousands. A ride only costs a few cents, and, much to the consternation of other drivers, jeepneys will stop wherever, whenever you want. Traffic be damned.
Here's a little taste of jeepneys 2012.
The boys below hang around in the waters near the outdoor restaurants on the bay of Zamboanga City, which is in the southern Philippines. They wriggle and generally make a commotion so that onlookers will toss pesos into the water, for which they'll dive in and retrieve. Btw, one U.S. dollar is worth about 42 pesos, so that's a helluva lot of diving to buy anything. And judging by the rib cage of the main dancing boy, he's not getting enough pesos for food.